I travel for...
I have to admit that masses of tourists turn my stomach a bit. I like to go in search of hidden places where I can really connect with the local community. If it’s a choice between hanging out in a huge 5* beach hotel or sleeping on the floor of a family home, I’ll choose the latter every time. Some experiences are all about being open to something new, like when I was invited along to a wedding in India, helped out a farmer in Peru or was rescued by a Japanese restaurant owner when I had nowhere to stay.
Festivals give you a unique opportunity to get involved with local communities letting their hair down and coming together. I always try to arrange my trips around a local festival or two and have visited some fantastic ones in Laos and Japan. The two I visited in Bhutan though will always stand out. Known as Tsechu’s these colourful festivals are deeply religious and spiritual events for the local people. But don’t let this fool you; there are plenty of jokes to be had as the clowns, or atsara, wander through the crowds brandishing wooden phalluses and making a mockery of the whole event!
If I had to eat the same meal every day for the rest of my life it would be curry. Without hesitation. Perhaps that’s part of the reason for my three trips to India? It’s not just Indian curry though, Thai, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, even the unusual fusion curries I found in Argentina, I simply cannot get enough of them. Whenever I can I’ll try a local cooking class to really try to understand the local cuisine. The one I tried in Luang Prabang in Laos was my most memorable. I had no idea about Laotian cuisine before I started, but now it’s one of my favourites – I wish I could find a place in Brighton.
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