Travelling in Spain and Guatemala with Veganbnb Travel – an interview with Emma Fry

As the years pass, being vegan is becoming more widely accepted around the world and it certainly is much easier to go on vacation as a conscientious traveler. With the increasing popularity of vegetarian and vegan friendly accommodation, I had however, until recently, not managed to track down any travel organizations that specialize in exclusive vegan travel. Much to my delight, at the annual VegFest event in Brighton, England, I met a fascinating fellow vegan, Emma Fry, who as it turns out, is leading quality tours in Spain and Guatemala for vegan travelers. Eager to know more, I recently caught up with Emma with lots of questions to find out more about what this compelling vegan travel in Spain and Guatemala is all about…

Emmas local dealer of chia seeds and chick pea flour on the central market in Antigua Guatemala.

Emma’s local dealer of chia seeds and chick pea flour on the central market in Antigua Guatemala.

What was it that inspired you to launch a project dedicated exclusively to vegan travel?

“Inspiration for Veganbnb Travel has come in so many different forms, and over many years, from the wonderful people I have met to the countries I have worked and traveled in. After just over ten incredible years Tour Leading in Latin America, Europe and Africa I saw there was a specific demographic within the travel industry not being catered for so set about changing it! I promote the availability of a lifestyle that does not exploit animals or the environment and am dedicated to offering quality vegan travel in both Guatemala and Spain, there is a beautiful world out there waiting to be explored; consciously, compassionately, safely and passionately! Local and international markets and economies will always react to demand so the more vegan travel becomes available, the more we will be catered for, in quite a short space of time I have seen wonderful examples of small local businesses in Guatemala and Spain reacting the demand being created by Veganbnb Travel, changing their menus in order to offer us vegan alternatives and really getting involved which is wonderful to see.”

"Arroz con frijoles y platano frito", rice, black beans and fried sweet plantain, not only is it delicious, it's one of Guatemala's most traditional dishes which just happens to be completely vegan!

“Arroz con frijoles y platano frito”, rice, black beans and fried sweet plantain, not only is it delicious, it’s one of Guatemala’s most traditional dishes which just happens to be completely vegan!

What sort of experience might I expect if I go on a Veganbnb Travel vacation?

“A unique and memorable one! I appreciate that everybody likes to travel differently, we all have individual tastes, desires and requirements, with this in mind I produced different itineraries and run trips from 4 to 10 days in both Guatemala and Spain, all of my trips have some exciting included activities but still allow enough free time for people to be independent, explore and pursue their own interests, vacations are all about creating beautiful memoirs and having new experiences that everyone will take with them long after they return home.”

Who are Veganbnb Travel holidays for? Singles, couples, families, vegans, non-vegans?

“I always love this question! Veganbnb Travel holidays are for everyone, I have many people travel with me who are neither vegan or vegetarian and work hard to create an environment that is neutral, welcoming and open to everyone no matter what their lifestyle choice is, I just ask that everyone bring with them and open mind and sense of adventure!”

What are your favourite memories of travelling in Guatemala and Spain?

“Wow, there are so many its hard to choose! I have traveled most of South and Central America on my Motorbike and I’ll never forget getting two punctures in the same day in a very isolated, rural area of Guatemala and having already used my spare inner tube I asked a couple of local farmers for help. They instructed me to start collecting banana leaves at which point I thought we were going to make tamales for lunch but they cleverly they spent half an hour stuffing my tire with the thick banana leaves to the point where I had, once again a solid tire, I traveled a further 50km that day and had a new found respect for not only the Guatemalan banana farmers but the crop itself, incredible!”

“One of my favorite memories form Spain is actually very recent; I was up in the mountain on a trip and we had just enjoyed a delicious vegan paella and there was a knock on the door, a local bar owner had come up to ask if we could explain to him exactly what vegan food was as he wanted to change his menu to make it more appealing for my groups, that is creating the demand! I have fixed a date with Pepe to go to his bar / restaurant to do a vegan cooking session, I’ll make sure to do a Facebook post so everyone can meet him!”

Taking a plant based diet to a whole new level! Using banana leaves to stuff a flat tire!

Taking a plant based diet to a whole new level! Using banana leaves to stuff a flat tire!

Any advice you might give a vegan traveller?

“Keep exploring! The availability of quality vegan food whilst traveling is one of the most obvious concerns surrounding vegan travel, I have found throughout the world that most people are willing to modify their menu’s so don’t be hesitant to ask politely as this is also creating the demand, if in doubt, always turn to the back of any menu and look for the side dishes, I have made many lovely combinations just from side dishes alone! Although vegan cuisine has a lot of focus, it is however just the tip of the iceberg in regards to living a vegan lifestyle so research your travel destination fully to see what you can find in terms of sustainability, agricultural or humanitarian projects that you may be able to get involved with during your travels. Last but not least, we all have a favourite vegan shop, restaurant or business that we use on a regular basis at home, ask them for stickers or flyers that you can distribute whilst  on the move in order to promote their business to a national or international crowd.”

Any new and upcoming projects?

“Ohhhh, lots! In September I will be releasing new and exciting trips and dates for 2014 / 2015 and I’m extremely happy to say that Veganbnb Travel will be collaborating with UK based Sean of Fat Gay Vegan and US based Green Earth Travel to offer some exclusive and unique vegan vacations so keep an eye on the Veganbnb Travel website, Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and news.”

I felt positively inspired to meet Emma. You couldn’t wish for a more authentically enthusiastic and friendly person, who is clearly walking her talk and doing what she loves. I know the first person I’ll be turning to for my next trip to Spain (or who knows – maybe I’ll even head off to Guatemala!).

You can find out more about Veganbnb Travel and Emma on her website here:

www.veganbnbtravel.com

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About trinitybourne

Trinity is passionate about creating healthy vegan cuisine, with 20 years experience of eating an exclusively vegan diet. After many years as a vegan chef, catering for spiritual retreats and workshops, Trinity recently published her first vegan recipe book 'Trinity's Conscious Kitchen' which is filled with 168 pages of original recipes, inspiration and photos. Visit: www.trinityskitchen.com
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