Nathan Aguilera is a foodie that you can just find him with the nickname of ‘foodie flashpacker’ all-around social media. He left his job for a six-month journey around the world; however, this six-month trip became with a travel addiction that he is in the 75th month of his so-called ‘six-month trip’. Now, he is traveling around the world, chasing new tastes, and writing for his blog at his website called foodie flashpacker.
|Job||Food & Travel Writer|
|Hobbies / Interests||Food/Wine/Travel/Craft Beer|
|Number of Countries Visited||? 60+countries over 5 continents|
|Social Media Accounts||Instagram/foodie flashpacker|
Where does your inspiration come from about world cuisines and traveling? Was there any special incident or a person to inspire it?
Back home in Oklahoma City, I was always the one in our group organizing us to try a new restaurant that had opened, hosting dinner parties, planning brunches, wine tastings, etc. So, after 2 years of traveling full time and when I decided to start my blog I knew I needed a niche as travel was too broad. So, as I have a love of all things food and wine, I decided my niche would be food. Looking back, I could have niched down even further as food is still very broad.
You left everything behind 6 years ago. It can be considered a bold decision for many of us. How did you decide to be a full-time food&travel blogger?
At first, I did not set out to be a blogger. I set out for a six-month tour of South East Asia. After traveling for two years I was exhausted from full-time travel but also not yet ready to go home. So, I wanted to do something to structure my time that also allowed me to continue traveling full time so I started the travel blog. I was based in Chiang Mai at the time so I had a lot of blogger friends and they definitely gave me a lot of support. They were all more established than me and were really great at giving me a lot of advice.
Do you have any interesting memory during your travel that you can never forget about a food topic?
So many actually! Anytime that you can share a meal with locals, whether it be at their favorite restaurant or in their homes- that’s always memorable. For instance, when my Airbnb host in Yerevan found out I was a food blogger he had his mother prepare a huge meal of delicious Armenian food for us to try. Last year, on a press trip to Lake Como in Italy, a local family invited us for a traditional Sunday lunch. The lunch was referred to as “0-kilometer dining” because everything on the table had come from that small village. The wine was from their own cellar, the bread from a neighbor, the vegetables from a neighbor two streets over, the meat from the local butcher, the cheese from another family in the village. The food was insanely delicious and hyper-local. It was one of those multi-course meals that lasted hours and had a cheese course between each larger course. It’s a meal I will never forget.
What is the hardest part of being a blogger? How much time and effort do you spend for it?
The hardest part is feeling like you rarely ever get to be fully in a moment, especially when you’re visiting a new destination for the first time. Between having content or deliverables due for the last location, creating content, taking notes and photos, interviewing people in the current destination, and planning the details for the next destination. I oftentimes feel pulled in multiple directions and like I cannot enjoy the moment that I’m currently experiencing. Blogging is like anything else – you get out of it what you put into it. So, you can spend a ton of time on your blog and you’re going to see big results. Or, you can spend not much time on your blog and you’re not going to see big results fast. I’ve experienced both during my time blogging as I’ve felt burnt out several times. You just have to step back for a while and realize you may not see a lot of growth in those moments, refocus and get back to it.
How do you finance your trips? Are you somehow able to make money from your blogging?
I finance my travels through a combination of my blog, freelance writing, and personal investments I have back in the states. Yes, oftentimes restaurants and hotels will offer me meals and accommodations in exchange for promotion on my site or across my social media platforms. Sometimes they only offer services provided or oftentimes they will also pay me for these. Otherwise, I make money from the advertising on my site, from affiliate sales and paid promotion work with tourism boards.
Do you attend classes about cooking?
Yes- I love taking cooking classes and walking food tours all over the world. I find it’s one of the best ways to get to know a new destination.
Top 3 favourite cuisine:
Italy, Mexico and Vietnam.
Highest price you paid in a restaurant:
We once paid more than $800 at a steakhouse in my hometown of Oklahoma City.
Your favorite set menu:
Cold appetizer – charcuterie board full of local meats and cheeses, Soup– Vietnamese pho, Warm Starter – stuffed Turkish mussels, Main – wild boar ragu from Italy, Side Dish – American mac and cheese, Drink – local wine, especially from the Azores of Portugal, Dessert – a simple bowl of perfectly ripe local fruit, maybe with a touch of honey and yogurt.
Your favourite recipe to enjoy cooking:
I love making pasta at home and recently I’ve gotten really into making beef bulgogi and Greek lemon chicken with potatoes.
The most challenging recipe that you cooked:
The most difficult recipe that I’ve made recently was beef bourguignon, a French stew. It was a pain to make but so worth it!
One cuisine and one food that surprised you positively beyond your expectations:
Turkish. In the states, we don’t have a lot of exposure to Turkish food beyond kebabs but Turkish food is amazing. It’s an underrated cuisine.
Top 3 favourite hotel:
The best hotel I’ve ever stayed at: Hotel Divisadero in Barrancas on the El Chepe train route. Others include the W in any city and any boutique hotel on the beach.
Top 3 countries that you were amazed with its nature:
Iceland, Azores of Portugal, Philippines
How many countries do you visit per year? And where’s next?
I probably visit about 10 countries per year, with 4-5 being new destinations. This year because of coronavirus those numbers will likely be less. I’m currently in Mexico and next month I’ll visit Holbox Island here in Mexico before going home to Oklahoma for a week for my birthday and then onto somewhere in Europe- wherever is open to Americans that I can safely travel to.
For more travel inspiration, dont forget to check out our interviews!