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“It’s incredibly rewarding when I hear that someone had a great trip to Cuba because they visited one of the spots I wrote about and then to also get a note from that small business owner saying thank you for spreading the word about the business they created,” says Krista Canfield McNish, founder and chief discoverer of FoodWaterShoes.
“Giving up control of your travel plans to someone you love gives you an opportunity to connect with them in a completely different way,” says Krista Canfield McNish of FoodWaterShoes, a 35-year-old based in San Francisco who often plans surprise trips for her husband and vice versa. “If you’re open to it, you’ll be presented with a rare opportunity to discover what the person you care about values in an experience and that in and of itself is a priceless gift.”
Like Ou and Wang, Silicon Valley-based Krista Canfield McNish and her husband, Ian, have put their jobs on pause to travel the world. A few years ago, the polar regions wouldn’t have made the cut, but now they’re high priorities out of concerns that they may soon be “unrecognizable,” or even gone. That adds a level of complication for those, like the McNishes, who weigh planetary and cultural concerns when it comes to planning their trips.
“We knew the likelihood that at some point in our lifetime, tigers might be gone,” says Krista about a trip to India. “The fact that we may not see the Jungle Book critter anymore is a crazy thing to ponder.”
But they also try to be mindful of not doing more damage. “We always try and balance that with the other side [that] some of these places are becoming popular, and because they’re becoming popular and accessible, [there’s] the risk that actually too many people are going to go and make it leave faster,” says Ian.
La Manual Alpargatera or Un Pie en Versailles
According to: Krista Canfield McNish, founder of FoodWaterShoes, and a nomad who has explored 10 countries over the past 10 months, including Cuba, India and more.
Why they’re great: “Spanish espadrilles are my travel shoe ‘solemate’ because you can dress them up or down. The thick soles on Spanish espadrilles mean your feet won’t be weary after a day of pounding the pavement or cobblestones when you’re exploring a new city. I bought my first pair at La Manual Alpargatera in Barcelona. Despite the fact that they look absolutely nothing like my reliable Mammut hiking boots, I comfortably broke my first pair of espadrilles in during a multi-hour hike around the rugged Montserrat monastery. Earlier this year I bought a gorgeous new pair in Madrid, from Un Pie en Versailles. I couldn’t resist wearing them right away and hours later my feet were still as happy as clams, and they look more chic than if I were to stroll around in sneakers.”
Buying good heels isn’t enough, you also have to take care of them. “If you treat really good heels well, they’ll be nice to your feet over time,” Canfield McNish said. “We do things like getting our oil changed for our car, we get our hair trimmed regularly, but shoes are important too, especially if you’re on your feet all day.”
Increasingly hotels are incorporating shopping into their guests’ experiences travel blogger Krista Canfield McNish tells me. Like Paris’ Hotel du Petit Moulin, the boutique hotel designed by Christian Lacroix, which offers a shopping package that includes a three-hour personal shopping tour of Le Marais in cooperation with Localers, a custom tour company.
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While you reveal a lot about yourself when you order ice cream, you mostly say that you love fun when ordering New Zealand favorite, Hokey Pokey. Krista Canfield McNish, founder of FoodWaterShoes, an international food site, says that the blend can vary, depending on which shop you visit, but mostly it means plain vanilla ice cream mixed with generous heaps of honeycomb toffee. The outcome is a super rich, creamy ice cream—and it’s delicious, says McNish. It’s popular throughout the North and South islands of New Zealand and even available at grocery stores, with a leading brand called Tip Top’s Hokey Pokey.
TRYING TO SAVE MONEY INSTEAD OF TIME
Are three hours of your precious vacation days more valuable to you than $5? If so, then by all means wait in line and spend half a day trying to navigate the bus system.
“When you’re on vacation, time is your most cherished commodity,” says Krista Canfield McNish of FoodWaterShoes. Her advice?
“Spend a little extra to snag a Lyft. At the end of the day, booking another flight to Rome to see the sites you missed will cost way more than splurging on a taxi ride or two.”
What’s been hiding in plain sight in the land of fire and ice is some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Europe, says Krista Canfield McNish, founder of FoodWaterShoes.com.
“You’ll encounter stunning landscapes and waterfalls like those in places like New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland,” said McNish. “What makes Iceland special are all the nooks and crannies you can get into.”
France is known for its Champagne and Napa, CA, is known for its wine, but Spain is the place to go if you’re looking to down a cool glass of cava. “Spanish sparkling wine often hails from Catalonia and comes in white or a rose color. It makes the perfect team member for all those delicious spicy Spanish tapas dishes. Unlike pricey Champagne, cava is usually more moderately priced but still high quality, ensuring each sip will go down smoothly,” says Krista Canfield McNish, founder and chief discoverer of FoodWaterShoes.
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“Don’t wait for tomorrow. If there’s a challenge you want to tackle or a summit you want to climb, do it today.” —Krista C.
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We all wish we had more space on the plane. However, violently reclining your chair won’t make more space magically appear. McNish tells The Cheat Sheet, “In this day and age, legroom isn’t a given. Slamming your back into your seat chair in the hopes it sprouts wings and gives you an extra inch only gives the person behind you bruises on their knees.” Additionally, Czink — the etiquette expert — advises The Cheat Sheet that before you recline your seat, “Ask first, ‘Would you mind if I recline my seat a little?’”
You might be irritated about the lack of legroom. But as McNish notes, “Flying is only as stressful as you let it get. Being angry doesn’t usually get you anywhere faster, so just try your best to be nice to the other folks on your flight.”
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“My year off was about so much more than knocking places off a bucket list. I realized you only get one chance, one life, to really experience the people, cultures and creatures that make up this world. My moments with our relatives also taught me that, while money and work are important priorities, so is the time you get to spend with family.
What my husband and I ultimately didn’t want to happen was to wake up five, 10 or 15 years from now and wonder what could have been. Life can change in an instant, and we didn’t want to regret not having our great adventure.”
“Throughout her life, Krista Canfield McNish has been lucky enough to scale plenty of world-renowned hikes, including the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, The Circuit in Torres del Paine in Patagonia in Chile, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, but it’s not the hardest hikes that stand out the most in her mind. Instead it was a series of intense climbs that she labels the most “epic” in her trail book. In July 2013, her then-boyfriend, Ian, decided to do an intense hiking challenge for their first trip together.”
“When Krista Canfield McNish hiked up to Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit with her friends, she was already aware of most of the trek’s potential dangers. “We’d had some pretty bad avalanche conditions that were there; there have actually been some deaths along that area of the trail before,” said McNish, the founder of the FoodWaterShoes lifestyle blog. However, the threat that impacted McNish on the hike was one that she didn’t expect.”
“My favorite tip for sleeping well on an airplane is to spray rose water or a fruit extract mist on my face after I brush my teeth in the bathroom. My go to is the Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Spray or Reviva’s rosewater spray (you can find the rosewater spray at almost any Vitamin Shoppe or make your own version at home). The spray keeps my skin hydrated without making it feel greasy the way some lotions do, plus the light scent is quite soothing.” ~Krista Canfield McNish, founder of FoodWaterShoes
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3. Lunch Menus and the Bar Are Where You Find Value at High-End Restaurants
If you’re like me, you research the restaurants in the city you’re visiting for the holidays and salivate over Michelin-starred menus that are way out of your price range.
Don’t think that those prix fixe menus are your only option at a best-in-the-city type restaurant, said Krista Canfield McNish, founder of travel site FoodWaterShoes.
“High-end restaurants often have affordable lunch menus you can indulge in,” she said. “even the finest Michelin-starred spots may offer a seating in the afternoon that can be much more palpable on your wallet.”
The lunch menu is the only way to get good value at a great restaurant, though. Getting seating at the bar – a common offer when you don’t have a reservation – is an excellent way to enjoy incredible food at modest prices.
“While the number of appetizers, small bites and plates is often scaled down, so are the prices,” she said. “If you opt to nosh on a limited menu with the bartender, your tab is usually significantly lower than if you had a table reservation.”
4. The Best Chefs Aren’t Always at the Most Expensive Restaurants
Another sterling way to enjoy world-class food without making your wallet cry? Research kitchen staff.
The world’s best restaurants tend to produce amazing talent, talent that, at some point, leaves the famous kitchen to start their own. And when they do, particularly in the cities McNish will visit, she knows about it.
Take Copenhagen’s Noma, regarded by many as one of the top three restaurants in the world. Getting a table at the restaurant is difficult, but not nearly as difficult as coming up with the money to pay for it.
When McNish was headed to Copenhagen, she did some research on where various Noma kitchen staff have gone to other parts of the city to start their own restaurants.
“Snagging a coveted reservation at Noma is nearly impossible, but there are loads of chefs who have paid their dues in Noma’s kitchen and are now serving fabulous fare at other lesser known (and lower priced) establishments,” she said.
I was waiting for a redeye JetBlue flight from California to NYC on August 14, 2011. It was delayed for almost two hours because of bad weather. I shrugged, figuring a delay was par for the course, until a fellow passenger used our delay as on opportunity to watch a movie… at full volume with no headphones.
I took to Twitter and someone at JetBlue replied by saying snacks and drinks were coming. Our airport “angel” even asked if it might help if they had a gate attendant offer the offending passenger headphones. Once the grub came, everyone’s least favorite flyer put his movie player away and we were all able to rest our ears. ~Krista Canfield McNish, founder of FoodWaterShoes
Krista makes an important point about how hiking. She says, “Hiking and taking big trips can make or break a relationship. You get a crash course in the other person—Are they a morning person? Do they prefer to lounge or be on the go? How do they handle stressful situations?” In addition, no electronic distractions such as cell phones, tabs, and laptops mean getting more personal interactions with fellow hikers. Overall, she says, one gets to experience the real self of that person much better than just a dinner date or a movie outing.
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Volcanoes & Ice Cream
“Iceland is a land of volcanoes and ice cream. It’s chock full of caves, glaciers and volcanoes you can explore. There’s an elevator that descends deep into Thrihnukagigur volcano and trekking through the caves in Europe‘s second largest glacier, Langjökull is like entering a real life ice palace. The food in Iceland is expensive, but incredible. Driving around the island you’ll bump into tons of local farms that serve homemade ice cream in quirky flavors like birch, dandelion and liquorice.” – Krista Canfield McNish, founder and chief discoverer of FoodWaterShoes