This is a guest post by one of my friends, Gillian Duffy. Gillian has an amazing life-story: one day, she decided to sell everything and see the world. She’s got some unique stories and great advice for the wannabe world traveller, and she’s just released a book about finding vacation homes. I’ve never considered vacation homes previously, but it’s a great option for people who want or need access to a real kitchen while they’re away from home. I look forward to putting Gillian’s wisdom to the test this summer.
I travel. A lot. One of the greatest pleasures of travel is uncovering the food secrets of a place and discovering how the culture folds itself around the cuisine.
We will often select one regional specialty and try it over and over and over again to see how different cooks prepare the same meal; to see how localized a flavour profile is and what might change from dish to dish to dish.
In northern Thailand that dish was Khao Soi. More than simply ‘curry noodles’; khao soi is the alliance of a creamy, sweet, slightly spicy, coconut milk broth with soft and crunchy egg noodles alongside a meat serving of either braised chicken, beef or even pork ribs. Served with a small pile of pickled cabbage, red onion, and fresh lime to cut the richness it is a dish that must be tried when in the region.
In Greece we sampled calamari. We were surprised by the variety in a seemingly simple preparation of deep fried squid rings. The batter changed from soft and light to heavy and crunchy; some eschewed frying all together and grilled the squid bringing a charred flavour that changed everything.
As much as I love food exploration while travelling, I also love staying in. There’s a lot to be said for winding through the narrow lanes of a local market, picking up what looks fresh, chatting with the stall owner about the best preparation, and then taking it ‘home’ to prepare a local meal of your own. Add a local bottle of wine or the best beer of the region and I am one happy camper.
That’s why, if we’re staying somewhere more than 2 or 3 nights, we always choose a vacation rental. Staying in a real home, in a real neighbourhood, rounds out the travel experience for us. Not only can we visit local pubs and restaurants to try their local dishes but we can also take advantage of the kitchen; self-catering a little bit to keep costs down as well as experimenting with new ingredients and preparations.
I find, however, that many people in my normal life (as opposed to my travel life) don’t even know about vacation rentals and, when I explain it to them their eyes glaze over and they tell me that it just seems so overwhelming to search and sort through all the options.
I disagree. I think it’s super easy to find a vacation rental as long as you have a criteria list and follow a simple system. I wrote How to Find the Perfect Vacation for just this reason; to help people discover the comfort and convenience of vacation rentals without becoming overwhelmed.
So say yes to travel; say yes to the discovery and exploration of new and different foods and say yes to staying ‘home’ while travelling. It’s the best of both worlds!
Gillian not only enjoys using vacation rentals when she travels….she wrote the book on it! How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental is available on her blog One-Giant-Step.com where you can follow along on her adventures, mis-steps, and personal journey as she travels the world.