The magical lesson I learned by ordering a salmon salad.
It's not about cooking, nutrition, or deep sea fishing, either.
Last Tuesday night, I ordered a salmon salad at dinner.
First, what an opener, right?
Second, for anyone who knows me, my order is not breaking news… 9.9 times out of 10, if it’s on the menu, I’m all about the salmon salad. (Salmon, manchego cheese, and chicken nuggets are the reasons I could never go vegan.)
But what happened next might make you stop and think.
At least it made me pause and reflect.
Allow me to explain.
The said salmon dinner took place while I was on a press trip in Louisiana. Fellow writers and I were there to write about golf and tourism in Lake Charles and spent the week touring golf courses, restaurants, and attractions.
This particular night, we were out with our amazing hosts from Visit Lake Charles, who’d chosen one of the area’s most popular restaurants - Pat’s of Henderson - Louisiana Flavor. Pat’s is known for its award-winning cajun food and amazing atmosphere.
I was seated next to the Chief Marketing Officer of Visit Lake Charles, Timothy Bush. As I was scanning the menu (of this award-winning steak and seafood place), I saw all of the things I knew I *should* try, being in Lake Charles and all. We’d just sampled some of the popular appetizers (the delicious signature crab cake and fried bite-sized catfish), and I even had sampled fried alligator the night before and gumbo earlier in the day… so I had been dipping into Louisiana cuisine, but was feeling like I needed to tone things down a bit for dinner.
Which, of course, meant - salmon salad. Yet… I was seated next to the CMO. I worried that by ordering a salmon salad, I’d offend and appear as if I wasn’t into experiencing all that Lake Charles had to offer (which, honestly, I was!). Just as I was debating what to do, Timothy asked me what I was getting.
I decided to come clean with Timothy because he’s really a cool, friendly guy:
“Well, I was going to get the gumbo because, you know, I’m in Louisiana. But Timothy, that salmon salad looks so good. I love salmon salads.”
Timothy put down his menu and said:
“If you love that, then that’s what you need to get. Don’t worry about the gumbo! Get what makes you happy, what brings you joy.”
Timothy then went on to tell me that the entire marketing strategy of Lake Charles is built around focusing on finding joy… in travel. This idea came up in response to the Pandemic... Timothy realized that as people were getting back to life and travel, what they needed most was joy.
Their motto is simple:
“I came up with the idea that when we think about how we talk about travel, we should be focused on the joy our destination provides for visitors and residents and encourage them to do what brings them joy.”
This led me to a number of conclusions:
Order the salmon salad.
Convince everyone I know to visit Lake Charles.
Write in Timothy on the ballot for the next presidential election.
The conversation also led nicely to What I’d Rather Be Talking About this week:
We can’t forget that it’s important and good for our souls
to do things that bring us joy.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the list of “shoulds” and “should nots” and forgo the moments and experiences that can bring a smile to our faces, put a spring in our steps, and well… just bring us joy.
So, take Timothy’s advice and do what brings you joy!
With that, I was delighted to find that some of my regular podcasters and YouTubers are also focused on joy lately. I’ve got some great suggestions below to help you find the good and joy in every day.
“Create the space to create the magic.” Repeat that five times and think about your goals. Then go listen to this episode of Earn Your Happy, where Chris and Lori Harder tell you “how to schedule intentional, undisturbed time into your calendar, how to make the most of this strategy time, and who to share it with.” (And I think…also find joy.) Perfect if you’re the CEO of a company or your life.
The Skinny Confidential brings us “Suneel Gupta on Essential Practices for Success & Joy, How To Discover Your Passion & Personal Fulfillment.”
I believe travel can change a person, and so does Esme Benjamin, host of The Trip That Changed Me and guest on this episode of Travel That Matters.
In this episode of Eat Move Rest with the Stanczyks, How Not To Age w/ Dr. Michael Greger, MD, Top Vegan Expert, shares the secrets we all want to know about aging.
There’s a Solar Eclipse in Libra on October 14, and here’s what astrologer Pam Gregory has to say about it. (If you’re into that sort of thing…)
Just a warning: this won’t be the last you hear about Lake Charles. I’ll start with their YouTube series, The Joy of Travel. Do outdoor activities bring you joy? Check out these shorts: The Joy of Travel with Jerry "Sarge" Antoine to see Lake Charles nature & its bayous, or maybe listen to some great Zydeco from Rusty Metoyer.
If you’re traveling to Louisiana or anywhere, you’ll want to pay attention to these safety tips.
Going on a golf trip? Again, I’ll have more to report in the future, but here’s a preview of Lake Charles’ best courses. And, if you’re looking for fall foliage, try playing these courses. Finally, my home state of Wisconsin has a lot to offer golf-wise, too.
All this talk about Louisiana has got me hungry. Don’t get me wrong, while I’ll never pass up a good salmon salad (this one’s from Spain on a Fork), I’m now interested in cajun food. I found some fun lessons in cajun cooking on Basics with Babish. If you’re in the mood for gumbo, here you go.
There are all sorts of blasts from the past in this week’s lineup of new shows. How about a Frasier reboot? Catch Courtney Cox in a creepy-looking movie, and if you’re into Love Is Blind, looks like Season 5 is out.
on a serious note
In addition to following Timothy’s (and Louisiana’s) advice to pursue the travel experiences that make you happy, don’t forget to find joy in everyday life.
This means checking yourself when you’re in the midst of doing something you dread or saying yes to something that you really don’t want to do.
Ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?”
If the answer is no, please stop yourself (maybe even in your tracks) and go ahead and choose something that brings you joy.
Get a mani/pedi.
Visit a museum.
Order the fries.
Call that friend that makes you laugh.
Just be sure that when you can choose, choose something that brings joy.
To happiness and salmon salads,