Gastronomic travels, post holiday blues and blogging


Getting down to business with a creme caramel in Auch, France.

It’s unsettling to come back to normality, when you’ve been galavanting around Europe for eight weeks having some of the best culinary experiences of your life. It’s unsettling to be back at work, sitting at a desk — or multiple desks (the wise ones at Fairfax have decided hot desking is the name of the game so we’ve become a workforce of wandering refugees, — forever without a home). It’s unsettling to look at your out-of-date blog and question if it’s worth continuing or throwing in the tea towel. The post-holiday plan is not to get bogged down with too much to do — to come up and smell the roses from time to time, which the wise one in our household points out i don’t do often enough. What to do? Life is a juggle. 

The thing is, i have a feast of material to write about following my gastronomic adventures of late. And while some of it will make its way into the pages of The Australian Financial Review’s travel and lifestyle publications, and the AFR website that i co-manage, some of it would be equally well placed on my blog.

I say i’ve had some of the best gastronomic adventures of my life: that’s a big call, right? But it’s not all about eating at high-end restaurants (though, admittedly, i forced myself to do some of that!) Those adventures range from cooking at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and spending a day (shopping, eating and discussing growing older) with Elena Arzak — of Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian — who was named best female chef in the world in 2012, to sharing paella with my best friend in Barcelona (and reminiscing about teenage days and flames), and barbecuing for my family in the lush grounds of a villa in southern Spain and later cooking side-by-side with my brother at an idyllic vineyard cottage in Gascony, southern France. Simple pleasures, many of them. Who wouldn’t want to write about that?

So here goes. I’m getting back on the blogging bandwagon, with a fading European tan and a bit of a plan: to write what i want, when i want, and not take it — and life — too seriously. If i go off-grid for a while, i’m just busy with other things, or pausing for breath.

I might just be smelling the roses. But i will be back.



September 4, 2013 · 11:42 am

24 responses to “Gastronomic travels, post holiday blues and blogging

  1. Phew! Glad you’re not chucking in the blogging towel 🙂
    And I can relate to the struggle, although I only had 3 weeks away.


  2. Interested to hear about your paella experiences in Barcelona. I tried three or four whilst I was there and found them to be really quite average. The seafood was far inferior to what we get here – see, coming home is not so bad!


    • Had great paella at a place called Barraca by Barcelona beach. It had only recently opened and the chef has a good reputation for his rice dishes. I was encouraged to go there by a local food writer/journalist. It was superb.


  3. Lovely photo Rachel! I can imagine some experiences are almost too much to write about…so soon anyway. The words will come and if they don’t maybe some experiences are best left undocumented. This is something I sometimes think about! Great to see you back in blog land 🙂


  4. Great to hear you had a lovely holiday. Don’t know when my next o/s hol will be due to caring for an ageing mother, but I snuck away to Sth Aust for four days and had some great food experiences, including discovering a Buddha’s Hand Citron. Sometimes it’s all about the small treasures.


  5. Gah! WordPress, probably aided by satellite internet, just ate my comment of welcome homeness and glowing encouragement to keep doing what you do without pressure of the tyranny of the blog. We will be here however often you have time to post, Rachel. Love your work and glad you’re back in our time zone! x


  6. Good luck Rachel!! I always miss it if I don’t blog and perhaps it will come back to you very quickly 🙂


  7. Can’t wait to hear about your travel stores 🙂


  8. Welcome home! Goodness, don’t even think about throwing in the tea towel! We will all miss your writing too much, even yourself 🙂 As someone who hasn’t been able to blog as much as in the past, posting less frequently and irregularly is something you have to get used to, but it’s better than giving up altogether 🙂 Glad to hear that you had a wonderful gastronomic tour of Europe and can’t wait to hear more.


  9. Welcome back, Rachel! It sounds like you’ve had an amazing time! xx


  10. Rachel, welcome home! Great to see you back, loved following your travels on FB. Looking forward to your new posts, when you are ready xo


  11. phew! i love your writing and had a tremble when you said you were thinking about not continuing with this space. i would miss reading your words so much! but i also fervently believe in smelling the roses…


  12. Ah yes, that elusive balance. I often wonder whether it’s a mythical goal to have – everyone’s heard of it but hardly anyone actually manages to experience it… personally, I’m always failing in some area of my life, usually the laundry basket 🙂 Having said, that it does sound like you’re on the right path in that you’re going to have fun with your blog and not put too much pressure on yourself. Because blogging shouldn’t feel like an obligation or burden, right?


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