travel + tea interview: akila and patrick of the road forks

the travel + tea interviews series: bloggers, writers and photographers sharing about their experiences with tea, travel and writing.

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Tell me about your blog, how did you get to the point you’re at now and what are you thinking of doing next?

We started our blog to document our culinary journey around the world for our one-year round the world trip.  We didn’t realize that blogging would become a big part of our travels and our life over this last year.  We are going to be traveling for at least the next two years and are excited about continuing our blogging journey.

Tell me where in the world you are, how did you get there (what’s the story behind the journey) and where are you thinking of going next?

We quit our jobs in September 2009 to head to Australia and New Zealand.  We planned our round-the-world trip in “segments,” coming back every two to three months to be with our two dogs in the United States.  We are currently in South Africa.  Southern Africa is the last segment on the international part of our journey and then we are heading back to the United States to road trip with our dogs and then hop over the ocean to road trip with them through Europe.

What does traveling mean to you?

To us, traveling means discovering the similarities and differences that tie the world and humankind together and apart.

What does tea mean to you?

To me, tea means sweet diversity: iced tea from the Southern United States, chai in India, matcha in Japan, and Huang Shan black in the tiny tea shops of China.

What’s your philosophy when it comes to blogging on the road?

We try to blog twice a week but keep it flexible. We often spend evenings hanging out in front of our computers and pulling together pictures and writing about our experiences relaxes us and keeps our journey fresh in our minds.  That being said, we didn’t go into blogging to make money.  We blog because we enjoy it and if we stop enjoying it or get busy with other things, then we take a little break.

What’s your favorite tea related memory or location (it can be as simple as enjoying a can of green tea from a vending machine in Japan to participating in a tea ceremony) and why is it special to you?

tea plantation

tea plantation in the nilgiri hills (ooty) photo via flickr

When I was 14, my family and I visited the tea plantations in Ooty, India.  Lush green levels of tiny tea bushes cascaded down the mountain and we stopped our car by the side of the road to talk to a vendor who had set up a ramshackle wooden stand.  My dad asked the chai walla in Tamil, “Do you make tea?”  This scrawny man in a dirty dhoti by the side of the road made us the best tea I have ever tasted.  He brewed the tea leaves with cardamom and ginger and the perfect amount of heated milk and sugar and served it to us in stainless steel tumblers.  We drained our cups and asked for a second, letting the wind whip through our hair on the cold hills of the south Indian tea fields.

What do you drink/steep at home?

I rarely drink tea at home mainly because I am too lazy to steep anything myself but I always keep a box of Lipton’s tea bags available for my mom and dad to make when they come visit me.

If there is one tea you could introduce to everyone in the world, what would it be?

True Indian chai made from the street sellers in India.  There’s nothing better.

Can you tell me three of your favorite tea or travel blogs?

Three of my favorite travel blogs are: Camels & Chocolate, Notes From the Road and Almost Fearless

Can you tell me your favorite tea shop (and what made it totally awesome)?

In Seoul, there is tens of tiny tea shops in the narrow lanes that make up the Insadong neighborhood.  I can’t pick any one as a favorite but they are all wonderful.  We spent an afternoon strolling around, popping our heads into dark cavernous shops, gleaming silver and mahogany ones, and ones that were beautifully lit with natural light facing out onto gardens.

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the road forks have a wonderful piece on japanese desserts on their site, along with some beautiful matcha deserts and sweets.

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