A passionate tale – a trilogy – part 1

Yesterday was my good friend’s birthday. She’s one of those friends from your 20’s when you are still figuring out work and career plus you still had the time and stamina to be up for anything because everything is for the first time! So many memories, She & I. She now lives in Singapore with her family and, like me, keeps one foot in passion projects that keep us feeling young and interesting. She’s fantastic and I miss being able to wallow in the luxury in our futures being filled with endless options and loads of time. She mentioned that she spent her birthday at a friend’s restaurant where she had quizzed him about his path to recently being awarded a Michelin star. “Passion and Purpose” he had said. In turn, she pressed me: “Are you still going to do your food truck? This time is Now! Food has always been your passion! You have to cut the cord and JUMP!”

I totally agree…sort of. My passions remain the same – Travel, Cooking & People – but its eluded me for years on how I could bring them all together into PURPOSE. Until now. And, guess what Dinasha, it’s probably not a food truck 😊

If someone were to describe me, the words “world traveller” and “foodie” would probably be mentioned at some point. “Adventurous”, “open-minded”, “energetic” might also get dropped. I love to travel. LOVE IT. I suspect that its because I’m from the middle of nowhere in scenic Central Pennsylvania that I have an insatiable desire to explore. For no apparent reason, over the past 20+ years of travel, I’ve always taken detailed notes. Collecting mementos, business cards and brochures where ever I go. I have an array of photos from before when “digital check-in” became an option of intersecting street signs so I can remember a great neighbourhood.  I’ve collected, compiled and categorized in destination file folders that have been transported from city to city and country to country as I have moved. A little roving librarian.

Eventually, inevitably, I became a go-to person for recommendations if someone was visiting a city that I used to live in – Philadelphia, Orlando, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, London – or cities that I frequently travel to – Paris, NYC, Hamburg, Edinburgh. All these years on, as I’ve lived abroad and taken advantage of proximity and double the holiday time, I’ve become a bit of an expert, if I don’t say so myself! 6 continents, 2 active passports, almost all the European countries and more on the horizon! People seek my recommendations for any city that I have travelled and I’m happy to help! Eventually, city guides and itineraries were created for easy updates and sharing. My specialty being the scenario of “I’m going there for business but plan on staying the weekend.” I’ve developed a formula for getting the most out of the city and then plotted a specific path, so the recipient knew what to expect, the necessary logistics, key language phrases and how long the path might take. And, of course, where and what to eat were absolutely part of the plan. Every city and country have their own collection of specialties and I’ve learned that someone is more inclined to try them if they know exactly where to get the best of THIS ONE DISH. And, turns out, people trusted my judgement! I’d never fed them something bad in real life so why would I do it when they were on the road?

The most amazing things happen when you dip into a local eatery that is out of the tourist zones. You are, usually, surrounded by locals who, usually, are as curious about how you found your way there as you are about the food. A conversation is struck. Someone always speaks, at least, a little English. Someone then ventures to ask where you have travelled from and you share some details about your life. And the next thing you know, you’re a local. Or at least a couple of perceptions have changed, and minds are opened while mouths are full. There is where the purpose of my passion for travel was born.

But more on that next week…

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