At some point in 2011, my love affair with food was getting hot and heavy. I decided that many of my next travels should be determined by a food destination. I wanted fresh lobster from the waters of Maine. I wanted blue crab from Baltimore. I missed the food in New Orleans. I wanted to sit in a real Irish bar in Boston, maybe the same one I visited when I just turned 21 and pissed off the owner. I wanted hatch chiles in New Mexico, and whatever random stuff I found along the way. And that is just the domestic portion of the list. There is an international portion as well.
The long list of cuisines and cities was pinned to the bulletin board above the desk in my home office. It was a thrilling idea, immediately followed by melancholy. It saddened me to know that, despite being in a relationship, I would be crossing these cities off, alone, as usual. My boyfriend at the time, preferred to spend his money on building motorcycles and hot-rods, and trying to get him to discuss potential future travel ideas was like pulling teeth. I liked what he was into, but my heart always yearns to travel. It had started becoming apparent how much we wanted different things out of life.
Months later, as I was booking a burlesque tour, giving myself a month to not just perform, but have some time alone, assuming it would be good for me after dealing with a couple of blows to my spirit. I realized that I could easily visit a couple of food destinations from my list as well, and from there on, I had built a food tour within my burlesque tour!
The Melancholic Lobster Expedition is just one of many snippets during my month-long solo journey, best summed up as: A burlesque dancer travels around the country, taking her clothes off for enough money to eat and drink her way through a multitude of various regional cuisines. Simultaneously seeking relief from the mourning of a breakup and the loss of her father, she wrestles with professional struggles in Austin, Texas after having relocated from a successful and happy life in New Orleans.
Its almost formulaic- travel pairs well with stories of redemption and healing, relationship troubles, finding oneself, and completing goals that may seem silly to other people. The funny thing, is that the travels did not help matters, and where one would assume that all that eating, drinking, dancing, socializing, and alone time would have made for a happy ending- I just felt shittier when I got back.
It took a few years to pick my ass up off the ground. But I look back on these bittersweet memories of travel, heartache, and personal growth, and I write it, because it feels like a tension that I have to get out of my chest. I wrestle with it feeling like I am trivializing my life to sound book-worthy. That is the hard part of writing memoir. But I know it will inspire and entertain someone, someday down the line, like many writers have done for me.