Indiana Jones Theme
I was fortunate to be offered the amazing experience of going with my diverse family on a Mediterranean cruise recently, to Spain and Portugal. While it was intriguing to witness other cultures and get far from my prairie home, it also seemed to motivate me to keep the adventure going upon my return. With the devastation that is climate change reminding us all to use energy sparingly, it seemed that there must be someway to find creative opportunities for exploration and discovery especially for those of us with the vegan ethos.
One of the ways I have been traveling without leaving home is through the wonderful podcasts of Travel with Rick Steves, available free on iTunes. I had taken a few on my iPod to listen to on my recent vacation, but found a world more upon my return. Mr. Steves does an admirable job of making each destination come alive just by listening to his show. I would avoid the food episodes though; I find them disturbing, and you might as well. Here is a clip to give you an idea of how intriguing his presentations are:
Travel with Rick Steves
Not only do I now enjoy traveling the world with Mr. Steves, but he also led to me discover another creative armchair traveler, Sasha Martin.
Eating Around the Globe: The Global Table Adventure
Sasha called in to one of his podcasts as I was listening, and proved to be positively inspirational. Sasha has a website, complete with a global map, that shares her journey cooking the globe. While Sasha is not vegan, at least not yet, she does have both vegetarian and vegan recipes galore. I was amazed at some of the wonderful possibilities for increasing my vegan food repertoire after perusing her blog. Sasha is trying to bring the world together by increasing understanding and familiarity with other cultures. Expect to hear more from this amazing, creative woman in the future. Here is part of my conversation with Sasha:
Sasha Martin interview
Global Table Adventure Vegan Recipes
One of the ways we helped our children and grandchildren to experience the world was by hosting foreign exchange students. We had students from Sweden, Japan and Denmark over the years. We had a French sailor over for dinner, an opportunity that arose from my French class when I was a high school student. After our first Japanese student spent one summer with us, she returned to attend the International School in Los Angeles, and continued visiting us, often bringing one or more friends with her from various parts of the world. At one point, she came back to see us with a room full of young students, some who had never been in an American home before they came into our tiny condominium. These kids graced our home with enthusiasm, appreciation, and affection. It was a wonderful way to learn about the rest of the world through other young people and truly enriched life for the children in the family, too.
Jurassic Park Theme
Supporting Sanctuaries: Adventures That Help
Since animals are a priority for me, I have a particular interest in sanctuaries around the world. I was fortunate to be able to visit a couple here in Texas, including the beautiful primate sanctuary, Primarily Primates, located in San Antonio. Unlike our exchange students, who would be returning to their native lands, these animals would never return home, but fortunately have found a safe and beautiful home far from their birthplace. Listening to the individual stories of so many animals helped to bridge not only the geographic differences but also the species barrier. I just discovered an old elephant friend is residing in a sanctuary in a nearby state and hope to visit her someday soon. (My Not Forgotten Friend, Tarra) There is also a farm animal sanctuary that may be an upcoming meetup destination for our local animal rights groups. And, there are sanctuaries in far away places like Africa that use volunteer labor — a way to incorporate a visit with doing something constructive to improve the lives of animals abroad. Your local sanctuary may also allow volunteers; many need every bit of help they can find to survive these days, so any financial support is much appreciated as well. Encourage your local sanctuary to adopt a vegan message, too, if at all possible.
Vegan Resources for Travelers Online
If you are fortunate enough to be able to travel, there are many vegan resources to assist you. There is Vegan Backpacker, a site which provides information for vegan travelers around the globe. You can find nation-specific information as well as global hints for ease in traveling. If you would like to connect with vegans around the globe, consider Vegan Around the World Network, a website that boasts over 2,000 members from most corners of the planet. And Marty’s Flying Vegan Review has information for those traveling in the U.S. as he offers reviews from places he visits as a charter pilot. There are also many vegan retreats, spas, and bed & breakfast establishments geared toward pleasing vegan travelers, from a Paris B&B to an upstate New York forested retreat. For further information, check out the listings on The Vegans Directory.
Gentle World: The Ultimate Vegan Destination
Gentle World is also a possible destination for the vegan adventurer. With locations in both Hawaii and New Zealand, Gentle World has worked for decades to educate and provide resources advocating the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. With me today to help us learn more about this unique community is Angel Flinn.
Angel Flinn Interview
[NOTE: WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.]
There is an excellent article called Vegan Travel: A Beginner’s Guide on the Gentle World website that is sure to help you in planning your next move. Be sure to check out the Gentle World site for excellent informational articles for vegans, too.
A word of caution. If you are traveling with young children, please consider their special needs. It will make your experiences much more enjoyable for everyone if the children involved are content, too. Packing a few special items may make all the difference in how they view travel in the future. Plan events geared to their enjoyment and keep the long, formal dinners to a minimum. A few trinkets wrapped and timed to be opened hourly on a long trip can also keep the child engaged and full of the spirit of fun. Consider integrating geocaching or other adventures within your adventures.
I was touched when, midway through our travels, my middle grandson leaned over during our long wait for dinner, and sang me a vegan song he had created, just for me. Sometimes just by standing up for what we believe, we make a statement that gets through all the world’s speciesism. Thanks, Nick – that was the highlight of my travels.
Assessing the Adventure
I feel very fortunate to have been given such a generous opportunity to see a new part of the world when I traveled at the end of last year with my family. It has motivated me to consider exploring not only my local environment, but possibilities for connecting with the larger world, too — especially with other vegans. Of course, all of life is an adventure, but being vegan puts a definite spin on potential destinations as well. With online vegan friends from around the globe and special places like Gentle World, there is no reason to let being vegan be anything but an asset when considering your next adventure. And remember, the more of us vegans that others encounter, the more we become a normal part of everyday life. I am looking for ways to get to Gentle World someday and visit some of my online friends from New Zealand, too.
What are you waiting for? Is it time to start your next vegan adventure?
Outro: Indiana Jones
Gluten Free Vegan? Try this article for further information.