For this week’s Traveler Tuesday I am happy to introduce you to another AFAR Ambassador, Alison of CheeseWeb. Alison is a prolific freelance journalist and photographer living in Belgium where she is eating her way (while drinking good beer) through that tiny country and beyond. CheeseWeb is not just a blog but a great community built on a passion for travel. I have just spent an hour getting sucked into that place (warning, there is a wonderful excess of great content!) but I will happily dive back in! I am just getting to know Alison and I am so thankful that she agreed to participate in my weekly interview series so that we could both get to know her better!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
Travel was ingrained in my DNA before I was born. From day one, I was travelling around North America with my parents in a big old RV. I developed my curiosity about new places and my addiction to maps and travel guides at a very early age. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s though, my husband and I travelled to Europe for the first time. We were totally hooked. We ended up moving to Amsterdam and then Brussels about 4 years after we got married and we’ve been here ever since.
 What is travel to you in 10 words or less?
The ability to discover and embrace new cultures and ideas.
 What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?
For discovering a city, it’s definitely my own two feet. Overall, however, I love the flexibility of a road-trip. I prefer to be the navigator, rather than the driver, (which works out well as my husband loves to drive.) I’m often yelling “stop the car!” and practically leaping out the door with my camera before we stop rolling. This type of behaviour isn’t advisable on a train or plane.
 What do you typically do while traveling by plane?
If it’s a daytime flight I take the time to enjoy being unplugged and read a good book. If it’s a red-eye I desperately try to sleep. I’m usually not very successful so I’ll resort to watching a movie.
 What is your favorite travel memory involving food?
This is a tough one for me, because all of my favourite travel memories involve food in one way or another. In fact, living in Brussels is just one continuous foodie adventure. You really could eat in a different restaurant here every day of the year.
The one memory that really sticks out however, took place in a little village outside Venice. I was travelling with my husband and my parents, who were visiting us in Europe for the first time. We had gotten three restaurant recommendations from the owner of our hotel, after a long, tiring day. The first two were closed and the third looked like a complete hole-in-the-wall, but we were desperate and hungry, so we dove in. The only person who spoke any English was the owner, who had spent a few years living in Canada. He was ecstatic to learn we were Canadians. There was no menu so he just started listing dishes and bringing things out of the kitchen for us to try. The food was endless, delicious and he was so generous with us. We decided to return the next evening. He was so touched that we returned, he fed us even more. Before we left, even gave us little gifts and hugged us goodbye. My parents still talk about it. If you ever happen to be near Treviso, go to Al Sile.
 What is one blogging tip or lesson that you have learned along the way that you can share with my readers?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is perseverance pays off, but you have to be patient. I blogged for years and felt only my Mom and a few friends were reading. Then, all of a sudden, we became known in Belgium; to the point where people have walked up to me and said “Hey, are you CheeseWeb?” It’s rewarding (and a little bit disconcerting) to know people feel like they know us and value our opinions. If I had given up, when I felt like no one was reading, we never would have achieved the level of success we have now.
 Where to next?
We just got back from Hong Kong and Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, so we’re still recovering a bit from that trip. In a few weeks, we head to Umbria, Italy for 5 days, for more great food and wine. We’ll be continuing to explore the hidden corners of Belgium over the spring and summer and hopefully be making a trip to Canada to visit family, in late summer.
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu, a resource for expats, locals and travellers in Belgium. She landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about this quirky little country. She loves to discover Belgium’s hidden gems – be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She loves to travel the world with her husband, Andrew, and spend quiet nights reading with her cats and a glass of red wine.
You can see all of Alison’s AFAR Highlights and Wanderlists where she shares her experiences all over the world as well as keep up with her on her blog or Facebook page and check out her chatter on Twitter Wherever you catch her, I am sure you will enjoy her adventures!
ALL photos except where noted are courtesy Alison’s blog.
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