There are many travel guides available, i.e., Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, etc., and there’s no question a great deal of work goes into producing them. Combined with our current social / media universe, the stream of information available to travelers, both the accomplished and the curious, can be overwhelming and exhausting. My goal here is to share my travels, cut through the proverbial clutter, pass on some invaluable tips and memorable moments, and in doing so, convince you to visit these places, too. The goal is not just to travel, but to travel well. Sometimes that one experience, whether it’s visiting a local cafe or driving on the open road, can be so singularly profound, it shapes one’s entire perception of a new place. To wit…a buddy and I ended up in Lille, France en route to Belgium a couple of years ago. It was the happiest of accidents. In driving around the picturesque city, we ended up at a local restaurant because of the aroma of freshly baked bread pouring out from its open windows (the smell of warm bread never fails to seduce.) The owner was charming and asked if he could indulge us and serve us a meal completely off-menu. We agreed and he brought us a baguette, locally made cheese, salad greens with dressing made of herbs his family grew, warm potato salad, and foie gras. Although composed of simple ingredients, the meal was one of the best we had ever eaten. It was also completely responsible for our new-found affection for Lille, so much so in fact, we decided to return in the coming months. Just to dine there.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” ― St. Augustine