About hoboshutterbug

30 something foodie, travel addict, and wino.

Cooking in Quarantine

Life in pandemic-imposed social isolation was starting to get me down. No one is traveling, I’m out of work, and the dog is overdue for a haircut. Then it dawned on me that I have an old domain that I haven’t used in a long time that I could fire up for a rebooted version of a travel blog – cooking foods from the places I love.

I’ve got more than 30 countries across all inhabited continents under my belt, and I’ve taken cooking classes in at least 6 of them. I’ve got piles of cookbooks that I’ve brought home from my travels. And I’m shut in right now with no place to go and desire to eat tasty things while I can still get access to great ingredients.

Welcome to my new creative project, Cooking in Quarantine!


A dying tradition: the leg-rowers of Inle Lake

I’ve been struggling to write about my time in Burma. The magnitude of visiting this country continues to follow me. I dream of pagodas, I feel the delicate strands of silk when I wrap myself in scarves, and my taste buds dance when I indulge in tea leaf salad, the supply of pickled tea leaves I brought home rapidly dwindling. How can I do the people justice? Continue reading

I see you shiver with… Anticipation

I sat up wide awake at 5:30 this morning.

This is not unusual for me. I’m an insomniac at the best of times, despite trying desperately to go to bed at a decent time every night and get in a good 7-8 hours of sleep.

But this time, I sat up in anticipation. In about 5 weeks, I’m taking a well-deserved holiday from a summer of moving twice due to flooding, a broken bone, a pet dying, and unbelievable work stress. I’ve been planning this holiday since January, which is a particularly long time for an impulsive person like me.

I’m going to Burma. (Or Myanmar, if you prefer.)
Shwedagon Pagoda

My flights are booked. My immune system is pumped full of fresh boosters. I’ve gone through the diplomatic waltz of getting a visa, which was surprisingly uncomplicated as long as one follows instructions. My pet sitter is ready for miss Interrobang. I am carefully squirreling away spending money for a country that for the most part is off the credit card radius, does not accept traveller’s cheques, and has very few functioning ATMs. And I’m bringing a relative travel virgin with me to boot.

I don’t think we will come back the same.
Temples of Bagan

And tonight the realization hit me. I haven’t been this giddy to go exploring in years.

But first, I must conquer sleep. Baby steps.

Inside the Þrihnukagigur Volcano – Journey to the Centre of the Earth


It is not every day that you have the chance to venture into the belly of the beast, deep inside a dormant volcano. I seized the day on June 16, 2013 and made my way deep into the bowels of Thrihnukagigur (Þrihnukagigur) volcano, a short 35 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik. There’s something amazing and new on Iceland’s tourism scene, and in my previous winter journeys, this was inaccessible to me. Continue reading

Overcoming a fear of diving in Fiji

Last year, I found out with about 10 days notice that I was going to Fiji for work, on a whirlwind of property inspections. In a blur of packing, trying to find my passport, and finding a pet sitter for Louder rat, I barely had time to look at the itinerary, let alone research some of the properties I would be visiting and staying at. Fiji is admittedly not my field of expertise in the travel industry – I don’t typically sell it, since I deal primarily with Asia in the context of my job. I didn’t sell it in a previous travel industry job, so it was a big empty hole in my personal knowledge base.

And yet somehow, I found myself sitting on an Air Pacific flight from Los Angeles to Nadi, with plenty of time to contemplate this destination with some of my colleagues. Continue reading

Sakura blossoms

I really like spring in Canada. That doesn’t even begin to cover it. I freaking love spring in Canada, and it’s never more beautiful then after a grueling and long winter. I will grin and embrace all of my seasonal allergies, because summer in eastern Canada is just that amazing. And May is the icing on the cake, trust me. Bring on short skirts, sandals, playoff hockey, and watching everything come back to life. Observe the bounce in everyone’s step. Watch as couples form. The best part of spring are the dogs. Seriously. Have you watched a dog frolic outside, preferably with other dogs? No? Why the heck not? Turn off your computer RIGHT THIS SECOND and go find a dog to play with. I’ll wait. Continue reading