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Tourist or Traveler - You Are What You Eat

April 07, 2013

Tourist or Traveler - Dining for Travelers

If these look like the kind of places you dine at when traveling then you may very well be a traveler

Ask anyone about their vacation and they'll invariably tell you about what they ate. Food and travel go hand in hand. Culinary variety and the style of eateries from where it is served from can tell you more about a place than any guidebook. On the flip side, the dining choices made by anyone visiting a city, country, and/or island can tell you just as much about the person. It dictates whether they are a tourist, or a traveler.

There is nothing wrong with being a tourist, mind you. They've earned their hard earned seven to fourteen day stay at a beach front resort and have paid a lot of money for convenience and to not to have to make calculated decisions, especially when it comes to their three squares for the day.

If you've returned from Maui, for example, and responded to my inquiry by enthusiastically insisting that I absolutely must order the Grilled Chicken Marsala from Hard Rock Cafe Lahaina on my next trip then I know that you my friend are a tourist. I can then expect that the souvenir peaking out of the hibiscus decorated Polypropylene tote presented to me contains something from the ABC Store around the corner from your resort. It will stand admiringly within the top left hand corner of the cupboard space above my refrigerator along with the odds and ends Christmas decorations that couldn't quite squeeze into the storage room.

However, if you relentlessly pestered me to rent a dependable jeep and take the 5 hour trek from my stay on the west side of the island to a slithering Hana Highway for a single slice of Aunty Nita's banana bread and to enjoy it under the shade of the hieau like stand beside the Halfway to Hana store, I know that you my kindred spirit are a traveler.

If experience supersedes convenience when it comes to dining on your travels then you are on the right track to being one of the wanderers of the world. To be honest however, experience can bias our assessment of food. Is Aunty Nita’s banana bread absolutely and truly the best I have ever tasted? I want to say yes but I wouldn’t literally bet my taste buds on it. Does the five hour drive under the Maui sun make the reward sweeter? Does talking story with a delightful Aunty Nita on a slow day at Halfway to Hana make the crumbs more moist and the banana flavor more evident? Of course it does.

Travel is determined by the journey and not the destination. The same applies to the dining choices made on one’s travels. A sunset offers a better palate of orange, red, and purple hues when we’ve just hiked two hours to see it. That’s the reason why when narrating the slideshow to our friends back at home weeks later we find ourselves apologetically suggesting that the pictures do not do said sunset justice, no matter how many pixels our SLR captures. They could never comprehend what we saw unless they took the journey themselves. Food simply tastes better when we too have made the analogous (or literal) two hour hike to eat it. It’s the reason I don’t bother buying an entire loaf of Aunty Nita’s banana bread. Why ruin the sensation by eating it back at home or present it as an edible souvenir to friends only to explain that it tastes better back at mile marker 17? It doesn’t translate. I’d rather give them a map to the place instead and inspire them to make the trek themselves.

Wish You Were Here - Marcus Maraih, Editor, YAHglobal.Com

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Where do you dine when traveling?

post by : Editor - YAH Yaps

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