2016 Open Letter to Family and Friends

We’ve just celebrated the 2 year anniversary of our Vegan Food Quest full time travel adventure and thought we should mark it in the same way as last year and write you all a letter.

Just as last year when we wrote our yearly open letter to family and friends from somewhere in Thailand this year finds us writing a similar letter from Thailand again!

Some of you have shared this special island with us and to be honest after 2 years of travel there is nowhere we would rather be; we’ve been coming here for 15 years, we got married here and this trip sees us celebrate Caryl’s 40th birthday.

May there be many more happy times on this paradise island

Our perfect slice of paradise in Thailand.

Our perfect slice of paradise in Thailand

We marked our 2 year anniversary at ‘home’ in the UK where we topped up the levels of cold, grey and rain and spent a lot of time eating our own weight in crumpets, bread, vegan sausages, Violife vegan cheese, Toffuti cream cheese and homemade cashew nut cheese sauce (yes, there was lots of vegan cheese).

We spent as much time as we possibly could seeing friends and family, which was a lot of fun and included heaps of good eating (thank you to everyone who fed us) and the drinking of some very good wine (thanks to Caryl’s parents who cracked open quite a few bottles from ‘The Family Reserve’).

Quite simply we experienced a huge amount of generosity and hospitality (what would we have done without you all?).

Things definitely felt different being in the UK and although we fitted back in with life during the time there, we are definitely more like visitors now; after nearly 2 years travelling in South East Asia before stepping back on UK soil, a lot of things felt strange to us.

Brushing our teeth in tap water, the price of a beer (still in shock about this), being able to understand everything people say and therefore being bombarded with other people’s conversations, the pace of life, traffic jams, the lack of daylight (stupid idea to come back in the winter).

The landscapes (devoid of coconut palms and full of grand old trees), the cold air, the birds in the garden, the bleak skies of British Winter, the persistent, depressing drizzle.

All of the things that used to form part of our daily life felt a little bit alien, like they don’t really belong to us. Some of the things were strangely beautiful, some exhausting, some intense or annoying, infuriating, baffling and even exasperating. These are things that used to wash over us with familiarity but which now filled our days with a new awareness.

Yes, spending time at home after such a long time being away, was certainly an eye opener

Vegan Food Quest sightseeing in Cambridge.

Enjoying the sights of Cambridge (thanks to the hospitality of our lovely friends)

As we look back over the last couple of years, we feel immensely lucky. We’re lucky to be able to travel and explore a part of the world that we love. We’re lucky to have such amazing support around us. We’re lucky that a friend never seems too far away when we need one. We’re lucky that we seem to be a magnet for really good vegan food.

During our second year of travelling, we revisited a few countries we’d been to before (Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong) and squeezed in a few new places too (Laos, Cambodia and Taiwan). As we reflect on everything we’ve seen and done we’re pretty sure that none of it would be possible without the other people in our lives.

Whether it’s our parents, extended family, old friends, new friends, virtual friends, people working in the travel and food industry, fellow travellers, friendly locals, expats or just random strangers we meet on the way – every single person has given something that helped make living our dream a reality.

Sharing smiles with people we met on our travels.

Even the little people we met have given us something special

This is why we are really lucky and this is why we are eternally grateful

Being grateful has definitely been a running theme throughout these last 2 years of travel, perhaps we appreciate things more now as we have time to reflect in our daily life? Perhaps because nothing is permanent in life now, we try to make the most of things and appreciate them at the time? But perhaps because we live a fairly simple life now, we just appreciate things a little more.

Don’t laugh as we talk about having a simple life, especially as you think back about the amount of luxury travel that we seem to do.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of travel we do, life is absolutely more simple and stripped down for us now, regardless of whether we have our own infinity pool to cool off in or whether we’re drinking champagne on a white sand beach.

Simple (if not luxurious) life by the pool on Koh Kood.

Simple (if not luxurious) life

We travel, we eat vegan food, we write about vegan food and then it starts all again, somewhere new in a different location. Compared to our lives before this is simplicity defined for us and it really is rather fabulous.

This open letter to family and friends is to thank you all for your amazing support and we hope you continue to enjoy our journey as much as we do as we head into our third year of full time vegan travel.

This year will see us spend more time in Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia as well as some ‘yet to be confirmed’ destinations. If you’re passing by then give us a shout (we always love to see a friendly face and always need people to bring us vegan supplies from home:).

If you aren’t passing by then don’t be a stranger, what ever way you get in touch we’ll appreciate it and we’d love to hear from you because we miss you and we won’t be back for a while.

The open road is calling after all!

More vegan food for thought…


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One Comment

  1. Paul Lewis July 7, 2020 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Loved reading thru this… lots of interesting travel tips & ideas. Still amazed by the fish sauce coffee mix!!
    It was a chance meeting at your visit back in 2016 that started the idea of visiting you both in 2017, & am so glad that happened, & was repeated in 2018.
    It already seems way too long a time away from the dusty streets, so hope this pandemic is under control so you can return back home, & we can make new plans.

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