Over the last few years, following a vegan lifestyle in the UK has become ever increasingly easy. In fact, it has become so easy that moving to another country that may not be as vegan friendly may feel like a very daunting prospect. Not all countries are equal in their vegan-friendliness – for example, the best places to usually retire may be different to the best places for vegans to retire to.
There are already lots of elements that a vegan lifestyle can impact – relationships, socialising, convenience etc – and it is understandable to feel fearful that these may become even more challenging in a new and unfamiliar environment.
Therefore, there are a few extra pre-move preparations you might benefit from undertaking in addition to the usual planning you would do for any move aboard.
If you have a choice in the matter, where you choose to relocate will have the most impact on how easy a change this will be. Do plenty of research on the most vegan countries and of course the best places to be vegan within those countries.
If you’ve become accustomed to having access to lots of vegan alternatives such as plant milks, meat substitutes and cruelty free products, then you will want to focus on relocating to more developed countries and less rural areas within them. Rural areas will often be more challenging to find alternatives.
Remember, some countries have very different laws – testing on animals is legal in some countries – food labelling standards can be more lapsed and of course, labels may be written in an unfamiliar language, so it is vital to choose wisely.
Mindset and Approach
It can be useful to move with the notion and mindset that you will have to adapt and potentially give up at least some of what you’re used to – for example, having soy milk instead of your preferred oat milk.
If you have experienced vegan travel, then you will know you cannot always access your home comforts. However, living in a country is slightly different as you are not so reliant on eating out, but you’re still dependant on the availability of produce in local supermarkets and stores.
Once you’ve chosen your location, you can do online research to uncover the supermarket produce on offer and what online vegan produce supplier options are available in that country.
It is better to lower your expectations generally and that way you can be pleasantly surprised, rather than disappointed.
Support and Resources
Utilising social platforms such as Facebook can be a useful approach – seek out vegan Facebook groups specific to the country or area and ask for tips and advice from its members. These groups are generally designed for support and to make new connections so you may make some new local friends in the process. You can also use apps specifically designed to connect people, such as meet up to find like-minded vegans, so you have a supportive network in place.
Before you move, consider also researching local vegan events in and around the area you are wishing to move to and if there aren’t any, perhaps when you’re settled you can consider organising your own.
Another fantastic resource to utilise is the Happy Cow App. The app lists all the local restaurants, cafés and bars and provides information on what vegan options are available in your local area – search by postcode for any location in the world. You can even use this as part of your research for choosing your location if eating out is an important lifestyle aspect for you.
In summary, the single best thing you can do is spend time researching before deciding on the country you wish to relocate to. If you’re moving with no choice as to the country, all you can do is investigate what options you have available.
Most important of all is taking an open-minded and flexible approach and accepting the possibility that you may have to adapt and change a few of your usual choices. Conducting research will always help you enter with a more realistic view.
By taking on board this approach, it is entirely possible to easily settle as a vegan in another country.