Travel Abroad with Martha

I am about to embark on my 20th journey abroad this October on a fabulous trip to Bordeaux, France. I will be traveling with 18 other people. Some will be seeing France for the very first time. The first time I visited France, I was 21 years old and it had an enormous impact on me to this very day.

I started traveling with EF tours when I was working as food service director at Leland Public School in 1982. I took high school students on 4 different trips, and it was educational as well as great fun. In 2004, I began taking adults on trips with GoAhead Tours, and now I am traveling twice a year, every year. The traveling has been a part of my business as I own a European style restaurant called Martha’s Leelanau Table.

Recently I started reflecting on this need to travel and what it means to me as far as my life and my business are concerned. Here are those reasons:

Taormina lunchNumber one, I travel because of the desire to visit new places and see how people live in other parts of the world. It is only when you leave your comfort zone of familiar sights and faces, to travel somewhere foreign, that you realize the universal human language of hospitality and friendship.  When you are in unfamiliar territory, the kindness of strangers takes on a new importance. In the hospitality business, we are welcoming customers who are tired, hungry and many times, confused. Even the smallest gesture is received gratefully and with anticipation of future kindnesses.

The second reason I travel is the common experience you share when you travel in a group. The smallest group I have traveled with was probably 15 and the largest, almost 40. When you share a travel experience together, there develops a bond that is very special. A special sight, a lovely meal, a surprise- are all maximized for me when shared with fellow travelers.

photoThe third reason to travel is that it has become a necessity to me. I learn something new every time I travel, and that is invaluable. I learn something about history, art, food, (especially important for my restaurant), wine, etc., but most of all, travel teaches you that you are not in control of everything. You think you are in control, but the world has other plans for you.

My next trip in October 2017 is to Bordeaux on a riverboat for 4 nights, then traveling to Lyon and on to Paris. When my daughter-in–law Andromeda, sees all the pastry shops in Paris and the Tour Eiffel for the first time, that will make me smile.

My trip in the spring on March 23, 2018 is to Chile and Argentina, places I have never been to before. I am very excited to be traveling to South America for the first time.

Please consider joining me, visit for more information.

Martha Ryan owns Martha’s Leelanau Table in Suttons Bay, MI a european style bistro serving regional local foods.