Last week I turned a corner. I gave myself permission to think about traveling back to Mio Caro Amore, Italy, soon. To return to adult adventure. Since the pandemic, I have been on an airplane twice; once to Aruba and once to California. It was fine. Obviously annoying to have to wear a mask, but not a deal breaker by any means. I am not sure why my head has finally allowed me to think of truly booking this trip, but it has. I will not question its decision. So here I find myself gearing up to travel again, to my happy place. It is liberating to say the least.
I was late to the travel game, in life. There were trips when I was younger, your standard Florida and Maine vacations. I am not complaining here. Believe me, I understand how truly lucky I was as a child. However, adult travel, let me rephrase that, adult adventure did not find me until my thirties. Better late than never.
Adult adventure provides a setting for a comprehensive education in yourself. To begin with, unless you have a “sugar person” or situation in your life which pays for these adventures, as an adult you have to pay your way. As a child, thanks to my mom and dad, I never had to think of money (again, blessed childhood). Fast forward to adulthood, I find great satisfaction in paying my own way. Travel on my terms, paid by my blood, sweat, and tears. Gratification. Pure gratification.
Luckily my first few adult trips with my dear friend Christine. We met at the right time in our adult lives, both in education and working a second job in a restaurant. If we wanted to go somewhere, we simply had to pick up a few extra shifts and voila – adios! What we quickly found out during our travels is how much we each valued eating local. Our focus was to allow the local flavor to truly teach us about the authenticity of the location we were in. Taste bud travel if you will. Now this was not without a few glitches. There may have been a few times where following our taste buds made us lose focus of making appropriate accommodations ahead of time or possibly missing a connecting train or bus, but we were always well satiated.
Why travel through food? Great question. Obviously you have to fuel your body! Why wouldn’t you take this opportunity to connect with the people, history, culture, and land of your locale? Two birds, one stone. What are the ingredients that are authentic to area you are visiting? That is what you want to eat. Unless you are a good friend of mine who chose to eat McDonalds in Barcelona…I just can’t.
Food is a vehicle of history, tradition, and family. This is an undeniable fact across the world. Since the beginning of time. So how does one go about eating authentically? There are a few things you can do to help improve your chances of not falling into the tourist trap.
- Do your research – There are so many websites for travel, but look beyond TripAdvisor and Yelp. Find the locals. If you are reading this blog, you are in the correct place! Look for those who live in the area they are talking about. Follow them on social media and read their words. Even reach out to these experts directly. You know how to reach us…
- Ask those who know – Whenever I travel to a new place, or even a repeat adventure for that matter, I ask my cab driver (or Uber, or Lyft!). This has yet to steer me wrong. These suggestions have taken me off the beaten path in the best way possible. To be fair, I look up the suggestions before going…again research.
- Understand the obvious – If there is a person sitting outside the restaurant waiving a menu at you, attempting to lure you into the establishment, please keep walking. Does this mean their food is terrible? No. But come on! Do I need to explain this?
So here I am, staring down my flight. Daring myself to enter in my payment and lock this trip up. My tastebuds are begging me to seal the deal, my soul is lighting up at the thoughts of strolling from piazza to piazza, and the adult adventurer in me is screaming to return. Stay tuned…
Back to you…maybe your experience with travel is not about the food. There is no judgement here although I do urge you to taste the local flavor. However more importantly, continue your adult adventure, continue to learn, grow, and experience. Traveling in the pandemic…the “new normal traveling.” Please remember to treat others with patience and respect, especially the flight attendants and those in the service industry. Be safe. Happy travels to you and yours.