And it's a good question!
When we are at home with our fully stocked fridge, favourite cafe down the road, a car, and convenience plus it is relatively easy to get exactly what we want when we want it. But what about when you're in an almost third world country, without your fridge, car, safety, where the locals don't even know what vegan means?
It's always a challenge, but one you can totally rise up to! It's really about being super prepared before you go. More on that in a moment :)
And plus, it's a great chance for us to stop and take stock individually of how much we rely and depend upon the 'conveniences' of home. There's often times when I am travelling in non-western countries where I find myself getting sooky over not being able to get a green juice or an almond milk cold brew coffee... and it's important to ask myself - am I able to survive without those things right now? Yes Allyce. Are there options available for you to just make the most of what you actually have in front of you right now instead? Yes Allyce.
Reality check! I am super lucky to live in a beautiful country like Australia but these people who live in this country I am a visitor in are also lucky! They have their own beauty and positives to offer and they may be different to what I am used to or expect but it's so important to make the choice to allow yourself to discover the positives of this new country! If we always focus on and wish for what we don't have then how can we discover and find joy in the new?
That being said - if I arrived in a new country with absolutely no snacks on me and I couldn't find some plant based foodies easily then I would be a super grump and it then becomes that much harder to be open to the new and exciting discoveries!
I have a few tips and tricks to share that I have learnt over the years to make the initial transition stress free for you:
- Before you leave research the area close to your accommodation for supermarkets, cafes, health food stores, and restaurants and make a list or bookmark folder of them. Some good phrases to search are: "whole foods" "organic" "health food" "vegan" "vegetarian" on google maps or in your search engine with the area you are staying in. I have a bookmark folder on my computer for every single city I've travelled to so that if/when I revisit I already have my recommendations from the last time I went and don't have to search again!
- Bring ALL THE SNACKS. Before you leave stock up on essentials that are liquid free, and can be easily transported in your luggage. My favs are: chia seeds, green powder blends, plant based protein sachets, nut and seed mixes, some of my fav dark chocolate, rolled oats, organic soup or noodle packets, herbal and green teas, and protein or superfood bars. Make sure you pack them in zip lock bags or in sealed containers to prevent spillage. It's not unusual for my luggage to be 1/2 clothes, 1/2 food haha but then I'm prepared as soon as I land and just focus on having fun in my new destination rather than stressing about what I'm going to be able to eat as I settle in.
|My haul from Healthy Options in Manila :)|
- After you've settled in, source out a supermarket or health store and stock up on things you can carry with you or have in your hotel room to snack on so you never have to be stuck in a state of hunger with only rice as the only vegan option - oh the amount of times I've eaten watermelon and white rice as breakfast in Asia HAHAH. Sometimes I am in a taxi for an hour just to find an organic store but it's super exciting once I get there and I do a big shop so I'm set for a good week or so and don't have to travel there again.
- Be gentle on yourself - if you have to eat a little of something you usually wouldn't back at home but you're with awesome people and you're enjoying your adventures in a new place then just do it! At the end of it all - having fun and loving times with the people around you trumps everything else. It's never worth stressing yourself out with an anxiety attack over having some egg in your vegetable stir fry. (Trust me, I've been there too). Just do the best you can! It's only temporary and your mindset around what you're eating is the more important than what it actually is ;)
- If I'm going to a country with a compromised water supply I take some travel probiotics before I leave and while I'm over there. I recommend Ethical Nutrients Travel Bug. I also never go anywhere without my ArmaForce! It's wonderful at boosting your immune system at the first sign of a cold or a flu. Bringing over a green blend with spirulina, chlorella, and reishi or chaga will also keep your body fighting fit with all of the good things if you are having trouble finding fresh food.
- Breakfast can sometimes be one of the trickiest meals especially if the people you are travelling with aren't plant based and want to have breakfast at the hotel. That's why I love having some oats, chia, and plant based mylk on hand. I soak the chia and oats in the liquid overnight and then the next morning I bring my oats combo down to the breakfast buffet with me and add some nuts, seeds, fruits etc and I have a beautiful filling and nourishing breakfast with minimal effort and stress!
|Overnight oats a la hotel style!|
So it's about maintaining a balance of being prepared, and also open to adventures and travelling to find what your new destination has to offer! And plus, the one day you stumble upon an unexpected vegan delight or green juice will mean it is the BEST tasting one you have ever had because you appreciate it even more as you journeyed and adventured to find it!!!!!!
Embrace who you are :) I love living this plant based lifestyle while travelling and when people ask me about it both them and I learn something new while we chat about it. So just be you and enjoy the freedom in that!