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50 Days, 50 Meals

Austin Simmons and Andrew Vanover are traveling the world this summer.  Vanover, who graduated this spring with a degree in communication, and Simmons, a rising senior in graphic design, have a specific goal in mind for their travels — to make new friends in each country by asking strangers to join them for a meal. They even have a name for their journey — 50 days 50 meals.

Simmons, a Caldwell Fellow, says that he and Vanover wanted to take a trip where they could tap into their shared passion for photography, film and graphic design. But they also wanted the trip to have purpose or, as Simmons says, “something that had some backbone to it.” They offered further explanation for their journey on their blog.

“We thought, what better platform to reach people than through food” says Simmons.  We wanted to engage individuals from multiple socioeconomic backgrounds using the bistro table as common ground. We wanted to hear their stories, hear their perspectives on various topics, learn from different cultures.”

Their goal is to meet a stranger, offer to buy them dinner and then get to know them over a meal. They take photos and videos of their new friends, and share their experiences on a blog and Web site they are maintaining for their trip.

Simmons says the craziest meal they have had so far was a South African sandwich known as a “Gatsby” that is stuffed with different meats, french fries and a special sauce.

Read more about their adventure on NC State’s alumni blog, Red and White for Life, where this story first appeared.