The Trip That Changed Me Podcast: Three Food Experts Share the Travel Experiences That Shaped Them - Full-Time Travel

The Trip That Changed Me Podcast: Three Food Experts Share the Travel Experiences That Shaped Them

The Trip That Changed Me: Three Food Experts Share the Travel Experiences That Shaped Them  

By Esme Benjamin

Rooted in culture, tradition and the land itself, food helps us engage more deeply with a place when we travel. Food doesn’t just contribute to our enjoyment of a destination, it often guides our vacation plans and itineraries, taking us off-the-beaten path to find the most authentic dishes and once-in-a-lifetime dining opportunities. This month FTT explores the inextricable connection between food and travel, and to kick things off we’re highlighting three culinary-themed episodes of our podcast – The Trip That Changed Me.

Listen to these experts as they discuss one transformative travel experience that changed the course of their lives, strengthened their understanding of themselves and, of course, broadened their culinary horizons.  

Lalibela, Ethiopia | By Erik Hathaway

Ethiopia with Marcus Samuelsson: cooking as a love language, cultural contrasts and connecting to our roots

Chef Marcus Samuelsson is a man of many accolades and achievements: the youngest person ever to receive a three-star review from the New York Times, winner of multiple James Beard awards including one for his PBS show, No Passport Required, a judge on the Food Network’s Chopped and author of several books including a best-selling memoir, Yes, Chef, and 2020s The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food. In short, he’s one of America’s most celebrated chefs, but you may not know his backstory.

Adopted by a Swedish couple after his mother died of tuberculosis, Marcus had never met his birth father until a trip back to Ethiopia in adulthood. In this episode of The Trip That Changed Me, Marcus shares the story of that emotional reunion trip, plus early experiences of cooking with his adoptive family in Sweden, how the diversity of New York City opened up possibilities for him as a young Black chef, and the importance of establishing a connection with our roots – be it a person, a place, or an idea.

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South Africa | By Janan Lagerwall

South Africa with Gail Simmons: taste buds, safaris and raising little travelers

Gail Simmons is a Canadian food writer, cookbook author, and judge on BRAVO’s Top Chef whose love of food started as far back as she can recall. Since childhood, Gail regularly traveled with her family to South Africa, her father’s country of origin, and the powerful sensory memories she developed there have stayed with her to this day. 

In this episode of The Trip That Changed Me, Gail shares the myriad ways South Africa sparked her early interest in the world around her and introduced her to new cuisine. From going on safari, to taking her very first sip of wine, to witnessing apartheid, her experiences in South Africa are a testament to the educational value of leaving one’s own bubble. 

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Paris | By Isaiah Bekkers

Paris with Jackie Kai Ellis: fighting depression, patisserie school and why it’s never too late to start over

By her mid-twenties, Jackie Kai Ellis had built an extremely successful life by society’s standards. She was working as a designer and living with her husband in the beautiful city of Vancouver, yet Jackie was struggling with depression and felt emptier than ever, trapped in a never-ending cycle of external validation. 

In this episode of The Trip That Changed Me, Jackie shares the circumstances that led her to enroll in a Parisian patisserie school – an experience that restored joy for life and, most importantly, her sense of self. Jackie went on to separate from her husband, launch Beaucoup Bakery, write a cookbook and a memoir, and eventually relocate to Paris to start another business: The Paris Tours. Listen for Jackie's thoughts on how traveling forces you to be more present, the scariest part of making a massive life change, and why following your dreams, no matter how unrealistic they may seem, is the greatest privilege of all.

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If you enjoy these episodes it would mean a lot to us if you’d consider leaving us a short review. And don’t forget to subscribe for more tales of transformative travel!

The Christmas market in Frankfurt, Germany, transforms Römer square into a festive haven with twinkling lights and charming stalls. Aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fill the air as visitors explore handcrafted gifts and traditional treats. The iconic Christmas tree and live performances create a magical atmosphere, making this market a cherished holiday tradition.

Reel: @pillter_
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Reel: @dirtandglass 📍 @evergreen_cabins
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We love a pre-winter adventure just before the water freezes into ice. @jaspernationalpark

Reel: @ninadefilla
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Throughout November, the mountains surrounding the well-known abodes of Shirakawa-gō begin to adopt the colors of autumn. 🍂 ...

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"The wait is over... it`s that time of year again! Every year from November to early March, millions of butterflies blanket the high altitude forest in central Mexico in a mesmerizing display. It`s truly spectacular to witness." - 🎥 @jess.wandering @everchanginghorizon ...

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In the latest episode of our podcast, an award winning editor, writer and producer and the host of the podcast, Travel That Matters, @brucewallintravel travels through Central America with his then fiancee to enjoy what they imagined to be their last big adventure before settling down. It was a trip that gave Bruce a new travel ethos, that travel gets better the more effort you put into it. 🎧 Link in bio to listen! ...

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When fall meets winter in Utah.

Reel: @ashleylporter
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Ethereal moments from a sunset in Scoresby Sound, Greenland.

Reel: @kylekotajarvi
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Autumn in Lago di Saoseo, a stunning alpine lake in the Poschiavo Valley of Switzerland, is a magical experience. The season transforms the surrounding landscape into a picturesque tapestry of vibrant colors. The dense forests that encircle the lake burst into a riot of reds, yellows, and oranges as the leaves change, creating a breathtaking contrast against the crystal-clear, emerald waters of the lake. The cool, crisp air of autumn adds to the tranquility of the scene, making it an ideal time for peaceful hikes and nature appreciation. It`s a time when the natural beauty of Lago di Saoseo truly shines, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Reel: @jakeguzman
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6 Spooky Fall Adventures (An Hour from NYC)

Follow this guide from @steffy where everything is Halloween themed
including the street signs!

- @pumpkinblaze
- @harvestmoonorchard
- @lyndhurst_mansion
- @ Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
- @sleepyhollowbookshop
- @horsefeathers for a spooky drink
- @castlehotelandspa to stay!
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Zhangjiajie, located in China`s Hunan province, is a stunning national park known for its towering sandstone pillars, deep ravines, and lush forests. It gained international fame as the inspiration for James Cameron`s "Avatar." The park`s surreal and otherworldly landscape, particularly the "Southern Sky Column" (renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain"), served as the muse for the film`s floating mountains and lush forests. Zhangjiajie remains a popular destination for travelers seeking to witness the real-world beauty that inspired the cinematic masterpiece.

Reel: @cyn_cynti
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The scent of crisp, autumn air fills the atmosphere of this picturesque region in southern Germany. Allgäu turns into a patchwork of fiery reds, golden yellows, and rustic browns as the leaves change color.

Reel: @_marcelsiebert
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Host of our very own podcast, The Trip That Changed Me, and this week’s Travel That Matters guest, Esme Benjamin (@esmebenjamin), tells us about her year-in-the-making five-month-long road trip across the United States.

On the podcast, Esme starts by telling us the things that happened in her life that led her to take this life-altering adventure. Then, we hear about her path through the following incredible places: Black Hills & Badlands (South Dakota), Glacier National Park and Bozeman (Montana), Cody (Wyoming), Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa (Colorado), Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon (Arizona), Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana), San Francisco and Los Angeles (California), and more!

🎧 Link in bio to listen and to explore the transformative power of travel.
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