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am vegan, will travel: be prepared.

Posted Jun 20 2011 12:00am

I travel a lot. And often, I get the comment "it must be hard to travel and stay vegan". Uh... no. You just have to be a little bit prepared. Depending where you are going (I am currently in the middle of nowhere, pretty much exactly...I think they call it Oklahoma), bringing a stash of food with you can save your ass (and your tummy). I've already posted on my standard vegan scooby snackz - but it bears reiterating that a little bit of preparation goes a long way. If you have some dried chickpeas, some dried berries, and some nuts, you can jazz up even the boringest and most iceberg lettucy of salads to be a filling meal. Add a few packs of powdered miso soup to your bag, and a bunch of powdered greens drinks, then buy some non-perishable produce when you arrive: carrots and apples are my standards. Even in the heat, they've been keeping fine in my room. I also picked up some rice cakes since I'm pretty sure that the bread at the conference isn't vegan. If you're gluten intolerant or super-picky, just pack the rice cakes in your suitcase. I also always pack a thermos, a sporknife, and some teabags (because it pisses me off to pay for a breakfast buffet where I can't eat anything). Finally, I *always* pack some fancy chocolate to share with others - this is vegan activism. I don't want people to see a deprived vegan, and when you're sitting there pulling dried chickpeas out of your bag to add to your iceberg lettuce while everyone else is eating a 3-course meal, you do stand out a little. A fancy treat can really turn the tables and make people see that you're not a martyr, and can also defuse a lot of uncomfortableness that others might be feeling (think about it - wouldn't you feel bad eating a giant piece of cake in front of someone who wasn't eating it because of allergies, but feel much more relaxed if they suddenly pulled their own dessert out? A lot of food eating is social - remember that sometimes a chocolate bar is more than just a chocolate bar.). Sure, bringing extra stuff with you means that you have to check a bag instead of going with only carry-on, but meh. It's not hard, and it's only the tiniest itsiest bitsiest bit inconvenient. Sometimes it's a little inconvenient to act in line with your morals. To all those who whinge that a few minutes of planning are needed: GROW UP already (unless you're an actual child, in which case, grow up at the usual speed, okay?).

Finally, you *can* get vegan food just about anywhere. It may not be fancy, but it will probably fill you up. Be polite. Smile. State exactly what you want, and be firm. Say please, say thank you, and leave a decent tip. Do not whine, throw a temper tantrum, or be an entitled bitch. And if that fails, pull the dried chickpeas and carrots out of your bag, accept the situation with good humor and grace, and enjoy the company (and the chocolate bar). So far, I've only failed once, which puts the chances of getting vegan food at about 67/68, if I've properly tallied my trips so far this year. Them's pretty good odds. So stop whining.
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