’Tis the season to go on holiday, whether it’s a trip devoted to marvelling at ancient artefacts in a historical city, or a week of uninterrupted relaxation. It’s that time of year when your suitcase starts to look real lonely in that cupboard under the stairs, crying out for attention. Travelling the world is not just nourishing for the soul as many inspirational quotes on Facebook will tell you, but it’s also a chance to sample the delights of myriad vegan cuisines. From Bangkok to Berlin, everywhere has a unique design for the vegan menu, as well as untold cultural discoveries to unearth. One handy tool is the Vegan Society’s Vegan Passport, packed with helpful phrases in 95% of the world’s languages to help you find the food you want, so it might be worth buying a copy before you jet off. You may have already booked your summer holidays for this summer in a fit of escapism in mid-January as bait to get you through those nippy winds and slippery frosts. If so, kudos for being super organised. But if you’ve yet to make your booking and you’re scouting for ideas, then we have some plans and schemes that might take your fancy.
If you’ve ever glanced at our Facebook page, you’ll know we have an entire photo album dedicated to the relentless cuteness of animals. A photo of any creature looking right down the lens can trigger an uncontrollable wave of cooing. But why stick to just photos? Sanctuaries are the obvious holiday choice for animal lovers, because there’s nothing quite like stroking the wiry hair of a sturdy pig or gazing into the elongated pupils of a goat. It’s great to meet the kind and committed staff at a sanctuary and understand their work, alongside finding out how you can help their cause by donating or adopting an animal. Plus, sanctuaries are often buried in the lush scenery of the countryside, so the purer air will be a treat for the lungs. National treasure David Attenborough recently explained that over 50% of the world’s population are urbanised, meaning we don’t have as much of a connection to the natural world. Visiting an animal sanctuary in all its muddy glory is the ideal antidote to the chaos and concrete of city life.
If you’re looking to stay in the UK, then a good old Google search will dig up plenty of brilliant sanctuaries up and down the country that you could pop in to whilst you’re holidaying nearby. If you’re headed to the home counties, then Hopefield is a lovely sanctuary to visit for the day, offering animals a place to live for life. It’s the official residency of horses, goats, pigs, donkeys, cows, cats and rabbits, and has the support of Leona Lewis, a long-time animal-lover who’s keen to raise cash for this cause. Also check out the locations of the Donkey Sanctuaries, as they’ve got a handful of sites teeming with endearing donkeys to pet. For those who want to go further afield or perhaps already live over the pond, the USA is home to the Farm Sanctuary. Their New York site also has its own cute little Bed & Breakfast cabins, so you’ll never be far from the fun. What’s more, all the food is vegan. Bonus!
There’s something about cruises that ooze pure leisure. Maybe it’s the excitement of exploring an entire coastline without having to walk for miles on end, or the luxury of being on a giant shiny boat. By definition, all cruises are first class for relaxation, and as long as you call ahead, many will happily cater to a vegan diet. But there’s also a dreamlike vegan cruise that caught our eye. The Vegan Vacation at Sea departs from Seattle and slides up the West coast of North America to Alaska over a week in September 2015, and their menu is bursting with delicious vegan dining. The days are filled with cooking demos from top class vegan chefs and exclusive shore trips to spot whales, otters and bears, oh my! Other trips they offer include a bike ride through Glacier Bay National Park and nature walks through Alaska’s rainforest city, which both sound like certified jaw-dropping experiences. This cruise has its doors wide open to international holidaymakers, so if you have the dosh, it certainly sounds like it will be one hell of a holiday, doesn’t it?
Guided Group Holidays
There’s so much the world has to offer and so little time to see it in! For those looking to really embrace other cultures and avoid the tourist-trodden track, but you don’t have eight months to spare to make those discoveries, then you can rely on the wisdom of the vegan package tour by VegVoyages. The tours are provided by vegans and vegetarians who have lived in Asia for many years and amassed a wealth of local knowledge about a culture’s people, history and food, so they sure know what they’re talking about. Their trips are peppered with cookery classes, so not only will you be able to thoroughly enjoy eating it, but you’ll be able to rustle up something just as delicious once you’re home. The adventure to India in September looks especially intriguing, as the price includes not only your travel, accommodation and food, but also dinner with a local family, a visit to a local animal sanctuary and daily language lessons so you can dig deep into Indian culture. Yes please.
P.S. If you’re looking for more details on vegan travel destinations, check out Elizabeth Castoria’s exceedingly informative and very funny book, How To Be Vegan, which is where these holiday ideas come from!