Travelling the world, trying out different cuisines and experiencing different cultures is the millenial dream that millions of this generation identify with, thanks to the internet. The prospect of ‘pursuing your passion’ after quitting your day job and just travelling for a living is on the mind of almost everyone. There are numerous stories of people resigning from their ‘mundane’ day jobs on a whim and going globe trotting and then testifying to the fact that it’s just amazing to be living the life of a gypsy. But is it that simple?
Food blogger Roxanne Bamboat of The Tiny Taster and home chef, food stylist and author of the book Planet Gastronomy Ananya Banerjee, busted a few myths about travel and food blogging during the session titled “Just Go: The Travelling Foodies” organized by F5 Escape at Fun Republic Social, last Sunday. They also shared some fascinating stories from their respective foodie escapades around the world and gave the audience a few tips on how to eat their ways through various global cities. ALSO READ: Best Local Cuisine Restaurants of 2016: Top 10 local cuisine restaurants for the ultimate Indian foodie!
Here’s a list of some interesting and informative takeaways about the world of food and travel from the session:
1. Sound Financial Planning is important
One of the initial points highlighted by Roxanne was the importance of sound financial planning. The blogger, who was working with a production company before quitting her job and following her passion, emphasized on the need for aspiring bloggers to have enough money saved up before they take the plunge. But then she also urged people to follow their dreams relentlessly. “Go buy plane tickets. Not clothes”, was one advice that stuck.
2. Blogging on-the-go can be intense
Roxanne, who is perpetually active on her social media accounts, keeping her fans and followers up-to-date about her travel stories and experiences, busted the myth about blogging being a glamorous job. “It can be intense”, she said, narrating her initial days of blogging when she would be on the road for as long as eight hours in a day and then go back to the hotel, write about her day, edit images and publish her posts.
3. Respect for different sensibilities is important
Respecting the sensibilities of the country that you are exploring was one of the points highlighted by both Bamboat and Banerjee. The locals will respect you and will be more willing to probably entertain you and show you around when you’re aware of their food habits and customs and are ready to respect them and play by their rules. Ananya drove the point home by familiarizing the audience with some of the food items from around the world, that would typically be considered ‘unorthodox’, but are a part of the daily diet of the locals in those countries. One of these included scorpions on a stick in China, that she said were a delicacy in the country and that, to the locals, tasted like ‘dried chips.’ ALSO READ: Best fine dining restaurants of 2016: Top 10 fine dining restaurants from all over India
4. Home work and planning are important
This was another point highlighted by both Roxanne and Ananya. While Roxanne said that she often did a thorough research about a country’s culture and polity before heading there, Ananya pointed out the importance of having all your papers in place in both soft and hard copies, including your travel insurance.
5. Media images can be misleading
Roxanne is of the belief that one must not judge a country by the kind of images one sees in the media and that they often tend to misrepresent the ambiance and the culture of some particular countries, especially the ones in the middle east. She gave the example of Israel, which she has explored at length, saying that contrary to its portrayal in the media, the country is one of the safest that she has ever visited. She also said that Israel is a fabulous gastronomic destination for vegetarians. “They (Israelis) embrace their salads. They eat salads for breakfast! Also cheese…”
6. Touristy activities can be fun
Roxanne said that while there was a lot of excitement around the prospect of exploring offbeat places and lesser known hole-in-the-wall eateries, she embraced the tourist in her and thoroughly enjoyed all the typical to-do things as well. She said that one must not miss the opportunity to try out the food even in the most touristy places because, “you find the most beautiful food in the most random places.” However, she said that one needs to keep a balance to able to explore both the aspects of the place.
7. Networking with locals is important
Ananya said that she believed in networking with locals as they had the best leads on where to eat at, in and around the place. She has, with the same purpose, worked at local restaurants, often without any pay, just to experience the cooking culture and learn how to cook the local food. ALSO READ: Best Breakfast Places in Delhi for all budgets: Top 20 breakfast places around Delhi & NCR!
8. Trusting your gut is the key
When asked whether one must depend on ‘highly-recommended dishes’ and just try those out at restaurants in a new city or whether one must explore as much as possible, Ananya said that there’s no hard and fast rule to that. She advised the audience to go with their guts and while one must taste the food that others have recommended just to add it to one’s experience, it’s advisable to try out foods that one thinks they’ll really enjoy eating.
You can check out Roxanne Bamboat’s work on her blog thetinytaster.com and Ananya Banerjee’s work on her official website ananyabanerjee.com.
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