The travel bucket list – we all have one. It contains all of those places that spark our wanderlust: Paris, Hong Kong, Bali, Rio… But what about all of the places in between those tourist hot spots?
Travel doesn’t need to be fast paced or exotic to be special, memorable, meaningful.
We believe slow travel is the key to discovering the places that don’t make it into the tourism brochures and glossy magazines, but are every bit as special as the items on our bucket lists.
Our mission is to uncover the unexpected, the unexplored, the underrated – in essence, the hidden gems in our world. Whether we find those hidden gems in bustling international cities, or tiny rural villages, we want to hear their stories and share them with the world.
For us, the beauty of travel is the connection we make along the way – to people, to food, to nature, to culture and to history. It’s hard to make a deep, lasting connection when you’re running to the next destination. So, we slow down. We set aside our checklists. We let the destination speak to us.
Our first international travel together was an 18-day marathon bus tour of the ‘Highlights of Europe.’ We visited many cities, saw loads of important sites, and checked more than a dozen countries off our list – it wasn’t until much later we realised how little we experienced of those places.
Fast forward to 2015. We had lived in Belgium for over 10 years and covered just about every inch of this tiny country. To this day, it still surprises us with new stories to tell. Every. Single. Day. As long as we take the time to listen to them.
Our expat experience taught us, the best way to get to know a place is to live as the locals do. This doesn’t require taking up permanent residence in each new place we visit. It does mean we dig deeper than the tourist highlights. We go where the locals go, do what the locals do, and eat what the locals eat. Most of all, we ask questions. We learn. We connect.
We focus on travel experiences that build connections. Our passions include art, culture, history and, most of all, food. We believe the quickest way to connect with a place is to explore its food culture.
While, currently, our slow travel is primarily based in North America, we have contributors in Europe and around the world. From Atlantic Canada to Southern India, from Brussels to Hong Kong – slow is the way we go.
For every destination we visit, we share practical advice on: what to see and why you should see it, where and what to eat, where to stay, and most of all, the stories behind the destination.
In May of 2015, we began to live our dream. We downsized our life (again), grabbed our 2 cats, and piled into a motorhome. We took three months to explore the back roads and the nooks and crannies of France and Spain. Now we are doing the same in Eastern Canada. It’s crazy. It’s a little scary. And we love it.
There is more to life than travel – even for us. And we’re learning to apply the ‘slow down’ philosophy to every aspect of our lives.
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a freelance journalist and photographer who paints beautiful pictures of travel and food with both words and light. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. She called on her background in International Development Studies, Journalism and Photography to found CheeseWeb.eu. Alison is a founding member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association. She contributes to luxury travel website Jetsetter, is a Local Expert for AFAR.com, and guest writes for a variety of travel and expat websites. Alison is a passionate traveller and loves to uncover ‘hidden gems.’ She is also a foodie, music fan, garden enthusiast, and lover of all furry creatures. You can see all of these topics reflected in her work.
Andrew Matheson is a corporate escapee. After 16 years in the IT industry, working for ‘the man,’ he’s paving his own way in this big, beautiful world. Andrew is the tech guru who makes sure CheeseWeb is always running smoothly. He also focuses on marketing and advertising to make sure the site statistics continue their current rate of growth. Andrew takes time out from tech to write on his favourite topics – technology, military history, beer, and single malt whiskey. He enjoys tinkering with video editing and has been putting his new found skills to use on CheeseWeb. He shares his wife’s love of food, travel, and learning about the cultures of the world.
Buddy is the work supervisor and can often be spotted cracking the whip from the corner of Alison or Andrew’s desk (or sleeping on their hands while they are trying to type.) He is the official food taste tester and gives the best snuggles in town. He is also an unashamed bed-hog and is responsible for morning wake-up calls, whether you actually want to wake up or not.
Orange is the head of the human (and cat) resources department. She is the official greeter and pillow comfort tester for the team. She has the loudest purr in the land and acts as a great white-noise generator. We recently learned that Orange speaks Russian and we’re pretty sure she’s demanding caviar.
Adriana Yampey is our special correspondent from Germany and our Social Media Diva. Romanian by birth, she’s lived in Italy, Belgium, and the USA, in addition to her current home. She loves exploring the world with her husband and two kids and writes about family-friendly destinations around the globe. Read Adriana’s articles on CheeseWeb
Monika Lamba Saini is our expert on food and family travel in Belgium. Monika came to Brussels to pursue her pathology career in cancer research, with her husband and toddler. She likes to cook, read, listen to music, and spent time with her family. She is an avid foodie, loves to travel, explore new places, new cultures and also loves to write about them! You can read all of Monika’s articles here.
Adrian Petrescu is a natural choice to be our eco-transportation guru, with his passions for both trains and cycling. Adrian came from Romania to visit Brussels for three days and was hooked. He returned to Belgium in 2007, to pursue his studies, and never left. Adrian writes, photographs, shoots video, and enjoys sharing his adopted coutry with newcomers. You can see all of Adrian’s articles here.