SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ATLANTA AND TOKYO — “Would you the chicken or pasta?” the steward asks passengers. I begin to shake at the prospect of airline food. It’s one of the world’s true atrocities. Honestly, who else can make a strawberry taste bad?
I wanted to write some treatise on why we travel. It’s enlightenment. It’s about learning who we are. It’s about experiencing other cultures. Can anyone say a thirst for knowledge?
Sure, they’re all true, but those answers sound a little too hokey for me. Regardless, it’s not the airline food that makes us travel.
As I was waiting to board the plane, I started leafing through the pages of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Nasty Bits.” One passage caught my attention (yes, it’s in the preface, so I didn’t get far into the book).
“My pal A.A. Gill once suggested that the older he gets, and the more he travels, the less he knows. And I know what he means,” Bourdain writes. “Seeing the planet as I’m seeing it, you are constantly reminded of what you don’t know — how much there is to see and learn, how damn big and mysterious this world is. It’s both frustrating and addicting…”
Sure, I’m not the star of a show on the Travel Channel, but I love to travel. I love to experience new places, and like Bourdain, “I’m hungry for more.” But, I must admit, I can do without airline food.
I went with the noodles, not the chicken. Was it a good move? I’m not sure. Time will tell, I suppose. Quite frankly, I’m not sure if that’s Wasabi or mold growing in the corner of my plastic tray of noodles.
I turn again to Bourdain: “I ain’t eating no plane food. I don’t care if the food is designed in consultation with Gordon Ramsay. Unless I see him pushing the trolley down from the galley himself, I’m not touching it.”
True enough. Count this as mistake No. 1 of my trip. Though, unlike Bourdain, there will be no shanking with a plastic butter knife on board my flight.