Some Journeys Don’t Have Endings, They Lead To New Beginnings.
A Vegan Nomad Talk With Kristin Lajeunesse.
Kristin Lajeunesse, Digital Nomad and Creator of „Will Travel for Vegan Food“ takes the travel thing to a new level. Thousands of interested people follow her journey around the world via Social Media. Kristin quit her 9-to-5 job to dive into the adventure of remote working and vegan traveling. Read how she gained everything by thinking outside the box and learn what an old van had to do with it.
It was a year ago, in a little café in Brooklyn, that I stumbled upon Kristin´s blog, “Will Travel for Vegan Food“. Going through her articles and vlogs, I realized that it was actually possible to make a living doing the two things I love most: Traveling the world and eating my way through all the vegan food I find on the way. And as it happened, a couple days ago, this time in a coffee shop in the hipster heart of Berlin, I saw that Kristin was in town. I didn’t hesitate to get in touch with her.
Just a few days later, we were sitting together over lunch in „The Bowl“, an all vegan, clean eating restaurant, which – as the name promises – serves all dishes in cute little bowls. We talked about her travel adventures, courage, compassion and entrepreneurship.
NAME: KRISTIN LAJEUNESSE
ORIGIN: NEW YORK
OCCUPATION: DIGITAL ENTREPRENEUR
Traveling The US On The Search For Vegan Food
Everything started in the beginning of 2011 with the simple, yet adventurous idea to take a road trip through the US: „I thought it was a great idea to eat at each and every single vegan restaurant in the Unite States“ explains Kristin. She fearlessly quit her job at a non-profit organization in Boston, bought an old van and started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money. She renovated the sports van affectionately named Gerty and left her old home by fall the same year. Kristin planned on being on the road for about a year. But as every passionate traveller knows, plans change. And so it is not surprising, that the trip ended up taking nearly two years.
Falling In Love With The Nomadic Lifestyle
During these 24 months Kristin experienced ups and downs, became friends with strangers and ate at 547 (!) vegan restaurants. As of July 2014, Kristin met her goal of visiting and eating in each of the 50 states. Being on the road for so long, surely required a lot of commitment. For Kristin it turned out to be more of a change than she expected it to be: „I ended up falling in love with the nomadic lifestyle and this unconventional way of living. So I decided to become self-employed in order to be able to keep traveling“.
Of course, her adventures of the past two years didn’t stay undiscovered. „As I was sorting everything out, I was offered to write a memoir about the trip.“ Kristin saw it as a new challenge and excepted: „I spent a good year writing the book and another on a promotional book tour, which allowed me to continue traveling“.
You want to learn more about Kristin´s big adventure? Lucky you! The memoire “Will Travel for Vegan Food. A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love” is now on Amazon!
From the moment she decided to go on a road trip around the US, her life would not be the same again. She was working from the road, with the freedom of creating her own schedule and travel wherever she wanted to go – as long as there was wifi.
She got her own business started. With a Master in Integrated Marketing Communication, Kristin was able to start a marketing-consulting company. Kristin works with small business owners and entrepreneurs, helping them gain clarity around their business model and learn to network both on- and off-line.
„I would do whatever it takes to make this lifestyle work. Having the flexibility of my own schedule and being able to work from anywhere I want where there is internet is way more appealing to me than working for somebody else.“
Life Happens While You Are Busy Planning
The social network resource VeganTravel ran a contest, giving away a three-month sponsored trip to any place the winner wanted to visit. Kristin saw her opportunity, entered and lucky enough, came in second place; affording her the chance for a 3-month long sponsored trip to anywhere in the world she chose.
With the chance to explore delicious vegan food beyond North American borders, she packed her bags and left for another big adventure. But three months are not enough for her: „I want to go for more. I thought, since I would already be on the road I could just keep going.“ Her freelancing allows her to be spontaneous and mobile. Kristin is where she wanted to be and is super happy with her choice to work remotely.
Kristin is well aware, that she is very privileged and that not everyone has the opportunity to live this way. Asked the question, if anyone could live and work like her, she responds: „I know there are different limits for different people. I don’t want to say everyone can do this, because I know some people can’t.“
Kristin recently visited Istanbul, Greece and spent more than a month in Berlin, Germany, to explore all the vegan and vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants the city offers – all according to her slogan: „Will Travel for Vegan Food“.
Vegan For The Animals
How she became vegan?
„It all started with a rebellious phase of my older brother. He got tattoos, followed a band around the country, and when he came home, he announced that he was vegetarian. Trying to proove that he was risking his health, my parents started researching and found out the exact opposite. So they decided they wanted to become vegetarian as a family, when I was 16 years old. I’m very close with them so I agreed to go along with it.“
About six years later Kristin’s parents became vegan and started gifting her vegan-labeled sweaters for whenever they were given the opportunity. „My dad would be very subtle and put on „Earthlings“ in a room where I was reading and then walk out.“
In the summer of 2006, at a festival in upstate NY, Kristin listened to a speech by the Registered Dietitian, George Eisman. That day she truly understood how very bad dairy was for her body and for the animals: „The following night I had my last cheese pizza while I was watching TV. Under tears I was eating cheese covered bread sticks, but not because I was sad, but because I realized that this is what I need to be doing. And I never went back.“
Kristin celebrated her 10 year vegan anniversary this August while gallivanting around Brighton, United Kingdom. She’s in Dublin right now and will be traveling through and giving presentations at the New Zealand, Sydney, and Melbourne VegFests this year before settling in Thailand to close out her 2016 journey.