Ayngelina Brogan is always on the go, traveling to share the best food around the world and how to make it at home. Her site, Bacon is Magic, is about how she balances her love of food and travel.
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
My first trip abroad was to France. I grew up in a small town of 5000 people so I knew people lived differently but had never experienced. I spent five weeks there in a traveling school and was enthralled with how people ate, drank and lived. It sparked a travel bug and my love of understanding food in other countries.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
When I finished university, I wanted to travel but I had a student loan and no savings. So, I looked for international internships that would allow me to live in another country and work. I ended up spending a year in the Philippines working for a Canadian non-governmental organization. Not only did I make money, but I gained invaluable experience working in another culture.
Today I kind of feel like I do have unlimited resources in that if I work hard enough, I can accomplish anything. I really wanted to learn more about Cuban food so I moved to Cuba, it’s not easy but you make it work.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I started my blog when I was 32, I wanted to travel long term but I was afraid to do it alone. Eventually I left a great job, apartment, friends and an on-and-off relationship of five years to travel.
I was afraid to go alone but I was more afraid to miss out on the opportunity. A year later I wrote my most popular post The Year I Walked Away from Love to share my story with other people. I wasn’t more courageous or necessarily brave, I just took the leap because I didn’t want to feel regret.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
Google Maps almost every single day. Google translate as I’m always forgetting Spanish verbs and I try to practice Spanish every day when I travel.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
Mainland Ecuador. A lot of people go to the Galapagos with a quick stop in Quito but Ecuador is a beautiful place and the people are so wonderful. No one ever talks about Ecuadorian food, but they have some of the best pork in the world.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
When contemplating a big decision my mother once asked me, “What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll have to move home and get a regular job like the rest of us?” It really helped me reframe risk. After all, I think the biggest risk is looking foolish. Once you get over that, every decision is easy.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
Every day I’m taken aback by people who help me. Just today in the market in Havana, I was buying bacon but I didn’t realize you have to bring your own plastic bags or wait in a huge line to buy one. I was hot and frustrated so I just told the vendor to put the bacon in my hand, and I’d walk with it. The beans vendor next to him asked what I was doing and gave me a bag.
I know that doesn’t seem like a lot because to us it’s just a bag. But it cost him money to give me that bag and that doesn’t come easily in Cuba.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
I love Canada, and I feel lucky to be Canadian. But there’s something I crave about Latin America. I think I’m a better person for traveling it. Every day I learn something new and while it can be frustrating, I really do enjoy the luxury of being able to live both in Latin America and Canada.
9.)I travel because…I love learning about different cultures.
10.)My favorite travel or business book is…
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
Creating a delicious life both at home and abroad and sharing tips along the way is Ayngelina Brogan’s passion, which she documents through Bacon is Magic. She tells readers where to find the best food in the world and how to make it.
Stay up-to-date on her travels through:
Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.