Myanmar 2009

A travel junkie, Morocco-bound

Friday, 8 June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I'm in the midst of my online check-in for my flight to Morocco. Very excited to see a new land! I've been something of a travel junkie since my parents took us to England the summer after grade 5. It was such a big world!! I'm pretty sure I got served a shandy at the local pub in Chew Magna, near Bristol. I've never looked back.

This time last year I was in Cartagena, Colombia. That was the hottest heat I’ve ever experienced. By a long shot. While there I attended a friend’s baby shower and as a result got a real taste of Colombian culture. What has stayed with me most is that it’s true what they say about South Americans. (At least the Colombians anyway). They are a passionate bunch. And being part of it at such a joyous family event was intoxicating.

Wandering the streets of the quaint old city, I saw it there too in the way mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, young lovers and kids kicking a ball all spoke to each other with expression and were constantly in physical contact. Colombians show their love! It made me feel uptight about our North American culture.

In April last year I went surfing for ten days in Barbados (where I met, coincidentally, a Colombian). For me part of getting relaxed is banishing the hairdryer and giving in to my unruly hair. In Barbados, I had no choice. I was on the water much of the day and it was just too hot to think about blow-drying. I was in heaven! If you make it there, check my blog from that trip for where to go and what to do.

Just call me “Wave Rider” Wallner

We shot an episode of Grocery Bag in Yorkshire, England in the autumn of 2010 and there I discovered Banoffee pie. If you like sickly sweets, find a recipe and make it. To. Die. For.

I also went hunting for the first time, landing 3 rabbits on my very first outing. Cleaning them right there in the field, with the moors in the distance, was more meaningful and memorable then I can articulate. Then we took our haul back to the kitchen and made a pot of rabbit stew. It was a surprisingly emotional day, which I cherish. And it was the best damn stew I ever ate.

Rabbit hunting in Yorkshire with Tony Hopwood

The thing about travel is, shit happens. When you go to new places and take lots of trains and planes, when you’re with work colleagues, a spouse, the girls, or flying solo, there are always memories. There might be tears and for me there are always laughs, from the travel mishaps, discovering a deserted beach or hole in the wall restaurant. Sometimes it’s a crappy hotel or a chance encounter. Life on the road is rich. My brain is layered with snapshots of moments in places around the world with people I love and others I’ll never see again.

One of my best memories of Italy – my favourite place in the world to visit – is of a lunch at a country restaurant smack dab in the countryside of nowheres-ville. I think we were in Tuscany, but we drove so far on winding roads we might have crossed into Umbria. I wish I knew the name of the place becaue I’d love to find it again. But of course it wouldn’t be the same, because it was a moment in time. A perfect summer day with an old friend and a couple of new ones. Everyone was in a good mood, the food kept coming and so did the wine. 

In 2008 I went with a group of friends to Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands where I met Sir Richard Branson himself (who was…shockingly normal). We wound up in a catamaran race – he was on my craft. True story.

Necker Island – catamaran race with Sir Richard Branson

From there, Kristina and took a very long route to a cooking school in Tuscany where we shot an episode on one of Marcella Hazan’s cookbooks . We took the train to Milan for a few days, where we met a man over dinner who claimed to be the famed chef Nobu. He wasn’t. Kristina and I always find adventure. 

Enjoying some amazing shopping in Milan, September 2008

I also have a stamp for Palm Springs, CA, in October 2009. Not very exotic, obviously, but I love that stamp because that was my 40th birthday trip. It was the best girls trip of my life. We crashed a wedding. Did I mention it was Halloween and we were in full costume? That’s all I can say. The rest is in the vault. 

Birthday in Palm Springs. Wish I could turn 40 every year!

Later that same year I went to Myanmar. I recommend everyone go there before it becomes too touristy. It is a magical place that needs to be seen and smelled and felt to understand. 

My passport expires in 2013 so this will likely be the last exotic trip for this document. So many treasured memories.

But then again, who knows. Last minute travel can be the best kind!

In Palm Springs with the girls. What better way to spend my 40th?


The beach in Necker, British Virgin Islands. Paradise!


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