Wow, has it been almost a month to the date since my last entry? The time has just really flown by for me. That’s mostly due to obsessively going over plans for our upcoming trip to Ecuador and Peru. There’s a lot one has to do when you have 2 countries to traverse over 20 days and you have no idea on the reliability and timing of public transportation. Sadly, a lot of time was wasted making myself paranoid with reading other travelers’ reviews. (Note to self: never ever read people’s reviews. Especially not from anyone who isn’t accustomed to roughing it in the slightest.)
|This would've been useful this last month.|
It’s our first time visiting the two countries but we love to travel. Life’s too short not to explore the world. My wife’s more of the traveling gypsy spirit than I am, but I’m getting a lot better since we’ve been married. Before I met her, I had only been to a few states here in the U.S. Since we’ve been married, we’ve been to Europe, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. This will be our first time in South America.
Since becoming vegetarian, however, we’ve only been to Costa Rica, England, and Germany. I honestly thought being vegan in Costa Rica would be rough but it was quite easy. You would think that for a place surrounded by water there wouldn’t be much in the way of vegan food but that turned out not to be true. I’m hoping for more of the same in Ecuador and Peru (come on, HappyCow!).
The most frustrating thing in the planning stage before any of our trips as vegans, at least for me, is reading non-vegetarian/vegan travel books. There are probably 3-4 vegetarian places listed in each travel book that we’ve checked out for everywhere we’ve been to and that’s a generous number. I love the phrases in the travel books that describe the vegetarian restaurants, too. “Hearty enough even for meat-eaters!” or “You won’t believe how filling it is even without meat!”
Uuuuh, no d’uh. How about animal-based restaurant reviews done by vegetarians? “Odors from burning flesh that aren’t as noxious to stomach as you’d think!” or “Token salads that give you more than two cherry tomatoes!” Or, if you’re at some rustic, outdoorsy BBQ joint, “As long as you can ignore the stuffed animal heads on the walls, your French fries and corn on the cob will be quite enjoyable!” (Come to think of it, that’d be pretty amusing. Why am I giving these ideas out for free?)
This is even ignoring all the reviews of special events that you can see when you go to towns they list in the books or attractions you can see or places to stay. It’s amazing how many animal-centric things you can pick out while reading something as innocuous as a travel book. That’s not to say that I have to flip through pages of obnoxiously omnivore-based language. It’s just interesting to see it from an “outsider’s” perspective.
My main reason for this is that we need an actual vegetarian/vegan travel book for us worldly wanderers. Now, there are a few decent to great sites and blogs and vlogs out there for us on the topic of vegan food abroad. For example, Kristin Lajeunesse has been killing it with amazing pictures and stories based on her travels around the world. Seriously, if you’re vegan and you love travel and different foods, check her site out HERE (how cool is her site’s name: Will Travel For Vegan Food?). My wife and I were able to listen to her at a recent VeganMania event here in Chicago.
There’s also a pretty cool site called Vegan Backpacker that is run by two Canadian vegans, John and Jill. I’ve only recently stumbled upon it but they do seem to have a lot of cool tips for traveling as vegans abroad. I even saw an entry about Peru, which I’ll be looking into before we leave.
However, there is still no full-fledged Lonely Planet styled travel book. Sure, there probably won’t be much money in it for the publishers but a vegan can dream, right? There’s got to be a big enough niche market out there where this would be popular. I find it hard to believe that even a small travel book couldn’t be published on the cheap and distributed to major markets or made available for purchase online. After all, how annoying is it for vegans to have to either write down every important piece of information they see online or to have to carry an iPad around because there’s no book they can take with them? I mean, to be quite honest, I never bring electronics with me anyway when I’m on vacation. I have enough of electronics when I’m home and having a book with me is easier. I’m not constantly worrying somebody is going to steal a book or I’m going to lose a book like I would if I had to bring along a laptop or a tablet or a smart phone.
Am I missing a resource that’s out there that somebody can recommend? Because if not, I guess I’ll just have to roll up my sleeves and write one myself (or go halvesies with another vegan writer… hint hint, internets!).
Until that day comes, however, keep calm and vegan on!
You can find Kristin Lajeunesse online a number of ways – including Facebook – but one way is to follow her on Twitter at @KristinLajYou can also find Vegan Backpacker on Twitter at @veganbackpacker