Emily with husband Riccardo at Ella, Sri Lanka
As some countries reopen and gradually ease travel restrictions, it may not be long before we start traveling again. How soon that would be will depend on different factors. For our latest installment to our interview series, we reached out to Italian vegan travel blogger and creator of My Vegan Trips Emily de Conto. We asked Emily to share about her experiences traveling as a vegan, the best vegan-friendly places to visit in Italy, and travel after COVID-19. Read on!
How long have you been vegan and what made you decide to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle?
I quit meat 25 years ago because of my love for the animals. I am so sorry it took me so many years to ditch milk. I became a full vegan 6-7 years ago.
What was it like the first time you traveled as a vegan?
It was harder than now I have to admit. First of all, some years ago it wasn’t easy to access all the information that we have now. Smartphones and apps were not as widespread as nowadays. Imagine that I visited Japan and Thailand without a smartphone!
Then we also have to consider that the availability of vegan products is still growing. When I first started to travel as a vegan it wasn’t always easy to get people to understand what “vegan” meant.
Which vegan-friendly towns or cities would you recommend to those who plan to visit Italy for the first time?
Italy is super vegan-friendly. You can have amazing food everywhere -- not only in restaurants offering specific vegan options but also in common places where traditional food is served. Our gastronomy is filled with accidentally vegan food. If I really have to pick one city I would choose Venice.
Did you have a trip planned around the time COVID-19 started spreading?
Sure! I had a trip planned to Sardinia in March, and of course, it was canceled. I also have a flight to Southeast Asia for the summer. I am still hoping they will let me leave.
Are things getting back to normal now in Italy?
Yes! Death rates are really low now. We are opening up for tourism, both national and international, starting from June 3rd.
Many people are wearing a face mask outside even if it is not compulsory. You still have to follow some rules when going into a shop or a means of transportation. But I think everything will be back to normal pretty soon.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic change the way you view travel?
To be honest, I am not worried about the virus at all. On the contrary, I am totally SCARED of all the tracking and the limitation on our freedom of movement. So I will travel as soon as I can and as much as I can. Traveling is a way of witnessing what is happening in the world. We all have the responsibility to be alert.
How soon do you think we can travel again?
I know I can exit Italy from June 3rd even if travel will be only permitted among EU and Schengen countries. So I am sure I am traveling again really soon.
What advice and tips can you share on traveling, especially after what we have seen and experienced with this global pandemic?
My only advice is to stay healthy, eat well, and follow your heart.
If you don’t feel safe traveling now, then leave it for next year, but if you cannot wait to be on the road again then have fun!