Traveling seems like an adventurous, exotic thing to do, and there are many moments when that is true. But the part about traveling that becomes a weight is the lack of stability, fleeting relationships (unless of course you marry one of those initially fleeting relationships) and living out of a suitcase. Normal becomes keeping track of boarding passes, learning how to read Russian and using a squatting toilet. This time last year I was spending my final days in Sri Lanka before getting ready for one final adventure – spending 24 hours in the Kuala Lumpur budget airline airport (including sleeping on a bench outside with my luggage).

Today going to the grocery store is normal. Cooking, planting herbs, looking for recipes are the tasks that fill my time. All parts of me missed these basic tasks, the simple ways in which they enrich my life and encourage me for the future.

This salad is a European summer staple that I first tasted in Northwest Arkansas in the home of my history professor. It takes less than five minutes to prepare. Just as I don’t have many words for how much I appreciate the simplicity of my new life in Geneva, I don’t have much to say for how much I love this salad and for the joy it brings to my taste buds, stomach and heart.

  • Salad slice a ripe tomato, slice fresh mozzarella slices, stack on top of each other. Typically the mozzarella is on top, but the tomato was smaller than the cheese yesterday, so I reversed it. Put a basil leaf on top of each stack, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper.

The basil in this photo is from our “garden,” and it has been alive for more than five weeks, the longest plant I have ever kept alive.