11Q: Julie DuRose Blooms

Posted on: Friday, October 14th, 2011
Posted in: Work/Life Hacking, Blog | One comment

When Julie DuRose speaks at our panel of five at Meet, Plan, Go MSP next Tuesday (10-18-11), you can expect stories of escaping academia, exotic foods, and solo travel. As a women.  In outlandish lands.  With nary an itinerary.  Not only did she survive, she thrived—and can’t wait to fly away again.  (See bio below.)

These traits alone make her a perfect panelist.  But her clever demeanor and gift of story will light up the room, and enlighten fellow dreamers and schemers.  The world is ready for her book, Wake Me for Meal Service.  But alas, we’ll have to wait until it’s finished, published, and perfect.  With her talents, the wait won’t be long.  And after that?

My best guess is we’ll be needing a go-away party—to wish her Godspeed before she embarks on a book tour, or perhaps more urgently, another big BreakAway.

So see her while you can.  Meantime, thanks to Julie for taking on the 11Q challenge.  Take a read.  Soak in her courage.  And please join us at Honey on Tuesday night.

  • Biggest getaway challenge

My then partner (and travel-mate) and I are both planner types and have a head for details and problem solving, so the multi-country itinerary was not a big deal at all. What was difficult, though, was agreeing about what all to save (or not save), and what to get done (or leave unfinished) – which lead to the challenge of picking a date. This was likely more about the fundamental ways we were incompatible, though, than it was about the nature of the tasks at hand. (May you all have an easier time of it!)”

  • Grandest arrival

My father & stepmom bought us two nights at Le Meridien in Kuala Lumpur over New Year’s. We went from backpacking through leech-infested jungles to sipping European wines in fluffy white bathrobes. I hadn’t seen a bathtub in months, and this one was magical.”

  • Favorite place

When I was riding my motorcycle through Alaska, it was Alaska. When I was in New Zealand, I thought it was New Zealand. When I was in Bali, it was Bali, and when I was in Rajasthan . . . well, you get the idea. The only place I didn’t think was worth the trip was Invercargill, whose claim to fame is that it is the southernmost city in the world. That was pretty much the most exciting thing about it, too.”

  • Logistical nightmare

Buying five train tickets as a woman traveling alone in India was a three-day project. You can pay a travel agent to help you with things like this, of course, but I don’t find that nearly as satisfying or memorable. (Oh, and whenever possible, take the train.)”

  • Most meaningful moment

“Most” is again an impossible designation, but I often think about a time when a young Cambodian man got on his scooter and rode through the streets looking for me to apologize that his father had displayed anger in the restaurant where I had just eaten. We had never met before.

I also think a lot about the grand hospitality I received over the course of a year, and in particular, this amazing couple in Anchorage that shared their home and their lives with us for three weeks, and included us on a trip into the Arctic.”

  • Worst disaster

I can’t think of any “disasters” really, but my (initial) traveling companion and I fought a lot – and often publicly, since our “homes” were basically on our backs. (There is definitely a loss of privacy on the kind of trip I took.) At the tail end of a particularly long – and silent – flight, it became apparent that the man next to us had no idea that we were even together. That felt like something of a disaster at the time, if only on a relationship level.”

  • Serendipitous experience

Serendipity is the rule when you give yourself over to travel. One of my favorite moments of serendipity was meeting two amazing guys from Dayton, Ohio, near the Taj Mahal. I was putting out a table fire at the time, but that is a long(er) story.

You know, it got to the point that whenever something went wrong – when I got horribly lost or sick, or my vehicle had broken down, for example – I was overcome with this wonderful kind of calm anticipation about what remarkable thing or person was waiting for me just around the bend.”

  • Strangest encounter

Firing an AK-47 in Phnom Penh, I suppose, or a forbidden taxi ride through Bangkok when the city was on fire and under lockdown in April of 2010.”

  • Requisite health dilemma

You name it: Jellyfish attack in Indonesia, dysentery in India, Chikungunya in Thailand, bedbugs in Cambodia . . . Each time I needed medical care, though, I was profoundly amazed at how much easier, more accessible, and more pleasant it was then any healthcare experience I’d had back “home.”

  • Profound take-away

For “profound,” you’ll have to buy the book.”

Re-entry vibe.

Honestly? America feels like a forced labor camp – except the “labor” is willingly participating.”


Julie DuRose When Julie quit her teaching gig at The Ohio State University to travel the world for a year, she let her appetite guide her. She shucked oysters at the Russian River; picked cranberries in the Arctic; tried stingray in Malaysia; ate jellyfish in Singapore (that was revenge); popped oven-roasted tarantulas in Cambodia, and ate fruit she’d never heard of – jackfruit, salak, rambutan, and the sexiest of all, the delicate mangosteen. All of it surprised her, as did the hospitality of her fellow humans. From Carmel to Anchorage to Kona, HI, throughout New Zealand, India, and S.E. Asia, she never imagined how many folks would be part of her extended travels – not to mention her life thereafter.

Julie DuRose is former chef and current M.F.A. candidate in nonfiction, currently writing a memoir entitled Wake Me For Meal Service. She lives in St. Paul, though she dreams of Myanmar.


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One Response to “11Q: Julie DuRose Blooms”

  1. “Fierce Mosquito” at Common Good Books — Secrets of the City — Minneapolis + St. Paul Says:

    […] Julie DuRose tell of true culinary adventures around the world (stingray in Malaysia! Cranberries in the Arctic […]

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