Tag Archives: travel

Lessons Learned from Traveling Across the Country

We recently moved from Atlanta, GA to Eugene, OR. These are a few lessons I learned from traveling vegan-style with two greyhounds in a Buick for nearly 3500 miles.


1. Pet friendly hotels are not hard to find. Our daily driving schedule was not rigid, so we ended up in random cities for the night. But we were always able to find a room in the following pet-friendly hotels  (in order of niceness): La Quinta, Best Western and Motel 6.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think the only one that charged an extra pet fee (which was pretty low) was Best Western but it does vary by location. A helpful pet friendly site that we used was bringfido.com.

This guy was always the last to get up.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

2. Although I am in awe of the dark, almost black rocky sand and huge rocky shores of northwest coast beaches, it is intense and scary if you’ve never seen a beach before (like Miles).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We drove along Highway 101 towards the end of our trip and had to pull over frequently to enjoy these scenic beaches.  They made me wanna yell…’Heeeey, yooouuu guuuyss!’ because Goonies.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

3. It’s nice to have generous and kind friends who will give you a place to stay along the way (even when they think you’re part of some vegan army stuff).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We enjoyed the momentary break from hotels and the pups enjoyed running and meeting new friends.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

4. Despite how soy-cheesy it may be, stop at the tourist areas. They’re tourist areas for a reason.

Outside the Trees of Mystery, Nikko and Paul Bunyan.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

An elk at one of the elk viewing areas about two hours outside of Eugene.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

5. When driving west, the end of the day becomes a perpetual chase of the sunset.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

In Joshua Tree National Park.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

6. Traveling across the country by car with two greyhounds, it IS entirely possible to eat well vegan-style even when we didn’t research restaurants before hand (because ain’t nobody got time for dat).

Most mornings we grabbed as much fruit as possible from the continental breakfasts (served at many of the places we stayed). I also had oatmeal and tea that I packed which just required hot water from the coffee maker.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

And while we certainly ate our fair share of Subway sandwiches, we managed to throw in some unique all vegan or vegan-friendly places along the way as well. Thank goodness for cell phones and Happy Cow! A few eats…

Chopped BBQ sandwich with grilled seitan and an El Paso Burger with chipotle vegan mayo and guacomole from Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A Mediterranean picnic in the park from International Delights in Las Cruces, NM. The server knew what “vegan” meant and happily accommodated us.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

The “Vegan Caper” bagel with an amazing tofu spread, capers, red onions and a sweet sauce from Los Bagels in Eureka, CA. They had seats outside so we brought the pups.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

Wonton Soup from Noble Veg in Sacremento, CA. I grabbed a menu while Neal stayed with the pups in the car. We decided what to get. Neal went to order and the kind people at Noble Veg brought the food out to the car. In retrospect, eating hot soup on my lap probably wasn’t the best car food. But I was really craving soup.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A vegan barbecue “Chicken” pizza from Tomato Joe’s Pizza in Valencia, CA. This was dinner and breakfast the next morning.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think had this road trip been taken more than ten years ago, it would have been much more difficult to find places to eat good vegan food without meticulous planning ahead of time. But nowadays, its like my phone and the internet gives me super vegan powers. Or at least the ability to find vegan food easily…..unless of course we’re talking about Pecos, TX….now that’s a different story….

Have a Happy New Year!

Tales from the Vegan Army: Lost in Translation


Original image was posted to Flickr by Matanya (Creative Commons)

This installment of Tales from the Vegan Army takes place about 10 years ago. I was in Italy for a conference. Ten years ago, I wasn’t confident about my veganism. I didn’t know many vegans and I rarely liked to call attention to it*.  I also had zero experience with veganism and international travel.

Eating outside of the conference wasn’t an option since it was on an isolated beach.  Most meals were buffet style.  I stuck to the salad and the plainest pasta with tomato marinara.

One night, we had a formal sit-down meal in the dining room.  I sat at a large round table with about 10 people.  My two closest table-mates knew I was vegan.  That evening I experienced the meaning of “lost in translation”…

Table-Mate 1, TM 1:  [looks around at the table settings] Man this is fancy!

TM 2: I know. I wonder what we’re having.

ME: [looks around nervously, worried]  Yeah….

TM 2: [gives me a sympathetic look] I’m sure they’ll have stuff you can eat.

At this point, fancy Italian waiters disperse around the room with the first course.

ME: [realizes it’s just a salad and breathes a sigh of relief]

As the meal progresses, more Italian waiters swarm around to take our plates and bring us our second course……plain pasta with tomato marinara. Whew! I’m thinking the meal is done at that point, right? Salad and pasta. Ri-i-ight.

ME[looks down at the MEAT dish the waiter has just put in front of me] Oh, um, I didn’t know there was more. I actually don’t eat meat.

Since I don’t want to even attempt an Italian accent for the waiter, just imagine this guy’s voice for the waiter.


image from closermag.fr

Trust me…it’ll work. Plus despite what transpires, the real life waiter was just as friendly and animated as Roberto Benigni seems to be. So if this were a movie, he would be playing the part. Um, right. Maybe just go with it.

WAITER: Oh, you don’t like the dish?

ME: [not wanting to offend]  Um well, I don’t eat meat. I’m also really full on the pasta and salad.

WAITER: [takes the food, not offended] Okay, I will bring you something else then? 

ME: [nods and thinks…sure, whatever dude. Just keep it down, people are staring at me]

WAITER[comes out and puts down a new dish]  You like this dish?

ME: [stares down at a whole FRIED FISH] Um, I don’t eat any meat. Or any dairy either.

WAITER: [looks sad] Oh, no fish either eh? Okay, I’ll be right back. [swoops up the fish] 

ME[feels like a pain in the ass and says feebishly to the retreating waiter]  Sorry…really, I’m fine. I don’t need anything else.

TM 1: [wants to dissociate himself from the vegan freak and so says loudly enough for others to hear] That fish looked good! I should have taken it for myself. You know…since I eat meat like normal people.  Did everybody hear me?

The waiter, anxious to please, comes out again and plops an omelette down, certain he’s found a winner. I thought to myself — Shit…I said no dairy but I should have mentioned eggs…aren’t eggs considered dairy?  Back to the kitchen it went.

The fourth time he came out, despite me telling him I needed nothing else, he slapped a big piece of fried cheese down in front of me. The size of this cheese was enough to feed a small army, not something someone would ever eat as a meal.  As if the chef just fried the first non-meat, non-egg item he saw in the kitchen to try and please “the crazy American”!

FINALLY the waiter just brought me out more pasta. Now why didn’t I just think to ask him to do that in the first place?

What’s your “lost in translation” or vegan travel story?

*Today, I wear the vegan-freak flag proudly.  Admittedly, it has gotten a lot easier to do since veganism is more prominent in the mainstream.