Interview with Vegan: Digital Nomad Sophie [Part 3, Travelling]

This is part 3 of a kind of chatty
interview series with a very good friend of mine plant-based nomad Sophie. In
the first video we were explaining our kind of fun story, how we got to know
each other. In the second part Sophie shared her transitioning story —
what were her reasons and triggers. And most importantly, she gave us four very
valuable takeaways for when making lifestyle changes. She’s been travelling a
lot during the past five years. — Five years yeah. — Just travelling all around like
living a nomad life basically. — Yeah, I go away with just a suitcase, I don’t even
pack supplies. We went South Korea, which is much more difficult. I’m
here to tell you that it’s something that you definitely can manage! And then
you know the reality of that is often you stop in the rain and you go to a
low-power tourist place, because it’s on the trail. We’ve found different Buddhist
buffets that are in temples, which is a gorgeous experience anyway. And you can
go and explore and experience and it’s a wonderful thing and. Where there’s a will
there’s a way. And you can be creative and you can see it as a game. It’s not
about closing the doors it’s about opening new ones. So we ended up
travelling and we went over to Thailand and then to Bali and met some fellow
plant-based vegan people who, I mean… — She’s she’s been traveling a lot during
the past five years. — Five years yeah. — Just travelling all around like living a
nomad life basically. — Yeah-yeah, that’s right yeah. So if anybody thinks that
it’s too hard to live this lifestyle when they’re travelling on vacation or if
they’re going away with work or something and I’m here to tell you that
it’s something that you definitely can manage, because I go away with just a
suitcase. I don’t even pack supplies, because we’re probably going to be away
and they’re going to run out anyway. And there’s always ways
you can apply your values to wherever you are and that’s a great experience,
because it’s just so much joy in discovery and the freedom in that. — And
she’s experienced so many different cultures as well. It’s not that it’s only
the States or Europe, but totally different cultures like Japan and Chiang
Mai and where else have you been? — We’ve been to Korea as well. Taiwan was really lovely for vegan stuff. There’s a big Buddhist influence there in Southeast Asia and East Asia. And we went South Korea, which is much more
difficult to eat vegan over there or plant-based. — Was it the most difficult
country? — Yes yeah, it was. Yeah it really was.
— It’s really meat oriented? — Yeah, it’s really really meat oriented. They…
It’s just a Korean barbeque sort of everywhere your can turn.
And the things we could eat would be cold noodle, which is really delicious
actually — a noodle in a broth, which is cold, naturally. And it’s cool in South
Korea you got these scissors to chop up the noodles, which is quite fun and tactile.
And it normally comes with an egg, but you can request the egg and sometimes it
comes anyway, but you can just lift it off. Try not to blame yourself! There’s
also two other things that we ate, which are kimbap, which is the Korean version
of sushi, which if you go to a place in…– Kimbap? — Yeah, you go to a place that makes
their own kimbap you can request to just have… It’s really delicious actually and
it’s much more variety than sushi, coz sushi naturally tends to be based around
fish, but kimbap already has burdock and grated carrots and maybe a little bit of
tofu and different things inside — pickled things. — What is it wrapped into then? What’s the
thing that… — It’s still the same and type of… — The nori sheet? — Yeah, thank
you, but if you go to a place that makes its own you can request that it just has
the vegan ingredients. That’s something we did very often. And also bibimbap as
well, which is a bowl, which is normally heated like an earthen
bowl and it does have a little bit of oil coated on the bowl and then the
rice goes in with some vegetables on top and the really delicious fermented
chili sauce they have there. And the great thing is that the rice sort of
crackles and hardens at the bottom of the bowl and then you can move it around
and you’ve got these like popcorn style pieces of rice, which is very delicious.
But the problem… and also you have the sides, which… the kimchi of course and
lots of different fermented veggies, which are all delicious. And every
restaurant gives you a cup of broth to have as your drink. However, if you’re
eating like this for every meal, the salt is crazy. You will start having like salt
after-effects and headaches and salt hangovers and it’s very intense. So, if
you can intersperse that with fruit meals or something at home, if you stay
in an apartment or something, then all the better, but… — So, Korea was a place
you ate in the most I assume? — I didn’t stay too long in Korea and that’s… and we
did eat out, but it was kind of tough. So, it was maybe half and half. I think if we
stayed there more longer term, then I would definitely be cooking at home the
majority of my meals unless I needed to be out and about. For sure in Asia and
East Asia and Southeast Asia there’s a big influence from the Buddhist culture.
So if you can find Buddhist restaurants, they will tend to be vegan and they will
tend to try and be cleaner, because the funny reasons that they they feel that
the to focus on the religion you should cut out stimulants and things like
onions and chili. So often they will even take those ingredients out, but it’s
still very delicious. In Taiwan we found a lovely, it’s a big soup that you cook
in the middle of the table, which is very clean and you could add all your own
vegetables in a very clean broth, which was delicious. We found different
Buddhist buffets that are in temples, which is a gorgeous experience anyway. So
if you can… I think one of my main tips would be to really try and hook into the
religious angle, because religions tend to try and make cleaner
food. And especially the Eastern religions, which are more based
around plants. And when we’re travelling on the airplane, we actually always
request a Jain meal, which is a stricter part of the, I believe the Hindu
religion from India. –Jain? — Jain, yeah, JAIN and we always have that on the plane and that’s
completely vegan and always really tasty, whereas often if you request the vegan
version, it’s never as good. So that’s just another tip for when you’re
travelling or not on long haul that the Jain meal is always really delicious.
— So yeah, travelling is no excuse to skip your vegan meals. — No! — There is
always a way to do it. — There’s always a way and even in Japan
for example, where produce is very expensive. I find it really sad that some
of the fruits are kind of off-limits, if you don’t have the money to spend on
them. I find that really sad that not everybody has access to all of the
fruits. However, you can always afford apples and bananas. You can always have
that snack. You can always have some dried fruits and a small bag of nuts or
something to keep you going. Where there’s a will there’s a way. And you can be creative and you can see it as a game. And it’s discovery and it’s research and
it’s using your brain in a different way. You know when you’re when you’ve carved
out your natural route to work or your natural meal that you always have, then
it becomes a routine, you don’t need to think about it so much. But when it’s a
new experience, you can travel into different parts of your brain and start
learning and… — Yeah, you can take joy in the new experiences you have. — That’s so true! — You can learn, you don’t have to do the same things every day you’ve done for the past 20 years, 10 years however old you are. — Yeah that’s right and it opens up your mind
opens up your mind and you realize how and you realize how resourceful you can be and you realize how smart you can be and you feel like you’ve cheated the system, it’s brilliant!
And one thing that I always love to do whenever I go to a new place is to
experience their market. And in the East they call it the wet market often.
And its first thing in the morning and all the farmers will come from outside of the city and they’ll bring all of
their wares and and then when you’re in a different place, to see the different
produce it’s just such a joy for me like, it sounds really silly, but I’m
passionate about vegetables like I just… — Yeah me too! — The variety that you can get and
the beauty of them! And don’t be afraid, buy stuff and just experiment with it.
Like even if you don’t know what it is, just take it home and try it, google it,
see what you can make, see how it tastes! It’s, you know, if you’ve got some
basic knowledge about cooking you’re probably gonna be OK. — Some people get
excited about jewels, me too, I get excited about fresh produce or some eco friendly shops.
— Yeah! — This is exciting yeah. — It’s nature’s jewels isn’t it? — So, what what are your main
takeaways when it comes to travelling? — So, the first thing I would say really is,
don’t be intimidated. Don’t feel like oh you know, I’ve got everything sorted in
my normal life, I couldn’t possibly leave my life and go somewhere different, it’s
never going to work! I’m too intimidated. Again, it’s about trying to flip your
perception of things and it’s really about seeing it as an adventure. It’s a
new learning experience for you. It’s an adventure we can go and discover what
this new different country has to offer. And it will always have the peasant
foods, it will always have beautiful seeds, it would always have different
beans and types of rice. Wherever you go, there always be what you’re used to, but
their version of. And so, that’s how you can bring new knowledge and it’s your
diet, that’s how you can see different dishes and recreate them to your own
values. And you can go and explore and experience and it’s a wonderful thing!
And I’d just say, just to see that as an adventure not something that’s scary.
I’m… just really embrace it, embrace the freedom, embrace the joy of just
discovery. Just go do it! And just be kind to yourself, know that sometimes you may
make a mistake, but it’s okay! Get back on the wagon and carry on! Just see it as a
gorgeous adventure. The second thing, which kind of travels on from the first,
is that it’s very possible to take your values with you wherever you go.
And you can apply them wherever you are. So that’s something that I’ve learned.
And also that through living in different cultures with different
ingredients and different lifestyles I’ve taken the values that I’ve learned
from other people and other cultures and applied them to myself. So I’ve gone
through this travelling by building my own set of values and that’s thanks to
the different cultures that I’ve been privileged enough to experience. And so, I
would say, go travelling with an open mind. Go with a willing to learn, because
there’s always something that you can take from somebody else. It’s always a
lesson to be learned and… That goes with food and techniques and recipes and
flavour combinations and all that kind of stuff as much as it does with more
spiritual values or different ethics and the way that you want to live your life.
Thought something really lovely that you can take from traveling, that’s another
huge benefit that I think it’s nice to just go with that kind of open mind,
to accept those things into your life as well. And the third thing I would say
it’s something that we can all do is just use the resources that are
available to us. So both myself and yourself before we go to a new place
we’ll just do a bit of research, which doesn’t have to take long and it’s fun —
we’ll just go onto Happycow and what I do is mark onto my calendar
different restaurants that I think might be interesting, that we should check out.
And then maybe we might stay in an area where that’s accessible to us, which I
know is something that you guys do as well, which as always makes it a bit more
convenient. And I’ll sometimes choose the countries I go to based on
the fact that they are vegan friendly. So for example Chiang Mai’s like
fantastically vegan. I was drawn there because of that, but also different
places that you might not expect, will often have lots of different options for
you. So watch people’s videos that have been there before. Go on YouTube, there’s
so many resources out there nowadays. There’s no excuse not to wise up about a
place before you go. And it’s a fun experience! You can kind of explore the
area without even being there and when you get there you don’t need to waste
time. I mean, the way I used to live was just like, Oh we’ll try and find
something when we get there, we’ll just stumble across like a hole in the wall
and it’ll all be great. And then you know the reality of that is often you stop in
the rain and you go to a below par tourist place, because it’s on the trail.
This way it’s so much cooler! You can be such a foodie from afar and you can just
really be excited about where you’re going and just enjoy the best. — Discover
different areas and more exciting areas. — Absolutely! — Where the locals go. — Yeah, which we were discussing before and Nele was saying that it’s often a different area, maybe
outside of the normal tourist area. Maybe locals go there, it’s a bit cooler, hipper,
a different cultural experience and that’s also great. You know, doors are
being opened to us here! I think you’ll see that there’s kind of a common thread
here that, it’s not about closing the doors, it’s about opening new ones. Be
really open and flip your perception and enjoy, enjoy the… — Exactly, travel and
discover the world! So traveling is fun isn’t it? And before you go, there is a
final part of our chatty interview. It’s about families and gatherings, how to
deal with your friends. Sophie will share some really kind of strange, funny
experiences she has had. And how to overcome all kinds of difficulties that
might get into your way! Because I think some people feel affronted by your
change of lifestyle. I mean you can escape from your friends,
but you can’t escape from your families. My mom felt it was very extreme. Well, I
killed the bacteria in my eye I everyday! It’s no different from killing an animal!
And he was like ha ha ha ha ha having this laugh to himself and I was like
what’s so funny and he went oh well there was butter drizzled all over those, no
wonder you enjoyed them!

One Reply to “Interview with Vegan: Digital Nomad Sophie [Part 3, Travelling]”

  1. Enjoy my chat with Sophie as she shares all her travels to different parts of the world — South-Korea, Taiwan, Bali, Japan, Thailand. Watch full series

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