Tag: vegan travel

Elephants and Ethical Tourism

I’ve had the privilege and honor of being in the presence of these magnificent beings in:

*Thailand
*Rwanda
*Botswana
*California
*Texas

And in September, we hope to see them in France at Europe’s first sanctuary for elephants rescued from circuses and zoos. 🥰  (Check out Elephant Haven.)

France just announced its plans to re-open by June, and with the hope that’s on the horizon, our 2021 trips are filling up! 🥳

👉👉Visit JoyfulVeganTrips.com, and join us to experience the joy, abundance, camaraderie, and compassion that characterize our Vegan Trips Around the World with moi my amazing husband, and my incredible travel partners, World Vegan Travel

🙏Just as ivory belongs to elephants, elephants belong in the wild. ⠀

ETHICAL TOURISM
As I discuss in my Food for Thought podcast episode “Ethical Tourism,” please remember (and remind your friends and family) to avoid any outfit — both domestically and internationally — that involves / sells / promotes any of the following experiences: 

*Elephant Rides
*Elephant Paintings
*Elephants in Zoos
*Elephants in Circuses 

…or the use of elephants in any form of entertainment. 
RED FLAGS / GREEN WASHING:

—Chains
—Ropes
—Hooks / Bull-hooks
—Baby elephants without their mothers
—a place that calls itself a “sanctuary” but has elephants chained in any way or allows riding or sells paintings by elephants

HAVE YOU BEEN TO AN ELEPHANT SANCTUARY? Please let me know in the comments below!

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Chocolate Fudge Sauce (Vegan Recipe)

When we were traveling in Provence, France several years ago, we found vegan chocolate sauce in a local store and were pretty excited about it. So, we made this silly video — the first one I ever made on Instagram when we were limited to 15 seconds! — you might enjoy watching. I’m warning you. It’s pretty silly. 

Anyway, I thought I’d gift you with a delicious recipe reprinted from The Joy of Vegan Baking.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE
Perfect for making hot fudge sundaes! 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon ground kudzu root
2 tablespoons water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Dissolve the 1 tablespoon of kudzu into 2 tablespoons of water. Stir well to combine, and make sure it’s well dissolved.

Add the sugar, salt, and cocoa to a saucepan. Whisk these dry ingredients thoroughly before adding the milk, vanilla, and dissolved kudzu. Stir over medium heat. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and either serve hot or allow to cool. You can easily heat it up in the microwave anytime you want hot fudge sauce. 

Yield: 1-1/2 cups 


Let me know below in the comments how it turned out!

Can Garbage Unite a Divided Country?

How Rwanda Unites

Rwanda is considered the cleanest and greenest country in East Africa. It’s not because Rwanda employs more street sweepers, gardeners, and road crews than other countries, and it’s not (only) because of the decade-long ban on plastic bags.

It’s also because of a monthly communal ritual called Umuganda, a Kinyarwanda word that translates to “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome.” Military service isn’t compulsory in Rwanda but Umuganda is — for able-bodied people ages 18 to 65 — and it takes place on the last Saturday of each month.

Because expatriates and visitors are welcome to participate and because — on our recent CPG Vegan Trip to Rwanda — we happened to be there on the day of that month’s Umuganda, we arranged to visit a local village to join them build a road.

Umuganda in its current form was reintroduced in 1998 as part of the effort to rebuild the country and to nurture a shared national identity after the 1994 genocide.

As a U.S. citizen in a deeply divided country, it’s not a huge leap to draw parallels between the past divisiveness in Rwanda and the present divisiveness in my own country. If that sounds dramatic, then consider this:

A recent survey (referenced in this op-ed) asked both Republicans and Democrats, “Do you ever think we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of the opposing party in the public today just died’?” Some 20 percent of Democrats (12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (7.9 million voters) said yes.

When asked, “What if the opposing party wins the 2020 presidential election. How much do you feel violence would be justified then?” 18.3 percent of Democrats and 13.8 percent of Republicans said violence would be justified on a scale ranging from “a little” to “a lot.”

Over a 3-month period in 1994 in Rwanda, this very sentiment manifested itself into a methodical massacre in which approximately 800,000 citizens were brutally killed by their fellow citizens—neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, and friends.

If Rwandans can heal, unite, and forgive after such a massive atrocity, anyone can. We have much cleaning up to do in our own country—both literally and figuratively, and we must take it seriously.

Garbage clean-up anyone?

Photo Credit: Jennifer Hadley 

How Wildlife is Recovering After Genocide

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsis devastated this beautiful country, its people, its wildlife, and its wild spaces. But with vigilance, persistence, vision, courage, and strength, they are recovering.⁠ When Akagera National Park was created in 1934, it was one of the best wildlife reserves in all of Africa. ⁠

⁠Once spanning almost 1,000 square miles, sadly, in 1997, it was reduced in size by almost 50%. A large portion of the land was reallocated to refugees to Rwanda after the genocide. Before 1997, many refugees returning to Rwanda settled in the area, and the conservation area was harmed by poaching and cultivation. ⁠

⁠I so look forward to telling you more about the work they’re doing, the animals they’ve reintroduced, the conservation measures they’re taking, and the rhinos (!) who have just safely arrived from zoos in three different countries who will now live out their natural lives in the wild. ⁠

⁠On our first trip to Rwanda, we didn’t have the chance to visit Akagera, but we were so thrilled to make it part of our CPG Vegan Rwanda Trips. We saw zebra, warthogs, impala, cape buffalo, waterbucks, and many more mammals and birds. The highlight of the day was probably seeing a ⁠pod of hippos emerge from the water to the beach. ⁠

⁠People can heal. Animals can recover. Land can be restored. Rwanda teaches this lesson better than any other country I’ve seen. ⁠

[envira-gallery id="8361"]

*Birds, waterbuck photos by Julie Morgan
*Hippos, zebra, impala, and alligator photos by Lynda Kluck
*Hippos, zebra, impala, and elephant photos by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Best Vegan Backpack Ever!

(READ TO THE END TO GET YOUR 10% DISCOUNT!)

I’m not a girlie girl. I don’t like purses or clutches or anything that feels fussy. I like cross-body bags and backpacks, but the cross-body bags I was wearing started hurting my shoulder, so it was time to return to backpacks.

I have a very practical one from REI I like a lot, but it’s a little too casual for every occasion, so before I left for our first Vegan Paris / Alsace group trip in December 2018, I started shopping for a vegan leather backpack that was stylish as well as functional and ethical. I couldn’t find anything I liked and didn’t want to risk paying for something online that would be expensive to ship back. Alas, I ventured to Europe with my cotton backpack and figured I’d keep looking another time. (I hate shopping.)

One of the features of our Vegan Paris / Alsace Trip is a vegan / food walking tour in the Marais region of Paris, and as our lovely guide told us about the history, walked us around, and pointed out various relevant sites, she casually called our attention to a vegan leather bag shop as we walked past it. Well, far be it from vegans to pass up such a shop, so we all doubled back to see if it was open. It was closed. As we pressed our faces against the glass peering into the minimalist shop, the owner sat at his desk peering back probably wondering who this hoard of nosey Americans were. He was kind enough (and lucky enough) to open his doors for us, and it was heaven…especially for me.

This isn’t simply a vegan leather bag shop. It is a family-owned shop that specializes in one brilliant product: an animal-free, ethically made BACKPACK that comes in 3 different sizes and 10+ different colors. I couldn’t believe it. The vegan gods had smiled upon me. The bag is stylish, functional, and designed for security. (The zipper closure is hidden when closed so pickpockets can’t pick!) It’s even won awards for this design!

Truly, everything I wanted in a backpack is in this bag. It’s very stylish, very comfortable (it fits like a vest so the weight is equally distributed all over the back), lightweight, waterproof, and large enough to fit a laptop (and I got the small size!). They’re also unisex! They’re not cheap, but that’s the point: this is an ethical bag made from an environmentally friendly material that’s meant to LAST!!

The most difficult part was choosing a color. I picked a neutral dark gray color, and 4 other of our travelers bought their own: in taupe, black, teal, and mustard. 

When we returned to Paris for our 2019 Vegan Paris / Alsace Trip, we made sure a visit to Arsayo was built into our walking tour, and this time we got to see their new line of cork bags (which is what they’re focusing on now since the material is more environmentally friendly than the synthetic leather). 

NOW YOU CAN GET YOUR OWN with a 10% discount by visiting Arsayo.com and entering joyfulvegan as the coupon code! 

Our travelers in 2019 fell in love with them as well and can’t wait to use them as advocacy tools — gifting the bags to friends and family to demonstrate how you can be fashionable AND ethical!

Which is YOUR favorite color?

Why Are You Vegan?

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t look at this thing called vegan and say, “now that’s a club I want to join!”

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I Could Never Give Up Cheese!

When people say “I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I could really live without it, but I could never live without cheese,” here’s what I say in response. (I also say take The 30-Day Vegan Challenge to receive the tools and resources you need to make a change sustainably, joyfully, healthfully, and deliciously.)

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Why Are Vegans So Fussy (and Weak)?

Another question FOX News’ Tucker Carlson asked Gene Baur during their interview that a number of people asked what my 1-minute response would be went like this:

“I don’t like the way factory farms treat animals, so I’m kinda sympathetic to what you’re saying. And then I meet people who are vegan, and #1, there’s a super high level of fussiness, which I find a major turn-off, and #2, they all look pretty easy to push over, so you can’t tell me that it’s that good for you if they all look like they fall over in the wind, right?⠀
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You asked for it, so here is my response. ⠀
~⠀
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