It’s my birthday today and as always a time of reflection. As I look back on the past year, it was mostly good (outside of the passing of my favorite musical artist Prince) and I was able to knock off a few items on my bucket list. Not surprisingly, I spent a lot of time doing two of my favorite pastimes – traveling and eating.
I started the year off at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, spending time with family and friends and adding more beads to my already large collection. Every time I go to New Orleans, I always over indulge and this time was no exception. Between the po-boys, beignets and red beans and rice, I got my fill of N’awlins cuisine and gained a pound or two in the process.
Next up was Turks and Caicos islands. I spent five days in Providenciales, where I laid eyes on some of the beautiful turquoise water I’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough to encounter JoJo, Grace Bay’s famous dolphin who’s known for approaching humans. He swam up to our boat as if to say hi, then playfully swam away. While there, I also ate some of my favorite Caribbean food – jerk chicken with rice and peas and grilled snapper.
I ended the year on a whirlwind, with jaunts to London, Barcelona, South Africa, Morocco, Senegal and Ghana. I wasn’t a fan of the food in the UK, but Barcelona made up for it. I had an amazing seafood paella which I watched the chef prepare from beginning to end.
But my favorite culinary delights came from Senegal. On my first day, my hosts treated me to Senegal’s national dish, Thieboudienne (aka thebu jenn), a flavorful dish with fish, rice and vegetables. We washed it down with bissap, a drink made from dried hibiscus leaves. During my time in Senegal, I had other delicious meals like Thebu Yapp (a lamb and rice dish) and Yassa Poulet (chicken with onion sauce). Desserts were also heavenly. As a former French colony, one of the vestiges is great boulangeries and patisseries with croissants and pastries that rival those in Paris. Let’s just say that I had more than my fair share.
Looking back on the past year, I’m amazed at the remarkable experiences I’ve had. I met a lot of new people, made a lot of new friends, and today I received birthday messages from all over the globe. It’s a testament to the power of travel and the gifts you receive if you step outside of your comfort zone. Although these gifts aren’t tangible, I cherish them all the same. I look forward to another year of traveling to far off places, eating new foods, and meeting new friends. My big goal this year is to finally tackle Machu Picchu. Wish me luck.
What do you enjoy most about traveling abroad? Share your comments below.
Wow you are so lucky to have been able to experience a big festival in South Africa! It looks like it was amazing. I’ll have to add it to the list 🙂
So many amazing places, so much great food! The grilled snapper reminded me immediately to my time in Thailand. Such great food you only discover by travelling.
Machu Picchu, I think is a great destination, I wish that you can achieve your dream of course 🙂
LC of Birdgehls
I think British food is an acquired taste – I wasn’t so keen on it when I moved there a few years ago, but now I love it (black pudding in particular… all offal, really). Sounds like a really good year, with lots of diverse dishes!
Sara - I do what I want to
Happy belated birthday!!! You seem to have had a great year in 2016 Just hope this year is no less. I had to smile seeing Senegal’s food. I have never been to the country but I’ve tried the food, one of our favorite places in Madrid (it’s called Baobab if you’re ever around)
Thank you. And yes, Senegalese food is quite tasty.
What a great way to spend your birthday but with a good food, great company and an amazing destination. Wish you all the best! Happy Birthday!
Memories is all we have 🙂
Glad to see yours. I might do something similar soon too.
After this post I’m hungry AND I want to see New Orleans! I think it’s fantastic to be approached by Jojo in the open water! 🙂
New Orleans is great. You definitely have to go.
Sandy N Vyjay
Great birthday reflections indeed. You are lucky to have such a wonderful and varied experiences ranging from food to music.
Iftekhar Idris Asif
very well written post. Thanks a lot for sharing.
It looks like awesome and diverse travel experience, also a great variety of food. I would love to explore more of Africa some time. Happy travels in your next year. Thanks for sharing!
There is so much diversity in Africa. You have beaches, deserts, big cities, wild bush with big game, and rural areas with indigenous tribes. I definitely recommend that you go.
Firstly, Happy Birthday! I think it’s fantastic that you’ve taken the time to reflect on your year, it will be something cool to look back on in the future. Do you do a post like this on every birthday? Machu Picchu is amazing of course, I’m wishing you luck, I did the Salkantay trek & would really recommend it!
Thank you! I’m definitely looking forward to Machu Picchu.