How to travel as a vegan in Europe

Vegan travel satire

Vegan traveling in Europe is not easy, but neither is it all that difficult

Vegan travel satire

The big problem is that sharing food is an important custom in every culture, to a greater or lesser extent, and most food that is shared comes from animals. How are you going to get around that? The only way to do it is to be perfectly honest with the people you meet. Some people will understand, others will not. You do not have to get along with everybody you meet when you are traveling. Sometimes, people are jerks. Sometimes, you are a jerk. Do not compromise your principles for the sake of a stranger you will not even like once you get to know them, because if you compromise your principles for them, you will not like them anyway.

The next problem is that many people misunderstand vegans. They believe that vegans are new-age hippies who want to have love-fests and drink disgusting leaf-based green drinks. The easiest way to dispel this myth is by using foul language. If anybody tries to imply that you are this type of vegan, loudly and publicly tell them to go fuck themselves. That should do the trick. If you are one of these hippie vegans, please go fuck yourself. I have nothing against hippies, but they are ruining vegan credibility. I just want to eat a tasty plant-based diet without it being a part of my personality. I’ll take the love-fests, though.

Another issue you will encounter is what to actually eat. Salads are generally okay, but make sure to get the meat and cheese out — for some reason, many meat eaters cannot even eat a fucking salad without sticking some animal carcass in there. Also, check the dressing. Those meat eaters are sly motherfuckers, and they’ll even puree an animal just to get their meaty fix. Seriously, it’s like an addiction. Just go one fucking meal without eating somebody else!

Bread is generally okay as well. Avoid soup, because it is usually made from the leftovers of animals. You can probably find a pasta dish that won’t have meat, but you’ll definitely need to request they take out the cheese. You can usually get a pizza marinara, as long as you make sure they don’t use anchovies. However, since anchovies cost extra and most restaurateurs are tight fuckers, you’re probably safe.

Local delicacies are usually a no-no. Most regions pride themselves on their local cuisine, which is usually an unimaginative variation of the same thing as every other fucking region on the continent: some meat shit (whatever they raise locally, either cow or sheep or goat or pig), usually killed in some horrifying way (because apparently the only way to get the perfect taste is to behave like a fucking serial killer), and drowned in some meat sauce from either the same animal or another animal. Generally no herbs or spices, because the meat flavor is so overpowering that they would be pointless. In fact, in my experience, most meat eaters haven’t got a fucking clue how to use herbs and spices, which is why, when they make something vegetarian or vegan, it is as tasteless as a white male stand-up comic complaining how PC culture has gone too far.

Eating vegan in cities is usually easy. Most European cities have at least one vegan restaurant, and many restaurants either cater to vegan diets or are willing to do so. Not so in the country. What the fuck is a vegan? Why the fuck would anybody choose not to eat meat? How the fuck are you still alive? These are the questions you may face in rural areas. Most people will not ask you these questions aggressively — they are simply befuddled. You could very well be the first vegan they have ever encountered. Certainly, they have no doubt heard of these vegans from television, but in real-life terms, E.T. has just walked into the restaurant, announced the existence of life on other planets . . . and then made some very specific meal requests. In these instances, you are unlikely to get anything that is truly meat- or dairy-free. You will have to make a choice: how hungry are you prepared to get before compromising your principles? Sometimes, it is best to choose the least animaly-looking thing on the menu and not ask any questions. If you find some meat or dairy on your plate, eat around it. Remind yourself that you will not die from accidentally ingesting particles of rotting flesh. Remember the movie Alive. Remember the Donner Party.

Another conundrum you will have to face is how many questions to ask regarding wine. Many wines are made using animal ingredients, but the good news is that your desire to ask principled questions diminishes with every glass you drink.

Finally, you may wonder about clothing, specifically footwear. It is now possible to buy vegan shoes, although you usually have to order them online, or go to somewhere like London to get them. That is not a problem. The problem is the price. They are fucking expensive, and like all modern footwear, fall apart after being looked at too sternly. With footwear, the question is not: how principled are you? but how principled is your bank account? For most of us, traveling with vegan footwear is out of the question. Travel itself can be expensive, and as such, you need some good, reliable shoes. Yes, these shoes were once a cow, probably a baby cow at that (human beings really are sick bastards), but you cannot change the whole system alone. You do what you can, and live with it. It’s time for the rest of humanity to pick up the fucking slack.

To conclude, do not be afraid of traveling around Europe as a vegan. At least, when you get to the really disgusting parts of the continent, where they want to share a bull’s testicle or an octopus’s unborn child with you, you have an excuse to say no.

Published by William Alan McNeice

I have been writing for most of my life. I write novels, plays, screenplays, and short stories, usually with a strong element of humor or satire. Go to for more. I live in Madrid, Spain, and work as a copy editor, editing fiction, academic texts in the humanities, and computer programming texts. I am a fan of the Oxford comma. I have lived in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Germany, Poland, and now Spain, and my wife and I intend to settle down somewhere, someday. In my spare time, I like to set myself ridiculous challenges. For 2017, I am spending the entire year offline (except for work), which means that I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the world today. It is very relaxing.

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