Our latest Vegan Insider series meets Randi AKA VeggieVisa - an American vegan living in Prague who loves for travelling around Europe.
Randi documents her best vegan fashion, food, and beauty finds on her blog Veggie Visa, a project which has turned into the go-to guide for vegan travel.
What inspired you to start a vegan blog?
About 6 years ago a friend told me he was about to become vegetarian. I didn't have a high opinion of vegetarianism or veganism at the time but something clicked.
Within a few months I became vegetarian but there was still something pulling at my conscious. As I learned more and more about the cruelty that existed as a result of the dairy and egg industry, I knew it wouldn't be enough for me to be vegetarian and over the next year or so I weaned myself off of milk products but continued to eat eggs.
When I was traveling throughout Thailand in 2014 I came face-to-face with animal cruelty on a regular basis. On my last day in Thailand, before crossing the border to Cambodia, I decided to make the final step and go vegan.
While I was traveling and learning the ins and outs of being vegan I quickly discovered that being vegan on the road was not impossible. In fact, it usually isn't even hard if you just know where to look for vegan food. I wanted to share the information I was learning with others about traveling as a vegan and decided to start Veggie Visa.
Not contributing to animal suffering or death aside, the most amazing thing to me was that I managed to change so many habits with my diet that I would have once imagined to be impossible.
I grew up in Texas and Louisiana and ate a lot of meat, seafood, and dairy products. Basically everything in my diet had some form of animal product in it. Now, I can't even imagine consuming those things because it's so far from my reality.
I think it's impossible to answer that question because I've had so much incredible vegan food in the past few years. However, I recently had vegan pierogi at a hole in the wall restaurant in Krakow that was so incredible that I went back three or four times in one week. I'm still dreaming of it.
I live in Prague and luckily there are DM shops here that carry super inexpensive beauty brand called Alverde that makes make-up, soap, shampoo, and lotions. It makes me really happy to see these products in a mainstream, non-vegan store, especially since the prices are reasonable.
I also enjoy some of Lush's products, especially their Ultrabalm for tattoo healing, and recently purchased some fantastic Alkemie hand cream in Krakow that is vegan.
I love vegan leather and am so thrilled to see more and more of it out there. I own four pairs of shoes made from vegan leather, including a pair of sandals from Nae, another pair of sandals made from vegetarian shoes, and two pairs of boots from Will's Vegan Shoes. It feels great knowing that my feet aren't covered in someone else's skin.
I also have a beautiful backpack from Will's that has vegan leather trim and a lovely vegan leather handbag from a Czech brand called Mumray.
If I ever decide to settle down it might be nice to have a vegan B&B so I can continue to meet other travelers and give them a space to come to while on the road. I've also thought about someday owning an American style vegan diner. Either would be fantastic.
Well, Prague is pretty fantastic for vegans which is quite surprising considering the Czech diet is super meat heavy. There are about 50 vegan restaurants in the city, loads of bio and vegan shops, and I can even now buy tofu, vegan cheese, yoghurt, and oat milk at my local grocery store.
Cities in Poland are also surprisingly vegan friend. Krakow and Wroclaw are both full of amazing vegan restaurants. But I think the best place in Europe for vegans is Berlin. It's like a dream. You can pretty much go to any restaurant and there will be at least a few vegan options on the menu.
That said, small towns in both of these countries can be tough. People usually won't know what it means to be vegan or even vegetarian. But on the bright side, french fries and a beer are always an option.