Friday, July 13, 2012

My Hate Affair with Sushi

I will never pretend that I have a refined palate.  I love chocolate-covered gummy bears, still order Happy Meals, and always get the same thing at any given restaurant.  I'm a wannabe foodie, though.  I love the idea of gourmet food (chipotle aioli on the side, please) that leans toward the exotic (what is "wild" duck, anyway? Do they wear leather jackets?), and trying new things (kinda).  But the sad fact is...I'm generally disappointed when I deviate from my food comfort zone.

One food I truly hate is sushi.  The first time I tried it was because a boy I liked in college wanted to get sushi, so of course I was super enthusiastic about trying it ("I've always wanted to try sushi!" = lie), and I wanted so much to like it.  Buuut...I hated it.  Everything about it.

This is the part of the story where anyone who can't believe I would hate something as wonderful as raw fish wrapped in seaweed says, "Well, what KIND did you try? You probably just didn't go to the right place and order the right thing."  Trust me...I have tried enough types on several occassions, paid enough money, and felt gross enough post-meal to know FOR SURE that sushi is not my cup of green tea.  For a while, I kind of wished I did like it.  Boyfriend loves it, and I just eat my weight in edamamie when we go out.  Plus, it's got a cache to it.  I get it...sushi is hip.  And it's undeniably pretty.  But I still hate it.

I hate the temperature.  I hate the smell.  I hate the texture.  I hate the taste. 

And I will never eat it again.

So...does anyone want to go to Rainforest Cafe tonight?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Most Traveled Person in the World

I love documenting my life. I'm constantly collecting and checking things off lists, creating stats out of anything (like how many books I read or movies I see in a year), doing yearly inventories (like my annual blog surveys), making bucket lists (like this one), all that stuff. But some people take that to the Bill Altaffer.

I recently read an article about the battle to become the world's most traveled person.  It sounds like Bill Altaffer is that person. Altaffer and I have something in common, apparently—we both enjoy documenting our lives. Since starting his adventures in 1949, he has surfed every continent, visited both poles, crossed the equator 50 times, held 12 passports, and has been declared the world's most traveled man. This dude has been to every country in the world, plus 300 island groups, disputed areas, territories, and colonies...what?!

I wonder what it's like to be the person in the room who's been to more places than anyone else...all the time. The stories he could tell...the smells he's smelled, the food he's tasted, the places he's slept, the sunsets he's seen and the people he's befriended...I can't imagine!

I might not be the most traveled person in the world, but maybe I can shoot for the Travelers' Century Club (TCC), an association for travelers who have visited 100 countries. (In 1960, the TCC had 43 qualifying members; today, there are more than 1,800.)

The coveted title of “world's most traveled man” is always in dispute and difficult to measure. What about Charles Velay, the youngest person to hit every country on the TCC list? Or Emilio Scotto, who's traveled the world on his motorcycle—twice; or Jeff Shea, who has not only been to every country, but climbed the seven summits? The problem in this weird world of competitive globe-trotting is that lists of territories don't always match up, plus it's difficult to prove who's been where. And if you're jumping off a plane to bop around a country for five minutes to say you've “been” there, and then hopping back on the plane to the next place...who cares, right?

The article (I wish I still had it for reference…it was from GQ years ago) also included the top 4 hardest places on earth to get to. They are:

1.            The Paracel Islands—an archipelago seized by China from Vietnam in 1974, it remains off-limits to foreigners (particularly U.S. spy planes—one was intercepted in 2001).

2.            British Indian Ocean Territory—55 islands and site of a join U.S./U.K. Military and Global Positioning System base.

3.            Bouvet Island—an ice-bound volcanic rock located 1,000 miles from Antarctica, called the most remote land on Earth.

4.            Nicobar Islands—Foreigners have not been allowed since India was founded due to Indian military installations and untouched primitive tribes. Even after the 2004 tsunami, foreign aid workers weren't allowed in.

There you have it, folks. Brush the dust off those passports and get traveling...good luck!