interview, mark wiens, migrationology, travel, food

Expert's Advice: Travelling Foodie - Interview with Mark Wiens

25 August 2015

Travel Information

Mark WiensMeet our new expert and travel foodie Mark Wiens from Migrationology travel blog. There is nothing Mark enjoys more than eating and tasting food all around the world. And as you watch his YouTube videos or read his articles, you witness that pure happiness he gets from travelling, tasting various national dishes and sharing his passion with others. We've asked Mark to share his insight on travelling for the sake of new tastes.

Mark, to say your travel blog articles and photos are mouth-watering is an understatement. Do people often tell you that just a glimpse makes them hungry?

Thank you very much, I really appreciate it. Occasionally that happens, and it keeps me inspired to keep eating and sharing.

How did you come to realise that food was your biggest travel motivation?

mark wiensSince before I can remember, eating food has been my favourite activity, something I learned to appreciate from my family and relatives. When I started travelling on my own, I gained an even bigger motivation to eat, as I learned about the importance of food in different cultures, and the vast variety of ingredients available throughout the world.

Do you think you would have still defined your travel goal if you hadn’t travelled as a child?

That's tough to say, but I think definitely yes. My mother is American born Chinese, and so even had I not travelled as a child with my family, I still would have wanted to travel to explore and learn about my heritage, which could have led to more travels.

Mark, from your blog you seem to love Asia. How do you choose your travel destinations?

mark wiensYes, I really love Asia, but also, it's where I've spent the most time travelling. I don't put a lot of thought into choosing, I think every destination in the world has something to offer by way of food and culture, and so really my choice of destination is often dictated by flight prices and deals, budget, spur of the moments decisions, and really whatever works out. The more I travel, the more I want to go somewhere I haven't been before as well, so I sometimes choose based on location and places I haven't yet visited.

In your opinion, what is the best way to truly get to know foreign country and its culture?

By eating local food. When you start digging into local cuisine, no matter what country you're in, you'll start to connect with people. And since food is such an important part of people, and people are culture, food is at the core of every culture.

Did you have any fears or doubts before starting your new life as a full-time traveller?

mark wiensI think due to growing up living overseas with my parents, I wasn't really afraid of traveling on my own. But my biggest fear was probably running out of money, and having to stop travelling in order to work a job I didn't enjoy.

Would you tell about the craziest thing you did while travelling?

I'm not a real crazy kind of guy, so I haven't done too many extreme sports or activities. But one of my craziest amazing experiences, was spending an entire week in the Sri Lankan tea fields with a grandmother who cooked the most amazing curries I've ever had by hand roasting and pounding all her spices, making fresh coconut milk – cooking everything from scratch. It was a week of feasting and hospitality that I'll never forget.

Mark, how much does tasting a foreign cuisine contribute to your general impression of a country? If you don’t like the food at all, would you visit the country again?

mark wiensSince I'm a food lover, food plays a major role in my impression of a country. But along with the food, I also like to learn about the ingredients, natural things that are available, and cooking processes, which also make an impression on me as I travel. I'm really not a picky eater, and I can find many things I enjoy, even just raw pure ingredients – like spices or fruit. So I haven't been anywhere where I didn't appreciate the cuisine yet. If in the future I found a destination where I didn't enjoy the food, I'd still give it another try.

This is probably a tough question for such an experienced foodie, but what is your favourite dish?

A dish in southern Thailand called “goong pad sataw”, shrimp stir fried with stink beans (petai) in spicy southern Thai curry paste.

When trying new dishes, do you simply enjoy them or look attentively to cook them at home afterwards?

mark wiensMost of the time I enjoy food in the country I'm in. I would like to do more cooking, especially some of my favourite dishes I try when I travel, but being honest, due to our traveling schedule, it doesn't happen very often. Perhaps more in the future, and that's partly why I blog, to remember what I ate.

Can you give us any advice about travel preparation?

Stop putting it off. If you want to travel to a destination, think about what it's going to take for you to get there, then go for it.

What advice would you give to motivate somebody to travel?

I went to high school in Nairobi, Kenya, at an international school. There were about 50 students in my graduating class, and we represented about 30 different countries. My friends would share their local food – Kenyan food, Ethiopian food, Korean food, Indian food etc. I always thought to myself, if food from other countries can be so good here, how good will they be in the actual country? The same goes for restaurants. Imagine how good the food will be at the source, in the country? That's motivation to go for it!

We thank Mark for sharing his exciting experience of discovering new food tastes around the globe. We admire his passion about what he is doing and wish him to go on with his incredible travel blog to inspire all the people with his amazing lifestyle.

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