I have gone way beyond excited and into a parallel universe of starry eyes and sweaty palms because, as the inaugural post in my new interview series, I had the honor and pleasure to interview my new friend Kristin Lajeunesse. Kristin is the brains and beauty behind the widely popular website Will Travel For Vegan Food.
And yes, before you even ask, you will want to head out on a road trip after you visit her site. What makes Kristin a vegan goddess? In 2011, she quit her full time job to head out on the open road in search of vegan food in Gerty, her loyal yet quirky van. She found more than the best vegan food these 50 states have to offer. Kristin developed an insatiable need for the nomadic lifestyle, in addition to becoming an awe-inspiring entrepreneur. Yesterday, her brand spanking new book “Will Travel For Vegan Food: A Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food & Make Love” was released to the world. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy and almost went blind as I read it at break-neck speed. Inspiring, honest, and raw, Kristin’s shares her heart with us and brings us along on her journey. But what does Kristin have to say about it all? Take it away, Kristin!
What inspires you to travel? What drives your wanderlust?
It’s driven by something I can’t necessarily describe. Initiated by this deep sense of knowing that this project was something I *needed* to do, leading to a lifestyle I feel in love with unexpectedly; the drive comes from a passion within. Perhaps some people are just wired that way. 🙂
What led you to entrepreneurship?
I always knew I wanted to work for myself but had never taken action on it until deciding to go on the Will Travel for Vegan Food journey. I was initially planning to work from the road, so I knew I had to redefine how I’d work and what I’d work on. The trip turned out to be too big a project to do while also working, so I ended up living off of donations the full two years of the trip. After the trip ended I was delighted to be offered some freelance opportunities. I was also getting quite a few inquiries about the lifestyle I had created for myself and some of those turned into paid coaching or mentorships opportunities. Turns out, I *LOVE* love love helping others learn how they too can turn their passions into profitable careers. Today, I offer mentorship programs, online business training courses, and give talks around the country about vegan business marketing and management. In truth, I’m still ironing out the details of that business model for myself. But what I do know is how much I love working one-on-one with people who are passionate about what they want to do with their lives. It’s incredibly invigorating and rewarding.
Being the Yoda in female entrepreneurship, what advice would you give for females striving for self-employment?
Oh my! That’s quite the compliment. 🙂 ::blush:: For other women who seek something different, something more, something in the realm of self-employment, my advice is this: start where you are. Start with what you have. Start now. Do not let potential confines of what other people or society have placed on what you “should” be doing with your life. You define the rules and you are allowed to make and break the ones that govern your life. Even if you’re not totally clear on what your first move should be, or what your career will be, the most important thing is to take action. Any action: journal it out, meditate, buy the domain of yourfirstnamelastname.com; whatever feels right, just start moving. As my dear friend and fellow female entrepreneur Kelly Bennett would say, action equals clarity.
Who is your book written for? What do you want your audience to take away?
My book is written for people who want more out of life; it’s for travelers, nomads, lifestyle designers, entrepreneurs, vegans, non-vegans, go-getters, and those seeking inspiration about a life-changing journey.
If nothing else I’d like my audience to be left with feelings of empowerment, joy, and inspiration. To know that anything is possible; thoughts become things; and that if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
How was the writing experience for your book? Organic, forced, hectic, exciting?
All of the above. Haha! If I had to sum it up, it would be: one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Parts of it came naturally. I felt blessed to find ways in which to express myself that I didn’t know I was capable of. And folks who would review the chapters as I went along would point out tie ins or neat connections made that I didn’t even realize I had incorporated. Things that I suppose you could say came about organically. The looming deadline made it feel forced and hectic at times, naturally. And the elation I felt when the first draft was done, was nothing short of exciting. As is the journey ahead. I love marketing and promotion, so I’m very much looking forward to those aspects of launching the book out into the world. 🙂
What advice would you give for newbie vegans and those curious about veganism?
Start where you are. Do your research and find a support group (or even one other person who is vegan or who wants to be). Once you have clarity around WHY you’re choosing to learn more and possibly go vegan, the easier the journey will be.
What do you think of veganism as a trend (i.e. celebrities trying veganism)?
Although I’ve never considered it a trend personally, or among my fellow vegan friends and activists, I have noticed the wave of celebrity mentions of veganism that you speak of. If anything I often find myself disappointed in the criticisms that fellow vegans place on celebrities for trying it out. Often times the person in the spotlight is “not vegan enough.” Yet at the same time we elevate celebrities to ungodly levels when they do claim veganism; and then tear them a part again if they choose to forgo that way of living.
What is your favorite cruelty free/vegan brand (clothing/makeup/household products/shoes)?
Hmm… this is a tough one. There are so many I adore. Since, as I’m writing to you in the moment, I’m wearing a Herbivore Clothing Co. zip-up sweater—and considering I wear this one almost everyday, often times with another of their shirts underneath it—I’ll go with the Herbivore Clothing Co. Another point *for* Herbivore Clothing is that I actually have a tattoo
on my right forearm of one of their designs. It’s the elephant that once appeared on their “I’m vegan and I love you” t-shirts.
What would be your last meal on Earth? No limitations on quantities or locations!
Vegan Treat’s Peanut Butter Bomb!
Imagine I’m a meat-eater who thinks vegans are weak salad eaters and I’m coming to dinner. What would you cook for me?
I wouldn’t! Instead I’d find out what your favorite food is, and order a vegan version of it from my favorite nearby vegan restaurant. I’d much rather get something I know tastes amazing rather than risk making it myself (I’m only occasionally a good cook). 😉
Many thanks to you, Kristin! Check her book out (it’s sitting pretty at #1 in Solo Travel Guides) and be sure to leave a review.
NOT SO FINE PRINT DISCLOSURE: I was given an advanced copy of Kristin’s book but all opinions are my own.