When youre a vegan and you decided to travel somewhere, food becomes much, MUCH more important. If youre going on a day trip, youre probably inclined to pack your own lunch. If someone organises a dinner at a restaurant, you have to check their website or call to make sure theres something youll be able to eat. And as for overseas travelling, well, being vegan may even dictate where you decide to go. The main benefit of air travel as a vegan is that you always get your meal first...
Im from Australia. Tasmania, to be precise. Its a small island state located south of the main big bit that most people think of as Australia. This is where I grew up, and where I first stopped eating meat. It isnt hard to follow a vegan diet in Australia. Its easiest in the larger cities, but even small country supermarkets sell soy milk and veggie burgers. My dads green thumb made it a lot easier salad vegetables, juicy red tomatoes, fresh chillies, amazing berries, and plenty of good hearty winter veggies in various shades of orange and green. I probably took it for granted.
I lived in Denmark a few years ago. Denmark is not a great place to be a vegan. These people have meat and cheese not only for lunch and dinner, but also for breakfast. The other thing about being vegan in Denmark is that everybody wants to know why. In Australia, nobody really cared either way. They would rather get angry at the footy than wonder why I was having a ketchup sandwich at a barbecue. But the Danes, no. They needed a full moral justification from me, complete with counter arguments and rebuttals. Then after they were satisfied with my explanation they would shake their heads and say well, I could never live without meat!. Yes, no liver pate or pickled herring. You really would be missing out. Mr Atkins would be shaking his head at my Danish diet; I pretty much had to survive on bread and potatoes.
Speaking of potatoes, Ireland is also a difficult place to be a vegan. I went to a supermarket in Dublin with my brother, who was living there at the time. We asked if the shop stocked any soy products. The young lad working there looked puzzled and thought hard for about twenty seconds before exclaiming Yes! We have soy sauce!. While this wasnt very helpful, we did appreciate his enthusiasm and indeed ended up buying a large bottle of soy sauce. I dont think we opened it. Also, the Irish love their pub meals. Its very difficult to get a pub meal when youre a vegan. You dont eat WHAT?! I managed to slightly redeem myself by drinking a lot of Guinness. Its practically a food.
In my experience, France is one of the worst places to be a vegan. Especially a vegan who cant speak French. Not only are the French waiters offended that you cant speak French, theyre more offended that you dont want to order things from the menu exactly as they appear. But what is ze problem vith ze goats cheese on ze vild rocket zalad?. My advice would be buy a baguette and go to a park. And then go to Italy, which is much more vegan friendly. While you may not find vegan options on a standard restaurants menu, Italian food is just so damn adaptable. Get rid of the cheese and wham, done. Delicious vegan pasta. Or pizza! Or... nope, theyre your main options. Plus, Italians love fresh food, because they have so much delicious local produce (depending on where in the country you are). Olive oil, olives, delicious fresh bread, juicy tomatoes... bellissimo.
I have recently moved to the US, specifically to Portland, Oregon. I thought San Francisco was vegan heaven, until I crossed the border into Oregon, and explored Portland. Its unbelievable. Not only are the supermarkets fully stocked with every vegan option possible, there are farmers markets almost every day around the city, selling great quality, cheap, Pacific North West produce. There are plenty of vegan restaurants, and just about everywhere has vegan options. And then there are the bakeries. Oooh, the bakeries! Vegan pastries, pies, cakes... The food carts are also incredible. They are so cheap, and there are so many of them that there isnt really a single food you cant get your hands on. Now all I (desperately) need is a vegan gym!
Yep, its a pretty amazing place for a vegan, and I dont really want to leave. Unless you think theres somewhere Im missing out on?