The world is shifting, and if in the past the number of vegetarians and vegans was at a minimum, nowadays this is no longer the case. People are becoming vegetarians for all sorts of reasons: to lose some weight, for health reasons, or for ethical reasons related to animal rights and ecology. And for some, being a vegetarian traveler is a scary thing.
Yoga, natural medicines and a balanced, alkaline diet are becoming huge around the world, but many vegetarians and vegans are still reluctant to travel, believing they might not find suitable food options.
What if I could prove you wrong? What if being vegan or vegetarian is not a limitation at all? Here’s why you should grab your passport without fear!
It’s Much Easier Than You Think
Nowadays, being a traveler who only eats vegan or vegetarian foods is quite easy. Most major airlines across the world offer gourmet-like vegan and vegetarian meals, some even offer raw and gluten-free options. The days when vegetarians would have to pack their food for those long flights are gone. Airlines are very conscious of their customers’ increasing demand for vegetarian food, and most of their meals are absolutely delicious.
Basically every regular restaurant offers a few vegetarian options, but the number of vegan and vegetarian specialist restaurants all over the world will amaze you. From simple, filling meals to absolutely amazing and expensive gourmet dishes, there’s no shortage of options to eat meat-free while you’re on the road.
The information available is wider nowadays too, and you can access forums and websites that specialize in providing you with information from around the globe.
Half the World Lives On a Vegetarian Diet
Believe it or not, half of the world is primarily vegetarian, especially in Asia. If you’re used to the limitations back home where you’re a minority, you’ll be thrilled to find out you can actually travel around easily and stress free—without starving—in most Asian countries.
India, Thailand, Nepal and Malaysia are a paradise for veggie lovers. The Buddhist philosophy has shaped the traditional foods in those countries. Malaysia, although a Muslim country and therefore not predominantly vegetarian, has been voted as Asia’s food mecca and has been hosting numerous food contests and events thanks to the incredible diversity of immigrant communities from other Asian countries who have strongly influenced the local cuisine.
A full, home-cooked meal can cost you as little as one dollar, so get ready for a food extravaganza while abroad.
Certain European countries, such as Italy, Germany, Greece and Portugal, also have a huge diversity of vegetarian dishes.
Experiencing new ways of living is always fun when you’re traveling. Experiencing the local gastronomy is part of understanding a culture. When abroad, try to eat at local restaurants and learn how each culture uses the ingredients, textures and flavors.
Delight yourself with the most amazing curries in India, the dhals in Nepal, the stir-fry dishes of Thailand, the rich, hybrid foods of Malaysia. If Europe is your destiny, you’ll find out how some traditional dishes are quite ancient, and some of them are surrounded by incredible myths and legends, like the Portuguese “stone soup” or the Swiss “cholera pie.”
Get Some Inspiration
Why don’t you take cooking classes while you’re abroad? They’re fun and usually very affordable. You’ll not only be able to taste new dishes and flavors, but actually actively engage in the preparation of these dishes, being able to take this new knowledge back home with you. Think how much fun it will be to make dinner for family and friends and share your new skills.
Life is Short, Enjoy It to the Fullest
The truth is that life is too short and none of us knows how long we’ll be living on this earth. If your wanderlust is stronger than anything, then you should go ahead and conquer the world.
Traveling exposes you to new situations, new ways of living, new ideas. You’ll meet people from all walks of life who will probably share many of the same interests, but you’ll never meet them if you aren’t traveling.
Traveling pushes all your boundaries and takes you out of your comfort zone. And that’s when growth takes place. Being exposed to new realities will broaden your horizons and inspire you to live with more appreciation for what you have and where you come from. You might learn a new language, or a new skill like scuba diving, cooking, or surfing. You might even fall in love and come back home with a suitcase filled with great memories.