"There is no food that doesn't taste good!" proclaimed a friend during lunch. "Even pork is good!" Everyone looked at him. He was a Moslem. A moment of silence entered our dining room.
My friend swallowed his food and continued, "If it isn't good, there are people eating it. So, it must be good. Because we don't eat it, it doesn't make it no good."
Some at the dinner table nodded, but some returned his statement with a suspicious look.
That happened a week before I left for Brunei, a place where many say, "There's nothing." Although I had planned my itinerary (as always) in detail, I boarded the plane while 30% believing that there would be nothing.
If you ask me, why did I go to Brunei anyway, that's because of an article I read in a children's magazine when I was a kid. That's another story.
Back from Brunei, my friend's words were still fresh in mind. I began to think. Isn't it so with traveling? When we say "there's nothing" about a place, aren't we actually saying, "I can't find what I like." ? It's actually not about the place. It's about us.
Just like when we say, "The food is no good." we are actually saying, "The food doesn't suite my taste (or condition, whatsoever)." It's actually not about the food. It's about us.
Just because we don't eat something, that doesn't make it no good. Just because we don't find our interest in a place, that doesn't make the place nothing.
I have seen many people who has passion for food as much as for traveling. Take TLC for an example. Is it about traveling? Yes, it is. Is it about eating? Yes, it is, too. If TLC were mine, there would be no program about food. If Anthony Bourdain were me, there would be no episode about me behind a dinner table. Nevertheless, I can see how close is eating to traveling. Here's another example.
"I prefer joining a tour to save myself from the hassle of preparing everything," commented someone on my frequent solo trips.
Hassle? Like what?
For me, drawing an itinerary and bringing it into realization is a thrill. Sometimes I draw an itinerary without knowing when I will actually make it (come true). I draw an itinerary like my artist friend who draws for the sake of drawing. You ask her, "Will your drawing sell"? She might answer you, "I have never thought about that." You ask me, "When will you go?" I might answer you, "I have no idea."
Please note that when I draw an itinerary, I don't fantasize. I search the map, travel guides, blogs, and so forth. My itinerary should be one that can be done by anyone who has the time, and the money.
At the end of a trip, when I exit the airport of my home country, I feel like hanging my finished drawing on the wall.
Yes, dealing with airliners, hotels, travel agents, drivers, can be frustrating. But, come on, this is called w-o-r-l-d. Is there a place guaranteed frustration-free? Tell me where! You join a tour to save yourself the ache of frustration from the above. Are you sure your tour agency won't frustrate you? If it does, there's a chance to be frustrated the whole trip, because you are bound for the whole trip.
Back to eating. Being a food lover doesn't mean a kitchen lover as well. Some prefer to have their food ready served on their table. Some other enjoy every slice, every chop, every stir, they do in the kitchen. For them, that's not hassle. That's joy.
I now understand why books and channels often get mixed up between eating and traveling.