'Sometimes I catch myself thinking this life of mine is an elaborate daydream," says Kristin Lajeunesse, creator of award-winning website Will Travel for Vegan Food. "It's that when I wake up in a new city or country after only a few days here, or a few weeks there, that I couldn't have possibly truly awoken just yet."
Five years ago, Kristin quit her 9-to-5 job, left her native New York and began travelling the US in an effort to eat at every single all-vegan establishment she could find. After almost three years on the road, living out of a renovated sports van affectionately named Gerty, Kristin had visited — and eaten in — all 50 states.
Based on her experiences she wrote her memoir: Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman's Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love, published by Vegan Publishers. She has now decided to maintain her mobile lifestyle and travels the world vlogging and writing.
"I never would have thought my journey would lead to self-employed remote work to enable me to continue living nomadically fulltime; and on to a 23-city book tour throughout the States; being awarded an around-the-world trip from VeganTravel.com; becoming a video blogger, a public speaker, and a travel writer." she says.
This week, Kristin will be sharing her experiences as guest speaker at Vegan Vibes, a one-day, family-friendly festival in Mt Maunganui celebating vegansim and all it entails.
As well as guest speakers, there will be workshops, food trucks (including a vegan beer brewed especially for the event), fashion, health and beauty products, an outdoor cinema and live music.
Festival creator and director Rachelle Duffy from Little Big Events, says there are growing numbers of New Zealanders becoming aware of how increased populations create even more demand on animals and the environment.
"Vegan Vibes provides an opportunity for vegans, as well as those interested in exploring the benefits of veganism, to learn why millions of people including health advocates, celebrities and top sports-people are moving towards a plant-based lifestyle," Rachelle says.
• Vegan Vibes, Saturday, September 24, Soper Reserve, 95 Newton St, Mt Maunganui
• Follow Kristin Lajeunesse's travels and vegan adventures at wtfveganfood.com.