I’ve been a vegetarian for 23 years but I’ve never wanted to be vegan; even less so as we travel and it’s hard enough avoiding meat and fish, let alone dairy too. It was on a last minute whim that I decided to go vegan for our nine days in Portland, Oregon. While researching vegetarian restaurants in this alternative city it seemed that veganism was widespread. There were tons of options and I thought it would be a good way to start a healthy eating kick, after a rather unhealthy few weeks of chocolate, cheddar, and chips in England.
It certainly didn’t look like a restaurant; it barely qualified as a shop. There were a few bottles of wine and olive oil on the shelves, a couple of jars of honey, but mostly empty space and piles of paperwork. It was simply furnished with white walls, rickety shelving, a wooden beamed ceiling, and a terracotta tiled floor. A couple of two seater tables were laid in the middle of the small room, and as we entered our host Francisco greeted us warmly and invited us to sit down.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect from travel costs in Turkey, a country that bridges Europe and Asia. We knew it’d be more expensive than Southeast Asia and we hoped it’d be cheaper than Western Europe.
We travelled for nearly three years without a mobile phone. We weren’t technology shy—we need it to work and had laptops, cameras, kindles, and iPods—but a phone just didn’t seem necessary. We’d actually never owned a smartphone—in the UK we were saving for travel and it wasn’t a priority.