One day, in the wake of a major life adjustment, I won a pot money at my moms group and rather than spend it on yet another small kitchen appliance, I bought a ticket to Tuscany. What seemed like a rather impulsive moment at the time turned into what would now be my annual solo foodie adventure. The first trip was naturally met with apprehension. But it didn’t take long for the gypsy in me to emerge and navigate my restless spirit. It took me over the rolling hills of Tuscany in a quest to master the art of homemade pasta; to the golden beaches of San Sebastián in Spain with pinxos in hand; then to France to experience French cuisine in all its diversity- from traditional Basque countryside recipes to the urban culinary glamour of Paris.

Once home, however, I realized this journey morphed from a whim to an aspect of my soul that I could no longer deny. It didn’t take long before I was planning a second solo trip. This time to Asia. I was admittedly fearful, perhaps because I had little context to even contemplate what would lie ahead. And our busy minds have a clever way of predicting outcomes that may not be warranted. That said, I leaned into the fear and embraced the challenge.

Travelling, especially solo, has offered a myriad of opportunities for adventure and mishaps. Throughout these trips I experienced my fair share of both. Getting lost in Venice; boating in the bays of Vietnam; visiting an orphanage and crashing a wedding in Cambodia; and finally eating at Gaggan, Asia’s top restaurant. Every trip exceeded my expectations.

I’ve been asked many times why I choose to travel solo. It’s simple really. It’s the closest I feel to myself. There is nothing in my life I take for granted-my beloved daughters, this beautiful country I call home, a fulfilling career, my friends and family that mirror the unwavering love I hold for each of them. Even my undersized Chihuahua who pees with excitement every time I walk in the door and reminds me daily that there is no moment greater than the moment at hand. If anything, travelling alone fosters this gratitude.

There is just something, though, about detaching from the external roles and responsibilities inherent in our all our lives, in a way that lets our souls unravel just enough to grow in ways we didn’t think imaginable. With every journey I learn a little something more about myself and the world that spins around me.

During the first trip, I cursed my oversized suitcase-my albatross. It became representative of all the heaviness I had apparently been carrying and so on the second trip I chose to take a back pack. Funny enough, although light and convenient, it wasn’t enough to hold all of what I would acquire along the way. How ironic. So I have opted now to dust off that albatross and give it another go. Because you see, sometimes the most reliable things in life are the very things we try to free ourselves from.

So with my trusty old albatross in tow, I embark on yet another journey. Fuelled by my love for food and my insatiable curiosity for all that surrounds me, I take flight with the tune of Whitesnake nudging me forward.

“Here I go again on my own..”

Next up…Croatia, Morocco and Portugal