Dear My Wanderlusts,
Travel, no matter how big or small, always makes a difference. To remove yourself from your own 'little' world that you are bubbled into, and insert yourself into a new way of thinking, is just marvelous. You become rich in knowledge, and inevitably compare your bubble to the next -- right or wrong. The barrier between us all is that of knowledge and understanding.
Go feed your soul!
First of all, there is a lot of disbelief in being vegan/vegetarian (in terms of dietary needs) on vacation. Even my own at first! My recent travels to the Dominican Republic showed me a different way.
It's as simple as this:
1. ASK around. What veggie-based options do you offer?
2. Let the concierge know (or the travel agent)-- they can assist with any language barriers and even give you a note-card on what to say to service staff.
3. Make an effort to understand.
I have been to the Dominican Republic before, but I have never had a vegan diet during my other (larger) travels. I have been to Ireland, Italy, Canada, Mexico... you get it. Like anyone preparing to travel for the first time with this lifestyle, I was worried. It would've completely sucked if to be misunderstood and/or punished for what I believe in... especially on a vacation that I have worked so hard to go on!
Thank the lucky stars in the constellation. It wasn't like that. Though the lifestyle was different, and I was misunderstood at times, it was all okay! When misunderstood, people tried to understand and accommodate, and that was really special. Not to mention, the fresh fruits and vegetables were amazing!
Including watermelon cocktails, fajitas and beans, veggie boards, and beautiful pastas... don't drool (too much)... Here is what my all-inclusive looked like:
While all of this is scrumptiously satisfying, I will say this. While people tried to understand and accommodate, there was still a barrier of knowledge and empathy. I saw animals being used as sources of work everywhere. It was possible that some were treated well and apart of families, but it was also very clear that many were not.
There were stray dogs and cats, cow farms and donkeys carrying hot metal wagons under the scorching sun (I befriended the one below), and marine life being put to the test for tourist "shows" and activities. It made me sick. It mad me sad. But it also made me think about how far off we still are in terms of global animal welfare. Tourists from everywhere are buying into these "shows" for a reason. Lack of compassion. And animals are misused/abused for lack of knowledge.
Let's move forward! Spreading awareness is crucial. There are fewer reasons to be concerned about what to eat on vacation in comparison to the larger picture of animal welfare. Our resort was absolutely lovely, especially in the fact that they have made efforts to keep and care for their wildlife in a natural habitat. The ecological reserves and mangroves were also on resort property, which was pretty nice to see! For further recommendations, comment below! Or send a message via the contact link.
Safe travels my wanderlusts!