“You’ve read the “The 4-Hour Work Week” too?!?” asked the jacked New Zealander.
Shouldn’t have been a surprise. We were all unconsciously waiting for someone to drop that book into the conversation. Shit some of us carried it around like it was our personal bible and Tim was our Jesus.
The year was 2013, Digital Nomads packed that Hostel bar in Peru like Christians in a Church on a Sunday service. Instagram was less than three years old and the new currency was sick travel posts. Who needed a Tesla when your last square tile was a selfie and Machu Picchu was the backdrop?
Guess we all skipped over Chapter #15 Filling The Void.
That’s exactly what we were trying to do, fill the void in ourselves with travel. I wasn’t running towards new experiences, growth, and novelty. I was seeking significance through foreign travel and a high-status story I could bring back to the States.
Traveling In My Backyard
Fast forward nine years later.
“Are you sure you want to eat there Peter?” asked my friend Asif.
“Fuck yeah” was my emphatic response.
“Word of warning, it’s not in the nicest neighborhood, but the Bangladeshi food is amazing.”
“I’m here for it,” I said with excitement.
My eyes and nose were hit with all kinds of stimuli I’d never been exposed to as we walked into the Al-Aqsa supermarket. Which happened to be where the restaurant was. Shit, I wouldn’t even call it a restaurant. It was a deli counter with some tables cornered off in the back.
Asif and I posted up at a table in the back and the feast began. 5 plates of foreign colors and smells bombarded my senses. I think I blacked out because the flavor was so good. We devoured it over the course of 45 minutes as language was being spoken that I definitely didn’t recognize, and as meals were ordered behind us that I couldn’t properly pronounce. The two of us ate in the back corner and were blissfully unaware of the market and people around us as we dove in.
I’ll remember that meal until the day that I die.
The travel I needed, not wanted, was just a 15-minute drive away from the cushy suburb I grew up in. I needed it because it opened my eyes to the beauty and diversity around me. Who needs to hike the Andes Mountains when you have Samosas this damn delicious?
Don't Travel, Eat
Most of us are a short drive away from the novelty of all kinds. Novel food, novel languages, and novel experiences. That meal pushed me outside of my comfort zone and pulled me into a neighborhood I wouldn’t have explored on my own and exposed me to food and culture I would have never experienced.
Before you book your next plane ticket, do this. Put your iPhone in another room. Quiet your mind and ask yourself this question; how much can I learn about other cultures and push my comfort zone without having to book a flight?
The answer is probably closer than you think.
As for the meals and the company I was surrounded by in Peru?
Couldn’t really tell you much about them.
Those Samosas and that experience filled the void of new cultures and grow more so than Machu Pichu ever could.