As a tribute to my Europe trip exactly a year ago, I wanted to write a blurb about F&T (food&travels) and its origin.
What inspired me to start writing F&T blog entries?
What drove that passion?
What does it mean to me and what can it mean to you?
How it all started
Prior to visiting Europe last year, the only places I had ever been were places so close to home. Not just in proximity, but also in likeness. Growing up with immigrant parents, they loved being typical tourists. We’d been on countless road trips to the Maritimes and to the closer regions of the United States (New York, Boston, etc.).
Through countless road trips, we’d always encounter similar lifestyles, cultures, and history. Not to say that each city didn’t have its unique charm, but something didn’t quite get me – yet. Perhaps I didn’t have the capacity yet to fully “inhale” all that I had encountered.
When I stepped into South Korea, my country of heritage, it was a different experience. And it was even more exciting when I stepped back into my home country – Canada – where I noticed a stark difference between both places – culture shock.
From the food itself to the way food was represented to the native people. From the simple acts of kindness to the meaning of kindness. Everything was built on different beliefs, but in the end, we were all human. That was the magic of it all. And that, was the beginning of my growing humble heart for this world.
The intriguing part of crossing over from one culture to another is learning their ways of understanding the same things that seem so innate to you. Things that are so fundamental to our being is being more deeply understood and challenged to make space in our minds to be able to grow a more humble understanding of life.
Food is just one way of making that happen. There are various others, but food has its way of teaching one’s culture without needing to understand language. Food does not have a language – it’s a universal code of kindness that moves across from one culture to another. Offering food from one culture to a newcomer is welcoming them into their native home.
Being fed and feeding another is an act of kindness in all countries of the world. It’s a universal gesture of kindness. We treat food as an act of caring for one another – making sure their tummies are satisfied and the heart in you happy.
My thoughts on travels
Travelling had always meant something different to me until recently.
Yesterday, travels meant going on a vacation – taking time off, relaxing, re-visiting old cities and exploring new ones, discovering unfamiliar places.
Today, I perceive travels as something completely different – a journey for the self. My goals for travelling the world is to open my eyes to new people, new culture, new stories, new opportunities and especially, a new self.
People who travel to many different places – exposed to different cultures – are people who have opened their eyes up to the world. They’ve taken a step forward to becoming a responsible human citizen of the world. To live life well is to live life with a mind that is ready to empathize with the world that we live in. Exploring and understanding a new culture inside-out gives you the power of knowledge and also the power to shift your mind. Exploring more grounds of the planet you live in isn’t just checking off that list of places to go – it means so much more. It means that you’ve set yourself out to learn more about the ground that you stand on as a human being. It’s only natural that we, as living things in this planet of ours, are naturally drawn to what we feel so close to. Learning about different cultures is discovering other lives out there that go on whether you’re there or not. It brings you to think about the lives that people lead somewhere out there while you’re home leading a life that they wouldn’t imagine until they meet someone like you. Sharing customs, traditions, and family rituals is one way of exchanging knowledge and the richness of one’s culture – each and every one of them being so pure to its core.
By travelling, we let ourselves experience first-hand the world that we encounter rather than letting the media dictate what you should see or how you should feel when you see it. Some places are overrated by the media and other places don’t get light on TV because it’s an obscure place in a small island in Southern Asia, but it has just as much life as the city of love – Paris – would.
It’s the real experience – hands-on, eyes open, and heart too.
The more you travel, the more your heart grows for the world, and the more your heart and soul become humble. You empathize with the world. You become one with the world.
Seeing mountains that were sculpted and carved by nature and time over centuries. Tasting the pure waters of the French Alps that flowed the natural springs since the beginning of time itself. Standing in the grounds where soldiers, decades ago, fought to save a nation.
People have no right to say they hate a certain culture or a certain race if they haven’t empathized with it or even made an effort to understand it.
I’ve met people who’ve hated the city they grew up and lived in, but those people were those who never stepped out of their comfort zones to actually explore their own city where they lived their whole lives in. Some people live in a bubble and are perfectly happy doing so, but they miss the value of stepping out. They are missing out on rich wonders of the world that it has to offer.
As a born citizen of Montreal, I’ve explored my city over the years and learned of its unique charm. I’m always proud to say that I’m a Montrealer because – let’s be honest – we have one of the best foods in the world.
What it all means
I hope that by now you’ve understood why food and travels mean a lot me.
And I hope that you have that same drive in wanting to grow a humble heart and become a true citizen of the world – and not just a citizen of your own country. BE a traveller. BE a part of what you’re born into. You’re not born to be a mom/dad, student, or an entrepreneur. You’re supposed to just be a human in this world before taking on those roles. Your primary role is to explore the world and life we’re given. So why not go to the ends of the world to reach it?
Tiny Foodie, xo