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Gastronomad: The Art of Living Everywhere and Eating Everything Paperback – December 6, 2017
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About the Author
Mike Elgan is a journalist who writes and podcasts about technology, culture, travel and food. Learn more about Mike, follow him on social media and subscribe to his newsletters and podcasts by going to elgan.com/about.
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Top customer reviews
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Mike doesn't fill you full of stories about drinks with umbrellas, luscious tropical island places, or mansion hopping throughout the world. What Mike and Amira give you is the truth you will find when traveling the world. The people, the customs, the food, and the crime. That's right there is crime out there and you need to be aware of it. Mike does a great job of preparing you for that. Most books don't.
While reading this book all I could think about is how I wish I had this book when back in the 70's I decided to be a nomad. Although back then we weren't called nomad's as I recall. Some people in the world called us hikers bums from the US or want to be hikers. I spent six months traveling throughout Europe and I wish I had this book back then to make those trips better.
Now you have what you need to travel. A book that helps you understand the gastronomad lifestyle and what you should expect living that way. Mike brings it to you in a vibrant and quick, entertaining read. Reading this book makes for great conversation among family and friends.
It's a book for sitting around the campfire or for a quiet read in your home. It's the perfect book as a gift to that family member or friend who plans to do some traveling one day whether as a gastronomad or just a traveler. It's a book for anyone who has never traveled, but thought about it and wondered if the nomad life is or was for them. For me it brought back fond memories of travel.
Gastronomad is the bible for anyone traveling now or planning to travel in the future. It's for the gastronomad inside of all of us even if you aren't traveling. Give it a read and understand the lifestyle of a nomad. Understand what they are up against when traveling, but also the excitement of traveling.
Mike gives you the nuts and bolts of living as a gastronomad and the most important thing he and Amira give you is how to enjoy the lifestyle. How to embrace life as a gastronomad and tell everyone about it in the end.
Get the book. Read and enjoy it and let it take you back to your days as a traveler or give you the motivation to travel now. Either or this book is for you.
What is a gastronomad? Well, according to author, Mike Elgan, a GASTRONOMAD is a “foodie who travels a lot.” More specifically, “Gastronomad living is craft—and art. And most of what I learned, I learned the hard way: through trial and error (mostly error). I wrote this book so you can learn the easy way. Everything I know about living as a gastronomad is contained in these pages.”
Even more... this passage from the book says it all to me, “The gastronomad mindset says to the world: I want deep empathy with you. I want to live the way you live. I want to understand you, by immersing myself into your community. I want to taste your climate and culture and history. I want to break bread with you, sit at your table, hear your stories.”
I really enjoyed this book! Page by page I was saying to myself, “Gotta jot that down. Oh! Remember that, too. Hey, (to my husband), listen to what Mike wrote here.” I ended up reading much of the book aloud to my husband. Later one night after finishing the book, my 7-year old daughter said, “Mom, can you read some of those chapters to me too, you know the safety parts and the food parts? It all sounded so interesting. I want to be prepared, too.”
I’m a fan of Mike’s tech writing, and when I saw he wrote a book about traveling, nomadism, and food, I reached out to him. Fingers crossed, I asked him if I could read a review copy of Gastronomad. Here I am not only three days later having devoured the book and taken copious notes.
The book exceeded my expectations, because when I started reading it, you see, I anticipated an experience about traveling foodies, possibly donning rose-colored glasses. Nothing wrong with that. I expected an inspiring story about the awesomeness of being digital nomads who like to eat.
What I found was an inspiring adventure of two clever and smart people moving around the world in the most unique places and writing about the beauty, the connectedness of humans, and the utter coolness of doing it all while clicking away on laptops for work in such amazing places like Morocco, France, Guatemala, Greece, Mexico, Kenya, Istanbul, and many more. Inspiring!
I immensely enjoyed Mike’s writing of a nomad’s mindset, the psychology of being a gastronomad, if you will, and comparing that to “residential” living. It was a fascinating topic about the three “taxes” of residential living: novelty tax, sameness tax, and vacation tax. Those notions really resonated, an undercurrent to my own thoughts, but more fleshed out and articulated so well by Mike. His take on it further cemented our drive to move around the world.
That wasn’t all of it though.
Mike also described the darker aspects and day-to-day realities of this style of travel. He prepped my family with practical how-to’s for living and working digitally in new, unfamiliar, and sometimes inconvenient environments. Mike provides a blueprint, with tips like where to sit in a cafe to help prevent theft, what to pack for technology, luggage, and kitchen, what to expect in Air B&B rentals (he broke it down in a way I’d never considered). The discussion of culture shock was instrumental in helping me imagine what it could be like.
I also learned a load of travel hacks to immediately implement… such as packing a bed sheet … just in case (you can read more about that in the book), thoughts about packing my chef knives (I had thought I’d bring them all, he makes valid reconsiderations), using a camera-backpack even if one doesn’t have a camera, cost saving tips for booking accommodations, how to find quality restaurants offering authentic food and not industrialized crap (those tips were particularly gratifying).
In fact, I’m now convinced more than ever to pack my desert-denizen sourdough starter to make bread while traveling. If Mike can pack his kefir grains, I can pack my sourdough starter.
Mike shared realistic expectations alongside a plan for navigating the gastronomad lifestyle successfully. Like I said, Mike and Amira blazed the trail so we could follow in their footsteps. This book gives useful advice for anyone whether you’re going to up and move the whole family to chase sourdough bread around the world for months or years on end, or, perhaps you want to read the book because you are traveling to Italy for a week. It’s excellent in both instances. Heck, it’s even great for Americans just traveling our homeland.
This book helped us a lot in our own planning of living everywhere and eating everything. Even though I requested this book to review from the author, I’m going to buy a hard copy to read again, and then pass along to inspire our friends to join us on our Gastronomad adventure.