“What I remember the most of my travels, are the times I’m chowing down on some seriously delicious local cuisine or barfing it up in a squalid bathroom. This might not sound the least bit like what most people want out of a vacation. Vacations are about breaking routine. Mostly, it’s nice not to be working, relaxing on your vacation and being taken care of on your vacation. I don’t mind this, but my take is the comfort I’m trying to escape. I like to travel for extended periods of time, which naturally means I’m scooting around on a budget. Many of the sacrifices in comfort that I make also mean a big savings in terms of cost, but that’s not the sole reason I stay in the budget hostel or eat iffy street snacks. I can remember every single time I was food poisoned, walking miles through homey, residential areas to my Couchsurfing host’s place instead of taking a cab, the flavors, textures and aromas of regional foods that made me think, what the hell am I putting in my mouth? And that connected me, bodily, digestively, to a culture very different from my own. This is how memories are made. The bigger the break from the norm, the more vivid the memory. Maybe, some day, you happen to find yourself on the same rickety, long distance bus as me, wondering why you didn’t take the plane and finding yourself skirting a cliff on a dirt road with one flat tire and a driver that is squinting through the pouring rain obscuring his view. I would smile my head off and really soak it all in and you’ll know why.”

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