In March of 2008 I found out that my UK visa I had applied for months prior was approved. One sheet of paper had arrived in the mail that changed my life from that point on. The very next day, I quit my job in advertising sales at Newsweek in New York, and a mere four weeks later, I moved to London.
It was a big move. It meant leaving New York at 26 years old, the place I had loved and breathed for all of my early twenties, to live in a very different version of a large and bustling city. While I had traveled a bit before and had also spent time studying abroad in Australia, this was undoubtedly a new sort of adventure. Unlike the traveling I had done prior, London was a place I’d be settling into for an unknown time frame. I had no job set up, no apartment, and no friends or fellow travelers to help ease me in. It was challenging, intimidating, romantic and exciting. My life was starting over on a different continent, and it also came to be the true beginning of my slow but steady exploration of this vast world.
While I moved to London really for the undertaking of just living somewhere entirely different from where I had always known, the experience quickly became very much about travel. And the more I did of it, the more I really began to craft a way of going on these holidays. It’s funny how even with something as broad as this, you do form patterns and figure out what works best for you in terms of navigating somewhere new. To me, the touchstone that began to dictate everywhere I went was food; food and travel had become intertwined.
Europe was the central focus at first, with other continents eventually working their way into the mix taking me to countries like Morocco, Israel and South Africa, among others. Upon my February 2012 eventual departure from the UK, I’d say I took the utmost advantage of my transition between jobs and continents, wandering South America for 10 weeks, seeing some more of Europe including a one-month stint in Kreuzberg, Berlin, and hitting parts of South East Asia for another five weeks, all mostly on my own.
Now I am back in New York, working in Manhattan and living in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, adjusting, acclimating, relearning, and of course, eating as I go. I still do absolutely whatever I can do keep the travel part of my life going. It is nowhere near as easy – time wise, cost wise, location wise in most cases, but I’d say I’m doing a pretty good job of continuing to make it happen.
Because of all the experiences I have already listed, I’ve found that I have become a sort of go-to resource for friends, family, colleagues and really anyone looking for travel and food advice. Throughout the years, countless amounts people have to come to me saying “I’m going to X. I know you’ve been, so any recommendations that you have would be great!” Time after time I would get these requests and then endeavor to peel through my hundreds of emails trying to find tracings of these holidays past. Eventually things started naturally getting slightly more organized, until I decided to go one step further and thoroughly get it all in order in one central place right before I left London to go on the long term travel stint, leading to the eventual development of this site.
To me, traveling is about one main thing- learning and seeing a destination as if you were a local. Mostly I accomplish this via food. Whenever I visit a new place, the way I initially navigate is through the places I plan to eat at, whether they are hole in wall spots or among the world’s best. This I have consistently found is the absolute best way to get yourself to different areas, allow yourself to be exposed to a less touristy side of things, and to have experiences you probably otherwise would not have. It’s like an automatic map and loose outline of an itinerary, by way of meals. Everything else that you enjoy naturally then stumbles off of that.