Hungry for life

2011 is a year to revisit many beautiful places I’ve been before. Places that I love. Cape Town, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Umbria and Tuscany. Revisiting places I’ve been and love is liberating. There’s no rush to explore the sights, to photograph the vistas and stop at every village en route. It’s all about enjoying the moment, taking in the sights with your eyes (not through a camera lens) and stopping to smell the roses. Or in my case, the smell of lavender, red African dust or Asian spices.

Whether travelling for business or for pleasure, I always find the time to really enjoy where I am; to get to know the locals; understand the customs; practice my, less than proficient, language skills; visit spots off the tourist map; delve deeper into the culture and the history.

Revisiting countries also gives me the time to chat to fellow hotel guests and hear how they are changing the world. For me, the UN’s World Food Program now has a face. Two inspiring ladies, passionate about the work that they do. “Developing simple solutions that have far reaching impact.” Josette Sheeran, executive director at the WFP told me about her recent visit to drought-stricken Somalia and the lives that are being saved; the programs being rolled out by the WFP to ensure that girls can remain in school until they are 16 years old and their father’s don’t marry them off much younger for a dowry; and she spoke about her visit this week to just some of the WFP’s partners in the Netherlands, TNT, DSM and Unilever. Because, without partners and funding a number of projects just wouldn’t get off the ground.

My most common saying on a really busy day is, “I’ll be doing all of this, and I’ll be solving world hunger before breakfast.” Said in jest of course, as for me this is unattainable. Having met Josette, I’m thrilled that she’s with an organisation that stops at nothing to ensure that this happens. Josette recently presented at TED in Edinburgh where she spoke about why, in a world with enough food for everyone, people still go hungry, still die of starvation, still use food as a weapon of war. Her vision: “Food is one issue that cannot be solved person by person. We have to stand together.” Watch her talk about “Ending hunger now” on TED.

Travelling helps me regain my equilibrium, to reset my brain and to appreciate all that I have in my life. I travel to beautiful places, I meet extraordinary people and I get to eat culinary delights. I eat regularly and I seldom feel hungry, unlike many people that the WFP helps around the globe. I doubt I’ll ever be able to ‘quench my thirst’ for global travel or ‘still my hunger’ for new experiences. But, whereas I’m hungry for life, there are still too many people around the globe that are just plain hungry. Since every penny counts, please read about the WFP’s initiatives and see how you can help.

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