So this past weekend, I got to leave the city for a few days and enjoy a nice and relaxing weekend with some friends. Aside from the pleasures of fresh air and quieter surroundings, this short little sojourn also gave me the opportunity to challenge myself a bit, dietarily speaking. You see, although I feel totally comfortable and capable being vegan when I’m at home—that is, in my kitchen and in my city with all the grocery stores and restaurants I know and love—being vegan while on the road or in new places can still feel difficult and stressful. Not too long ago, I had the occasion to reflect on some of the complexities of being vegan while abroad, and after that, this weekend’s brief two-day outing felt like a walk in the park, and I had no trouble staying vegan the whole time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t come prepared, though! Quite the opposite, in fact. As I’ve discovered over the years, the secret to successful vegan travel is, simply, forethought. So here is some quick advice to guide you through your next vegan weekend getaway…
As the old adage goes, better safe than sorry. My basic plan for the weekend was to bring way more food than I could possibly ever need, which I did, as the above picture demonstrates. That’s because you never know what’s going to be available for you to eat when you’re in a new place, and it’s better to have something in store rather than be forced to break vegan (or, I suppose, fast). And as it turned out, I ate through almost all of this food before the weekend was through (and don’t worry, the things left over did not go to waste!). So don’t shy away from reality: if you’re serious about eating vegan wherever you are, you have to accept that you’ll occasionally be left to fend for yourself. Just view these times as occasions to empower yourself, by enabling yourself to eat the food you want.
Whole foods are travel foods, too
Often when we think about packing food for a trip, our first thoughts are of packaged and processed snack foods like granola bars, potato chips, and cookies. Yet although these foods are indeed travel-friendly, and now readily available in vegan varieties, they are not, in my opinion, what veganism should be all about. The way I see it, one of the core tenets and benefits of veganism is the reappropriation of whole fruits and vegetables as a major part of one’s diet. These are the foods that make me feel best, that I most want to eat, and that make me stay vegan—not the Clif Bars and Guiltless Gourmets of the world. Granted, whole foods are certainly more perishable than anything that comes in a wrapper, but they’ll still do fine over the course of a weekend. Heck, the peaches I brought with me this weekend didn’t even last a day before they were all gobbled up.
Go nutrient dense
On a related note, you also want to make sure that the food you’ll be bringing will give you everything you need to stay healthy and energetic for your trip. Staying away from processed foods will go a long way in getting you there, but peaches and corn alone will not round out your nutrients. So, for my trip, I chose to prepare things like a nutrient dense salad, ginger cashew spread, beet hummus, and some baked tofu and seared tempeh. These are all things I regularly eat at home, too, and that’s because they’re all super tasty and healthy. Of course, I’m not saying you should do just what I did; rather, think about the healthy and nutrient rich dishes you love, and then figure out which ones of those will work on the road.
Share, share, share
Finally, remember that traveling is also an opportunity to share your veganism with others—and more often than not, others means non-vegans. Because of this, see your vacation as a chance to show off the wonders of vegan cooking and prove that it’s not all rabbit food. For my trip, I brought along some sunflower shortbread button cookies and coconut creme pie Vimbits, which were both fantastic, but the possibilities here really are endless.
Anyway, I hope y’all found this advice helpful! Vegan traveling can really be a lot of fun, especially if you’re like me and always up for a new culinary challenge. So here’s wishing you well on your next vacation, wherever that may be. Stay vegan!
Until we eat again,