January 22, 2010

My Friend The Foodie

- Part 2 -

The trip to Germany wasn’t even finished that we decided we had to do this again, and as often as possible. Ensued a series of similar trips to various places in the world.

We invented a game where we get to pinpoint every place in the world we go to, and then compare. A colored push pin for a location explored, a transparent one for layovers or quick pass-throughs. My Facebook friends can actually see how I’m doing with this game right on my personal page.

A most memorable one was the trip we did to London, to attend some security-related tradeshow with an awesome Belgian dude by the name of Paul Vanbosterhaut. London (well the youth hostel we’d picked, to be more precise) wasn’t very kind to us, so after a couple nights of coping with moaning drunken teenagers and busloads of little annoying Japanese school girls busting in the dorm at 3:00 in the morning, we decided a change of pace was what we needed.

About 15 minutes is what it took to find a train station and a destination: Scotland! That has to be one of the least planned trips I’ve ever done. We basically went to a little grocery store, bought a couple things to eat and more beer than I care to admit and boarded the train, knowing only it went to Edinburgh.

We laughed and talked with a rude loudmouth of a Scot on the train, who carefully (NOT!) explained to us it was better that we were French-speaking Canadians than French-speaking Frenchies, who were wusses for not having fought in the war, all the while downing a full 26-ouncer of gin straight out of the bottle. This was Kansas no more, Dorothy. We loved it.

A stone throw away from the train station, we found a youth hostel right by the Royal Mile. We spent the next couple days sipping extraordinary ales and stouts, visiting castles, walking around, eating haggis, stumbling on bagpipe shows and enjoying every single minute. We hiked up Holyrood Park on a light, typical drizzly day and were carried away by the magic. Ended up in a pub where we both re-discovered in amazement that single malt scotch was one of the finest things in this world, specifically when accompanied by Strongbow cider, friendly conversation and a pint of Rebellion Smuggler.

Coming back from the UK, I knew I had found my coping method for enduring the years of corporate hardships ahead. Something to look forward to. But most of all, I knew I had found a friend :)

You will understand my sadness when I learned, a couple months later, that he had enough of the routine life and decided he’d live his dream; he was moving out. To China. The sheer awesomeness of his endeavor prevented me from sinking into depression, however, and I promised on the spot that if he made it to China, I’d come visit, even if he lived under a bridge.

Some weeks of hectic preparation later, my new friend said his goodbyes and boarded a plane for the Middle Kingdom, where he’d found a job in the videogame industry as an entry-level-designer (I’m sooo funny). I admired his bravery for ditching everything and starting over, but most of all, I felt that he was doing what he was meant to be, that he was fulfilling his reason for existence. Dan Roy was never meant to be your usual 9-to-5 white collar, and his gutsy move away from the comforts of an easy routine life yielded rewards he largely deserved.

About 6 months after he moved away, I hopped on a plane myself and visited, as promised, in Shanghai. He’d done far better than living under a bridge :) He had friends, a challenging job situation and an awesome new life, light years away from the former one. My trip to China was also one of the last confirmations that our friendship would outlast anything; as soon as we were together, it felt like we never parted. As is the case for all my true friends, Dan and I can go years without seeing each other and pick it up right were we left off upon seconds of getting together again. I guess we’re sentimental camels.

We traveled Europe, China, the UK and the Balkans together. Wherever he moved, I came to visit. Including Edmonton, a trip spiced up by the fact I chose to go there on my motorcycle. And I can assure you everywhere he’ll go (and stay more than a couple weeks), I’ll always end up showing up at one point or the other.

Last fall, Dan decided to redefine the whole concept of his life. He’d lived in several different places in the world, but always repeating a pattern of finding a job, moving in, starting over. This time, he announced, he wanted to focus his experience, well, on the experience itself.

He took some serious thinking time and finally decided that he would ditch the whole concept of having a job altogether and travel the world at whatever pace he saw fit, stopping only where he felt like doing so, in search of the wonders of this world and the people who inhabit it. And he decided he’d write about it and share his experiences through the bias of the greatest sin on earth, the enjoyment of food.

So I invite you to journey with him through his discoveries in smells, tastes and flavors. You’ll also get a good glimpse at the guy himself, his humble intelligence, clever humour, empathy and his love for everything whimsical and quirky.

My friend the Foodie is not an everyday person. He is a vast, amazing, wonderful country.

Follow my friend Daniel Roy as he wanders the world in search of discovery, amazement and human contact : http://www.backpackfoodie.com/

1 comment:

  1. Aaaw, man... Your first part made me grin, but your second part made me cry. Well-done!

    The best part of our friendship is that the best moments are yet to come, however awesome your friendship has been so far.

    Thank you for having crossed my path!