Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Traveling...Sometimes Without Even Leaving Your Chair

How I often daydream of abandoning cubicle life and traveling for a year. But then, I remember the inconvenient fact that I am not independently wealthy, and back on my bus to New York City I go.

So I settle for one major trip a year (and by major, I mean two weeks), a few weekend getaways, and I travel in other ways. Here are some of my favorite alternatives:

Through literature...

"Each season's food is anticipated: wild mushrooms in fall, wild asparagus in spring, melons and peaches in summer, and roots and truffles in winter," Georgeanne Brennan observes of culinary life in "A Pig in Provence." There's something to be said for not having access to something year-round. Americans seem to have too many choices, and everything at their disposal, leading to a complete lack of appreciation. In Provence, she write, the "growing of food is part of life still marked by the seasons, a life that keeps people connected to the land and to each other." I'll take this view of food versus the dysfunctional American attitude any day.

Through music...

There's something about the music of the Gipsy Kings (coming to Montclair June 11th!) that makes my soul smile.

Gipsy Kings - Roots

Can't make it to see them? Check out their DVD: "Gipsy Kings: Live at Kenwood House in London." I requested a copy from my local library for free. You pay for your library through your taxes, so take advantage. It's also eco-friendly since it's communal sharing.

Through film...

When I rented Vicky Christina Barcelona from the library, I felt like I was transported to Spain, and Avenue Montaigne brings me into the world of upper class Paris. Peruse your library's collection and don't skip the foreign options. See where their tales may take you.

And of course, through food...

A grilled vegetable pita and Greek fries (lemon, oregano, and pepper) at a local Greek festival in Tenafly, NJ.

Veganize Greek classics: Greek Salad, Moussaka, and Spanakopita. Don't forget the Baklava.

Love these children's costumes and dancing, and the display of embracing their heritage.

Consider visiting a restaurant you wouldn't normally try and seeing what they can veganize. Northjersey.com ran an article on the challenges vegetarians face when dining out. Read it here. While I do like to patronize vegetarian establishments as much as I can, it's vital to increase demand for veg options in mainstream restaurants.

There's a Colombian bakery in Bergenfield I eye every morning on my bus on my way to my cubicle, and hope to soon try it. Where can you be transported to through food or the arts?

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