I'm Theresa. I love to travel. I'm vegan. Voila! The Traveling Vegan blog!
That's the short introduction. Here's a more in-depth version, in case you care:
I'm 21, I live in a teeny town in the lower Adirondacks (NY). Seriously, my town has about 3,000 people. It's great. I love to read, and I have since I was a kid. My parents are/were in the National Guard. My brother and sister and I are not stereotypical army brats, though. I've lived at the same address since I was 2 years old. I live next door to my uncle. His step-daughter lives on the other side of him. My cousin lives in the next house down from her. It makes life interesting, to say the least. We didn't do much traveling when I was younger, although my parents gave it their best effort. We went to Cape Cod a few summers, Florida twice, DC, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Maine... it was great, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
I recently (December) graduated from a little school in the far northern reaches of NY state. For those unfamiliar with the geography of NY, think 6 or 7 hours from NYC, but about an hour from Ottawa (yeah, Canada). I majored in Sociology, and I'm a total soc nerd at heart. During my undergrad years, I got my first taste of real travel. In May 2004 I went to Thailand. It was for a summer course, so I went with 10 other students and 2 professors. We spent just under 3 weeks in Chiang Mai, a few days in Bangkok, and a week in Rayong, a little beach-y town on the Gulf of Thailand. I came home for a month, and then set off for a semester in Australia. I spent nearly 5 months in tropical North Queensland, living in dorms, seeing the local sights, partying, and going to classes. It was basically amazing. I didn't get to travel around Oz very much--I was very short on funds. But, I did get to see the Whitsunday Islands and Mission Beach, both incredibly beautiful places. Then it was back to my home Uni for a semester. At the end of the semester, May 2005, I got the opportunity to spend 3 weeks in Ethiopia. We stayed in the capital, Addis Ababa, and we went to some more rural areas, like Lake Langano and Shashamene. Pictures from all of these trips are here.
Now the vegan bit. I decided to go vegetarian during my first year of college, I think it was January or February of 2003. My reasons were plenty--I was never a huge fan of meat in the first place, compassion, vegetarian diets are better for the environment, it was healthier, etc. I did that for a while, but thanks to some prodding by a vegan BFF and a vegan professor, I realized that going vegan was the only sensible thing for me to do. All of my reasons for going vegetarian were only furthered by going vegan. I didn't like milk, eating only a plant-based diet is much healthier for me and the environment, dairy and eggs are laden with tons of suffering... I made the switch in January 2005, and over the course of the year my conviction has only gotten stronger. And, although all of those reasons are compelling, my main reason for staying vegan is ethical. I can't knowingly inflict that kind of suffering on other living beings.
I have yet to actually travel as a vegan. Yes, I went vegan before I went to Ethiopia, but while I was there I was pretty lax about the whole thing. I stayed vegetarian, of course, but I didn't question ingredients like butter, and I ate cheese. I feel awful about it now, it wouldn't have been that hard to be vegan there, but what's past is past.
But! I am traveling very soon. On May 22, 2006 I'm returning to Australia, to pursue grad school and love and adventure and who knows what else. The current plan is to do a bit of post-graduate work, most likely an honors project, and then to get out and see the world. Andy (the love) and I are restless. We want to travel everywhere and see everything. And I intend to document it. Traveling as a vegan seems daunting, and it might very well be a pain in the ass. This blog will share my experiences as a vegan traveling to various places, with an omnivore. It's partially to help others, partially to keep in touch with people I know, and partially just for me to vent when I need to. I don't know how often I'll update, especially when I'm on the go, but check back every now and then to see what's going on in the world of this traveling vegan.