When I’m busy or stressed, I tend to grab whatever food is nearest—not the best culinary habit, I admit. So with the book release this week, I’ve taken to eating some fare that hasn’t exactly settled my stomach. I’ve been craving vegetables for weeks, which is a wee sign that my body longs for health.

I’m writing this on the plane somewhere over Nevada, en route to Austin. Next to me are my daughter’s yogurt-fruit-granola concoction, my youngest son’s grilled cheese sandwich, and for me, a bag of peanuts. Not the best.

But it’s in times like these when I give myself a bit of grace, because soon enough, the storm will calm and we’ll be settling in for something we know well—road-tripping. We like to eat real food on the road, filling a cooler in the trunk with apples, carrots, pepperoni, and the like. Riding in the car with these four other people has become our family’s modus operandi, and for that, I’m grateful.

We also like to sample local fare as often as we can (so long as the budget allows). In my book, I share stories about my discovery of “slow food” in Greece, çaj on the side of a Yugoslav hill, and lip-staining strawberries in Turkey. One of the best parts of travel, for me? The food, undoubtedly.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf

We wish we could visit all the cities you’ve mentioned, but alas, there are only so many days in the month and only so much of the backseat three kids can handle. We hope you understand. If you’re able to drive to one of these cities? Well, I’d be delighted:

Blue Bike (and The Art of Simple) reader meetups!

And you guys? I’m so thankful for you. This simple idea about the power behind our daily choices adding up to a life that makes sense with our passions can, I believe, drastically change our frenetically fast-paced culture, one person at a time. I feel it in my bones. I’ll be preaching its necessity (and its beauty) until I’m old and gray. Life’s too short and too glorious to be lived worshiping the squares in our calendar and the worry over what the neighbors think.