Category Archives: On the Road

Coming Back, Moving Forward

My husband Julian and I spent last weekend at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Neither of us had been before and we spent two nights in a tiny house (part of Farm Sanctuary’s bed and breakfast accommodations) and two full days getting to meet rescued farm animals: turkeys, cows, pigs, goats, sheep and ducks.  I wrote a post about it and included some pictures of the animals over at my other blog so if you’d like to read more about our visit, just click here.

Since going vegan in 2013, I have discovered that there are only a few places where I can just exhale and not have to be on guard at the meal table or wonder if someone is going to say something stupid about vegans: one is our home, one is around other vegans, and the other is at animal sanctuaries. In these surroundings I am able to truly relax; to be allowed to be a vegan without having to censor myself in some way or worry if I’m going to have to defend my choice to not eat animals at any given moment. And while I have never regretted my decision to go vegan, for me it is crucial that I have people and places like this in my life where I can be myself, with full acceptance of who I am and what is important to me. Without them I think the reality of how our world views, portrays and treats animals would be unbearable. Continue reading

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Speaking Up for Animals

Last week Julian and I were in Winnipeg visiting my family.  We had a great week and before I get to the story I wanted to share with you, I have to give a shout out to two great restaurants we dined at several times while we were there. One is Boon Burger, an all-vegan burger place that we first tried last year when we went to Winnipeg.  We ate there three times last week and the food and service was just as excellent as it was last time.  There is also a Boon Burger just outside of Toronto in Barrie that a friend took us to a few weeks ago and I’m pleased to say we have now eaten at every Boon Burger location in Canada!  Okay, so there are only three at the moment but still, they have consistently great food and as a vegan, it’s always a thrill to be able to choose any item from a menu and not have to read the fine print.  It’s an added bonus to be able to look at the picture of a cow on the wall and know that the animal’s image is not a euphemism for ground up flesh but rather to celebrate them just as they are – whole, living beings. Continue reading

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Basic Instinct

I don’t know why I didn’t stop to see if they were dead.  In fact, I was stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to change. It would have been so easy to pull my bike up onto the sidewalk and check to see if the pigeon was really dead and it would have been nothing to simply move them off the road and away from traffic. Even though the bird looked deceased – they lay face down on the concrete, the only movement was their feathers being ruffled by the wind – there was still a chance that they weren’t given that there was no visible blood and their body looked intact. What would it have cost me to simply move them to a sheltered place on the sidewalk so at least their remains wouldn’t have been smashed all over the road?  It would have cost me nothing but a few minutes of time. In fact, my very first thought, my very first instinct, was to check and see if the bird was dead. I even had an example of it: in the documentary, I Am An Animal about Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder of PETA, Ingrid is driving in her car being interviewed when she spots a dead dove on the road.  She pulls a U-Turn to double-check: the dove is indeed dead so she simply places the bird in some bushes, gets back in her car and continues with the interview. Continue reading

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This past weekend Julian and I had the privilege of spending four days at an animal sanctuary in Woodstock, New York. This year marked a few milestones for us – our 5-year wedding anniversary, we both turned 40, I joined Julian and went vegan – and we wanted to do something special to celebrate. We decided on Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary because it was co-founded by Jenny Brown and her book, The Lucky Ones, was one of the first books I’d ever read about farm animals after deciding to try a plant-based diet.  A friend bought it for me and it was only after reading it that I really understood what a sanctuary was.  It’s not a zoo (petting or otherwise), it’s not an aquarium and it’s not a museum where animals are on display for the amusement and study of human visitors. A sanctuary is a safe and sacred refuge where animals get to live out their lives in peace, liberated and free from the threat of slaughter, confinement, forced breeding and the general misery of factory farms.  Their only “job” is to live as they were meant to, roaming the grounds while foraging for food, sleeping, playing, and getting some well-deserved nuzzles from fellow animals and humans. A sanctuary is their home and I felt very different walking those grounds: I was there for them and not the other way around. Continue reading

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Bearing Witness

My husband, Julian, and I just returned from two weeks vacation in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  We spent the time with family catching up, going on a few outings, sharing great meals and noodling around the city.

One day my dad suggested we go up to Grand Forks, North Dakota, which is only about two and a half hours away from where he lives.  I hadn’t been to the United States in years and it had been awhile since I’d gone across the border in a car. The drive to and through North Dakota was much the same as the drive from Ontario to Manitoba: long, flat, straight and, well, kinda boring after a few hours. But it was a road trip and a great way for us to spend the day together. Continue reading

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