Remember when I said I’d be doing some interviews and non-food (not directly anyway) reviews and interviews on here? Well here’s another one! I got so excited when I found out that Kristin Lajeunesse from Will Travel for Vegan Food was about to release her book, and I lucked out with the opportunity to interview her right here on my blog. The book is titled Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love. Read on to see what she has to say about the book, and how this journey has been so incredibly life-changing for Kristin (and how it can help change your life too).
A natural result of turning inward to ask the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of specific aspects of my life (including food consumption and production) led me to veganism. As a result, that led to even more questions and awareness about my personal choices and how they impact other people, other animals, and the planet. At the moment veganism is still widely considered a radical or different lifestyle. Therefore, that could tie into the non-conformity aspect of it. But on a deeper level, through learning to ask the right questions and remain open to answers that might not immediately settle well—causing me to ask even harder questions of myself and dig even deeper—led me to understand myself much better – who I want to be, how I want to live, and what kind of impact I wish to have on the world. And that is a life that doesn’t currently fit the mold. I like to live nomadically, travel often, work for myself on my own schedule, and I intend to share vegan food finds from around the world, indefinitely!
3. Were there any doubts you had about either taking this journey or writing the book?
Absolutely (to both)! Throughout the planning stages and especially during the trip – it was a LOT of work, and quite stressful much of the time. Writing a book was something I had never seriously considered until I was approached by Vegan Publishers. It was also one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. The discipline, the built-in “therapy sessions” that were writing chapters with such detail; recalling sometimes incredibly painful experiences, and the pressure I put on myself to produce something that felt strong and realistically representative of my journey and the people I met, was all quite heavy at times.
Above all, despite the doubts or insecurities, one thing remained constant while on the journey and while working through the book: that it was exactly where I need to be/what I needed to be doing. When I sat back and took time to breathe I’d undoubtedly experience this sense of calm, knowing that everything would work out and that this is what I was meant to do.
4. What really motivated you to write a book about your travels?
I don’t know if that’s something I could ever truly answer. I could say it was Vegan Publisher’s offer to sign me as one of their first authors. Maybe because it would just be cool to say “I’m a published author.” I could say it was because I had once written down a series of life goals, one of which included “getting published.” I could say it was to help segue into the 2.0 version of the trip that I hope to do in 2016. It could be all these things. Or it could just be that it felt right. I’m not sure I’ll ever know. What I do know is that I’m really freaking excited about it.
5. What is the most important lesson you have taken away from all of this?
That most people are good people. And that we all make time for the things that matter most.
Oh yes, absolutely! Before the idea of the trip came to me I had been reading blog after blog and book after book about nomads, lifestyle designers, and incredible people who were living their lives based on what they loved most. To name a few: Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Tim Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau, Marie Forleo, Corbett Barr, Pat Flynn, and AJ Leon.
7. What advice do you recommend to people who are “stuck” working a 9-5 job who are desperately seeking something more?
You must first decide where the struggle is coming from. Why do you feel stuck? What do you want to change about your life? And are you willing to do whatever it takes to make the necessary steps to do so? My biggest inspiration was reading about what others were doing. But just reading about them didn’t get me anywhere. I had to take action. I chose to quit my job to ensure I’d move forward with my goal. I chose to leave a relationship because I knew it wasn’t truly what either of us wanted and that it wouldn’t support my bigger life goals. What do you want and what are you willing to do about it?
For those who are in a financial position to do so, I suggest hiring a life or business coach to help hold you accountable and work through those early stages of change. If I (a) knew that life coaches were even a thing back when I was thinking about doing this, and (b) had the money – which I didn’t; I would have leaped at the opportunity to seek guidance from someone who had already gone through it.
9. What was your favorite memory from your traveling experiences?
Oh gosh, there’s no way to choose just one (in fact, that’s really what the book is about.. some of my most impactful memories from the road). I suppose if there was one to share with you now, it would be that of Baby James. You can read the short version of how we met and how he impacted my life, by reading THIS post I’d written for 6 Months to Live.
10. Is there anything else that we should know about your book? (Such as…why should non-vegans or people from different lifestyles read it?)
Due to the nature of my travels, and continued posts on social media, many are expecting the book to be a travel or restaurant guide. It couldn’t be farther from that though. Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, & Make Love is a memoir about the person side of the journey. It’s about self-reflection, personal growth, the incredible people I met, and inspiring growth and healthy risk-taking in others. It’s much more than food and travel – but of a journey that has forever changed my life, and perhaps may even change yours.
Well, there you have it! A BIG thanks to Kristin for taking the time to let me interview her in celebration of her recently published book. The wonderful images featured in this post were courtesy of wtfveganfood.com, and many of them were from places that Kristin visited on this journey.