It feels like just yesterday that we wished our former LPQ team members and husband and wife duo Alvaro and Maria well as they set out for Buenos Aires, the first stop on their trip to visit LPQs around the world. Alvaro and Maria visited LPQs in seven countries, connecting with the local LPQ teams as well as like-minded organisations along the way.
With Alvaro and Maria’s recent return home to the states, we followed up to hear about their trip. What was it like taking such a once-in-a-lifetime journey? Read on to hear from Alvaro and Maria themselves! But first, let’s take a look at the best of this trip in photos.
We loved its European style, urban atmosphere and rich cultural life—especially the Tango milongas.
Brazilians are some of the friendliest people on the planet. Put that together with the tropical climate, the fresh food, the flavourful drinks and their passion for sport, and you have a great formula for an amazing time.
Madrid is such a beautiful city; it’s full of history. It’s nice just to walk around and enjoy all the sightseeing the city has to offer.
Along the way we got to enjoy many sunsets, but this view of the Prince Island from the Caddebostan beach in Istanbul definitely was one of the best.
India is so full of colours, flavours and aromas that they become part of everyday life.
In Japan it is tradition for the pastries to be self-service, so Maria was really happy picking all the goodies.
There was something special about entering all the LPQ stores around the world that we visited. The coffee aroma, the smell of bread and the simple yet so inviting atmosphere were the perfect setting for wonderful moments.
1. You said going into the trip that you were most looking forward to experiencing each unique culture. Did this hold true as being your favorite part of the trip? What’s been your takeaway?
Yes! Experiencing the local culture in every country and interacting with the people on a deep level have enriched our lives in many ways. Our race, religion, nationality and how we go about living our lives might be different, but we all have the same general desires of love and enjoyment.
2. How were LPQs different, and how were they the same between cities?
The experience of visiting LPQs around the world was amazing! We discovered that LPQ embraces the uniqueness of each place with some menu items that are tailored to the local taste and traditions, while preserving the values of quality and identity. The global LPQ family is awesome! Every store was full of incredible people, all of them focusing on LPQ’s mission of offering simple and wholesome food while providing an amazing atmosphere to create meaningful connections.
3. What kind of organisations and people were you able to connect with along the way?
Throughout our travels, we met with a lot of people and organisations that are working on projects and innovative initiatives focusing on local, regional or global challenges.
One of the best experiences of the whole trip was when we visited and volunteered at an organic farm. Experiencing the hard work that goes into producing good food, knowing more about the food we put into our bodies, supporting farmers and their communities and learning how to live a more sustainable life was a great experience. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can look for farms that are open to volunteers around the world through sites like World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, Help Exchange or Workaway.
4. If you could bring any foreign LPQ dish back, what would it be and why?
All over the world, LPQ is on a quest to find more products that are fresh, sustainable, flavourful and delicious. But, if we had to choose just one item, it would be the Dulce de Leche Croissant that we tried in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. It’s so simple, yet so delicious!
For us, sharing a buttery, flaky croissant with a delicate, spreadable layer of dulce de leche while enjoying a cup of organic coffee on a sunny afternoon in Buenos Aires became one the most memorable moments of the whole trip.
5. Having fit so much into your journey, you must have some great travel tips! Care to share some?
Honestly, the best travel tip that we could share is that experience is the greatest teacher of all. Who we are is what we do; we are the total sum of our experiences.
Our time on this planet is limited, so we better live in the now! The present really is all we have. Nowadays, most of the world’s information is at our fingertips; but, the truth is that the most important things in life can’t be learned surfing the web, watching a movie or reading a book. Stop watching the world passively go by and start living in it.
6. With this trip complete, what’s the next dream you hope to fulfill?
This trip gave us the strength to keep pushing ourselves to step out of our comfort zones, take on new challenges and be more adventurous.
We have plans for a Europe trip. Visiting all the LPQ locations in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Russia and Spain is part of that plan. LPQ Around the World: Part Two! And, a full journey around North and South America. And running the 2015 Marathon in New York.
Looking forward to enjoying more LPQ moments all over the world!