Veggie Vagabonds speak to The Veganary
Sarah and Josh, are among the most famous and daring vegan travelers. Among other things, they cycled and lived in a tent for their trip from England to India and have fascinating stories to share on their website and blog: Veggie Vagabonds.
They answered The Veganary‘s questions providing us all with a wealth of information:
Tell us about why you decided to start Veggie Vagabonds?
A good question but not such a simple answer. I guess the biggest driving force behind Veggie Vagabonds is our love for the natural world; it’s the reason we went vegan nearly 5 years ago and also the reason we spend so much time in the outdoors.
In our mind going vegan is the easiest and most powerful way of moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We also think that spending time in the outdoors is the best way to create appreciation and respect for our environment. So, we set out to create something that would incorporate the two: giving people the tools to enjoy a vegan lifestyle and discover the wonders of the outdoors.
I guess that’s the ethos behind the blog but our motivation to actually start the blog really came from a number of experiences during our trip around Asia in 2016/2017. First of all we saw first hand how pollution and climate change were damaging our natural world. So many beautiful destinations were being ruined by pollution, whole rainforests cut down for timber, bleached corals, over-hunted wildlife, air pollution… it really hit home how fragile our environment is and we wanted to do something to protect it.
The other big experience was how much misunderstanding there was around veganism. So many people had this idea that a vegan diet was just rabbit food, that it was an ‘extreme’ diet that wasn’t feasible whilst travelling, and, most commonly, that you couldn’t have an active lifestyle without meat. This all blew our mind and really frustrated us. We wanted to set the record straight and prove a point: every mountain could be climbed, every country explored and cuisine conquered with a happy, healthy vegan lifestyle.
So with all this on-board, when we returned to the UK for period after our Asian adventures, we decided a blog would be the best way to put these passions into action!
Which is your favorite country to travel to as a vegan and why?
It has to be Sri Lanka, even thinking about that beautiful island is making us hungry. For three months we followed our appetites and hunted down every bit of vegan food possible – it was the most delicious experience we’ve had. Before we visited, we already had a love for curries and spicy foods but even that didn’t prepare us for how good things were going to be.
Rice and curry really is the staple and after eating this basically 3 times a day for 90 days we never had the same curry twice. Such a crazy variety of vegetables would be cooked with such unique and exciting flavors, always fresh and surprisingly not heavy. Each curry would be accompanied by coconut sambol; a spicy, zingy side dish and a mountain of rice.
After these big plates of spicy food we’d then find some fresh fruit from a local market and eat it by the side of the road – it really was perfect for us!
Hanoi also has to have an honorable mention. Though it can be a pretty dark place in regular eateries we found some of the best vegan restaurants ever, and plenty were buffets which only cost £1-2.
What is your favorite cuisine in the world? What are your favorite dishes?
As a couple we’re kind of split but it’s all Eastern food. Sarah really likes Oriental style cooking with Chinese or Japanese influences and lots of tofu. I’ve always been a lover of curries, whether that’s Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai or Bangladeshi; if it’s rich, saucy and spicy I’ll be happy.
Besides that Persian and Middle Eastern food is also pretty awesome. My family is from Iran so I was brought up around Persian cooking, learning quite a few recipes. Whenever we’re feeling cold or under the weather we’ll whip up a batch of Ash e Reshteh which is a kind of herby, noodle stew – seriously tasty and not like many other dishes you’re likely to try!
What are your recommendations for people transitioning into veganism?
Some tips we think are pretty useful:
1) Take baby steps
If you want to move to a vegan lifestyle then take your time and introduce it slowly. There’s no point throwing yourself in at the deep end and having an unpleasant experience. If you’ve spent your life eating animal products then it will take some time to find the right products, alternatives and recipes. Start by introducing individual vegan meals, then to whole vegan days and slowly go 100%!
2) Find inspiration for cooking
Vegan cooking can be awesome but it does take some time getting used to it. Find recipe inspiration online, with cookbooks, through friends etc. and get some tasty ideas for dishes you can easily make at home.
3) Make vegan friends
Probably our favorite way is to find some vegan friends! Have some dinners together, go for food together, hang out, share vegan ideas and recipes, it’s a great way to stay on track.
Online forums and communities are also super useful too. You’ll find plenty of vegan groups on Facebook filled with people who have a wealth of knowledge they’re happy to share.
Pick your 5 favorite vegan snacks or sweets, that you have discovered through traveling?
It might seem like a boring answer but we seriously love fruit and eat a huge amount of it. When you’re travelling it’s the one thing you know you’ll find in every country (or every country we’ve been to) and we love the variety when you’re in different continents.
A Sri Lankan street food of rice flour, spices and dhal. It’s dirt cheap, seriously tasty and comes in many different styles so there’s always something new to try.
3) Coconut sambol
The best Sri Lankan curry topping in the world!
4) Seaweed crackers
We’ve found these in a number of different countries but it’s a popular hiking snack of ours which is lightweight and easy to carry.
Pretty popular around a number of SE Asian countries but we grew to love it in Vietnam. It’s very sweet, made from coconut milk and can come with a crazy variety of different colorful toppings. Nice when the weather’s hot or at the end of the day.
For more info about Sarah & Josh, Vegan travel guides, interesting stories, tips and more, we highly recommend you to visit their awesome blog Veggie Vaganbonds: