13 . 06 . 16
La Gozadera y la Comida

On a path in Colombia, staring at the deep blue sea. Writing and image by Julia Georgallis

I was only supposed to be gone for a couple of months, maximum three, I thought to myself. “You’ll extend,” people told me. “You’ll never want to come back” others said. I didn’t believe them. I left an icy London day in early January, terrified, 10 kg backpack in tow and resolute that I would retreat to my mum’s house in North London 6 weeks later. 6 weeks turned to 3 months. 3 months turned to 6. And then all of a sudden it was the end of May and I was happily rolling around the Americas, bare foot, with barely any luggage, pretty much saying yes to every opportunity that came my way and going wherever the wind took me. And then the tug. The tug of home. Summer had started in Europe. I missed my mum. I missed my cat. I missed bacon butties and really bad Chinese food and most of all, I missed a really good cup of tea. Also, I thought it was about time I put some shoes back on. And so, from somewhere in Mexico, I booked my flight back, happy to return. Over the last week, when I tell people that I have been travelling for six months, solo, in Latin America a few have asked, “why did you decide to do THAT?” This to me, is a silly question. Sillier perhaps than working on building a business for a year, getting that business to a point where all is going well, then abandoning it, packing up your belongings into your dad’s garage and leaving the country indefinitely.

Because I’ve always seen the value in travelling and I am fortunate to have been to a great many places. From hanging out in Italy for 8 months, to trekking in the Himalayas, to spending time on a boat near some Southern Pacific island…. These are not degrees or mortgages or Swiss army knives, but they’re useful experiences nonetheless. I travelled this time to South and Central America because, after having studied a lot and working a bit, I was painfully aware that life does not always give us the opportunity to take off and be free. Plus I really like empanadas. Though it wasn’t the reason that I founded my bakery, The Bread Companion, travel is definitely at the heart of my brand’s story. A mobile, micro bakery means that I could drive around finding out new things about bread from different parts of this lovely country. All I was really doing was swapping my trailer for a backpack.

We live in a community where all actions must always be justified. So I justified my voyage. My premise for travelling, then, was to “find recipes and study grains.” For the first 3 days I did just this in Buenos Aires, traipsing around actively LOOKING for bakeries to review. These were massive disappointments. So I gave up and had a bloody good time instead. And then that became the reason for travelling. And do you know what? That decision has led me to return with hundreds of recipes. In search of good food seemed to come hand in hand with in search of a good time. La comida – the cuisine. La gozadera – the good time. They fit together perfectly. My plans flew out the window. My route became haphazard and illogical. I missed flights, I didn’t post any blogs, I never made it to where I was supposed to make it to, you haven’t heard from me in months! But it didn’t matter, because in the end, I achieved what I was looking for – a new perspective, new recipes, new ways of eating – and with this, as it so often does, comes new ideas about how life should be lived, as food quite rightly is intertwined with daily life and daily rituals.

I am back now, full of guacamole, my skin considerably darker and I am ready to share the experiences and recipes that have made me happy and will make you happy in trying them out with your own hands and eating them with your own mouths. This is what the core of my brand is and this is the spirit that I go into the next few months with – have the heart of an explorer when you eat. Eat different things, try making different things, look at things in a different way. And most importantly, when you eat something, especially if you yourself has made it, don’t think of it as a carb or as a protein or as something that you should or shouldn’t be eating – think of it as an adventure, as a gozadera and enjoy it.