Updated: Oct 18
When I was a kid, I was always drawn to photography and travel books. Whether at the local library, or wandering around the bookstore, looking at photographs of far off places allowed my imagination to wander free, I adored looking at the different foods of different regions, especially if the photograph was caught in a home kitchen. My family would travel around Michigan and Ontario, Canada quite frequently. However, we did not venture too much further than that. My first trip to Europe was actually won in a sweepstakes sponsored by Stella Artois. A friend at work suggested I apply for the sweepstakes because her fiancé had won the year before. This was back in 2010. I went on Facebook and submitted the simple registration form. I received a phone call not even a year later from the sweepstakes folks alerting me that once the paperwork had been notarized, I would indeed receive a free trip to Cannes Film Festival in France. The only caveat was that guests must bring a tuxedo or dress to wear at the opening of the films. Fortunately, I worked very close to Orchard Street in the Lower East Side and on a suggestion from a friend, marched over and bought a $99 tuxedo complete with cummerbund and bow tie! So fancy! This tuxedo coat is the one I actually wear now at our 1920s murder mystery events as I play the butler! Scott and I then flew to France and enjoyed the most amazing all-expenses paid trip that changed the trajectory of our relationship. At that point he and I had been saving for several years to pay for our wedding and also a 2 1/2 week trip to Italy. The trip to France was in May. We were married on July 31 in 2011 and flew to Italy for most of August. We worked so hard to save pennies to pay for that trip and for our wedding. Italy was indeed transformative. We traveled from Rome to the North via the rail systems. We sat and drink wine in a park with live music in Parma. We ventured the streets of Venice late at night. We toured the Chianti region by bus and tasted wonderfully exotic foods. It was magical. Quickly, we both realize that simply by communicating and saving dollars at a time we could plan a dream vacation and slowly work towards it each and every year. And since then we have done just that. The Food Tour we experienced in Florence was a life-changing moment as well. Never before had I experience such a variety of information and tastes and delightful scenery. All of this was enough to take my mind off of any insecurities or challenges. To me, this was the most exhilarating and fulfilling experience, and I was so blessed to be having it with my best friend. Why was it so satisfying? I believe, looking back, partly was the fact that we were giving our trust and guidance to another entity to teach us and feed us, and show us parts of the world through a tour guide's lens in a way that we had never seen or understood before. Another was the pacing. Pacing is everything. It cannot be too rushed and it cannot be too mundane. Just as with anything in life, the balance is extremely important. Finally feeding our souls with the land's bounty. This certainly was not processed or industrialized foods, rather something slow and traditional foods and processes developed over thousands of years. This is much of the reason why I still like to lead Food Tours here in our own community of Nyack. In one afternoon, we are able to discover the culinary landscape, as well as the sacred ground of our region and celebrate through food and bringing people together, people whom would never have met otherwise. One of the most satisfying things I hear is when a local comes on the Food Tour and leaves feeling that they’ve had a completely different experience and lens of understanding that was unexpected. This brings a giant smile to my face as it reminds me of the power we have to change our perspective when life is slowed down and our surroundings are viewed differently. On July 31, I celebrate 12 years of marriage with my best friend. Scott and I have been blessed to travel together and explore many regions in Foods and people. We’ve been blessed for seven years to include our son in these journeys as well. It all started with a stroke of luck. And has continued with simply putting dollars at a time into a savings account with a shared dream and commitment to make it happen. May blessings be with you all and dreams come to manifestation for always! Click here to get tickets to any of our upcoming events.
We look forward to seeing you soon! Joey G & The JGNT Family