Vegan Travel Interview with Vegan Nom Noms



I’m an American vegan expat based in Berlin, Germany since 2011. I’m also a big nomad always traveling around the world parts of the time. I’m queer, friend of all street cats, a bit of an organizational nerd, and a big fan of community-building, especially via my Queer Women* Digital Nomads group.

IG:https://www.instagram.com/unsettleddown/

Website: http://vegannomnoms.net/






Today on our blog, we have a great interview with expat Nicole from Vegan Nom Noms. Vegan Nom Noms is a very informative blog with lots of useful information for vegan travelers. Nicole has tons of vegan recipes, she's been all across the USA, she's been living in Berlin and lucky for us she's sharing all her insider information with us!  Right here, right now, Nicole is answering questions about her vegan travel lifestyle. Without further ado here is our vegan travel interview with Nicole from Vegan Nom Noms.

Why are you Vegan?

It started out as a challenge in 2006. It was my first year of university and the all- you-can-eat buffet at every meal was getting to me, I just felt gross. A few of my friends were going vegan, and I actually thought it was really stupid and that they were being pretentious. However, I decided to go vegan for a month as a challenge, with full intention of turning back. The thing is, I felt much better after that month so I just stuck with it. Over time I developed more meaning around it as I learned more. Mostly it’s that I like that it makes me really pay attention to where my food comes from. If I can’t or don’t want to kill animals, etc. to eat them, then I don’t feel I have any business doing so. I don’t like the disconnect I see with most meat eaters and where their food comes from, and I want to be fully aware of my food choices. It’s weird to me, this sticking one’s head in the sand about the source of one’s food, especially when eating is such a major part of life.



Why are you travelling?

I’m just generally curious about the world. I want to know what’s out there, and I get antsy after too long in one place. I really live my homebase in Berlin, but I still need to get out sometimes, I find it inspires me and I pick up new knowledge to take home. Traveling also often makes me appreciate home more, and I meet people I would never have met if I had just stayed in my flat in Berlin.



Where in the world is the most vegan-friendly place you have travelled to?

Well I’m biased as my homebase Berlin, Germany is pretty damn vegan-friendly. Besides that Chiang Mai, Thailand is probably one of the most vegan places I’ve been. I was there two months and ate out most meals and still didn’t get to everywhere (almost though!). If you’re heading there, you can have a look at my Chiang Mai guide to see what I mean! Ubud, Bali, Indonesia deserves a shout too, and the Balinese food is pretty easy to veganize even if it’s not a vegan restaurant. Plus, the smoothie bowls there…



Which came first travel or veganism? How did one affect the other?

Travel. My first trip abroad was with this student ambassador program to the UK and Ireland when I was 16, and that sort of set the scene. My parents also used to take us on more local trips, and also up to Montreal, Canada as a kid and teenager as well.



Which country would you move to for their vegan scene?
I did move to Berlin, Germany. I’m pretty happy there.



Would you rather go to any vegan restaurant OR local non-veg restaurants for veganised meals? Why?

I don’t have a preference, it just depends on the food for me and what I feel like eating.



What resource do you use when finding vegan food on your travels?
Happycow.net for SURE. That app is amazing. I also often look up and follow the local vegan hashtag on instagram when I first get somewhere. Generally it’s just #veganCITYNAME. Blogs are a big help to me too, I usually google “vegan CITY blog” and read through the posts, especially if I’m somewhere shorter term and need to sift down the choices to a few favorites.



Do you research how vegan-friendly a destination is before booking your travels?
Absolutely, using all the methods above.



Do you prefer travelling to vegan-friendly destinations? Or do you prefer to discover how vegan-friendly a place is when you arrive?

A combination of the two. I wouldn’t NOT go to a place if there were no vegan restaurants, if it looked cool, since there’s always SOMETHING vegan you can eat. However, food is one of my major motivations for travel, so I tend to end up wanting to go to the vegan-friendly places more just because I want to try all the food.



Which vegan-friendly places would you recommend others visit?

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia,

Brighton, England

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (this one was a big surprise to me, and the Dharma Realms vegan buffet at the monastery is worth the trip alone)

Brooklyn, NY (the best places are totally in Brooklyn all you Manhattan peeps)

Denver, Colorado

Los Angeles, California (they have a vegan Ethiopian place and just really interesting food)

Minneapolis, Minnesota



How do you stay healthy while travelling? What are your go to snacks?

This is always my weak point. I am getting a bit better, but still have a ways to go.

I have been seeking out a gym in each place I go, and if I’m just a week or less there I usually try and just drop into 1-2 yoga classes or something. In Chiang Mai I was able to attend my favorite fitness class from home, Body Pump, and for awhile a rad woman was also offering fitness bootcamp classes in the park I attended.

If I’m longer somewhere I make getting a place with a kitchen a priority, so I can eat simpler healthier foods. If I’m somewhere a week or shorter though, I tend to just indulge though since I want to try all a city’s offerings. I travel slow though, so I guess that’d be different for someone only a few days in each place.



Do you prefer cooking your own meals when travelling or do you like eating out at restaurants?
I like both. I tend to prefer breakfast at home since I’m lazy and don’t want to put on pants. My first week somewhere I usually eat out a lot, but then it usually morphs into one meal out and the rest at home.



How do you choose the type of accommodation you want to stay in?
This is the most complicated and stressful for me. If short term, I just use Agoda, Booking.com and AirBnB. For long-term, especially in Asia, I find it’s better to research some places and then just show up to them as the pictures only match the actual quality 50% of the time. Local housing Facebook groups are also really helpful for this, that’s how I got my place in Hoi An, Vietnam and in Chiang Mai, Thailand.



Would you rather solo travel, travel with someone or go on group tours?
This all really depends on the people, my mood, budget, etc. I think all have their place. In general I travel solo, then I can do what I want. I tend to get stressed when travel with others as I can feel their expectations on me. I’m really quite a lazy traveller and I don’t like to do a ton of things in a day. If I travel with “normal” people who are just on holiday, I find they tend to want to pack as much into a day as possible, which is cool, but exhausting for me. There have been a few people on the same pace as me though and that’s cool.

I’d do a group tour now and again, but I find them too expensive to do frequently and also not sustainable with the lots packed into a day thing longer-term.


Do you document your vegan travel finds? if so, please link post or page

I absolutely do. I have guides of all the cities I’ve spent a lot of time in, and they tend to be pretty thorough, not just restaurants. I really wish more of the vegan travel bloggers would write more about where they stayed, as I find that the hardest to figure out as a vegan traveller. I usually include info about local vegan community stuff and general info of a place. You can see my posts on all the places I’ve travelled here.


What is your best travel advice/tip for a new travelling vegan?

Get the happy cow app on your phone, then pick your favourite places and bookmark them on Google Maps so you can see them as you wander around. You can also download one google map at a time offline so you don’t even need internet.



Thank you, Nicole, for participating in our vegan travel interview! For those of you that are interested in learning more about Nicoles travels or want to make some of her delicious looking recipes, check out her blog Vegan Nom Noms.

If you are a vegan traveller and would like to be included in our next mini interviews or star in a post of your own on your vegan travel lifestyle please email us at wanderlustvegans@gmail.com for more details.

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