For this week’s edition of Travel Blogger Thursday, we interview Katie of World Wide Vegetarian! She is a vegetarian travel blogger who has traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America. Her blog features tips on traveling around the world as a vegetarian, as well as her favourite edible creations. Katie currently resides in Washington, DC, USA.
What inspires you to travel and what do you enjoy most about traveling?
Since childhood, I was obsessed with maps. I always drew maps, I looked at maps, I loved to spin the globe and stop it by pointing out where in the world to go. I even once packed up all of my clothes and put them in bags, and told my mother we were moving. I was distraught at the end of the day when she told me to clean up and that we were not really moving. But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the study of German language during University, and took a trip to Berlin with my professor and classmates that I really gained the desire to travel. I told myself I would live in Berlin one day, and 3 years later I made it happen! Since then, my life has been forever changed, I have become a travel addict. I love the high of being in a new place, experiencing the people, the architecture, the food, the differences, the adventure, and the beauty. I love meeting new people, travelers and locals and learning from them different ways of life, and lifestyles. Most importantly, I have learned to be open minded from travel, and I would not change my experiences for anything in the world.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
Berlin!!! From the history to the nightlife, I can’t get enough of this city! Every time I go back, I find something new and more incredible than the last. Since this city was split in two up until recently in1989, Berlin feels like it was made for a Gemini like myself. The juxtaposition of contradictory themes immerses throughout the city, the old and new, east and west, artists and politicians, businessmen and partiers. Culture thrives in Berlin, from art to music to education, and including vegetarianism, and veganism, a rare find in Germany. Plus, the electronik music scene is hands down the best in the world here. I have been to many music festivals around the world, but nothing tops the bars and clubs in Berlin.
When did you start to travel, and where did you first visit?
Though my first trip to Europe was in 2008, I feel that my travels really started the summer of 2010. After graduating from University, I decided to work as an au pair in the suburbs of Munich for three months. After saving some money, and with no travel companions, I set off nervously on my own, on a mini Euro-trip to Vienna, Cologne, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Dublin. I had some of the best experiences of my life on this trip, and it later inspired longer travels in Europe, and has given me the courage to try and go to more destinations on my own.
Why did you start your blog, and what do you enjoy most about blogging?
I started my blog recently, about 6 months ago. I wanted a catalogue of my recipes, and a place online to share my travel photos with friends and family. After becoming a vegetarian and researching vegetarian travel, I decided that that should be the direction of my blog, as traveling can be a bit daunting for those with dietary restrictions. I also hope that my story will be an inspiration to others, and will encourage other to try something different, like solo travel or at least an unfamiliar vegetable.
What do you like to bring back from the places you’ve visited?
My photographs! I want to frame and hang them for a cheap and one of a kind souvenir! Besides photos, I like to bring back something unique and useful in my home or daily life. On the table next to me is my beer mug from the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, which I drink water from daily. On my finger is a cheap, tarnished Celtic ring from Dublin. In the air, is the scent from an organic soy candle which I purchased from a interesting artisan candle maker I met in Miami. What I love most about these items is being reminded of travels when I see or use them.
Where do you plan on visiting next?
I am planning a trip to Southeast Asia next winter 2014/2015. I want to do some volunteer work in India and travel around the region. I studied International Relations, and aspire to work with women in need later in my career. As I have been mostly in North America and Europe, I am really looking forward to venturing out to this part of the world. I chose India specifically because I am inspired by their vegetarian cuisine, and because it is the home of yoga. I want to bring back some spices, techniques, and vegetarian recipes, and grow deeper in my practice of yoga through first hand experiences.
What are your reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet, and how long have you been vegan?
I became a vegetarian after living in Europe. I came back to the states and realized the food quality was not the same. During my travels in Europe, I ran into several vegans and vegetarians, and was curious about their lifestyle. If nothing else, all of my new veggie friends were skinny, and I wanted to lose some weight. After losing 50 pounds, what started as a diet has become a way of life. Researching food and learning how the body reacts to various foods, additives and chemicals kept me actively seeking new, healthier alternatives. Most of all, vegetarianism brought about physical, and emotional benefits, and a love for animals that I never before would have thought possible. I currently eat 95% vegan on my own, but will cheat a little in social situations or when traveling (or when my boyfriend brings home a slice of organic cheesecake).
In your travels, where are the best places to find vegetarian food and where are the worst places?
So far, Western Europe has been more than accommodating to vegetarians. The UK is outstanding, offering many vegetarians and vegan options everywhere. Germany and Austria are runners up, but dishes are often heavy on the dairy. And how can I forget Seattle, organic, vegan, and vegetarian heaven! The worst thus far has been Outer Banks, North Carolina. Not only am I allergic to seafood, but there was just not a lot besides seafood and barbeque where we were. Luckily, the house we rented had a kitchen!
Thank you so much for the great interview, Katie! We really enjoyed reading about your travels and reasons for choosing vegetarianism! Can’t wait to follow along on your adventures to India and beyond! You can find Katie’s blog at World Wide Vegetarian and on social media:
Every Thursday, we’re going to be featuring a fellow travel blogger and highlighting their journeys around the world. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be interviewed for this weekly series, please contact us.