So it seems to have become a tradition for me and my dad to hike for a good cause each year. Last year we walked coast to coast along Hadrian's Wall to support The Marine Conservation Society UK and after saving the seas we wanted to target the trees. We hiked The English Way which is a huge hike (for me) from Ferrol to Santiago
in Spain for the Plant A Tree Today Foundation.
Hiking through small Spanish villages with some having just a handful of people in them made it quite tricky for me to order food without completely confusing cooks - I essentially became 'the vegan hiker' to many that I met, but hopefully I opened some eyes along the way and educated them on what the alien word 'vegan' actually means.
One guy did not get it and after explaining "I don't eat meat, dairy or eggs" and accepting his offer of a vegetable pasta dish, I was glad to sit down after 10 miles of hiking that morning to enjoy some much needed energy food. Tuna. I got given Tuna. Pasta with the promised vegetables but with tuna! A french fries sandwich it was for me that day! The waiter was so confused but then really embarrassed when I tried my hardest to explain in my sketchy Spanish that Tuna is an animal too - but hey, I will take one for the vegan team if it means another person in the world now knows what Veganism is and that Fish are our friends too! From then on I made sure to include "I do not eat fish either" onto my vegan explanation.
A couple who I told got it instantly - even if they openly told me they had never "met one" before which made me giggle. It was like I was a real rarity out there but boy when they got it - they got it so right! I had some amazing freshly made meals for me during the hike and one chef in Betanzos at the Meson Restaurante Vega even seemed excited by the challenge. He made me a leafy Pasta salad with every trimming possible! Carrots, Onions, Black and Green Olives, Beetroot, Tomatoes (the huge Spanish beef Toms that are to die for!), Mushrooms and strawberries - yes strawberries were within the mix and you know what - it worked!
This walk taught me two very important things - we still need to work hard on reforestation and getting the importance of climate change across to people, and Veganism although now seeming very popular is still an unusual concept to so many in the world - this needs to change!
You can still help make a difference by sponsoring the hike I did here and if you want to help the vegan movement move more quickly then follow Grow Up Vegan on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!