Food and travel. Two word synonymous with pure pleasure. So when I heard my nephew was headed out into the world to discover and delight in his two loves, I was thrilled for him, and a little jealous. This trip started long before he left the country. His love of food and wine had been nurtured on the west coast for the past 10 years. After working at fine restaurants and becoming a Certified Sommelier at a young age, he was off and running. Literally. Somewhere along the way, he met up with his partner in crime at Cork & Capsule, Anna, who is also a Certified Sommelier, and together they made the cross-country trip from San Francisco to Massachusetts to begin their adventure, and clue in the family.
After a quick stop in Australia, Andrew tells me he is in now in Queenstown, New Zealand working for a gin distiller and visiting wineries around Central Otago. In order to keep food on their table, and gas in their car, Andrew and Anna will be heading to work at a nearby winery in a couple of weeks.
"We bought a car in Auckland (an '85 Mazda station wagon) and drove all the way down, staying with different people and camping along the way. I built a camp box with cooking supplies so I can make pretty luxurious meals as we go. I've got two burners, a pot and a skillet, your basic utensils: plates, knives, the essential wooden spoon, and seasonings. We've successfully foraged Meyer lemons, chives, thyme, avocados, rosemary, and bay leaves. I should write a post about cooking now that I think about it..."
I'm looking forward to the cooking posts. I am not a master at cooking while on the road, so I could definitely use some tips. I can only imagine the sumptuous feasts Andrew has prepared. I can almost smell the herbs.
They leave New Zealand in mid-November via Cairns and then head to Southeast Asia, and although they're not exactly sure what they're travel itinerary is just yet, Andrew tells me they'll visit Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Guam. And if the money holds out, they'll work (and eat) their way over to Europe.
My adult life started out nothing like Andrews. By his age, I was married with two children, I had a mortgage, and a dog. So the practical me wondered...how? (Clearly, I did not backpack through Europe after college.) Hard work, sheer grit and determination is the answer. Not to mention an incurable love of food and travel definitely had a hand in the making of this great escape. And life on the road doesn't sound too bad either.
"It's really amazing how quickly you make friends and how willing they are to connect us with other people that can help us on our way. The fact that we work in an industry that is worldwide definitely helps." "We're professionals attempting to stretch our opportunity to its maximum."
I can't wait to read what happens next! Please follow along as they share their love of food and drink, explore new places and meet new people.
(You can also follow Anna & Andrew on Twitter and Instagram.)
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Photo by Andrew Merritt: The Ambassadors Vineyard, Hanzell Winery, Sonoma