Let me begin by asking the two following questions: Does wanderlust run in your family? Have you always loved to travel? My family was very much divided growing up and one side was happy to stay at home in their own backyard and the other had visions of far off nations to be explored throughout a lifetime. I wish wanderlust had run in my family because I’ve embraced it fully. My ideal travel situation is almost anything and I truly believe that travel should be about the experience.
One has the luxury to be able to read about faraway places you haven’t been to, to see new cultures through others eyes in the written word – all the people, the places, and the experiences of travel just enthralling you but this article is not just about riding on the experiences of others … I truly believe that everyone needs a road trip or two in their life! The one they have dreamed about that they’ve put on their “Bucket List”, the one that takes months, has only the vaguest travel plans – the kind of a trip you remember for all your living days and those remembered by others re-telling about your life time.
It’s not just about location or destinations, but it’s about the people you meet and talk to on the way, the annoying chatterbox that everyone just wants to button it, even as you’re traveling, the problems and people you meet along your journey – both good and bad, and all that happens down the road. It’s that first night at a rest stop where you look at a clear starry sky and feel the landscape around you remembering the day’s adventure, or enjoying the flavors of the culinary delights in front of you knowing your belly is full and your mind is ready to explode with all the new taste combinations. Your eyes are glowing with wanton satisfaction of knowing you have crossed another destination off the list and then only to realize the next morning that you have done so much in the day before but you feel energized and ready to set off on the next daily adventure.
In a world obsessed with how: (how can I make money, how can I get a girl/guy, how can I get a better job) how is it that we are not obsessing about the “Why.” Why was it so necessary to take this trip? Why does the universe exist? Why do we worry about the how questions? Why do any of them matter? Why? Look around you in the destination of the day and absorb all that there is to see, smell, hear, feel and rejoice in the simple little pleasures and leave stress behind if but for a moment(or 10-14 days if possible!)
This leads to creating your incredible story about the open road, about the beauty of traveling with only a vague destination and itinerary, of realizing how much of what you have learned is learning the “structure” everyone “has to” live by, and what breaking away from that really means. What makes your travel dreams assemble? In this post I tackle the senses with the idea of smells and tastes creating the ultimate overwhelming tools that go with the visual imagery you may already have in your head of destinations afar.
Spices may be the secret ingredient to many dishes but they are also the trigger to what brings memories and dreams of faraway cultures to our taste buds and imaginations. Some creative ideas of incorporating this into creating the travel experience of a life time might just be something like exploring at one of the world’s oldest known spice markets in the world in Istanbul or head off to find adventure and appease the senses with carts overflowing with dried fruits and spices amongst the vendors of the Marrakech Bazaar, in Marrakech, Morocco. Or a trip to Mexico just might bring you to Oaxaca’s market where you will find “memorable” treats like dried grasshoppers to the flavorful and delicious Mexican chocolate!
Take the journey to Canada and experience markets in both the East and the West. Vancouver’s Granville Island Market will open to tourists the doors of wonder with a strong Asian influence or head East to Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market – a mainstay the locals are keen to share to visitors since the days when seaway imports came through Lake Ontario. Travel experiences to markets like these show that we are, the cultures we share amongst us and the heritage from whence we came. Open a cook book or read a novel that inspires you to seek out the next destination for your journeys.
Such recent inspirations for me include:
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
- Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine Cookbook by Vikram Vij and wife Meeru Dhalwala
- Mexico One Plate At A Time by Rick Bayless
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes
- Chocolat by Joanne Harris
A few short tips to remember at this point :
• Remember that physical borders (mountains, valleys, etc.) are more important in many parts of the world than political boundaries.
• Be sure to do research and then find a good guide or travel counsellor who can choose the best company for you.
• The more tips for traveling abroad you can find and take to heart, the more likely you are to have a great and safe time abroad.
So the next time you are out having a meal at your favorite restaurant imagine what it would be like to experience it in the lands from which it originated. Ask yourself if you are the explorer who wants to actively challenge your boundaries with hands-on learning and experiences, inspired by rich culture, interactive exchanges and a heightening of the senses with feeling, food, friendships and of course – fantastic fun!
But if you need a kick in the pants to do something different – learn to embrace passion and adventure!