Travel is More Than Where to get Fries
I’m lucky enough that I have travelled in my life. No, not as much as plenty of people, but enough. Yet no matter how far I go or who with, someone always wants a common brand of fast food or Western food. And I think that says more about the way we travel.
Some of my favourite travel experiences have involved food and mealtimes. Of course when we’re on the road sometimes you just need to refuel and be on your way, but occasionally you can craft really special times.
It’s not yours!
Please stop trying to make travel yours and appreciate it for the way it is. Particularly when it’s an area many ex-pats/nomads have settled, the culture changes. It’s not there in its original beauty like it once was, but now it’s been manipulated into something that it is not.
Appreciate it instead for what it is. Try and eat something local. Cook like a local, or go to a local venue instead of your usual restaurants. Find a different perspective and lose yourself. If you only travel looking for what you have always known, you’ll never find new.
Western food is mostly way more expensive, and often not great.
In life, we learn to value people’s talents. We learn what people are good at, and praise and encourage them. When I stayed in a host family’s home in Fiji, they made cake late at night. I’d been out chatting with friends, and it was one of my most special memories to be having almost a midnight snack with them.
It was entirely out of kindness and generosity. They showed me their home and their lives, and that will always hold meaning for me. The experience you need the most is often the one that is right in front of you. Take that one and open your heart to it!
Food shows you culture.
Yes literally the items, but so much more than that. Sharing a meal with someone is one of the most powerful things you can do. As humans, we have to show ourselves at least a little. The scene, the setting, the time of day all create parts of a social experience.
From making packed lunches with volunteers in Africa to trying different coloured loaves of bread in Bali, to sharing pasta in a snow hole, meal times have given me such a rich travel experience.
I’ve learned so much about people I’ve met and how they live their lives from spending time with them over food or drinks. It’s great to people watch at mealtimes too. Watch how, where and what other people eat. It can give you great insight into their lives.
Embrace the unknown
For me, travel is about getting as much out of my comfort zone as possible. It helps them I’m not a fussy eater, but I’m down to try most things, apart from being a little tame in the spice department. I enjoy trying things, but I know how important it is to respect what people have offered you.
Whether it is local vegetables, or meat, trying new flavours can be amazing, and eating things out of the ordinary is fun. Culture shock strikes us all, especially if you are unable to access your home comforts, but you might make some of the best discoveries of your life too.
Food can make some of the best memories, why not comment on some of yours below? And think again both about what you eat when you travel, and the experiences that mealtimes can give you. Some of the best connections are made across a meal table. Also, the worst food times can be hilarious to look back on too!
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