What's your site about and what are you working on this week?
Avocado Pesto is a food blog focused on healthy cooking from scratch catering to a variety of restrictive diets including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc. Each week my main focus is on brainstorming and whipping up new recipes in the kitchen. I love finding inspiration from my surroundings, think local markets in Asia, Europe, South America, etc.
What's the most connected you've felt to a culture while traveling?
I feel most connected when I’m eating! I love nothing more than sampling local cuisine and learning about the history and culture of the various traditional dishes and recipes. I find that food, more than anything else unites and brings people together and through food I have learned a ton about the cultures I am visiting.
What’s the travel experience that’s changed you most, and in what way?
This is more of a general experience rather than a specific one, but Couchsurfing has been the most rewarding travel experience for me. If you are not familiar with it, Couchsurfing is a world wide community through which you can connect with people in foreign countries and stay with them for free (or host travelers in your own home). I have Couchsurfed all over Asia and Europe and was always amazed by the level of hospitality from complete strangers. People of all ages, from working professionals to widowed elderly men have gone above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and teach me about their culture. From home cooked authentic meals to private led city tours the hosts I have met have been incredibly warm and welcoming. Overall I can honestly say Couchsurfing has restored my faith in humanity as a whole and has reminded me of the importance of daily kindness.
For people who haven't had the chance to spend long stints abroad, what do you want to tell them about the world?
The world is not a scary place, and people overall are good, honest and helpful. With a little bit of curiosity and a great attitude you can meet locals all over the world who are open and interested in teaching you about their culture and showing the beauty of their country. Another observation is that no matter where you go, from the US, to Jordan to Cambodia everywhere people seem to value friends, family and good food.
What country are you going to scratch off next and what are you going to do there to engage with the community?
Next on the list is Peru. I can’t wait to dive into the food and drink culture (think ceviche and pisco sour) and connect with some couchsurfers or attend nightly language exchange meet ups to interact with the locals.