Yes, we’ve all seen that video! Between 2008-11, over 1.2 million Brits have taken substantial time out, a 14 fold increase since the 70s. Unaware of this trend, it came as a great surprise to me when I arrived at Oxford back in 2006 as one of the few who hadn’t taken a year out. Somehow “I spent summer cutting my Grandpa’s lawns” didn’t really compare to “I was cast in a Hawaiian porn film.” So when I made the decision almost 4 years later to take a year out to travel, I felt it was long overdue.
Bottom Right. Google Earth Captures 18 year old me mid-mow. Look at those lines!
While exploring options for my food based gap yah, I received a newspaper cutting from a friend highlighting the uncanny resemblance between the journalist’s family and mine. Simon Majumdar wrote, “At breakfast we would sit and discuss what was for lunch, at lunch what was for supper, and at supper what we had eaten for lunch and breakfast.” What? You mean to say other people are equally greedy?
I was extremely fortunate. The cutting introduced me to a book that has served as a great inspiration for the Foodish Boy – Simon Majumdar’s Eat My Globe – One Man’s Search for the Best Food in the World. A truly gluttonous culinary odyssey. Anyone with a passion for food and travel would do well to read this book (or failing that check out his blog.)
If I intended to follow in Simon’s footsteps, it was clear that I would have to do so on a smaller budget. It was then that I recalled two points from Rolf Pott’s talk on the Do Lecture site in particular:
1. Travellers are seekers and not just consumers on holiday.
2. Working in other cultures helps you experience things at a basic level.
In light of these considerations, I realised that working my way round the globe doing food jobs would not only teach me something, but would go some way to helping me travel on a smaller budget. I may not be able to afford to eat in the world’s best restaurants, but I may be able to cook in some of them.
And so I find myself in between a teenage gap yah and a mid-life crisis with a hint of Rolf’s notion of travelling, or vagabonding as he calls it. Cooking around the world? Let’s just hope I don’t chunder everywhere!
Have you taken time out to travel? Do you intend to? Share your tips and experiences below.