Eat something local. Eat something to remind you of home. Eat something you ordered by mistake in a language you don’t speak. Finish all of your one pound hamburger and its free. Fail to describe the texture of cooked jellyfish. Eat a gas station hotdog for breakfast after sleeping in your car. Eat more because your friend’s mother is using all of her memory of English to tell you “More. You eat more.” Unwrap the charred cloth around meat cooked in a hole in the ground, hoping that it did, in fact, cook. Interrupt days of work to find a calm place at a table and eat a fancy dinner for lunch. Eat the bee out of your sake, if you can. Steal ideas from every country you ever ate in, and also from the places you waited tables, and also the places you fried tortilla chips. Wait in line an hour long line for pie. Convince others with more pedestrian tastes to ‘try something new’, or try something familiar in a not so familiar place. Remember your waiter/waitress by name, make it an experience. Eat dry mix food – boiling hot – in a glacial cirque; catch your fish from a mountain stream (or a local lake) and appreciate the Earth for what it gives. Eat Italian food in France; eat salad with oil and vinegar in Croatia, eat the food that is not what you expected from the picture that looked good, eat what they bring you, don’t feel bad about eating kangaroo – there are too many of them here; eat while looking at the sea, or overlooking an ancient city, or looking up at the underside of a bridge, or huddled against a rain you can’t get out from under.
Drink it quickly, before it curdles – I can’t beat everyone, but I don’t have to – I just have to beat you. Drink whiskey that is older than you, or turning 25 today, or that is pretty good for an $14 bottle. Have cappuccino while you walk through crunchy leaves in the shadow of the Louvre. Drink the drinks that friends have learned in the places they’ve visited. Buy a round. Tap your glass on the bar between toasting and drinking. Make the bartender muddle lemons for a virgin cocktail for your pregnant friend because a Shirley Temple isn’t cutting it. Talk to God. Press the “on” switch. Give yourself a minute. Try the variations of Eis Kaffe at McDonald’s all over Europe. Develop a taste for cava amongst gothic alleyways that block the wind of the sea. Drink yourself on the ride; don’t drink like you used to. Drink in the sparkly lights of the city below, drink in the night air. Stare at your glass and swirl it slowly. Pack in your favorite whiskey and only carry out the bottle – Leave No Trace – cold nights in the wilderness, it’s like a sweater for your insides. Drink wine by yourself on the nice balcony of a worn hotel room. Try a bottled green tea at every train station vending machine. Have the burn of fruit liquor for breakfast like an old lady. Drink spring water straight from the rock and hope that it stays this way for another year. Let a drink always remind you of someone, somewhere across the ether, somewhere out in the world. Let a drink remind you of nothing and think of only now.
You have to press the button. Put a record on. Fall into the ocean over and over. Drive fast down the center line on an empty blacktop highway. Buy quality furniture and decorate your house with dinosaurs. Stop in front of a palace to watch a swan fight with koi fish. Trust a drunk magician outside a club beneath a cathedral. Ride a commuter ferry to see where it goes. Sing karaoke in a glittering but mostly empty room on the other side of the planet. Roll the windows down and let the music spill into the world. Wander through dark arcades; shoot zombies or aliens; play dance games badly. Ride a bike, walk when you would normally drive (if it’s not too far), and go outside – stay there for a little while and ask yourself questions you are uncomfortable with. Get so drunk you have to have someone else detail your night (but be responsible). Go to a concert, watch a football game, take part in the passion of other people and immerse yourself in it. Take a selfie with a toilet. Drag someone along; see what’s around the corner; just keep dancing. Wear the pretty bra and the shoes that you can climb fences in. Buy tickets; take rides.
You know what this is. Oprah’s big gift was to show us how to say out loud the things you love. The little things that make you happier. And the big things. Discover a book, a beer, a tiny cemetery swallowed by the city, a song. Read the liner notes. Let that little flash of crazy socks show with your serious shoes. Get lost. Try to be someone different – or the same- for a day. Watch the world around you – the flashes of love in a dog’s eye, the inquisitive nature of a child, the wind in the trees, and the moon we all see… Paint it your favorite color. Take the picture. Pick it for that flash of joy. Remember where, and why, and what you saw and the smell in the air and the sound. Light a little candle for all those things.