Lost Girl of the Week: Kristen Kuchar

Lost Girl of the Week — By on February 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

Kristen Kuchar, this week’s Lost Girl, is a writer who loves sharing what she’s most passionate about — food and travel. Her greatest loves are cheese, grilling with charcoal, craft beer, and her high-school sweetheart husband, Mark. After stints in studying education and fashion, she decided to pursue what she knew and who she was–writing and food. Kuchar’s love for cheese, beer, and all things food related is her inspiration to travel. Whether it was barbecue in Tennessee, fresh grouper in Florida, or squeaky cheese curds in Wisconsin, her trip (and day) is not complete without enjoying the food around her. Kristen is also the author of Mac n’ Cheese to the Rescue. You can follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.

*****

I’d love nothing more than to start my story by rattling off all of the countries I’ve lived in, the languages I speak, and the exotic land in which I began my love affair with travel. But here’s the reality:

I’ve never left the United States. I speak English with a slight memory of a semester of forgotten Italian 101. And my lust for travel began a few hours north of me in Wisconsin at Lake Holcomb.

None the less, I consider myself A Lost Girl.

I may have only been a day’s drive from my home in Chicago, but that weekend in Wisconsin with my best friend’s family made me see the magic in visiting a place I’ve never been and the thrill of experiencing something outside my little bubble. Being so young and from a family of non-travelers, my dreams subsided. I wasn’t able to travel, but I was able to experience that same vigor from cooking and trying new foods, and from there, my passion for food was born.

As the years went on, I knew I wanted to go away to college. For my loving, yet overbearing family, going just a few hours away seemed like it was across the universe. I went anyway, but not the amazing, soul-seeking, fun college experience I dreamed of. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I bounced around and had constant anxiety because I wanted nothing more than to know what my future was going to be.

By the end of my sophomore year, I had changed my major four times. I came home after finals down on myself and unsure of what was next. The following morning, my dad unexpectedly had a heart attack and died. That moment changed my life forever.

His death left me with a huge void, but with that tragedy in my life, I was given an incredible zest and appreciation for every single day. It made me realize how short and fragile this journey is. We are not defined by our jobs and bank accounts. It’s about enjoying this short adventure and making the most out of it. Because, as I’ve learned, you never know what tomorrow will bring. I quit worrying and with the support of my wonderful husband, pursued my dream of being a food writer not knowing where it would take me.

Since then, my husband Mark and I starting squeezing in adventures when possible. A road trip through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia; a few trips to Las Vegas; weekend trips to Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; and exploring Cape Coral, Ft. Myers, and Sanibel Island. When we can’t travel, I’m immersed in learning more and sampling new cheeses, craft beers, and cooking.

This summer, we’ll be traveling America visiting every state. We’ll be doing it all along the way, especially exploring the variety of foods along the way. Through all of the twists and turns from the last ten years, the only constant has been my amazing best friend, Mark. I’m thrilled he’ll be accompanying me on this adventure and whatever other adventures we have along the way.

Tags: , , , , ,