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First comes the confession: I once rolled my eyes when I had to change restaurants as there wasn’t any food for vegans in the group. I was too tired and wondered why they are making life more difficult than it already is. Later on, I felt ashamed of how I was not respecting their choice, and the situation allowed me to dig deeper into why it sucks to be a vegan on the road. Points made in the article are based on various real vegan experiences on the road. If you are vegan and cannot relate to any of this said below, congratulations you are surrounded by better human beings!

It is some sort of human nature to feel a little bit threatened and intimidated by the different ones. It could be skin color, sex, religion, or lifestyle. Veganism is a lifestyle that seeks to prevent all forms of exploitation of animals for food (possibly and clothing!) daily. Even though it has been strengthening its position in our societies, it still provokes suspicion and sometimes sadly even anger. A negative attitude towards vegetarians and vegans is not considered a ‘real’ societal problem, rather it is largely accepted, especially when it comes to mocking them. 

  • If you are not travelling alone, you will have dinner together with other people sooner or later. Consider yourself lucky if a country you are visiting is vegan-friendly, otherwise, you can be stuck with only one dish at the restaurant – side salads. Many vegans claim that after a long or even stressful day of travelling, their friends just run to the nearest café, ignoring the fact that they cannot find anything decent to eat there. They are not your friends anymore, they are hungry people without a soul.  

  • If you are a smart vegan, you take care of snacks in advance. Omnivores can easily pop to any little shop or vending machine to get a bar of chocolate, but this does not always work for vegans. In some countries, you can be safe and the odds are in your favour, yet in other places, it could be rather difficult. Dried fruits and nuts make great travel snacks, also think about taking some protein bars. Stuff your pockets with those to avoid starving when walking your 15th kilometre in the new city. 

  • Maybe I haven’t made it clear before – not all vegans want to draw the attention to themselves and explain openly their life choices. However, being a guest at someone’s house makes it a bit harder. No doubt, you’ve heard that vegans are the least exciting guests. As a host, you feel the need to make sure that everyone at the dinner table is satisfied or at least has something to eat. It is common not to be sure whether the particular dish is truly vegan, thus you have to warn your hostess or bring your food, especially if you are the only vegan around the table. 

  • Even if your travel companions are cool with you being vegan, on the journey you will meet a lot of new people and at some point, you have to be ready to hear many lame jokes. It is either: ‘Can you even drink water?’, or ‘Are you a level five vegan?’, referring to The Simpsons series when one of the characters indicates that on this level he can’t eat anything that casts a shadow. It is your choice to decide whether to fight or to ignore it. Option ‘explain’ usually does not work anything related to vegans. 

  • Finally, in terms of the quantity of food available, vegans are always at a disadvantage. There will always be fewer food options for vegans and do not forget that everyone can eat their food, while they cannot eat everyone else’s. Vegans have the right to make it clear that this is only their food, and you are not entitled to touch it. Just imagine that you could actually like it and take it all away!

Hopefully, after reading these points, you will be more compassionate about vegan travelers’ problems and will take a second before complaining about how they have ruined your lunch. 

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