The Gateway to a New Life

If there’s an easy way to feel reborn, it’s through new food.

Swab a hunk of unfamiliar bread in oil, buy a weird knobby vegetable at a farmer’s market, sample an alluringly odd piece of meat on an hors d’oeuvre plate, sip an unusual cocktail with ingredients you’ve never heard of (what exactly is velvet falernum? or genever?) …  all of these things we can do in our neighborhoods, close to home.

And despite their proximity, all of these things break us out of our ordinary routine and make us feel more exciting, a little unusual, a little more alive.

If you have the means, eating while travelling carries even more resonance.  We may forget quadratic equations, but we don’t easily forget the impressions made upon our sense memories.  We’re programmed to remember the tang of our first bite of Stilton cheese in Bath, the bitterness of our first sip of an amaro in Miilan.

It’s the caveman imperative: That bush has yummy berries.  Return to it, keep eating from it, and you won’t die.

This also explains why people come home from their travels gushing about just how goshdarn amazing everything is in, say, North Dakota, or some other pleasant but—to be honest—noncompelling place.

But eating isn’t always easy when travelling.  Sometimes it isn’t even safe.   But that’s why we travel, isn’t it?  To jerk ourselves out of our webbed safety net?

In the meantime, it’s a big world.  Go see it all.