A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas or travelling and the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? The whole travel life. The coming and going frequently, the moving towns often and regularly. The face that we will rarely if ever live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. Soo when I meet people who share this passion and understanding I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them. I find myself drawn to these sorts of people even if I've never even met them in real life, enter Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The whole wide World of blogging has given me the opportunity to (virtually) meet people I would never have if it wasn't for this passion project I have.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Rae from FoodNerd4Life while I was living in Bristol, and while we only had the chance to meet up once I was floored by her knowledge and love of food. Over lush and verging on gourmet hot chocolates she talked about the places she had been and the food she had eaten, and even made herself and I knew I needed to know more. So I'm super grateful she agreed to be August's WanderWoman!
Alright, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
I’m a Food Technologist in my day job, meaning I take recipes from the kitchen all the way through a factory and make sure they are tasty and safe when they get on your shop shelves. I started my blog in 2007 when I was working for a local pie company as a pie inventor (an actual job!) and was missing making sweet recipes so found a place to write and share. I was also visiting lots of restaurants in London and Bristol so wanted to share my experiences and the joy of a new discovery. Food and travel go so hand in hand, and not long after was I writing about my travels alongside my food adventures.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m actually a fairly anxious traveller, but in the end the joy I get from wandering through a new city or discovering a new experience always overpowers the anxiousness and never regret not travelling.
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
I was always fortunate that my parents instilled in me the importance to work hard to be able to explore and worked hard to take us on holidays when we were growing up. They also tried to give a mixture of culture and beach so have an appreciation of exploring the streets of an old town as well as relaxing!
How do you decide where to travel to?
I have a long list of dream spots to visit, but realistically I check the flight prices on Skyscanner for the time of year I have off work, then deep drive into research, like how much is handy located accommodation, what activities are available. If the botanical garden is the only thing listed, there might not be enough to keep you contented for a 4-day trip. More recently, I’ve also been including a carbon emission calculator to my trip research, to see the cost to offset my trip. If too much to my overall trip, then the location is skipped until I can afford to visit with offsetting.
When it comes to planning a trip do your plans mostly revolve around restaurants/food you want to eat?
One of the first things I do is to check if there is a food tour to go on whilst away. I think they are fantastic ways to not only find out about the food culture and eat it but to learn about the cities history and culture. Also, the guides always know the best spots, so perfect to pick up the local tips for the rest of your trip. That might be how I ended up eating grilled sheepshead in Istanbul…But normal aside from the food tour, I would also massively over plan foodie places to go to, you never know what you might be in the mood for and good to have options. But really I would need to be away for a month to get through my food visit list!
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
Japan, love the idea of the culture clash between old and ultra-modern, of course for the food but also to see the mountain monkeys in the hot spring tub and their snowy moustaches.
Canada, stunning lakes and being out in nature.
Mexico, tacos and tequila all the way!
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
You don’t need all the things you’ve packed! If you’ve never worn it at home then you are not going to wear it away! Especially when backpacking, you’re be dreaming of a lighter backpack in a packed standing only train carriage. And just taking up room for those gifts to yourself to find along the way, like a cast iron tortilla press, which of course isn’t heavy at all to carry for 3 weeks.
Best & worst travel moment?
Best – Taking a helicopter ride at sunrise over the edge of the Grand Canyon to celebrate my 21st birthday, was a stunning experience, one that will stay with me for many, many years.
Worst – Staying in a beach hut in Thailand, and we came back after dinner to find 10 cockroaches in our room, we managed to kill 9 of them. The 10th one fell on my face whilst sleeping that night and crawled off. Didn’t sleep a wink for the rest of the night, in the morning we found it in a beer bottle in our room. Gross!
Do all the food experiences you have always live up to the hype?
99% of the time the hype is there for really good reason. But one disappointment I had while travelling was purely my fault. At Quincy Market in Boston, I got overwhelmed with the vast selection on offer so panicked ordered my lunch. Whilst my friends tucked into oozey mac n cheese and a burrito, I had one of the saddest sandwiches ever. Was supposed to be a Milanese Fried Chicken with Mozzarella, toasted and naughty. Was cold in the middle, non fried chicken and no cheese. We had to catch a bus so couldn’t order anything else or take back, so I sat sulking on the bus while my friends ranted how their lunches were amazing.
If you could pick one country to live in for a year based solely on the food where would it be and why?
Italy! My spiritual food home, gelato, homemade pasta, cured meats, cheeses, seafood and WINE.
Do you think social media has changed travel, and if so, how has it changed?
For sure it has, for the better and worst. I love using it for a research tool for trips and especially for food using a hashtag to see what people are eating and where. As well as finding places you’ve missed, however, unfortunately, this also means others have also have found the spots too. Cinque Terre in Italy are five beautiful colourful coastal towns close to each other, which means you can visit them for the day. But so did a whole lot of other people, which I understand as we were adding to the numbers but these tiny towns were ram-packed as well as the trains in-between towns making it not completely enjoyable. There is a tourist tax now to pay for the upkeep of the trails between the villages. As well as dodging all the photoshoots happening! Our answer, tuck in one of the local restaurants for dinner and a big carafe of wine and watch the world go by.
Famous last words for all the wanderers out there…
No one regrets travels, they regret the trips they didn’t take, so get out there!
To keep up with where Rachel is and what delicious treats she's finding around the world, check out her social channels below
↓↓ Don't forget to PIN this for later ↓↓
↓↓ Don't forget to PIN this for later ↓↓Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/foodnerd4life