I’m back in Canada and finally settled into my new pad in downtown Toronto. I can’t wait to share some of my adventures with you, and catch up with everything that’s been going on in the vegan foodie world!
If you remember from my last post in January, my partner and I were leaving Sydney to move back to Canada, and embark on a 3-month vacation through New Zealand and South East Asia in between. While I can’t summarize the entire trip, I thought I’d share a few special photos and comments with you…
My personal travel highlights
I had no idea what I was getting into when we landed there, but out of all the places I’ve ever visited, it is without a doubt the most beautiful. If you ever decide to go there, make the time to be able to drive across both islands. The scenery literally changes before your eyes every minute of the way, and it consistently takes your breath away. I have never felt as small as I have when looking out at the vast landscapes of this tiny country. Bonus: the Kiwis are some of the most relaxed people you’ll ever meet, and the wine is to die for.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Hindu temples in Ubud, but the highlight for me was visiting the undulating rice terraces that have been craved into the hills there. Enjoying lunch while overlooking the rice terraces was definitely a highlight for me. Overall, this trip really taught me how much work goes into producing rice, as well as how many people in this world depend on it for every meal, every single day. Growing rice is back-breaking work and I don’t think I’ll ever waste another grain of rice in my lifetime after seeing how much work goes into it!
While I found Saigon and Hanoi to be a bit too loud and hectic for my liking, I really enjoyed visiting the ancient cities of Hoi An and Hue. Vietnam is changing so rapidly and it was nice to be able to see some some of the history of this great country, no matter how touristy it may be.
I was amazed by the kindness of these people who have lived through so much, and who continue to live in one of the poorest countries in the world today. We spent only a few days touring the ruins of Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples, but I will never forget the smiles on the children’s faces, or the monks that surrounded us there. The Cambodians are beautiful people and I felt a real connection to this country. I know in my heart that I will make my way back there one day.
We spent a month in Thailand, so I began to really feel at home there after a couple weeks. From the cultural hub of the North, to the gorgeous islands and beaches of the Southwest and East, I was lucky enough to see a good portion of this dynamic country. I really enjoyed the week or so that we spent in Bangkok, including sipping on a dirty martini at the top of the Lebua State Tower (those of you who have seen “The Hangover 2″, may remember it).
In many ways, it seems like ages ago since we left Sydney, but at the same time, it feels as though the year so far has gone by in an instant. Everyone keeps calling it “the trip of a lifetime” but I hesitate calling it that because I want to do it all – and more – again one day!
Here are some of the highlights that I can’t wait to share with you:
- The fun and cheap street food that I was able to enjoy along the way (while finding vegan-friendly food was challenging at times, when it was available, it was really good!)
- The colorful markets that I visited, where I learned about the many fruits and vegetables unique to each country
- The incredible cooking classes that I took in Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand
- The special gourmet vegan and raw meals that I was able to enjoy when we decided to splurge at the region’s most famous restaurants
- An incredible vegan + organic winery that we discovered in New Zealand
- The amazing elephant rescue and rehabilitation center that lets visitors feed and bathe these amazing creatures (instead of forcing them to perform for humans)
- The 7-day no-food detox that I completed (go me!) in Ko Samui, Thailand
- Some travel and packing tips that I picked up along the way, and of course, some vegan travel information for those of you looking to embark on your own adventures!
I can’t wait to share all of this with you, not to mention all of the great food that I’ve come across so far in Toronto. I also look forward to catching up with all my favorite blogs and seeing what everyone has been up to!
But before I go, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who left such kind comments on my last post, and who continued to leave comments or send emails and tweets while I was travelling. I wasn’t always able to respond in a timely manner, but I loved hearing from you and it felt nice knowing that I would still have a place to call home here once I finally got back on solid ground.