With a shared love for the planet, Sarah and Gianluca have been travelling the world together, all while embracing a vegan lifestyle. The eco travel couple talks about how they do it and why they do it, giving us a peek into their ‘vegan travel diaries.’ By Bayar Jain
T+L India: How did you both start travelling together?
Sarah: We met in 2016 and G [Gianluca] straight away got fascinated by my passion for travelling. I started travelling by myself when I was only 13 years old and I never stopped since (till the 2020 pandemic unfortunately). So, we started planning our trips together and after a couple of them, we decided to open a travel blog and, most importantly, to film video travel guides that could have been useful for future travellers looking for sustainable ways to travel around the world.
T+L India: How do you narrow down on the destination and the various experiences there?
Sarah: It’s mostly me planning everything. I used to work in the tourism field and I’ve always loved planning my own trips. Budget is always an important component so I need to make sure we can experience as much as possible within a reasonable budget. So we pick a destination, and we try to choose countries where being vegan or sustainable might look hard, to help others by showing them that it’s not impossible [to travel on a vegan diet] if there’s a bit of good research involved. We always prioritise eco-friendly activities, sustainable accommodations and vegan-friendly restaurants when planning our trips.
T+L India: When traveling together, how do you deal with differences and misunderstandings among each other?
Sarah and Gianluca: We are very, very lucky because we hardly argue. We are on the same page 99 percent of the time and that is what makes travelling together easy and pleasant. There is a lot of trust between us. And even if we have a little argument, we are usually out of it within minutes. Communication is our strength! We talk through everything—it saves time and unnecessary anger, especially when you have to share everything 24/7 with the other person.
T+L India: How do you overcome diet-related challenges, especially in meat-loving nations?
Sarah and Gianluca: That’s actually the challenge we look for every time we pick a destination! We absolutely love to find ways to be vegan in countries where it looks super hard to find anything suitable. It’s also a personal challenge to motivate us to stay strong and keep following our ethical values. And, so far, we managed to find great options everywhere we’ve travelled to. It obviously requires some research but that’s why we do this [research] so future travellers won’t have to.
T+L India: You recently visited India. Which destinations did you explore and what were some of your most memorable moments?
Sarah and Gianluca: We have travelled around Rajasthan for about two weeks trying to fit in as many things as possible. We really wanted to experience Indian culture through a DIY travel plan. Our main stops were Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Jaipur and, of course, Agra. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions with ups and downs as both of us got sick at some stage, but we had so many memorable moments—the magical atmosphere of Jaisalmer, the amazing food in Udaipur, the colours of Jaipur and obviously the beauty of Taj Mahal in Agra. We wish we had more time available to visit more, but we will keep this as a good excuse to come back again to India.
T+L India: Which country surprised you with its vegan offerings? What were some of your favourite dishes here?
Sarah and Gianluca: Easy answer: Hungary! We decided to include Budapest, its capital city, as part of our round-the-world trip just before the pandemic and we didn’t expect all the amount of vegan offerings this city had. We loved it so much that we extended our stay for an extra week…and it still wasn’t enough to try all the vegan spots around the city. Budapest was the most unexpected vegan heaven and also a very eco-friendly city. It’s impossible not to immediately fall in love with it! What we loved was the opportunity to try local traditional dishes made vegan. We had the best plant-based roast and the best pastries ever. G still talks about that roast every day!
T+L India: What has been your most romantic holiday yet and why?
Sarah and Gianluca: We are more of an adventurous couple when it comes to travelling. We normally look for challenging destinations rather than romantic getaways. But if we have to choose one, it would probably be one of our very first trips as a couple in Florida, Key West (USA). We were not blogging back then so our way of travelling was totally different. It was more focused on us as a couple, relaxing with romantic walks on the beach at sunset, and no rush whatsoever.
T+L India: How do you ensure sustainability while travelling?
Sarah and Gianluca: We get very serious about this topic. Since we have decided to follow a more sustainable way of living, we wanted to make sure our travels could follow the same ethical values whenever and as much as possible. When we plan our trips, we always make sure that all the transportation we use is the most eco-friendly possible. We only fly if there are no other alternatives. But once we arrive at the destination, we mostly move around by public transports for long distances (mainly trains) and by bike or walking for short distances.
Another way to ensure sustainability in our travels is the choice of accommodations. There is a lot of research involved but it’s very important for us to look for places to stay that prioritise environmental sustainability (like using solar energy, no single use plastics, use of natural cleaning and bathroom products, water- and energy-saving policies for bed linen and towels, no food waste programs, local products or seasonal ingredients in the kitchens, and supporting local communities in terms of employment etc.)
Even the activities we choose to experience are always eco-friendly and respectful of the environment. We avoid anything involving the exploiting of animals, anything that is bad for the environment, and anything that is not respectful of the locals. And what we put in our luggage counts, too! We always have our reusable gear with us, natural toiletries, and no plastic.
T+L India: How has travel changed you as a couple?
Sarah and Gianluca: Travelling for long periods and spending time together 24/7 can either make you go crazy or make you stronger. Fortunately in our case it helped us build a stronger connection and bond. It helped us in getting to know each other better and learning how to manage each other’s imperfections. We feel more and more connected every time we start a new trip. Travelling has become a crucial way for us to unplug and reconnect as a couple after stressful periods of work. We both have the same passion for travel reportage and that makes our trips even more exciting and memorable.
T+L India: What’s next on your travel bucket list?
Sarah and Gianluca: This is the one million dollar question! There are so many places on our list and not being able to travel for two years now has made this list even longer! But our top three are:
- Central and South America: this would be quite a long and slow DIY trip where we would take the time to visit as many countries as possible in a lesser touristic way. We want to get closer to the traditions, the locals and live the real experience by visiting hidden gems and enriching our cultural background.
- Autumn in Canada: definitely a bucket-list item to visit during foliage season!
- Chasing Northern Lights: we visited Lapland in 2020 but unfortunately it wasn’t a pleasant experience. And we haven’t been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights yet. So we would love to give it another chance, but this time maybe in Iceland.
Related: This Couple Has Visited Every Country In The World On A Vegetarian Diet!