There are a lot of food-related travel blogs out there. I mean a lot. Some better than others but when it comes to food, I admit I’m one of those types of people. You know, the type who is always taking pictures of their food and posting it on Instagram. I do tend to focus on beer-tography more but I do love food. If you’re like me then you’ll like today’s Departure Lounge guest. Kavita from the blog Kavey Eats amongst other things focuses on food in a holistic way. Yes, she talks about, reviews and interviews chefs and restaurant owners. She digs deeper, speaking with farmers and sellers in the markets. She talks cookbooks and recipes and ingredients….and I’m getting hungry just thinking about it all.
Let’s get to it!
Travel Blog: Kavey Eats | www.kaveyeats.com
Blog Content: Kavey Eats is a personal food and travel blog, founded in 2009. On the food side, I share restaurant reviews, a cookery book, and class reviews, lots of recipes, interviews with food professionals, fellow bloggers and more.
My travel content includes lots of photography and detail-rich articles about the trips I͛ve taken, with advice on what to see, do and eat.
Since last summer I͛ve also been posting a weekly Travel Quote series in which I illustrate a favorite quote from my collection against one of my own images.
- Share one of your favorite travel stories… How do these type of experiences change you as a person?
I always find it so difficult to identify one favorite because so many of the trips we have taken have left their mark on me. In fact, I posted only recently about the way that journeys create their own maps across our hearts in one of my travel quote posts.
For me, travel is not just about seeing a place but also about understanding it on a deeper level. It͛s about meeting the people and learning about their culture, seeing how they live their lives and how this differs from the norms back at home. It͛s about experiencing different food, different architecture, different sounds, different smells, different everything! And all of that is enormously mind-opening. It helps me to understand at a truly visceral level how very much the same we are all over the world and yet how we are also different; that there is no one way that is the right way, let alone the only way.
- What are your top 5 travel rules that you follow every time you travel and why?
Balancing planning and spontaneity: I am a real nerd when it comes to researching a trip in advance. I actually enjoy the long process of reading up about a place before we visit (via blogs, quizzing friends who͛ve been there and all manner of other sources). I narrow down where we͛ll stay, what we could see and do, and of course, make a huge list of the places we might like to eat. But although the itinerary and hotel bookings are nailed down in advance we usually play it by ear in deciding what to do each day. All the advance research isn͛t ignored, but rather it gives us a pool of ideas to choose from according to what we feel like at the time. We don͛t waste precious time on the trip trying to work out what there is to do in the area but nor do we follow a regimented agenda that doesn͛t match our mood.
Hidden gems versus must see’s: I think that some travel writers are so desperate to find the ͚hidden gems͛ that they miss the glittering jewels right in front of them! There͛s a good reason that some sights are firmly on the beaten path – because they are truly worth seeing and experiencing. So whilst we love finding the places that are, if not exactly undiscovered at least much less teeming with fellow tourists, we aren͛t afraid to join the crowds now and again either. Our ideal trips are all about balance.
Guilt has no place on a holiday! Whilst we don͛t actively avoid the ͚must sees͛, nor do we get upset or feel guilty if we don͛t see them all. If we͛re wholly absorbed by exploring a food market such that we don͛t make it to the famous palace nearby, or we have whiled away an entire afternoon eating ice cream and people watching in the park and realize that the museum we͛d thought to visit has closed for the day, so be it. As long as we enjoy what we do, it͛s all good and there͛s always next time!
Know your limits: Occasionally I lament the fact that mobility issues on my part mean I can͛t do some of the activities that other travellers enjoy, nor pack in as much into a day as some. But I try to remember that our resulting slower way of travel means that we enjoy some experiences that the speedsters may not – the unexpected chat with the locals sharing our table in the coffee shop where we pause for rest and restoration, the sighting of a beautiful local bird that feels emboldens by our lack of rushed movement and hops back onto a favourite branch just by the bench we are sat on, the views of a beautiful landscape from the windows of a bus that takes a more meandering route than the direct walking path.
Be sensible rather than scared: Of course, there are some destinations around the world that carry a high risk and are particularly volatile for a given period. It͛s only natural that travellers want to avoid them. Likewise, some activities are more physically dangerous than others and some kinds of behavior are foolhardy. But sometimes it seems to be the fear more than the reality that puts people off going somewhere or doing something, not to mention a mental image of a place that is built on nothing more than sensationalist media portrayals and social media hyperbole. I would never suggest anyone should push too far beyond their personal comfort level, but I would say that it͛s worth trying to build up a more accurate and nuanced impression of a place (or activity) before making your mind up.
- What are your top 5 travel hacking tips and tricks?
As I mentioned above, I͛m an advance planner at heart, so I first spend some time online working out my
itinerary and also which neighbourhood of a city I want to be based in. For me, referencing a wide range of
sources is most helpful – blogs, online magazines, and newspapers, quick questions via social media and
quizzing friends who have visited or perhaps even grew up in the place I͛m heading to. I͛’ve been asked
whether this takes away the magic of surprise but I͛ve never found that to be the case, and I think of research as a way of making sure I͛m in just the right place to experience the magic.
For city breaks, in particular, I save potential attractions, restaurants, coffee shops, food markets etc. as markers on a map using Google͛s My Maps. I find this really helpful for getting a feel for the place in advance, and it͛s also really handy to reference once on the ground in this modern era of easy-to-find internet access.
With that map taking shape, I use one or more online hotel booking agent to narrow down hotels that are best located for the things we want to see and do, and which provide the facilities I͛m looking for. Since I often plan fairly far in advance, I͛ll sometimes reserve a few possibles, choosing hotels that don͛t require advance payment and can be cancelled without penalty – I do make sure to release these sufficiently far bagged a hotel just before availability becomes super scarce – Kyoto during peak cherry blossom season, for example! More commonly, it gives me time to finish my research before making my final choice.
I always make a packing list ahead of starting my packing. I have a generic template version that I save out and amend for each trip – the self-catering section can be deleted for hotel holidays, the extreme cold weather gear is only needed for a handful of trips, the camera section lists most of our equipment so I can quickly delete the stuff we don͛t need on a given trip. And of course, there are sections for clothes, toiletries, medicines and important paperwork (such as passports, travel tickets, reservation confirmations, insurance). Random stuff like blog business cards, air-pocket protective pouches to safely bring bottles of alcohol home and a list of addresses for postcards are on the list too!My dad is a bit of an
My dad is a bit of an air miles geek, so I lean on him to find the best deals on long haul flights. His advice is to spend some time investigating which airline alliance provides the best coverage for the places you want to travel, and to stay loyal within that group of airlines as much as possible, though don͛t cut off your nose to spite your face! All of us have credit cards that earn us air miles as we shop, and we keep our eyes open for special offers that give us a booster shot of miles into our accounts. Be aware that making good use of air miles often works best for advance trip planners as most airlines allocate only a limited number of seats on any flight to air mile bookings – we often book long haul trips 10-11 months in advance, when flights for our dates first open for booking.
- What are your top 5 travel things you must bring in your carry-on, purse and/or satchel?
My husband, Pete! I travel without him a few times a year but as he͛s my ideal travel companion I͛m always happiest when we are travelling together.
My camera! I͛’ve been a keen amateur photographer for well over 30 years and a big part of the pleasure of travelling is to capture new images to enjoy once I͛m back home. These days, it͛s not always SLR-based –some of my recent trips have been predominantly captured via my mobile phone camera!My hat. Whether it͛s a summer shade provider or a winter warmer, I feel slightly naked without one!
My hat. Whether it͛s a summer shade provider or a winter warmer, I feel slightly naked without one!
A notepad and pen. Like most writers, I like to keep a travel diary. It͛s, not a properly written journal – I just scribble lots of notes, snippets of conversations and reminders of key experiences that I want to remember in the future. I have a terrible memory sometimes, so having these to refer to when pulling my blog posts together is a real help.
A mini medical kit. As we get older, physical ailments creep into daily life and it makes life a lot easier on the road to have what you need with you rather than wasting time on the road trying to buy what you need, especially when it comes to prescription items. I always check local rules to make sure I͛m not carrying any banned drugs, though!
- What is your most prized souvenir you brought back from abroad and what’s its story?
Oh gosh, I͛m a bit of a shopper! Much of what I bring home are food and drink specialities, whether it͛s cheese and wine from France or Italy; dried fish cakes, sake and strange flavoured kit kats from Japan or preserved egg yolks from Hong Kong. I also love kitchenware and decorative bits and pieces, especially crockery. I love the beautiful Suribachi & Surikogi (grinding bowl and grinder) that I bought during my second visit to Kyoto. We went to a little store recommended by the Kyoto local housewife with whom we took a half day cookery lesson. And from our most recent visit to Japan, my most cherished souvenir is the wheel-thrown tea mug I made during a one-to-one pottery lesson at a pottery in Shigaraki. After I made it, the pottery stored it for a few months until they fired up their ancient norborigama kiln, which they use just once or twice a year. It survived both the firing and the international delivery, and now sits on a shelf in the living room. This wonderful pottery experience also prompted me to start pottery lessons as soon as I got home and less than a year later, I started selling pieces online.
- Where are you off to next and what are hoping to experience, eat, see and/or learn?
We are heading to Stockholm at the end of May to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I tried to keep the destination a secret but lasted all of two weeks before accidentally revealing it to Pete! As usual, I͛ve explored the various sights and neighbourhoods, booked a posh suite in a nice hotel (after looking at a frankly ridiculous number of them) and created a map with all the restaurants, cafes and coffee shops that appeal marked on it. Several friends have pointed out that we have enough restaurants saved on the map to eat out for an entire month, even though we͛re only there for 4 nights!
Thanks Kavey for taking the time to talk with me and my readers. I love your holistic approach to the travel and food blogging niche.
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