It’s funny how people and places can change your outlook and opinions on life so much. If there’s one thing I love about travelling it’s the impact that seeing all these news places and meeting all these new people can have on you. I’m undoubtedly a completely different person from the 21 year old who left the UK with a backpack headed for Thailand in 2015. Naturally a lot of this change comes with growing up, but I have absolutely no doubt as to how much travelling has shaped me into the (hopefully good) person I am today. It’s with all of this in mind that I find myself celebrating the Easter weekend with my old Queenstown housemates in Mount Maunganui on the North Island of New Zealand. I had never been to this part of NZ before but if it’s possible to fall in love with a place I’m pretty sure I achieved that over the weekend.
After two of my best friends left Queenstown (breaking my heart) for the warmer climes of the North Island I decided to take the positives from them moving onto their next adventure (and leaving me…not bitter about that at all…). Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or heaven forbid you don’t regularly read my blog, you will know that I now have a “adult job” which means I get actual weekends and public holidays off. I’m living the 9-5 dream some would say. This meant a four day weekend for me over Easter and a mini break to visit my girls up North.
Since NZ is so far away from everything else it often means holidaying in the same country. This however isn’t a problem for me at all because when you’ve been living on the South Island for 8 months (which has a relatively similar climate to the UK) going up to the North Island feels like you’re back in Asia. And I’m not even being dramatic. For some reason however I don’t always have the best luck though. The day before I was due to fly Cyclone Cook hit NZ. Everyone went slightly over the top and it felt like the country was on the verge of a breakdown. In the end it wasn’t that bad and by the time I was about the fly all air travel had resumed to normal. No cyclone was stopping me from getting to my vegan Easter.
The amount of eye rolls I’ve had thrown at me when I’ve told people I was going to be celebrating Easter in a vegan fashion is enough to make anyone was to put their fist through a plywood wall. I’ve been vegetarian for a while now and the next logical step for me is to become vegan. Now there’s a number of reasons I think this and putting those ideas into writing on my blog seems like a pretty good way of getting them out there rather than getting into a verbal debate, which inevitably seems to happen when people find out I don’t want to eat animals or their products. Que the “oh no, but what do you eat?!”, “I feel so sorry for you, I couldn’t live without meat”, “You must eat a lot of salads, don’t you?”. Actually, you know what Susan, I very rarely eat a bloody salad. I love food. I eat a lot of food. I just don’t want to eat certain foods, ok?
I can hand on heart say I have absolutely zero judgement for people who eat animals or their products. I used to. I get it, we’re almost all brought up to believe this is the normal thing to do. Sadly this zero judgement policy doesn’t seem to go both ways. Veganism is somehow becoming portrayed as this negative, almost dirty thing which, I’m not going to lie, kind of perplexes me. Is it really going to effect you if I don’t want to eat turkey on Christmas Day? I’m quite happy with my Veggie Wellington thanks (shout out to Jo for her top Easter Sunday creation which was insanely yummy & Soph for the banoffee pie which was better than any dairy version I’ve ever had).
My reasoning for edging towards a vegan life is this; the more I read about the environment, sustainability, and the way animals are treated the more I simply don’t want to eat/wear/contribute to this industry. It truly is a can of worms. It can start with watching Cowspiracy and quickly develop into reading articles on how we could feed the entire world if we gave up meat at 2am on a Tuesday night. It’s not just about what you eat either. Once I began to read about sustainability I quickly started questioning a lot of my everyday choices; what clothes I buy, who made them, what are they made from? Trying to turn to a sustainable vegan lifestyle is most definitely not going to happen over night. It’s a process that can takes years, even a lifetime for some people. I own leather, I get on planes, I don’t always buy the most environmentally friendly toilet paper in the supermarket. But the power of educating yourself and making a few simple changes to your lifestyle can never be underestimated.
My weekend in the wonderful Mount Maunganui proved to me that you don’t need to give up things or miss out on anything to lead a vegan lifestyle. It also taught me you don’t need to beat yourself up if you aren’t the perfect vegan (is there even such a thing?!). Even as a vegetarian I’ve found that people want to catch you out, even more so if you’re a vegan. Despite this I’m really excited to start exploring the vegan world that I’ve dabbled in for a while now. Although I originally started this blog as a way to document my travels it seems logical that it’s developing into a way to showcase vegetarian and vegan lifestyle choices because it’s all that travelling that got me to where I am today.
On that note if you’ve got any tips for vegans in Christchurch, hit me up! (P.s. couldn’t recommend Mount Maunganui more if you’re travelling the North Island). Over and out. x