Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Top 10 Eats of 2015

Another year is coming to a close and 2015 has been filled with some seriously epic adventures! I've travelled extensively on three continents and my year has been filled with more fun times than I can count. It's without a doubt been a life changing kinda year, I always feel that I grow as a person as each year rolls on by (that's the point right?!) but I don't think I've had a year that's changed my perspectives and outlooks more than this one in a very long time. Despite missing having a home base on occasions I'm still loving my new travel lifestyle, the excitement of exploring a new place is still one of my driving forces and I can't wait to keep adventuring next year. Having eaten around 80% of my meals at restaurants, cafes, food trucks and street stalls this year my top 10 list was the hardest I've ever compiled... How do you choose just 10 things when you've eaten so much amazing food? Well, you make lists, delete lists, trawl through your iPhoto library, contemplate booking flights back to Vietnam to eat more, remember that there's a whole lot of amazing vegan food in the world and then you sit the fuck down, start writing, and take a break once you're almost done because item number one on the list is only 15 minutes away and you need to eat it RIGHT NOW!

The food featured on the list is in the order in which I devoured them rather than ranking them from 1 - 10, that would've been too hard and also silly because on any given day I could be craving something different. Who am I to say that waffles are better than pierogis?! Putting this list together is always challenging but I love using it as a way to reflect on my experiences and adventures - whilst searching for food photos I'm reminded of fantastic hikes, time spent with friends and the many beautiful beaches I've been lucky enough to explore among other things. As always only new-to-me dishes make the list so I've ruthlessly discounted things like the The Del Ray from The Vegan Nom as well as Veganista's amazing ice creams, check out my Top Ten Eats of 2014 list for more awesome Austin eats as well as favourites from Brighton, New York, Tokyo and Kyoto.
1 - Chocolate Banana Waffles from Veganerie in Bangkok

I visited Veganerie for the first time back in February and I've lost count of how many times I've returned.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Travel Burnout // Travels in Cambodia

Nick and I were meant to go to Cambodia in March but after spending longer than planned in Thailand and Vietnam there was no time left - April had arrived by the time our Vietnamese adventures were coming to a close meaning that Cambodia was hotting up to levels that I had no inclination or intention of dealing with! Austin was calling us and it seemed like a much more sensible idea to visit Cambodia the next time Nick and I found ourselves in South East Asia.

That time rolled around quickly and we decided to visit Cambodia earlier this month after our vegetarian festival escapades in Bangkok and Phuket and our month volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare. It's no secret that my time at LAW was vastly different than I'd expected it to be, it was challenging and stressful in ways that I hadn't even considered it would be and I left feeling more burnt out than I'd felt in years. The simplest things that I'd had no problems with earlier in the year suddenly seemed like insurmountable challenges - booking a train ticket, asking for something vegan in a restaurant, even the pressure of trying to haggle with a tuktuk driver when they were clearly trying to charge something outlandish felt like too much. I basically felt like I wanted to hide from the world which is quite challenging when you're travelling.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Vegan in Croatia: Split and Dubrovnik + Vegan Travel Guide Giveaway

This is my final post from this summer's European road trip adventure and to make it that little bit more exciting I'm combining it with my spot on the blog tour for Caitlin from The Vegan Word's super helpful and informative book The Essential Vegan Travel Guide. I'd feel guilty for not writing about Split and Dubrovnik sooner (how has almost 4 months passed so fast?) but they're not going anywhere and life happens y'know. As I mentioned in my post about Pula and Plitviče, Croatia was one of the countries that inspired my European road trip and Split had been at the top of the Croatia list for some time. It just seemed like the kind of city that'd be right up my street and it was all I'd imagined and more. Nick and I stayed a little way out of town, as is often the way with camping, at a spot called Camping Stobreč. The reason we chose that particular campsite was because there's a bus stop right outside with regular busses taking campers and locals alike into the city centre. Perfect.

Vege was one of our first stops in town as we were starving when we first arrived and we knew that this place served solid fast food. It was a little challenging to find as the Happy Cow map I'd taken a screenshot of was a little off the mark leading me to the main road next to the market that Vege is located in. After a little wandering and asking for directions we ascertained that Vege was in the market, if we'd approached from the port or anywhere on that side of town we'd have easily spotted it because there's a huge sign pointing you in the right direction!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

2015 Vegan Holiday Gift Guide

The more time I spend out of the UK the more I am determined to break out of old habits and customs like buying unnecessary things that clutter up my life and don't add any value or support something (or someone) awesome. The holiday season is the hardest time to step away from consumerist tendencies as the shops are filled with shiny baubles, tempting treats and ultimately pointless but fun things like glittery reindeer and plush Christmas trees. 2014 was the year I decided that I would no longer buy things that didn't add value to my life - yes I am occasionally going to buy frivolous things (I'm not a robot!) but no more impulse purchasing and no more crap. This means that my main holiday gift recommendation is to only fill other peoples homes with things that will enrich their lives, amuse or delight them. Things that serve a purpose, things that you know they'll love and things that support businesses or artists who are doing something cool.

I love to support vegan artists especially, no matter the time of year, and My Zoetrope is always one of the artists at the top of my list. Her calendars always bring a smile to my face with each month's seasonally appropriate animal illustration. I bought Michelle's calendar every year without fail (well, right up until the moment that I decided to leave the country) because it's oh so cute.

You can pick up the totes adorable 2016 Calendar from My Zoetrope on Etsy for $25

Another of my very favourite vegan artists is Lisa aka Panda With Cookie. Her fun handmade eco-felt plush ornaments and cat toys have been fave's of mine for some time and because they're made from recycled plastic bottles rather than wool felt they're 100% vegan.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

My Month Volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare

When Nick and I visited Koh Lanta back in January we fell in love with the island. We loved the food and the beaches but most of all we loved visiting Lanta Animal Welfare, Koh Lanta's cat and dog shelter. We came to walk dogs, we took a tour and we even ate at Time For Lime because we knew that the money from our meal there would go directly towards funding Lanta Animal Welfare. The information leaflets and tours sold us on Lanta Animal Welfare's great work not only with the animals living there but also on their work educating local communities about how to care for animals as well as their fantastic sounding spay and neuter programme. The long and short of it was that Lanta Animal Welfare gave us the warm and fuzzies, so much so that within a month of leaving we were desperate to come back and booked to return to live onsite and do a month's volunteering. That month just ended and the warm and fuzzy feeling I felt has been replaced with so many new feelings; despair, heartache, disappointment and confusion to name a few.

I knew going into the month that it was going to be challenging, that I was going to have to deal with seeing animals in tough situations and that yes, animals probably were going to die. As a sensitive human with a love for all of the world's animals, yes, even cockroaches, I knew that I'd spend a fair amount of time feeling sad but I thought that that would be evened out by how uplifted I'd feel being a part of such a cool project run by people who, like me, just want to help save animals. When a cat was killed by a dog within the first ten minutes of my first shift I felt sad but the outpouring of grief and obvious devastation of those around me made me feel like I was in a great place surrounded by great people and to a certain extent that was true