One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is meeting creative people who are passionate about what they do. I love to watch and photograph them as they work in their environment—their hands tell a story and their hearts are in their craft.
Now even when I’m traveling for pleasure, I can’t help myself: I make a point to seek out the makers, growers, and artists who embody the spirit of a destination. And it's something I highly recommend to make your travel experiences richer and more memorable. Here are five ways to get started.
1. I almost always visit a farmer's market to get a taste of everyday local life and explore an area’s signature fresh products. Some of my favorite experiences have been meeting farmers and cheesemakers in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys and in Switzerland's Alps region.
2. Signing up for a local cooking class with innovative chefs is high on my travel wish list. I have heard such great things about the food scene in Charleston, SC, and would love to take "Charleston Cooks!" It focuses on Lowcountry cooking, such as fish recipes, creamy grits, and rice dishes. In Seattle, Langdon Cook leads cooking classes that also involve foraging. It’s a great example of how you can find opportunities to immerse yourself in nature, even in a big city.
3. While on assignment in Germany, I hiked in the Black Forest with an herbologist who taught me about edible herbs and plants that are featured in regional dishes. The next time I visit Bar Harbor, Maine, I would love to tag along with a lobster fisherman in the bay as he picks up his latest catch.
5. At Double Bay in New Zealand, known for its shallow, pristine, and crystal-clear waters, you can gather your own oysters and mussels from the rocks at low tide. It’s a fun day spent with local foragers out in the magnificent wilds of Marlborough Sound. Taking it to the next level, Cloudy Bay offers a two-day deluxe Forage experience that includes a helicopter trip to Awapara Island to harvest shellfish and collect pearls. You’ll also get the satisfaction of dining in a truly ocean-to-plate way—there's no meal quite as rewarding as one whose ingredients you gathered yourself.