Travelling is one of my greatest passions. It’s hard to put into words what it is I love about travelling… So I’ll let Paulo Coelho do it for me:
After weeks on the road, listening to a language you don’t understand, using a currency whose value you don’t comprehend, walking down streets you’ve never walked down before, you discover that your old ‘I’, along with everything you ever learned, is absolutely no use at all in the face of those new challenges, and you begin to realise that, buried deep in your unconscious mind, there is someone much more interesting and adventurous and more open to the world and to new experiences.
I am a born pilgrim. Even when I’m feeling really lazy or I’m missing home, I need take only one step to be carried away by the excitement of the journey. […] I can only speak to my soul when the two of us are off exploring deserts or cities or mountains or roads.
– Paulo Coelho, ‘The Aleph’
Ask me at any given moment where I’d rather be/what I’d rather be doing, my answer would always be: wandering down cobbled streets, the sun beating down on my head, foreign words drifting out of open windows and doorways (no doubt I’d be in search of some local vegan delicacies!). The excitement of waking up knowing that today is going to be a completely different day to yesterday because there are new things to see, places to explore, food that I haven’t yet tried.
As well as the day-to-day experiences though, the end goal, for me, is to see as much of the world as possible so that eventually I can say that I’ve found ‘home’, the place I’d be happy to settle down eventually. For me, that place looks like a small wooden beach house overlooking the ocean, surrounded by beautiful gardens and enough space to grow some veg. (I’m still searching… I’ll let you know when I find it!)
As a vegan, a lot of my travel revolves around food… Before I go, I suss out all the vegan options available – how far they are from where I’m staying, when they’re open, etc. And part of what I look forward to most is crossing them off my list one by one (my quest for the best vegan food ever!). This used to drive my ex (who wasn’t vegan) craaazy – I’d be happy to walk from one end of a city to another in search of vegan treats (which is fine if you plan well in advance, but not so great if you show up – having walked for 30+ minutes – and the place you planned to visit is fully booked, or shut (this was before I knew better!) and your 2nd choice is 30 minutes in the opposite direction. And both of you are starving ) That’s not to say life has to be complicated travelling as a vegan; nowadays most cafes, especially in cities, serve soya milk, and as long as you can find a supermarket there’s a good chance you’d be able to get some raw veg and hummus, for example. I know a lot of vegans who would be totally fine with that, but, for me, food is an important part of why I travel. Even though I do all my preparation work beforehand, I still usually end up stumbling across amazing vegan options in the most unexpected places, which can totally change your perception about the country or city you’re visiting, and makes the trip that bit more special.
I’ll admit, when I’m travelling/out-and-about, I don’t always eat as healthily as I do at home. When you’ve been vegan as long as I have, you remember the days when it really was quite hard to eat out as a vegan, so I’m still really grateful for whatever vegan options I can get, especially abroad. If I know that the place I’m visiting has a raw (or healthy) vegan cafe then I’ll definitely try to get there at least once, but if it’s all vegan burger bars then that’s fine too! With that in mind, check out my vegan travel guides to some of my favourite places below, or browse through my other posts on travelling.
What do you love most about travelling? Let me know in the comments below!