Stepping into the Unknown

Stepping into the Unknown

This picture of Barbara stepping out in Palm Springs reminds me of the popular travel show hosted by Anthony Bourdain, called No Reservations. Bourdain travels all over the world in pursuit of exotic local cuisine (or just alcohol), prepared by caring hands in the context of the meal’s cultural origins.

It’s great fun, if you can stomach Bourdain’s relentless pretensions. Something about his ability to dig deep into the soul of a local dish by taking it in with a dining companion makes this far more than a show about food, but a narrative on the heart and soul of an urban setting or remote indigenous culture – which can be as wonderfully flavorful as some of the recipes he so obviously savors (don’t you just hate it when you can’t taste them too?).

Food is such a big part of travel and unlocking the mystery of where you’ve arrived. How it’s prepared, the fresh ingredients used – it all speaks to local tradition and the routine of daily existence, since eating is a big part of staying alive. So why not do it with gusto. It’s almost a distinct personality trait that evolves, unique to that particular region. Just like a beautiful woman (I’m thinking of Barbara), there’s physical attraction, of course… but there’s also an inner spirit to be discovered by peeling away the clichés and experiencing a region directly through its food, art forms, music and (importantly) casual conversations – especially those that make everyone laugh. I guess that’s what I like most about travel: the connections, and how total immersion (see: plunging hunk of cornbread into a steaming bowl of jambalaya) draws human beings closer together by allowing us to absorb a different perspective, which may not be all that different than our own… just offering a uniquely delicious take.

Our upcoming trip through the American Southwest promises a lot of tasty moments like these, and some of them probably hot! That’s cool. We’re up for anything the likes of Texas, Roswell, Santa Fe and Taos can dish onto our proverbial curiosity plate. We’ll be a little like Bourdain, too, talking it up with locals in a café, or just tossing it back and forth during long stretches of road leading from Marfa across the plains of Texas and into the unknown. Whatever direction we take (and we’re traveling mostly by intuition, not GPS), we’ll have no reservations.

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