Travel is understandably a luxury for some. You simply get away leaving behind home’s routine and responsibilities. This slice of time take you to an abstraction of reality. Maybe you relax with an umbrella drink on a beach. Possibly, you scurry to visit “must see” sights guide books insist you shouldn’t miss. I always find it curious that so many travellers are content keeping arm’s distance from their hosts or they simply eye the top ten attractions from a tour bus in their chosen destination. There is nothing at all wrong with any of the above I suppose. However, the truth is when you isolate yourself from the cultures you visit, you miss on an opportunity to learn about about foreign places. You also miss huge opportunities to learn about yourself.
After all, travel is the best eduction you can give yourself and you can grow well beyond your imagination. What if the boundaries of your comfort zone tumbled? What if the fall of your boundaries occurred in a place where your bearings are upended because everything you know to be right is challenged? Would you tremble from uncertainty? Would you reach higher to an unknown and perhaps uncomfortable place? There is surely only one way to find out.
Just go and test yourself. Step away from the beach resorts and immerse yourself in genuine Balinese culture. I promise, the people in Bali will welcome you to their village Temple during a ceremony. Take a camel ride through the Sahara Desert in Morocco, yes. Stay overnight in a desert camp, yes. But, ask to meet a nomadic Berber tribe. They will make you feel like you’re a part of their family. The Berber’s are just as curious about you as you are about them. And, if you want a true Buddhist education, consider a private guided tour of Bhutan. Being the curious Gentleman that I am, I learned more about Buddhism than I ever thought possible from my guide, Kuenga. Bhutanese culture is fascinating. The calm, quiet and peacefulness of Bhutan will touch deep within your soul. You’ll be changed forever even if you don’t adopt Buddhist beliefs. The video included in this post shows you just what I’ve described above.
If I can offer words of wisdom with regard to travel, it would be this: Sometimes travel is a leap of faith as you put your trust in completely foreign cultures and mindsets. Always go with an open mind, an open heart and open arms. After a few steps, you’ll soon realise you are braver, stronger, more accepting and full of more love than you ever knew possible. Challenging what you know your own reality to be is one of the best gifts and best educations you could give yourself.
Go far. Travel Deep. Go places you never thought you’d go. Travel to a place where you’ll grow and be a better person for it. In the end, you will have a once in a lifetime experience and brilliant stories to share.
You might also enjoy A Gentleman’s Meaning of Travel.
Travel Destinations in The Video:
Great food starts with the freshest of ingredients, whether it be the proteins ( meat, chicken, pork, fish, etc), vegetables, fruits, or, as in the picture above, foods you might use to flavour any dish you create. Ask any chef, and they will always tell you that working with fresh ingredients is the only way to cook. When you go to a great restaurant you expect, and rightfully so, for the food to be absolutely fresh; so don’t settle for anything less at home in your own kitchen.
With fresh ingredients, you get the maximum vitamins and nutrients from your food and the maximum flavour. For me, while the health aspects are important, it’s the flavour that’s paramount. There is nothing that matches the flavour of fresh. I’ll plan a meal in advance and then venture off to the grocery store or market. More often than not, I will have to adjust my menu because I’m unable to find all the ingredients fresh, the flavour is that important. In some cases, I just start from scratch and compose the menu based on what I find available at the market.
I’m a big believer in farmer’s markets and butcher shops (pictures above and below) over the average everyday grocery store chain. At a farmer’s market, you know you are getting the freshest fruits and vegetables available. In my area, we get some amazing chilli and jalapeño/hot pepper varieties in addition to the usual items. I also know that my local butcher, who is an expert on meat, will have the best quality meats, and cut and trim to order exactly what I need. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than the grocery store, but it’s a difference you can definitely taste. And in cooking, taste is everything.