“The proverbial fork in the road suddenly slapped me in the face. In front of me, in the distance, my current life—once defined by a comfortable job, a comfortable apartment, and a comfortable relationship—and that of a new path filled with unknown adventure, storybook romance, and full-time travel. There was no question; with absolutely every ounce of all I was and all I had been moving toward, the choice was epically clear.” — Kristin Lajeunesse, Chapter 1, “Will Travel For Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, & Make Love”
This bold choice Kristin made to take the road less traveled, turned into two years of van-dwelling life spent on the road in search of vegan food, figuring out life and love along the way.
Now, Kristin has turned these experiences into a memoir. “Will Travel For Vegan Food” [The Book] was officially released Thursday, April 23.
Kristin’s compassion for life, passion for adventure, and dedication to live out an authentic existence, resonate from every single page. “Will Travel For Vegan Food” is a must read for anyone with a wanderlust-filled spirit, who favors abundant experiences to material possessions.
This official book trailer captures the heart and the energy of Kristin, and her journey—a journey that spans miles beyond the food itself.
Kristin has inspired me from the beginning of my own vegan journey. While embarking upon various travel explorations, I’ve referenced her website numerous times for ideas of eateries to try. Since the launch of Vegan on the Run last year and throughout the entirety of Kristin’s book writing process, I’ve followed along with her journey even more closely.
The following Q&A with Kristin delves into the experience, the impact, the food, and the travel, that are all part of “Will Travel For Vegan Food.”
SARAH: At what moment in time did you decide to turn your experiences into a printed memoir?
KRISTIN: I was fortunate to have been contacted by a newly forming publishing house out of Boston. I actually had no plans in place to write a book at all, let alone a memoir. It came about after chatting with Vegan Publishers and agreeing upon a style of book that felt best for all parties involved.
SARAH: Obviously your cross country voyage has shifted and shaped you in countless ways, rerouted the course of your entire existence and altered your way of approaching life going forward. That said, was there any one experience in the entire two years that you credit with being the most monumental in changing you?
KRISTIN: Yes. And great question. It was the moment I decided to revisit my original plan of going on the journey alone. As one will discover in the first few chapters of the book, I actually met someone just before my plans to set sail. He joined me on the trip for a few months. I’m not sure what was scarier, at first thinking I would have to go on the trip alone, or a few months later when I was sitting with him, asking him to leave because I wanted to go on the trip alone.
Not only was that decision critical for personal growth in the realm of learning to be alone (emotionally, physically, etc.) but also giving myself permission to voice my thoughts to this person (I was terrified) and then to stick to the decision throughout the very difficult months that followed.
I now know that making the decision to go alone on the journey is ultimately what made me stronger, allowed me to experience way more than I would have with a travel partner, and taught me a lot about how terribly I’d treated myself and previous romantic partners when it came to romance in general. It was a necessary wake-up call.
SARAH: When you think back to specific moments during your WTFVF journey, do you mentally relate each meal you consumed to a geographic place, the people you met, your experiences, or your feelings about life at that exact place in time?
KRISTIN: Actually, yes! Often each of the memories is tied to a specific moment, food or people. Whenever I look back at photos from my journey, I’m often swept away to that moment in time. Sometimes it makes me emotional. Other times I think about how far I’ve come and how proud I am for having been there. Other times it doesn’t seem like it was ever real.
SARAH: For others who are traveling to any extent with vegan food in mind, can you offer an expert plant-based travel tip?
KRISTIN: Stock up. Always have food on hand. Never assume you’ll land in a location with an abundance of options. Preparedness is the best-ness.
SARAH: Do you have plans to return to many of your stops—the cities that have shaped you along the way and dazzled you with their vegan eats?
KRISTIN: I would love to revisit them all but I’m waiting to plan the book tour, and future travels, until I’m past the initial launch phase of the book. I will be attending many Veg Fests throughout the year though, to speak about my journey. Some are in places I visited while traveling (like New Orleans) so that will be nice.
SARAH: What was your biggest takeaway after finishing writing/editing this book? How do you feel this takeaway will resonate with your readers?
KRISTIN: One of my biggest takeaways is this: risk is necessary for growth, for strength, and for forgiveness. My hope is that readers will be inspired by the risks I’ve taken, and that they’ll close the last page of the book and go take some of their own.
Will Travel for Vegan Food The Book is now available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1GUkno3