Will Work For Food: From One Couch to Another, How To CouchSurf During Travels (And Stay Safe)
Will Work For Food #9 Advice & Stories ...
Yes, I let you know that before I let you know anything else. Surprise, right?
Talking about veganism can be such a touchy subject. A lot of people don’t understand veganism fully—a lot of vegans don’t even understand veganism fully. That’s OK. Some folks have never even heard the word “vegan” before, so let me give you a quick run down… in my own words.
People who claim the word “vegan” don’t eat other animal’s flesh or consume anything stolen from nonhuman individuals; they don’t wear leather, wool, or fur. The avoid products tested on other animals. To sum it up, they’re enacting the values that (theoretically) everyone has in the U.S.. This includes the practice of honoring the bodily autonomy of others’, supporting their right to live freely, and also peruse one’s own agency. They also may be looking to save the environment, protect worker’s rights, or improve their health. There are endless reasons to live vegan.
Now, let’s move on to what we’re really here to talk about: veganism and traveling; more specifically, why it doesn’t make sense to travel and not eat a plant-based diet.
Before we get into the numbers, arguments and statistics, let’s do a little brainstorming as to why people travel. I’ve thought of the top 4 reasons that I’ve been inspired to travel and taken into consideration the feedback that I have gotten through others on the road.
Maybe we travel to enjoy ourselves, relax, be challenged, or let go. We go to new places to experience fully and soak up all the bliss that we can find. Should our experience of “fun” be harmful to others? No, I believe that it shouldn’t. My idea of fun doesn’t include enjoying temporary satisfaction, while others suffer greatly because of my choices. I cannot have fun while I know that I am literally physically, mentally, and emotionally abusing others. (unless I choose to stay ignorant)
Fun may include all different types of activities, and for most of us that includes eating. Yes, it’s possible to enjoy yourself while eating an individul’s flesh and “products” that you know that these beings suffer for everyday. I can even agree that some of these products are super tasty. It may even fall under the category of “fun” for you. But it’s not fun for everyone involved.
(One of my videos, living conditions for individuals. Not graphic)
But, what does that truly mean? Live your life in a way that doesn’t cost others’ their lives. Live in a way that doesn’t force immense suffering upon others’.
News flash—if you’re consuming animal flesh and products you’re quickly destroying the environment. I decided against picking out specific facts and statistics to talk about because just inserting one or two facts about the damage that animal agriculture is doing to the environment (although that’s plenty to know we should stop) doesn’t do it justice.
Check out this link and educate yourself on what animal agriculture is really doing to the environment. The facts are stunning.
It literally shocks me every time I meet people who still continue to participate once they know even a snippet of how animal agriculture is destroying the environment. I know that change is work, but it’s worth it. We don’t have to get it perfect, but we can actively try to create progress and strive for betterment in our lives. If you choose to identify with the word “environmentalist” and are not eating plant based, you are participating in a larger-than-life contradiction.
If you claim the title of “nature lover” and travel to see and experience her beauty, but still participate in an industry that is swiftly crushing the environment… something doesn’t add up.
Every single time that you travel to connect with nature but eat an individual’s flesh, you’re saying to Mother Earth, “hey, thanks for everything, but I don’t care if you survive…. at least I got to see you. Who even cares about you or following generations, right?”
If we continue with this pattern of eating non- human animal flesh and their stolen products, there will be no “Great Outdoors” to love.
I have objections to this general statement.
I often hear people say, “Well, I’m not about to give up any foods when I travel. It doesn’t make sense. I want to experience the culture and how they live.”
If we sent this through a truth-scanner, it would often translate to: “I want to see/feel like a part of something exotic, and consume.”
Now, please remember, I am talking about the general majority of people. I know that we’re all different; exploring, experiencing and seeking our truth in different ways.
When we go to new places we’re often looking for new things—because they’re exotic to us. They captivate us. They’re so different from what we normally experience, and that’s why they draw us in. But we usually don’t stay.
I went to countless “asados” (BBQ’s) as vegan. Did I have to eat an individual’s flesh to “experience” the culture? No. Did I have to try different dishes that looked “exotic” to me and “traditional” to them that contained egg, cheese or milk, just so that I could get the full experience? No. No, no and no.
The way that I engaged with the culture fully was being honest about who I was– while also getting to know others for who they were. Offering anything less than my truth (that is open to change) to someone else would only be a half-connection.
Let me give you one more example, just for good measure. If you made your way over to the coast of California, you would not have to take up a new accent and pick up a surfboard to get involved. You show up, as you are, and make the choice as to whether you’re there to unconsciously consume or engage.
How will we ever get to know ourselves better, live more fully or feel more aligned without ever being open to begin again?
The truth? We won’t. Most of us understand that to change we have to see contrast. We have to experience new things. “New” is a word that circles around travel like the moon orbits the earth.
To be better, we have to make changes. So, if you’re out searching for newness and betterment, why are you not exploring veganism? Living vegan is all about new. It is often unrepresented because it is carelessly thrown labels such as “different” and “difficult”. Veganism is about recreating your life to live in a way that’s better for everyone: non-human animals, human workers, the environment, and yourself. Veganism is a life-long journey that you can travel, no matter where you are. I can’t find a better door into self discovery better than observing our actions and feeling if they align with our truths.
Does hurting others align with our truth? Does carelessly destroying our earth and environment align with our truth? Does living in bodies that are filled with dead flesh, and products that bring disease in the body, align with our truth? Does paying someone to kill individuals everyday (usually underprivileged workers who are targeted and abused as well, people who choose that job as a last option) align with our truth? No.
As Michael Amani reminds us, “Clearly, a conversation around the ethics of “food” and consumption in travel is a complex one, one where privileges and marginalized experiences must be acknowledged and contextualized at every step.”
With that being said, all experiences are not understood, but it is understood that we all have different experiences. Choose to participate in life a way that aligns with your truths.
If you are truly seeking fun, the great outdoors, new places and cultures, self-discovery and travel, choose to do it vegan. Any other way simply does not make sense.
Want to Eat Well and Travel Vegan? Let us help!
Thank you, Michael Amani, editor and contributor to this piece. Your ideas, knowledge, love, and support all shine so brightly through this text.