After a few dark months of shuffling to work, cooking on the weekends, and missing long walks in the sunshine, I need to share color with you all. The snowiest month in Colorado has reminded me that we are not yet in the clear of spring. Farmers markets (you know how I yearn for them) and driving with the windows down are so close but so far away. I realize when dreaming of those summer days that the truth is I prefer the eating culture in a warm environment. Juicy watermelon and thrown together appetizers of crusty bread and cheese for an afternoon of frisbee and reading in the park, or meeting up with neighborhood friends to walk to the ice cream store.
These food memories are colorful, and when I travel, they are some of my favorite memories that I embrace. On the darkest of winter days, I content myself with looking back on the late fall when we escaped the daily grind and stepped into a humid urban jungle. Northern Vietnam. I surrounded myself with the experience, and let food be the center of the culture that I absorbed.
We thought we understood Vietnam. The pho, the colorful street markets, the villages: we were ready. We thought we knew what to expect.
Hanoi came in and blew us away with its frantic bustle, flavor explosions, and tree canopies above small crowded alleys.
We ate street food and sat on small plastic chairs, keeping our dollars in our pockets for trekking and adventuring.
We were engulfed by the rice paddies and humbled by daily life in the villages.
We learned to confidently push our way into the middle of intersections, motorbikes whizzing inches from our legs.
We kayaked in the South China Sea among hundreds of limestone islands, rising spectacularly from the depths.
Once you begin to observe other cultures, I don’t know that you can ever consider yourself satiated. I get to keep the colors, the pictures, and the exotic flavors of Vietnam in my mind to get me through hard days, but it does nothing more than remind me to plan my next adventure to another exciting food culture.
Where do you dream of traveling? Let’s pack our bags together. Even a weekend away to the mountains can renew us (I am on my way, Aspen, CO!).