For my last birthday, Eric took me on a food tour in Charlottesville with Taste of Virginia Food Tours. Before I tell you about it, let me tell you a little bit about me.
Briefly, a Bit of What Makes Me Up
Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am an I (Introvert) S (Sensing) F (Feeling) P (Perceiver) – ISFP. Because I’m introverted, I gain my energy from time alone or with close friends and family whom I deeply know and trust. Since I’m a feeler, I tend to make my decisions based on what I value (harmony, kindness, not inconveniencing others, fun, etc.) rather than on analytical logic.
Then, there is my sensing preference, which means I am more comfortable experiencing life through my five senses (taste, sound, sight, touch, and smell) than through abstract ideas and concepts. For example, I love the idea of riding a bike on a cool day and feeling the crisp air in my face while enjoying the smell of Fall. Meanwhile, discussing philosophy, or debating ideas lands me somewhere between extremely uncomfortable and fast asleep.
Lastly, there is perceiving. Perceivers tend to look at life in a big picture format. They don’t like being tied down to schedules and details. They are more open and less stringent.
When someone, such as myself, possesses both a sensing preference and a perceiving preference, that person has the temperament of an EXPERIENCER.
Sounds exciting, huh? Well, it should, but for the majority of my life I have not enjoyed many experiences at all. Why? Because of fear. Not so much the fear of the bungee cord breaking, but the fear of stepping out and embracing life – in front of other people.
Perhaps it’s my introversion (i.e., tendency to prefer quiet and serene surroundings), or maybe it’s because I am an only child. Maybe it has to do with where I was raised (small town) or how I was raised (conservatively). It could possibly be because I associate travel, moving quickly, and movement in general with motion sickness.
Whatever the reason, I have held life’s great experiences at arm’s length. Now that I’m well into my thirties (and terrified of life passing me by), I want to tackle the fear of living! No one’s really watching – and if they are, who cares what they think?! Unless, of course, I’m table dancing at Panera Bread or something ridiculous like that. ~smile~
On with the Tour!
Okay, back to the food tour. There is absolutely nothing to fear about a food tour, unless you hate trying new foods. I love trying new foods – something that would not be true of me were it not for the prodding of my foodie husband early in our relationship. Growing up, if we ate out, we dined at Golden Corral or Pizza Hut about 95% of the time. Now, I enjoy Thai food, Indian food, Latin American food, Ethiopian food, Korean food, and the list goes on. So, I should have loved the idea of a food tour, right?
Wrong. When Eric first mentioned it to me, my reaction was not that great. Why? Discomfort with not knowing what to expect (i.e., fear). Fearing the unknown and fearing the drainage of my energy reserves.
I have no food allergies to my knowledge, I love trying new cuisine, and when I exercise, I tend to walk. Sooooo, it made no sense why walking around to eat food would be a scary experience. What could be better? After a good night’s sleep, the idea sounded much better. ~smile~
Onward and Upward
When we arrived in Charlottesville, VA, we connected with our food guide and then (a little awkwardly for Eric, but not for me!) realized we were the only two people touring that day. Score! Dining with a crowd of people we didn’t know would not have been the end of the world, but let’s tackle one new experience at a time. ~wink~ (Admittedly, Eric had a good time, but may have had a better time with a group – as he is an extravert.)
We started at a South African restaurant called Shebeen Pub & Braai. They brought us out a small portion of marinated jerk chicken skewered on sugar cane over a plate of the most amazing grits I’ve ever tasted (and I’m from the South) along with sides of mango chutney and voodoo sauce – see the picture above!
Next, we walked up a steep hill (worked off a calorie or two), learned some local history, and then dined on Philly cheesesteak eggrolls in an extremely old building with much character and personality. I get goose bumps thinking about how old buildings looked and functioned when they were first built. It’s no surprise that the historical/futuristic Back to the Future trilogy is my favorite movie series of all time. ~smile~
Then we dined on specialty cheeses and, later, watched a master butcher at work while sampling homemade beef jerky. We walked to a diner for a yellow beet salad (yum), and finished off the tour with cupcakes and chocolate! Needless to say, half of the cupcakes and the chocolate came home with us. We were stuffed!
It was a tremendous experience. It was new and different. It incorporated my love of history and food with my need to do more walking. ~smile~ How many of these experiences have I missed out on because I was afraid to try something new – something I could not fully predict or control?
The plan for this Year of Experiences is for me to experience life more fully. I will be trying new, and sometimes scary, experiences. Many experiences will be mild and nice. A few may cost a bit of money. Some I will dread. Several I will look forward to with glee in my heart. But, I can be sure of this – I will be a different and more confident person at the end of 2015 because I will have conquered some fears. (Perhaps after reading of my experiences, you can replicate them and share your story in the comments!)
I am finally embracing who I am – an experiencer. Now, let’s all go out and LIVE!
Are you and your sweetie living or just existing?