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My name is Kristin and I L-O-V-E loveeee food. There are few things that I enjoy more than discovering new (to me) vegan restaurants. It’s true. I’m the embarrassing friend who giggles over having more than one vegan choice on a menu; can’t sit still over the thought of vegan cinnamon rolls and soft serve ice cream; and takes multiple pictures of food. Yes, pictures in the restaurant. No shame here! ;)
Next to fooding-it-up I love to travel. What I look forward to the most is learning about different cultures and lifestyles.
I grew up in a very small town in upstate NY and my move to “the big city” of Boston (in 2007) was one of the first times I’d been excited about being outside of my comfort zone. I got over that and quickly decided that I’m ready for a new, longer-term adventure.
I’m serious about this travel thing. In fact, in 2011 I completely adjusted my lifestyle in an effort to work exclusively online, so that I can work from virtually anywhere.
In January 2011 I left a wonderful full-time job with an amazing animal welfare organization so that I could pursue the art of food and travel discovery.
In order to support this mission I started my own freelance business and now earn a living teaching others how to build businesses, market and promote their work, and general badassery.
In addition to re-launching (and then selling) the first and currently only, exclusively vegan wedding website I work remotely for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) as their Meatout Mondays Manager. It’s pretty sweet because as long as I have an Internet connection I can pretty much work from anywhere!
GREATNESS: If you want it badly enough, and are willing to make some changes in your life to cause it to happen, you too can take over the world.. or do anything else you really want to do. The only things you’ll need to give up are assumptions, expectations, and the comfort zone that holds you back from greatness. —Chris Guillebau
When I first started the Will Travel For Vegan Food project (fall 2011) I was definitely anxious, nervous, and excited in ways that made me a leeTEL-bit scared, but in the awesome, oh no she didn’t, and you go girl, kind of ways. This was an indication that let me know that if I didn’t push through and give it a go, I’ll regret not taking this journey.
The tour officially started on my 5 year vegan-versary—August 27th 2011 (but I didn’t get on the road until the end of October 2011).
The plan: eat at and write about every single all-vegan restaurants in the United States by October 28th, 2012—my 30th birthday! :) As the ever inspiring Chris Guillebau once said, “I may succeed, I may fail—but I’ve committed to documenting the entire process for you, win or lose.”
September 2016 UPDATE: I spent most of 2015 on a sponsored, 23 city book tour and attending various conferences and speaking engagements throughout the US; and then hunkered down in Aztec, New Mexico for the 15/16 winter. In the spring of 2016 international travel plans began as I was awarded an around-the-world prize through a contest held on VeganTravel.com. By the end of June 2016 I departed NY for Istanbul, Turkey and have since made my way through cities within Greece, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, England, Ireland, UAE, and New Zealand. I’m set to round out my current overseas excursion with stops in Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand before returning to the states by way of the Phoenix, Arizona VegFest in February 2017. <3
January 2015 UPDATE: After spending 5 months in Hawaii (and finishing the book! Wooo!!!) I went to upstate NY to visit my family in December. I then moved to Chicago in January 2015 to focus on the launch of the Will Travel for Vegan Food BOOK + arrange and travel to festivals and conferences around the world + planning the book tour!
May 2014 UPDATE: I moved from Chicago to Fargo, ND. I’ll be here until mid-June and will then spend a few weeks in Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska before moving to Hawaii for the remainder of 2014.
January 2014 UPDATE: As of January 2014 I’m living in Chicago, working remotely on this blog, doing some marketing consulting, re-launching Vegan Weddings HQ, working on my book, and working for FARM.
August 2013 UPDATE: As of August 27, 2013 the road trip has officially come to an end. I’ll be continuing to write about the restaurants I visited – and posting them HERE on the blog – while also working on my first-ever book, highlighting the personal side of the journey; due out in 201
June 2013 UPDATE: As of June 2013 I’m in the final stages of planning an end-of-trip party, which will mark the end of this incredible journey.
December 2012 UPDATE: As of December 2012 I’m still on the road! I plan to wrap things up by May 2013.
October 2011 UPDATE: Officially hit the road! I’m moved into Gerty (the van) with the goal of eating at every single vegan restaurant in the United States.
More Than Food & Travel
This journey has been so much more than food and travel. While these two elements are the outlying forces surrounding my desire to bound across the country, what I really want to accomplish is a lifestyle of self-discovery and nonconformity.
Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. —Alan Keightley
I’m ready to shift to an ‘unconventional lifestyle,’ if you will. One that enables me to live and work anywhere in the world, take risks for the sake of risk taking, follow my whims, chase and accomplish my dreams, and ultimately live a life worth living (to me, not to anyone else).
I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent reading about travel, working exclusively online, and minimalism. Once I happened upon these resources that’s when I knew I hit my personal jackpot. And I’m not talking about money but personal, deep down, true satisfaction simply by finding something that clicked.
I’ve discovered an entirely new group of amazing people who have set out on their own journeys. They’ve inspired me and I hope that my website and adventures will inspire you to live a life that fits your personal jackpot.
It’s not about seeing what’s out there and how to fit in, but how to create a life that fits you. —Kelly Holt
I’ll be writing about a lot more than food and travel on this website. I’ll include updates on working for myself, how it’s going, strategies, and resources in hopes that it’ll help you, if you’re feeling like I had been feeling for most of my adult life: worried about what job was right for me, how to fit in to the mold created by society, and stressing about my future.
I’d be lying if I said that all of those concerns have gone away. But what I can say is that I have a new, more positive outlook on what I want my life to be and how to make it happen. And ya know what? I’m darn proud of the fact that I’m doing something about it! :)
My Vegan Story
I was 16 years old when my parents told me that they wanted to become vegetarian as a family.
My brother, Josh is five years older than me and he introduced the idea of vegetarianism to my parents. When they found out that he had already become vegetarian they were immediately worried about his health, as they thought—at that time—that eating meat was necessary for optimal nutrition. But instead of telling him why he was wrong or shunning him entirely, they did what awesome parents do: they researched the heck out of vegetarianism. I think they were looking for a way to prove to him why this diet was bad, but instead they came to the undeniable conclusion that not eating meat is a much better way to live.
So, there we were in 1999 transitioning to vegetarianism as a family. I wasn’t particularly thrilled, but decided to give it a go.
I went off to college and my parents kept up their research, joined a local vegetarian group and continued to learn about the influence that diet has on health, the environment, and animals.
Every time I came home for a break or holiday there was something new and “healthy” in the refrigerator—or worse, something missing. I still remember coming home one summer to no more milk or cheese. It was gone and I was devastated: not the ice cream!
By the time I finished college my parents were full-on vegan and I was still chowing down my beloved dairy ice cream and cheese pizzas. Aside from the fact that I had maintained a vegetarian diet, was eating vegan meals when visiting home, and gifted vegan-labeled sweatshirts, stickers, and buttons whenever my parents were given the opportunity, I couldn’t fathom giving up dairy. And then, in the summer of 2006, at a veg event in upstate NY, the sea parted and in walked Registered Dietitian, George Eisman. Despite the fact that my parents had at one time or another gently provided the same information that Mr. Eisman presented on this day, once I decided to listen and truly understand how very bad dairy was for my body and for animals, I was done with it. That very night I ate my last cheese pizza and never looked back. Well, I might have looked back once, or five times, but never did go back.
It took me a good year as a relatively unhealthy vegan to start doing even more research—like learning how to prepare meals instead of buying ready-made ones. But some new reading material (hello VegNews Magazine) and a change in my environment (hey there, Boston) soon helped me learn how to live a healthy vegan lifestyle.
In the fall of 2007 I moved to Boston for graduate school. I joined the Boston Vegan Association and started working part-time for the New England Anti-Vivisection Society. The friends that I made in these two organizations led me to so much support, inspiration, and so many new resources that being vegan became a cinch. I love telling people who ask about my diet how much more I enjoy everything about food now; from shopping to cooking, prepping, and purchasing a ridiculous number of vegan cook books. It feels like it has so much more meaning now and I take pride in the meals I prepare. I never felt this way as a meat eater…not even as a vegetarian for that matter.
Today my parents help run the Albany Vegan Network and host an annual Vegan Expo (now in it’s seventh year!) in upstate New York.
It all started with my brother, was followed by my parents’ amazing support, and then happily grew into an education, a group of friends, and a lifestyle that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Kristin Lajeunesse is founder of and blogger for the award-winning website Will Travel for Vegan Food. In September 2011, the New York native began traveling throughout the US in an effort to eat at and write about every single all-vegan establishment she can find. Eighteen of those early consecutive travel months were spent living out of a renovated sports van affectionately named Gerty. Almost immediately after beginning her journey, Kristin discovered a deep passion for nomadic and unconventional living, and has since chosen to maintain a mobile lifestyle, indefinitely. As of July 2014, Kristin met her goal of visiting and eating in each of the 50 states. A self-employed business and lifestyle strategist, Kristin now works with small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to turn their passions into profitable careers. Kristin is also a founding member of the Vegan Weddings HQ website (formerly Rose Pedals Vegan Weddings) and the Unabridged Addiction podcast. She has a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College. Follow her travels and business adventures on wtfveganfood.com and kristinlajeunesse.com.