Sunday, December 28, 2014

Countdown to 2015 -The final post of the year!

pics courtesy of Stephen Wilson

The picture above was taken in London UK, 1999. I always smile when I see it because it was taken before my friends and I were on our way to hit the London pubs and clubs. Look at us, so fresh, so happy,ready to have fun. We all know what happens as a night progresses. It gets messy, dirty, there maybe some tears. Yup, I found the perfect picture to begin my final post for 2014 and to ring in the New Year.

So here we are, the last post of a A Hungry Man Travels for 2014. Where does the time go, he asks no one in particular? Who knows, but I'll just say that for me, 2014 was just an amazingly, bizarre year. It started off a bit rough, got better, hit a weird flatline stage, then started to pick up the pace again.

And now that it's the end of December and 2015 is around the corner, all I can say is that despite the ups and downs, it was anything but a boring year.

One lesson that stuck with me this year, was in regards to the present and future content on this blog. The lesson came from the amazing writer and columnist Kim Severson from The New York Times. She recommended I try to be a little less safe when it comes to my writing. Simple, but effective advice. Basically, if I'm going to write, write dammit! So here goes.

The year 2014 saw me continue to figure out what to do with my professional life. I've just reached a point now where I've stopped making myself crazy with worry about it. It took a recent slap to the face (administered by me!) to realize I'll know exactly what to do when I see it. In the meantime, the learning continues.

One thing I never worry or stopped thinking about, is food. Oh food, where would I be without you this past year? Yes, I know I'd be dead, but I'm being poetic here. I ate very, very well this year, which is or should be of no surprise to anyone who reads this blog.

I threw and attended some pretty fantastic dinner parties (mmmm lamb shanks - see pics of the leftovers here!). And, I found out that I really, really have to work on my baking skills. Check out my last post on my attempt at Christmas cookies here, and you'll see why!

I loved how Toronto was just blowing my mind with it's incredible food scene this year. Charcuterie night at Cafe Boulud in the Four Seasons, Toronto was a tasty surprise for a Monday night - love those kinds of surprises. I highly recommend drinks on the patio at The Chase on a warm summer evening. And my love for the Black Hoof has not abated since I wrote this review about the place two years ago!

I joined the Association of Food Journalists, and after meeting the members at the annual conference in Memphis, it was like coming home. What a trip - I could not stop writing about it. If you check out the archives, you'll see post after post about the trip! Staying at The Peabody hotel with their crazy ducks.

Visiting the Civil Rights Museum was an experience I'm still trying to process. Graceland made me smile, it was exactly what I expected it to be. I had to buy blue suede shoes salt and pepper shakers! Eating, drinking and talking about food with people who love to eat, drink and talk about food. Seeing Isaac Hayes tricked out car here at the Stax Museum.Awesome. I made some very good friends there, and it was without a doubt the best conference I ever attended.

I found out that my posts about my modelling past, particularly this one, were very popular. All it took was one blog post about having your pictures taken for money and the stories behind the industry itself, and kaboom, there's this sudden interest in your life. Fascinating, and totally understandable. It was fun reminiscing about that part of my life.

Another highlight of 2014, was attending a good friends birthday party. I know, who knew that a simple birthday party would turn out to be one of the best moments of the year. It was a private bash for a friend who turned 40. Besides enjoying a cake in the shape of a Louis Vuitton suitcase, and vintage champagne, we listened to some of the most incredible speeches and stories about his life from various friends and family.

It was so overwhelming, so positive and personal, you couldn't help but be moved by the words. God, I'm making it sound like a eulogy! It just reminded me that you really don't know anyone, until you do - if that makes sense.

I was also very drunk at that party, totally over-ate, flirted outrageously with a guy half my age, and at the end of the night the cute bartender was very direct in thanking me for the tip I gave him after the party. Ah well. You know, I think in this case it's best to be vague.

On a much more personal note, 2014 was also the time that my Father and I - after 20 years of not seeing each other, finally let go of the past, became friends and more importantly became father and son. I am understating the importance of this, but suffice to say you can imagine just how important that is for estranged people who want to be together. To finally recognize that life is too short to be personal strangers.

I've said in my previous post, and in 2013- after looking at last years New Years post, that I won't make any predictions for myself for the New Year. I stand by that decision.

What I'd really like to express, is a huge thank you to the readers who take the time to read my babbles on A Hungry Man Travels. You have no idea how incredibly humbling it is to know that even one person is taking the time out their day to check out this blog.

And with that, I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I'm ready for you 2015!

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