Today I want to make a statement. Something that really goes for me and my journey towards a sustainable lifestyle. In general, I’d say living an eco-positive lifestyle is not hard (maybe I can’t say that just yet, since I am not there yet, but I am doing it anyway). However, there are some aspects which I find way easier than others. Going vegan vs. stop traveling, I’ll tell you which one is easiest.
What is the most sustainable?
For Dutch people (and in other countries too), it has been calculated what part of their lifestyle is causing the biggest impact on the planet. This is true for the average Dutch person. As we know, there is no such things as an average person, everybody is different. That’s why this score may differ for every person. Like for me, traveling is the biggest part of my personal impact, my home is the second. But, for the average Dutch person the amount of new stuff they buy is causing the biggest impact. But here it comes, meat it second and other animal products are eighth in the list. That together makes a lot of impact.
Going vegan is easy
I want to state here today that my personal experience is really logical (this being that I find it hard to travel less but easily live vegan). I think going vegan is way easier than giving up traveling. So, if I were to give advice on how to start living sustainable in an easy way: go vegan. Especially in the time we’re living, 2020, this goes. If you go to any supermarket in The Netherlands, you can find vegan alternatives. That can be soy yoghurt or meat replacers, but that’s more luxurious food. Beans and plant milk are cheap and available everywhere.
Meat can be replaced with beans, tofu, seitan or tempeh. In the beginning it takes a little effort, but once you’ve made the switch and know what to buy and how to prepare meals, it’s not hard at all. Going vegan is the easiest thing I’ve personally done. It gets even easier at restaurants. Most restaurants have vegan options on the menu these days, even the cheap ones like Happy Italy. If you’re unsure, make a call beforehand and the job is done. It’s just about making different choices, in the supermarket and restaurants. It’s not like you stop eating, you can still enjoy good food.
Traveling less is hard
I think in 2020 it’s hard to stay at one place. Once you get a certain age you have to move for an education, that’s not available in every city. The same goes with work, you have to be really lucky to find your dream job in your own city, most people commute. Family moves, friends move. If you want to still see them, you can’t always ask them to come to you. And this is daily traveling. What about holidays? I am extremely spoiled and privileged, and so I want to travel and see different parts of the country and the world. This is not necessary, but it sure as hell is tempting. Iceland, Norway, Italy, they’re all on my list of places I’d like to see. And I am rich enough to go do it, so to entirely quit traveling would feel like a constraint.
A big part of this is age
And so, going vegan is about making different choices, to stop traveling is about giving things up entirely. I think that makes it hard for me personally. Traveling differently is a piece of cake for me (which is why I ditched the plane and travel by public transportation). Again, that’s about doing something different. Traveling less or stop entirely is something I find hard right now. I
think this has to do with my age too. I don’t have a full-time job yet, don’t have a house of my own, study at the other side of the country and have a long term relationship. If I’d live where I worked together with my boyfriend and would be done with school, that makes things easier. But, for now I’d say that going vegan is way easier than to stop traveling (and not to forget: the impact of going vegan is way bigger).
Disclaimer: I realize that I am extremely privileged. That’s why I sketched my reality. I am wealthy and living in The Netherlands. For people living in The Netherlands I’d say going vegan is easy in the end. Yet, I can’t speak for people from other countries. I don’t judge non-vegans. I hope to just share my point of view and give advice on what’s the best way to start an eco-positive lifestyle.
Which one do you think is easier when it comes to going vegan vs. stop traveling?