My true obsession with food has evolved inside a tent.
Five years ago I was backpacking through New Zealand & laying in my pup tent hungry & exhausted after three hard days on the Routeburn Track. I had been eating trail mix, oatmeal, and dehydrated meals for much of those two months & was HUNGRY for some real food. Camping on the shoreline of Lake Marian with no one else around, I reverted to daydreaming to occupy my time.
And what did I dream about?
I didn’t just dream about one meal I wanted, no… I planned an entire menu. An entire restaurant to be exact. I had this whole café planned down to the uniforms my staff would wear! I was homesick & missing my Nana’s soul food in particular – mac ’n’ cheese, funeral potatoes, peanut butter pie – you get the idea – so that’s mostly what made up the menu. I think the hypothetical name of it was something like Nana’s Café.
Since then, I’ve backpacked in Peru, Argentina, California, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming & each time, without fail, at the end of every long day on the trail, I hit the sleeping pad & dream of what I most want to eat. Some of my best meals were born in the backcountry!
The bread dream in particular began in 2016 on the John Muir Trail. I remember specifically walking down half a million (okay, maybe like 20) switchbacks to Red’s Meadow with one thing on my mind. I wanted to come back to Cody, have a commercial kitchen, and begin baking artisan bread & delivering it to people’s homes with a jar of homemade preserves. I even had imaginary conversations about this plan with some of my local business role models – Teresa Music, Jesse Renfors, etc. I was consumed with this dream. Distracted so much I ended up taking a wrong turn that day & had to take an alternate route back to the main trail!
When I got home a couple weeks later I told my partner at the time about this idea & he loved it so much that HE began baking. I guess it was a combination of being too afraid to put myself out there, to fail, to really commit & TRY at something… so I let him run with it. It was all good because he seemed to really love baking & I was reaping the tasty rewards without having to take any of the risk. Plus, he taught me all the basics of sourdough baking as he learned the craft himself.
Recently I reflected on areas in my life, aspects of my being, where I had given my power away. Where I had given someone else MY own archetypes & passions & dreams & thus lost them within myself. I decided to take back these powers.
One of which is my Baker.
I am a total novice, having baked like ten loaves of sourdough ever – but I am getting better with each one. It’s a perfect journey for me right now because there is always so much room for improvement, evolution, mistakes, for learning. It involves an immense amount of patience & routine, two things I really suck at. It’s technical & artful, expressive & unpredictable. PLUS at the end of each individual bread journey, someone gets nourished by it!
I still get lost in daydreams of food & travel & obsessed with menu planning & I guess that’s how I know I am on the right track in my current pursuits. The fantasies lately have been centered around Holiday catering, farm-to-table pop-up events, feeding the homeless/hungry, creating a line of backpacking meals, having a farmers market stand, hosting lifestyle retreats, and even a food truck. I feel excited & like I am finally giving myself my own permission to commit to a wild dream & do the small daily work it takes to get there & that feels damn good.
Listen to that little voice inside of you.
Listen to your daydreams & follow your passions whatever they may be.
You CAN live the life you dream of, & maybe you’ll find (like I have) that you already ARE!