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In today’s episode, we’ll be talking to Cassandra Brooklyn, a travel writer, guidebook author, travel advisor, and international group tour leader. Her tour company Escaping NY, specializes in small group adventures to Cuba as well as other destinations in Latin America and interestingly Jordan too. If you go on to Cass’s site or look in the show notes, you will see links to these trips. You will see her 2021 departures for Jordan, Cuba, and Mexico that will start in the 3rd quarter of 2021 when hopefully travel will be a bit easier. This episode is going to be perfect if you have ever considered traveling to Cuba but just put it in the too-hard basket. Perhaps you have been concerned about visas, logistics, and the idea that you might go hungry while traveling to Cuba. Cassandra doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges with traveling to Cuba, but she certainly breaks down the challenges and makes it super easy.
00:55 What have we been doing these past 7 months?
05:49 Introducing Cassandra
10:30 Cassandra’s backstory
11:33 Fears of traveling to Cuba
12:31 Visas to Cuba
15:26 Getting to Cuba
20:32 Getting prepped to go to Cuba
24:01Donating items within the country
32:22 Finding vegan food in Cuba
41:18 Reasons to go to Cuba
45:43 How to contact Cassandra
Learn more about what we talk about
Vegan Home and Travel (our new blog)
Escaping NY websiteCassandra’s Ebook Cuba by BikeAll Cassandra’s links for Cuba.
Cassandra’s 2021 trips
Mystical Desert Wonders September 11th – 19th 2021
Mexico: Day of the Dead Parades and Preparation – October 22nd – 28th
Festivals and Folklore – October 29th – Nov 3rd
Cycling, Cigars, and Classic Cars
November 19th – 27th
November 27th – December 5th
Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode
- # 14 | Sustainable Travel | Brighde Reed
- Travel Hacking 101 – The Basics | David Goudreau | Ep 101
- The Best of Vancouver: Tips for Vegan Travelers to this Fantastic City | Nia Seney | Ep 89
- Best Vegan City Food Tours – North America (US, Canada, and Mexico)
- Retiring to Mexico – The whys, wheres, and hows! | Michael Dorfman | Ep 83
- S3 Ep 6 | A Vegan Culinary Tour of Mexico | Eddie Garza
Connect with Cassandra
Our latest news
It has been a long time since we released a podcast. Indeed I just checked and it was the middle of May! Yikes. We are sure you don’t want or need an explanation from us about why that is but heck, let’s do it anyway. Like for most people involved in travel, COVID did a bit of a number on us. We ended up canceling some of our 2020 trips and pushing back others to 2021. We waited until the last possible moment to cancel the trips as we, perhaps naively thought that perhaps we could pull it off. In retrospect, we might have been able to run our trips to Cape Town and Botswana as both countries did end up opening but we couldn’t have our travelers booking flights at the last minute, and there is still uncertainty in terms of countries suddenly changing their entry requirements, going back into lockdown, and so on. It would have made for a stressful time before the trip, which is NOT how we want to begin a trip of a lifetime! It broke our hearts to cancel the trips of course, but at the same time, we experienced so much support and gratitude from our travelers (a big thank you to them) who were booked on these trips and others who have committed to rejoining us in 2021 despite the level of uncertainty there is regarding international travel at this point in time. So what have we been doing in the months since we last released podcasts? Well, as you can imagine, a lot of time has been spent getting settled in our new home. We had furniture to assemble, our cat Pinky had Radioiodine therapy for her hyperthyroidism (which cured it. It is an amazing treatment, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions about this almost miraculous treatment). We did manage to get some travel done when restrictions were lifted in the summer. We did two camping trips where we discovered and re-discovered Eastern BC and the Canadian Rockies. We had an absolute blast. I have been doing some online teaching which has been so much fun. I teach whatever I like, so you can bet we talk about vegan issues from time to time. Honestly, though, online teaching has been a lot of fun. Talking with people from all over the world about important issues and ideas and hearing their perspectives has been so enriching. It’s also made me realize that being a native speaker of English is such a privilege especially when I see people working so hard and investing so many resources in their English to help improve their opportunities in life.
We have also really enjoyed the change in seasons and spending time with family too. Another highlight was a Zoom holiday party that we hosted for the travelers who have been on past trips– and who will join future trips — with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. We had 30 people join us on call. A big thanks to those that joined us. We also started a new blog called Vegan Home and Travel which we have been putting a lot of content on. Go check it out in the show notes. It’s still new and a work in progress, but we’re getting there! There certainly have been a lot of really positive experiences from 2020. For us, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom, and in the end, it’s often better to focus on the things we gained than those we lost!
Regarding 2021, we feel more positive especially with news of the vaccine. Indeed, it was the news of the vaccine that put us in the headspace to plan for the future a little bit and start talking about travel again. An approach we have to think about is to plan our personal and professional travel and at the same time, not put too much attachment to it which is what we are advising to everyone right now. Indeed, one positive thing about COVID19 is it is giving us a lot of opportunities to practice acceptance. Right?