YA’LL. I DID IT. I WON. I am SAVEUR’S 2018 Reader’s Choice for Best Travel Blog. Even typing those words, with my little Le Creuset mortar and pestle award beside me, videos and photos of my award speech circling Instagram, the results posted on SAVEUR’s website, I still cannot believe it. There’s so many emotions and things I want to say that thanks to this blog, I have the platform to do so.
Thank You #1: YOU.
I’ll be completely honest, I still have no idea how I got here. I kept saying those words as denial that I was even good enough to be among all the incredibly talented and amazing bloggers I’ve met the last few days, but the words still hold true, I still have no idea how I got here. Whether it’s 5 people or 100 people reading my blog, I am SO THANKFUL for every single reader, supporter, friend and family member that have followed my blog, shared it, voted for me, or just been a positive influence in my life. As Reader’s Choice winner, my award is a true testament to the community I surround myself with and the positive impact I have hopefully had back on you.
This year I have learned a lot about vulnerability and this trip was no exception. From the minute I found out about my nomination, I automatically began to shrink myself and my accomplishments. Phrases like “there’s no way in hell I’ll win, but I’m just honored to be nominated” were my go to response. Putting one’s passion out on display for everyone to see, know, read and become invested in is extremely vulnerable. The fear of inadequacy and not good enough-ness creep in and the comparison game plays its round. But this journey has been nothing if not a huge learning opportunity and to slowly but surely begin to be my own biggest fan, to be proud of my accomplishments and lean into my strengths, I’m beyond grateful for this experience pushing me to root for myself.
Thank You #2: The SAVEUR Team
I’ve always dreamed of being in the same room as the SAVEUR team as long as I can remember and having spent these last few days with their incredibly inspiring team been a dream come reality. As prestigious as their roles are, at the end of the day they are just good people who like good food (praise!) and I am in gratitude to all they bring out in food through culture and community around the world.
One minute I am a SAVEUR admirer from afar, next thing I know I am scootering down Memphis streets with SAVEUR editors, eating lunch next to Amanda Frederickson, asking Joy The Baker for shopping advice, and planning my next lunch with Peter Meehan?! Again, complete shock.
To the whole SAVEUR team, thank you for putting in all the hard work to flawlessly execute this year’s blog awards. I appreciate you and thank you for the week of a lifetime!
Thank You #3: The Finalists
My inspiration meter is through the roof right now as every single blogger I met, from the cheese obsessed to 3D food illustrators to professional food photographers to yummy weeknight cooks, have instilled in me a new zest for life and a blossoming sense of creativity. People came from all around the world like Chile, South Africa, Italy, India, and Malaysia (and Spokane and Seattle!). I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers like The Defined Dish, The Perfect Loaf, and Broma Bakery, meanwhile making new friends that bake, host, and drink like no other; everyone reminding me how innovative is the blogosphere and why I love to travel. To hear and share the stories of others, to connect cultures and community, to sit around the same table, eat good food, and lift up each other and what we love to do. I’ve been feeling a bit lonely lately and to have spent a mere 72 hours with strangers now friends inherently bonded by the same interests and passions has made me feel far from lonely. I am so honored to even be within the realm of my fellow travel bloggers That’s What She Had, 2foodtrippers (Editor’s Choice!), To What Place, Illumelation, and Food Fun Travel. Thank you travelers for showing your perspective of this world we are so lucky to live in. To ALL my fellow bloggers, I am so grateful to have met you. I hope to see you all very soon, will continue to cheer for you, your voice, and unique creativity. From the bottom of my heart, know you have a place to call home when in Seattle (or wherever I am).
So to answer your question, what’s next?
No, I’m not going to go work for SAVEUR (as of right now). And no, I didn’t win any money. But to be recognized by an award-winning publication that is known for its time again quality content that tells the stories of tradition and authenticity, along with the connections I have made and all I have learned from renowned food writers, bloggers, and SAVEUR editors and readers, that is an award greater than I could have asked for.
Will I write a book? Maybe. Will I have a TV show? Who knows. For right now, I’m going to focus on improving this blog for myself and to make it a source of encouragement and inspiration for you all. I am so looking forward to this upcoming year’s travels and am left by the guiding words of SAVEUR’s Editor-in-Chief Stacy Adimando to “stick to your guns and continue doing awesome shit.”