My kind of Foodie

Up until this point, I have explained my love for travel quite clearly. But my other great passion in life is food. I LOVE food. Food is the only art to touch every one of the human senses. Even if that moment of actually eating is short and fleeting, it has the power to excite, to comfort, to seduce and to create powerful memories that will last a lifetime.

Today, it has become really trendy to refer to one’s self as a “foodie”. For those that don’t know, a foodie is someone that loves food and (claims to?) knows a lot about food. Around the world there is a growing culture of food fans that worship famous chefs like sports fans worship championship athletes. In big cities like New York and London, “foodies” pour out big bucks to get the chance to eat dishes made my superstar chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Eric Riper. And given the chance, I would join them.

High end foodie party

But there is another aspect about the culinary experience that these big city, local foodies are missing out on. Besides delighting all the senses, food has one more gift to offer, if you are willing to take it. Food holds the keys to thousands of cultures across the planet. Cultures vary from country to country, province to province, city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood. The best and most enjoyable way to learn about these varying cultures is via your pallet. In my opinion, when traveling, having an open mind and an empty stomach is almost as important as having a passport.

foodie map
Foodie map of the world

Some of my best travel experiences revolve around eating local dishes. I will never forget the wonderful taste of bistecca fiorentina in Florence, or of bun bo Hue in Hue, or of pork miso ramen in Tokyo.

Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence


Whenever possible, I avoid the restaurants that are designed for tourists and try and find where the locals eat. This practice has two advantages. First you will generally find the best tasting and most authentic food this way. Second, it is often the cheaper way to eat. And it is an exciting adventure. A number of times, I have walked into local eateries in a country that I don’t speak the language and when the server asked me what I wanted, I simply pointed at a dish I saw someone else eating. It almost never fails to satisfy.

IMG_4036 (1)
Bun Bo Hue being sold on the street side in Hue

I am sure someone from a city like New York will read this and think to themselves that they live in a city that has food from all over the world and that they have any culinary experiences available with a simple call and a take out menu. But sadly they would only be getting the tiniest part of the experiences.

Firstly, while all kinds of foods are available in major cosmopolitan cities, the choices are extremely minimal. Sure you can find the classic Vietnamese “phở” in New York, but could you find any of the amazing dishes from the central and northern regions of Vietnam? Not really. And even if you could, the experience of paying $15 for a bowl of mediocre “phở” in some restaurant in New York, will never come close to the experience of siting on a small stool, in a tinny street shop in Hanoi, eating freshly cooked “phở” that only costs $2, while watching the city go by.

Eating on the street
Eating on the street in Vietnam

So to all the food lovers out there, make sure you have your passports. If you really want to experiences the best food the world has to offer, much of it is far away, in amazingly exotic destinations. And to all you travel lovers out there, make sure you go with an open mind and an empty stomach. If you are one of those travelers that goes to Florence and eats at McDonalds, I promise you that you are missing out on some the best experiences out there.

Spice map
Spice map of the world




My Life’s Passion 

In American culture, people’s careers are an extremely important part of who they are as a person in society. People often define themselves and others by their career. When someone meets a new person, one of the first questions they will usually ask is, “What do you do?” Many Americans will spend most of their lives chasing their career goals. They dream of reaching higher positions in their company and gaining a well deserved reputation as one of the best in their fields. For many Americans, their job is their life.

Vietnamese culture is quite different. Here people tend not to define themselves by their careers. There could be a number of reasons for this difference. One such reason is that Vietnam is still 80% a rural society. Many people are born into their family business, be it a family owned food stand, or a family owned farm. Even in the city, it is extremely common to walk into local stares and find multiple generations of the same family running the shop. Of course as Vietnam develops, more and more people are getting “urban jobs” in fields of their interest. But even in such cases, people tend to see their jobs as a way to pay for their life, and less as actual an goal in their life. This is one of the difference I associate most with in Vietnamese society.

I recently was talking to someone back in the US, and they asked why I seem to not have a goal, or a passion driving my life. They asked me, “don’t you want to build a successful business like your father? Don’t you have something you want to achieve, something to drive you?” I assured them that I do have passions and goals, but that I wasn’t going to explain it to them, because I knew they wouldn’t understand. But, I will attempt to explain it now.

fly everywhere

My passion in life is to travel. One of my goals in life is to travel to, and experience as many different places as possible. Too many people this sounds “childish” and “immature”. But I disagree. Life is to be experienced. While some might dream of one day being 70 years old and telling people how they were a CEO of a company, I dream of being 70 years old and telling people how I visited 200 countries. Some want to be able to show others the awards they won for being top of their field. I want to be able to share thousands of pictures, of hundreds of places that I have been.

Others see travel as something to do later in life, when one has finished their career and retired. I often hear, “one day, when I am retired, I want to see the world”. My response to them would be, what if tomorrow never comes? I have learned the hard way that life can suddenly come to a halt at any moment. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So what are we waiting for?


Of course I also must live in reality. There are bills to pay and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. And of course, travel cost money. So obviously I need to work. In fact, I will start training for a new job as an English teacher in the next couple of months. Some have told me, “oh that is such a boring, and common job. So many expats here work in that field. It isn’t interesting.” But I see it differently. It is a good job, that I will be qualified to do, and it pays well. For me, my job isn’t what makes my life interesting, it is the tool to pay for the experiences that makes my life interesting.

I know there are people that will read this post and think to themselves that I am wasting my life. I understand where they are coming from, because I used to think the same way. I used to dream of a lofty career in academia, or the foreign service and couldn’t understand people with different objectives. I used to think that people that think like I currently do, were flakes. But my experiences have taken me in a different direction. And there are people that will read this post and think that I am saying one way is better than the other. That is not at all what I am saying. I strongly believe that every person should pursue their own unique path to happiness, because no two people are the same.

One goal of this blog is to share stories from my travels, and to share the happiness that travel brings me. I hope this post helps my readers understand where I am coming from, and will entice you all to keep on reading.

Writers note: I am aware that my descriptions of American and Vietnamese society are generalisations. If you are an American or Vietnamese person reading this, and you feel differently, please don’t be offended. Sometimes when writing, a writer must generalise. Thanks for being mature adults and understanding.

(What countries have I traveled to so far? Can’t wait for future posts to find out? Click this link, or the link at the bottom of this page for a complete map)

I am back!

After a more then 2 year hiatus, I find myself once again inspired to blog. Some of you out there might have come across, or even followed my old blog, Off the Path and onto the Road. While I am the same person that wrote that blog, I have changed a lot, my life has changed a lot, and this new blog will be quite different.

The inspiration for my old blog came from my struggles with leaving my former lifestyle, coming out of the closet, losing my parents and other difficult things that were going on in my life at the time. This blog will come from a more positive place.

Since last publishing, my life has been quite wonderful and many of my dreams have come to fruition and many of my fantasies have become realities. I have been living in Hanoi, Vietnam for nearly 2 and half years now. I have great friends, a wonderful boyfriend and I have traveled to many marvellous places. That is not to say that there have been no bumps along the way, but all in all, I can’t complain.

In this blog I hope to share some of the experiences I have had in Vietnam and around the world. The posts won’t necessarily be in chronological order, but I am sure you readers won’t mind that. I am very excited for this this new project. I look forward to writing many posts, and of course your feedback is welcome.

So won’t you join me down this new and exciting road?

Truc Bach Lake
My neighbourhood in Hanoi, Vietnam