Travel and Vacationing as a Vegan Entrepreneur | Stephanie Redcross West | Ep 118

Introducing Stephanie

Join us on The World Vegan Travel Podcast as we explore “Travel and Vacationing as a Vegan Entrepreneur.” Discover how Stephanie, a successful entrepreneur, finds time to travel and embraces downtime while managing a busy schedule. Learn about the transformative power of travel in alleviating stress, finding rest, and reconnecting with oneself. 

Stephanie shares her personal journey of incorporating vacations into her life and the importance of self-care for vegan entrepreneurs. Gain insights into prioritizing travel, its impact on business success, and its significance within the broader vegan movement. Don’t miss this episode as we uncover the secrets of balancing travel and entrepreneurship for a fulfilling and successful life.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Stephanie’s relationship with travel
  • Journey of an entrepreneur towards self love.
  • How to plan a travel in the early years of an entrepreneur.
  • How to manage meeting people on business tours.
  • Ways to manage the business and personal life.

Learn more about what we talk about

  • How to manage clients while vacationing.
  • How to get free time while managing your business.
  • Ways to enjoy your vacations completely without work
  • Things you should do before going on a vacation as an entrepreneur
  • Best ways to coordinate with your team and clients

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Stephanie


Brighde: Hi, Stephanie. Thank you so much for joining me on the World Vegan Travel Podcast.

Stephanie: Thanks for having me.

Brighde: I am so excited that we are finally getting to have our conversation. We’ve been talking about this for I think 18 months. We are finally talking today about this really interesting topic that I think is gonna be really helpful for many of the listeners to this podcast, which is travel when you are an entrepreneur. I’m just so thrilled to be sitting down with you Stephanie to chat because we’ve known each other for several years now and you were a huge help to me at the start of World Vegan Travel, when I went full-time on World Vegan Travel back in 2019 and a little bit before then as well, through helping me with understanding a little bit about this thing called business from somebody who knew nothing about the business before. I credit you for helping us so much when we were getting started. So let’s hear a little bit about what it is that you do in the vegan space.

Stephanie: Absolutely, and it’s just so exciting to see how much you’ve grown and the business has grown, and how much you’re doing, especially in light of so much being shut down, in the world. I think everyone was curious how travel and things would bounce back from that. It’s just so beautiful to see all the trips and everything you’re doing and also all the reviews. People are just so ecstatic and love, love, love your trips. It’s just so wonderful to see it, as a person, kind of remembering when we were getting started and then also seeing just how beautiful things are and how things grow.

So just congratulations on that. As far as what we do day in and day out, especially for anyone who maybe hasn’t heard of Vegan Mainstream before, a lot of my day is really about coaching, supporting, and helping Vegan Entrepreneurs. What I love to do is kind of work across the spectrum as far as entrepreneurs. I think often when people think of vegan business, they think of vegan food, but like in the case of yourself, there are really so many different opportunities in so many different sectors, to bring the vegan lifestyle in and to allow people to really make veganism a part of their everyday life.

So whether it is the food on their plate, but it’s also from hiring a vegan accountant to getting vegan clothes, and skincare, all the way to vegan travel. So what we try to do is coach people, give people training and help people with the business side, cuz most people are like really great at what they sell or offer or their service but the business side is a little bit hard. So we support people through those marketing channels, we support them through strategy and even doing things like podcasts.

Brighde: Yes, and I really should tell our listeners that it was Stephanie who suggested and nudged me to create a podcast, in the first place. So I definitely should acknowledge that here. I remember I really resisted you, for a while, and you in your very sweet, kind, helpful way you nudged me a little bit and you really helped me like get organized with this. It’s really thanks to Stephanie that I’m now creating content on a regular basis and hopefully, it’s helpful to vegans who want to travel yeah it was a lot of fun, although really hard for me in those first 18 months. I remember saying to you many times, explain it to me like I’m five because I had zero knowledge about even the basic concepts in marketing, let alone all of the tools and the things that you need to do. So, yeah, just publicly, I wanna say thank you, Stephanie. 

So I really recommend to anyone who is thinking about delving into business as a vegan, then definitely check out Stephanie’s services because I can vouch for the fact that it was amazing, a really fun process to work with you, Stephanie. So thank you.

Stephanie: Absolutely. It was my pleasure and it’s just so wonderful to see what you’ve done with it and how you’ve built it out to just such an amazing success.

Brighde: Thank you. All right, well, our topic today is traveling and vacationing as a vegan entrepreneur. And I think this is a really interesting topic cause of course I travel so much because of the service that we provide, but I’m imagining that it must be really, really challenging for vegan entrepreneurs to find time to travel. So that’s gonna be the big topic for today. But first of all, let’s talk about like how your relationship with travel has changed in, I’m guessing your 10 years as an entrepreneur.

Stephanie: Absolutely. My relationship with travel has so changed. As a kid, I traveled a lot, so I was a person kind of young, introduced to the idea of traveling. We did a lot of travel across the US so because of that, I think as I got older, I liked to travel. I liked getting out there and going. Then when I was employed in a traditional full-time position, I did a little bit of vacations but I never had that process where I always took a vacation x time of year. I always did this, I always did that. I did have the benefit of working in corporate America for two years and we basically traveled a hundred percent of the time. So traveling a hundred percent of the time for two years where you basically don’t have a home. We have a place I come back to for holidays and stuff cuz we’d be off for that time. But the reality is I was pretty much always on the road, always in hotels, and we did it internationally.

I actually got to go to Japan. So I got to go to Japan while I was in corporate America. I got to travel to like Senegal and visit people. I got to go to London, Paris, France, Versailles and just so many different places. It was a great experience because it opened my eyes to the world. Really, it can be very easy to get kind of American-centric. It allowed me to see the everyday culture. I think one of the biggest challenges when you travel is sometimes you kind of land and you almost feel more like a tourist. So you’re only doing the things that are kind of like in the box. One thing I think was very fortunate about the way I was able to travel and because we were able to live there for an extended period of time, we knew what it was like to go grocery shopping.

We started to see what it was like to plan. Like I stayed in Leads in the UK and the equivalent of a CVS or whatever would close at five o’clock and I’d be like, oh no, I didn’t get toothpaste today. I’m like, all right, maybe the hotel will gimme a little thing, and that’ll carry me over. I think that’s such an important experience to get when you’re traveling, is to start to feel what it’s like to really live that local life, to really walk around, go to local events and activities so that you are amongst the people that make up that culture. To me that’s just been one of the most beautiful blessings that I’ve had, not only like I said growing up, but also being able to do that in my corporate life, before I started being an entrepreneur.

Brighde: Hmm. Amazing. It’s so cool that you were able to do that for your job, but I’m guessing things may have changed a little bit when you set up a Vegan Mainstream, I’m guessing.

Stephanie: Absolutely. That was a perfect kind of segue into it because when you become an entrepreneur you almost start to just pour everything into your business, and it’s not just pouring all of your time. It’s any money that you’re making, you’re often pouring it back in. And also in the earlier stages, for most entrepreneurs, there’s just not that much money to go around. You’re really kind of trying to build this business, so therefore it’s like going on vacation; who can not only afford a vacation but who can afford the time off? So vacation becomes this pressure becomes this thing of like, I have to trade one thing for another. And often when you’re an entrepreneur in the beginning stages, you’re like, I should be working on my business.

 I think that’s one of the challenges of being an entrepreneur and I think it’s okay in the early stages where you do focus, where you do put that prioritization in place. Cuz we all have to prioritize when we do anything new. When I start a new workout regimen, I gotta prioritize what I’m gonna do and when I’m gonna do it. I can’t workout right before the Zoom call cuz I’ll be exhausted, or potentially even sweating. So, you always have to make these compromises but I think the mistake many of us make as entrepreneurs is that we forget we have to come up to breathe at some point. We do need a way to reset at some point and I really feel that travel can be that way of resetting.

Now there are a couple of different ways you can do it and I can walk through a couple of things that I even tried but I think my biggest aha was that not only do I need to travel, I had to make it like a part of my work life. I had to make it a part of what I do as opposed to it being like this little special thing on the side that I’m gonna organize or plan one day and then year one, year two, year three rolls by and I never get to it.

Brighde: So let’s talk about that. How many years into your business did you kind of have this? Okay, right now is the time when I’ve really gotta start prioritizing this. Of course, this time will be different for different people and different businesses, I’m sure. But when was this like, I’ve really gotta get out there a little bit more. When did that happen to you?

Stephanie: I would say once I got a little bit more stability in my business, so I would say it took me a while. I’d probably say in year four or five is when I started to get out. Now that’s different, so I’ll share what I do now cuz I’ve upped the game and I’ve also realized that I have to do it in a new way. But initially what I started to do is at least a couple of travel with work so that I felt more comfortable doing it. Even from a financial sense, it made more sense. So what I would do is, I would do speaking engagements, and if I did speaking engagements instead of me just flying in and out, I would expand that time, and give myself a day on the ground before or after. I thought that was a really smart way of doing it because I was already there, the airfare and so forth.

But also it allowed me to spend more time with people because yes, I might fly in for VegFest or fly in for that, but I have clients all over the place. I have people that I’ve met at other events and it was such a shame that I’d fly into a city and I didn’t spend time with the people that I knew. So what I started to do is I would send out a note like in LinkedIn and tell people that I knew in that city, Hey, I’m gonna be in such and such, do you wanna get together for tea? Or do you wanna grab a smoothie or something like that? And it became a great way for me to start reconnecting with people, spending time with people that, I don’t get to see all the time because we don’t live in the same areas. But it created this kind of, Personal benefit to travel, not just this professional benefit for travel. I think that’s one of the things that we all struggle with, is we feel like as an entrepreneur, it’s the personal stuff, a little too selfish. Like it’s all gotta be for the business, so therefore you just feel like put it into the business.

 I really started to realize that I could bring those two things together by expanding my trips and really incorporating some downtime and fun time to just sit around and talk with somebody for an hour.

Brighde: Mm-hmm. Yeah, absolutely. We are lucky enough that we have friends in lots of different places in the world, and it just makes me so thrilled when I get to meet up with somebody that I haven’t seen for so long. For example, I was recently in Munich and I got to meet with a dear friend of mine when I lived in Bangkok it was the most refreshing and rejuvenating thing to be able to revive and refresh this friendship that we’ve had. I’m just so happy that I got to do that. It really just set me up for several weeks. It was just such a wonderful experience. So connecting with friends or even just networking with people that you’ve met with. I’ve met up with people that I’ve met on the podcast when we’ve been traveling. For example, fairly recently when we were in South Africa, I met up with a former guest of the podcast in real life and that was just so nice. It was so wonderful.

Stephanie: Yeah, it’s really nice when you can put those things together, cuz a lot of times I’ll know people that I really haven’t met in person yet. I might have talked to ’em a couple of times. We might have done a couple of Zoom sessions. We might even be actively collaborating on something. And you’ll be like, wait a minute, have we ever really met in person? It’s been two years or three years. That can happen. Especially now, post-pandemic, if you can really say it’s post-pandemic, it really can be the case that you almost feel like you know someone but you haven’t met them yet, in person.

Brighde: Exactly, so you’ve talked about when you started dipping your toe in the water but I think in recent years you’ve sort of got onto the next level with that. So can you explain where you are now and how you got there?

Stephanie: So there’s kind of like a two-part piece of this because I feel like some of this is just a mental block when it comes to travel. It’s that mental kind of concern or worry about whether should I do this. Should I take time off? How do I say it to my clients? They rely on me and all of that is true. People are relying on you, especially when you’re a person, to do coaching or do things that you’re meeting with people on a consistent basis. Like I’m meeting with a lot of people almost every single week. So when I think of taking a vacation, I feel like, ugh, I’m taking time away from them and I had to kind of shift my mental perspective on that and realize that I could be a better coach. I could really dig deeper if I had time and space to reset my mind, clear my mind, to not always feel the responsibility of something to do every minute, every day. That can happen in our personal lives, but it can happen so often in our entrepreneurial lives because especially when you are the founder and you’ve created this business you kind of take care of it with a lot more emotion.

Like you really keep it really close to you. If you have a team or anything like that, I’ve just struggled. I struggled with how do I take time off when other people are working. How do I make that happen? Then also I think, I don’t know it’s the right word to use, but I’m gonna use the word like, it’s like an addiction to the fast pace of running your business, like the rhythm of it and to slow down in a vacation can feel awkward. Normally I’ll have five or six meetings in a day. So I’m just rocking and rolling. And if I’m gonna go on vacation and I wake up and I don’t have anything to do, it’s almost like a shock. It’s like, what am I gonna do at all this time? What do I do now? And that void can be something hard. So that’s why I think there’s this like mental shift that you have to make where you start to think about, What would you do with that extra time? How would you use it and how can it enrich you and how important it is to have these breaks? Even sometimes something to look forward to in your business because when you’re having either a difficult time, you’re having a difficult transition because business is ebb and flow, and a difficult time doesn’t mean that your business isn’t doing well.

Sometimes a difficult time is your business is expanding too fast and you’re struggling with that expansion because it just feels like it wants more and more and more from you. Having that time off can help you manage things better. So I had to get my perspective in order first. Then the second thing I started to do is just the logistics of it. I don’t know if you do this on your calendar, but I’m a very calendar person. I’m a very scheduled person and last year one thing that I started to do, which is a shame, I just started doing it last year is, I started to put blocks in my calendar four times off and just the basics. Like in the US, we have a lot of three-day weekends. For me, I would just work, it was a Monday, it’s a Monday. If that Monday is a holiday, what I would normally make my Monday schedule has to shift to a Tuesday schedule and what’s normally my Tuesday schedule has to be a condensed week. 

What that means is, traditionally I don’t do meetings on Mondays. So now what I had to do is I had to go through by Tuesdays, block off every Tuesday for the entire year that has a three-day weekend proceeding it, and then make sure nothing is scheduled. So that I truly got the day of the week that I normally use to set up my week I still get it. Cuz what would happen is I felt like, if I took the time off and enjoyed the holiday, then I felt like I lost a day? So I literally had to do that and then I had to sit down and say if I wanna go on vacation, when am I gonna go? Maybe I should go on vacation for my birthday. I can do a three-day weekend, cool. For my anniversary, I’ve always been trying to do more and more days. I used to do like two days, three days, and finally, I’m booking a whole week. I can do a week’s vacation if I tell everyone. It’s like putting those things on the calendar. So what would happen is I would get so booked in advance that I couldn’t take off because the calendar got set.

 Reversing that logistics and actually booking the calendar first so that no one could book those dates in my calendar kind of freed me up to actually be able to use those weekends for getaways. It allowed me to plan a vacation at the end of the year for my anniversary and it’s almost like it enabled this possibility I think sometimes we don’t realize that we have to create the environment so we can actually take these vacations and don’t feel pressured or at the last minute say, oh no, I’ll do the next one.

Brighde: I 100% agree. We do something similar as well. Our calendar scheduling tool is so helpful in that. It connects with my calendar and I can just block times out, as being busy or set meeting times on certain days, and it is great because I’m just sure that I’ll never get any meeting requests on these particular days and it is just so helpful. Whether it’s something that I wanna do next week, for example, oh, I don’t have any meetings next week on this particular day, I’m gonna just block that out so Seb, I can go on a hike. I know no one’s gonna book that date, but it can also work for six months in advance as well. It’s just really, really helpful. So what else is it that you do to get yourself ready to take that time off?

Stephanie: For a big vacation, like a week off, which to me feels big, maybe no one else will, but for me it’s huge. Cause I had to master three-day weekends, let alone a full work week. Especially I did this last year, the ironic part about it is I ended up being sick on vacation. I mean like sick in bed, sweating through a sweatsuit, that kind of thing where it’s like, what is happening to me? But it was still worth it. The other thing I had to realize, especially as an entrepreneur, Is that you have to prepare yourself for vacation. Just going on vacation doesn’t really work if you don’t let anyone know. When I say let anyone know, I had to let my clients know that, hey, I’m gonna take this week off, so because I’m gonna take this week off, we’re not gonna meet the week before. What I’m gonna do is use the week before to prep, to make sure you’re covered the week that I’m going to be out. 

What I realized is I had to put plans together. I had to put the strategy together, the information I would normally do in that week, I needed the time in the prior week to prepare for it. And when I say we are not gonna meet, what I ended up doing is really more of a truncated meeting. But what I also did is I prepared notes, I prepared strategy, I prepared documents and what I realized is that for me to take a week off, I definitely need a prep week to take that week off, which sounds like so much work. It sounds like, why can’t I just wake up one day and be like, I’m outta here I wanna go on vacation. Or you read the books of people being entrepreneurs and they talk about how I’m vacationing here and I’m doing this, or you look at Instagram and it looks like everyone is just living and loving their best life.

But what I find is the true day-to-day life of running a business, you have to plan to be able to take that break where you’re not checking email every day. Because when I didn’t do that prep week before, what would happen is, I would just work about an hour to two hours every day while I was on vacation. Yes, at least I got the rest of the day but the reality was I’m in a different mindset when I woke up and I have to go to work. I sometimes speak and have a different kind of feel and energy level. The idea is if I’m trying to be on vacation and I’m trying to reset constantly every day, going into that mode and trying to let go, I don’t know if I was getting the full benefit of my vacation.

So I had to change that. I had to start prepping. Even if it’s like a weekend getaway, for example, I’ll do the same thing before I go out of town. So if it’s a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or maybe I’m gonna steal one of those like holiday weekends. So I just go half day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Then I’ll use Thursday to make sure I’m completely prepped so that I don’t have to do anything on the weekend for a client. I don’t have to respond to anything for anyone, and I don’t come back on Tuesday feeling jammed. I don’t come back on Tuesday feeling like, yeah, I’m well rested but then Tuesday’s my most stressful day, and then it’s like I just killed all that good stuff that happened.

 What I found is I had to find a rhythm and a process that would work for me. So that I could still give my clients the highest support that I wanted them to have, and at the same time, I could truly enjoy the time off.

Brighde: So, I know you are real tools and apps and productivity whiz. So I’m wondering whether there are some tools or suggestions that you could give to some entrepreneurs that would help them be effective at taking time off.

Stephanie: Absolutely. So the number one thing is, I believe in having your mobile phone cleaned up and ready to go. I know for a lot of people that sounds weird. Like, what do you mean cleaned up and ready to go? What I mean is there’s so much stuff that people do on their desktop computer, that if they left for work, or let’s say their laptop. So when they travel, they don’t have what they need. They don’t have the information they need. If there is something that they need to look at or something’s happening. And the reality is you wanna prepare as much as you can. But I never want someone to have anxiety when they’re away cuz they can’t access this, they can’t log into this.

So my number one thing is, having a really great password manager. Having that password manager on your computer and on your phone is key because now you can log into something if you need to log into something. And this even works for personal accounts as well. If you happen to be out of town, you need to log into something. You’re not looking for that post-it note that’s on your desk, to be able to get into it. So that’s number one for me. Number two, I use Slack. So anyone who has a team or even if it’s a small team, we have a decent sized team, but even if it’s just one or two or three people, getting your team on a tool like Slack instead of email, I find it a great way to be able to communicate.

Now we use Slack almost exclusively within our team when I’m not on vacation. So when I’m on vacation, it makes it much easier. But the reason I like Slack versus email is Slack I can have quick conversations with people, I can quickly get to the bottom or get a quick understanding of what’s needed and what is going on, as well as my team can continue to have conversations with me, even while I’m not there. They can let me know, Hey, everything’s fine, just giving you an update. Then when I look I can go, oh, okay, everything’s fine. I can keep vacationing. I don’t have that stress, but when it’s email, it’s very hard to comb through email. Plus so many of us are subscribed to newsletters and just everything else. It’s hard to know where the priorities lie. So I tend to use Slack, not only with my team but also use Slack and WhatsApp with my clients so that they can reach me if there is something that they need right away. 

The last thing I would say about your phone is notifications are really big for me, like turning off the notifications you don’t need. Getting rid of things that your phone asked you five years ago if you wanted a notification, you clicked on it, but you never really need it. What I started to do, especially for vacation, is I’ll change some of my notifications. So some of the things that I wanna do on vacation, some of the things that are more important to me on vacation, and especially things that I’m doing, which are like breath work apps or if I’m gonna be doing a little bit of like morning stretching. On my last vacation, I took my yoga mat and only did one day, but I got one day in. I’ll put those things on notifications for my vacation, so that I get reminders, just like I would get a reminder of a Zoom call when I’m physically here.

I would do that I get a reminder to do a stretch in the morning. I get a reminder to book a reservation in the morning, anything that’s related to my vacation, just so that my phone is supporting me. Then the other thing, as I said, I try to use as much automation in my business so that everything doesn’t require me to push a button. If someone wants to book something and I’m out of town, they can book my schedule online, they can book a one-on-one consult with me, and then from that, there’s a whole process behind it. They book it, they get an email that says, Hey, you’ve booked thanks. Here’s a questionnaire. They fill out the questionnaire and then it goes through a process. So for me to be able to take time off, what’s the beauty of it is, my business doesn’t stop because I’m not there. People can still book, and people can still buy products and services. They’ll still get confirmation emails. They’ll get emails that they need to access their account and by keeping all that flowing, it starts to free me up.

 My biggest strategy for this year is to work on that, to find more and more ways of doing things that I just either like doing or I’ve always done it. There’s always been fun to do and try to automate that. Not because I’m gonna take the personal touch out of it, but do that so that there’s no interruption between if I’m here or there or anything. Like I’m trying to work out more. I’m trying to do all these other things and if I have more time, I can focus on my health. But also, It’ll allow me to do more personal touchpoints because I’m not sending out the same email every three days to a new client, the system can take that over for me. I think as an entrepreneur figuring out how to automate, figuring out what can be repeatable processes that you can set up or you hire someone to set that up for you. Cuz someone can just come in for like a 30-day, 60-day period and help you get all that stuff in place and then you are ready to be able to take a little bit of time off.

Brighde: Hmm. Absolutely agree. Especially with the first one, with this whole getting your phone set up and ready to go. It’s really important and definitely a password manager. I think we can have so much sensitive information on our phones relating to our personal, for example, our banking, our finances, and stuff like that. But also with our business, client information, and really delicate stuff. It’s not just our own personal stuff, it’s other stuff too, and having a good password manager is excellent. I’ve just moved over to Bitwarden and it was from one that had some security issues, which is a little bit disturbing. But they were hacked. I won’t go into it, but as far as I know, my information was fine. But I did review Bitwarden and I’ve now got onto that process of just really upping the security of everything and making sure that I can access everything from anywhere. I’ve got the master password firmly in my mind.

 It just helps me feel like I can work when traveling because we are very vulnerable when we are traveling. Whether you are taking a computer or just using your phone, you are using a lot of public wifi networks, you might be going to a place where there is maybe a lot more pickpocketing, where you know, your phone could be taken. I’m really big into security when traveling for sure. Then the added bonus is of course you can access everything everywhere. Whether it’s even on a public computer, if they still have them internet cafe, it’s just so, so important.

Stephanie: Absolutely and I think we forget about that stuff when we travel, especially if you haven’t been traveling for a while, if you’ve been home for a while, you’ll almost forget how much. If you weren’t, touching back and coming home every night, you wouldn’t have access to things that you need. And you know how it is when you’re on vacation or you’re traveling, you always need something that you didn’t expect. You always have to jump into an account that you didn’t expect. So yeah, having that security in place is so critical and it just makes your life much easier. Between teams or having multiple people have access to the same information, if you have to update a password or change a password, everyone now has the new password. That’s the other benefit of it using password software systems.

Brighde: Yeah, absolutely agree. Really important. I found when I transferred over to Bitwarden, I had to do a lot of tidying up. I think I spent an evening, figuring out and making sure that all of these passwords were in fact imported into the new password manager and just making sure that I had thought about every single eventuality and whether my 2FAs were set up properly and all of this kind of stuff. But it’s definitely worthwhile doing cuz once you’ve got it done, then you’re good to go.

Stephanie: Absolutely.

Brighde: Alright, so a topic that you really wanted to discuss during this podcast was about vegan travel and how it’s an important part of the Vegan Movement. So I’d love to hear what you have to say about that.

Stephanie: Well, I have it from a couple of different perspectives. Number one, just like living in the US what happens is you can be very centric about what matters and what’s important, what are their priorities. But as a vegan, we also need that global perspective. We need to understand what veganism means and looks like in other parts of the world. Some of us, maybe you don’t travel as much in the US. You wanna get out there and travel because we try to make this movement more of something that’s within reach for everyone. If we’re trying to make it so that it kind of, not only fits into lifestyles, but it fits into the cultural differences that make all of us unique and amazing and interesting.

We have to understand that perspective because if you’re helping people go vegan if you’re part of organizations that are creating projects to support people when you don’t have that wider view perspective, sometimes you can make decisions that work for one group and excludes another group. And one thing that we don’t want to happen as vegans, is we create this environment where we aren’t really allowing people to move past barriers or worst case, we put up barriers that keep them from accessing the lifestyle and ultimately helping and saving animals.

So I just think it’s such a huge, huge part of it. Then also I think the work that you’re doing is great as well because sometimes when we think about veganism, we think about veganism in kind of a specific way or only way. What I love about your trips is it allows people to experience travel in a way that’s not just the kind of like, let me grab a backpack and travel through Europe kind of experience. Those things are amazing and great. But we want diversity in our travel. Just like we want diversity in our food options. Just like we want diversity in the hair products I use in my hair. I want vegan options and different things. It works for people who have different hair types.

We want the same thing with travel. I think what your business does for many of us, is it creates an opportunity for us to not only experience travel in a new way, but by bringing in things like visiting animal sanctuaries. What happens is you’re also bringing in that animal rights component, but that way that we can understand what’s happening on the ground, what’s happening in these animals, and what organizations are driving that change. So I just think a lot of people could benefit from looking at that worldview and whether they go on a trip with you, which I highly, highly recommend for everyone. I can’t wait until I book one of mine. We almost got one last year. I was so excited when you sent me that message but I know it didn’t work out, so I can’t wait to do it. But just I think everyone, getting out there and seeing how and what the world is like, can help you really move the movement forward and also build relationships and partnerships with so many people that will not only change your perspective but might help you do more in the movement or be more effective in what you’re already doing in the movement.

Brighde: Well, thank you so much for saying those nice things about, World Vegan Travel and what we do, I really appreciate it. But I think, what you’re saying is really spot on. In terms of, realizing what the challenges are in different countries can be very insightful and I think even as a vegan entrepreneur, if you go on a vegan trip or you travel as a vegan, it can be really helpful because maybe there’s this whole other target market that you’ve been trying to target and you’ve been missing the mark for whatever reason that it is. So that can be really, really helpful. To give you a really concrete example, we have wonderful travelers that come on our trip and definitely that’s the case.

 One of our travelers who traveled with us to Botswana in December has a background in nonprofits and I was shocked and amazed when she announced that she gonna be helping one of our guides in one of the Botswana camps who works as a volunteer, to try to help his community. He tries to get solar panels to villages that don’t have a lot of access to electricity. Now she has helped get an NGO, a nonprofit set up in the United States that will allow people to donate money to this really worthwhile cause, which is amazing. It might not be a vegan cause, but still very, very interesting. And I’m sure they wouldn’t be this far along in their development, had she not been on that trip. Also, this one is another really nice one in Rwanda in 2019. We’ve visited Akagera National Park in Rwanda, and there’s a lot of debate to be had with this, but it just so happens that in Akagera National Park, they use dogs to help find poaches of rhinos. They’re working dogs and vegans can have a lot of feelings about this, but one thing, one of our travelers agreed was no matter what the feelings are, these dogs needed to have a comfortable bed. They were just sitting on the concrete floor in a large kennel and she fundraised to get very good quality beds for these dogs, which I thought was really, really lovely and definitely would’ve made a big improvement in the comfort of these dogs.

So yeah, I think there’s a lot of potential to, move things along when you actually get the opportunity to experience these things firsthand for sure. And just plugging World Vegan Travel for a second, a group tour is really, really great for entrepreneurs, I think because you don’t have to do any of the organizing or the research. You just really have to book your flight, book the trip, pack and that’s it. Whereas, if you’re doing your own trip around Europe where you’re visiting like five different cities, it’s a lot of work to put that together and a group trip is a really great way to alleviate all of that, as a busy entrepreneur, that’s my opinion. That’s one of the reasons why I think group travel is amazing, but yeah, it can be a great choice for entrepreneurs as well.

Stephanie: Absolutely. I think that’s a great point. I’m so glad you brought it up because that’s what happens is, as an entrepreneur, you feel like you’re responsible for everything and planning everything all the time, cuz you’re planning your business or you’re working with your clients and you’re thinking about how you can help them and support them. If you have a team, you’re thinking about how to help them and support them. So it feels like so much responsibility on your shoulders that when you wanna go away on vacation, you don’t wanna carry that same role. You want to be a person that, like you said, can just pack up and go and just enjoy and someone else takes care of those details.

That’s like a pampering all in itself, just as an entrepreneur because we don’t really get that on a daily basis. So I 100% agree with you. That is such the beauty of what you do because of the idea that you just gotta book that flight and pack and then everything else is going to be amazing, from the food, the activities, and the events. To me, it’s just so appealing from my entrepreneurial perspective.

Brighde: Amazing. Amazing. Alright, Stephanie, our time together is coming to an end, but before you go, I would love it if you wouldn’t mind sharing a few details, like some specific services that you offer and how people can learn more about what it is that you do in the vegan space.

Stephanie: Absolutely. What we tried to do, Is give people support. So some people just need a little bit of help, so they’ll just say, Hey, can I book an hour or two with you? And we do that. You can jump online, you can book one hour, a two-hour consult, and it gives us time to kind of sit down, dive into an issue and resolve it. For other people, they want a little bit long term support. They’re looking for more like, can you work with me while I’m building my business, while I’m working on these tools, and so forth? And that’s where we work with people over a six-month period. What’s great about that is it can be highly intense.

We can work every single week or we can meet twice a month so you have some time to work on things in between our meetings. And those have worked really well as far as Partnering with our clients because we can see the progress and we can help them make like course corrections along the way. Then the other kind of, I would say bucket of services that we offer, is a course training online component. Now we have online courses you can just grab and sign up for. But one thing that we’re migrating to, is this kind of community space that’s gonna give you access to all of our courses, all of our training, all of our materials, which is a lot of materials sometimes I even use in my one-on-one coaching. And being able to do it in a community aspect. Then we’ll have like group coaching calls and we’ll have office hours, you can just ask questions and I share my screen and all that good stuff. Then we’re also gonna do some fun stuff or some relaxed conversations and sharing, hot seats, planning, and co-working sessions.

So I try to, in the business, give people support that’s one-on-one when they need it or do it in a group setting so that they can get maybe that continual support throughout the year. So if you wanna get in touch with us or you’re trying to connect with us, it’s at veganmainstream.com. We’re also on all social media platforms with the handle, veganmainstream, as one word. And you can always email us at [email protected].

Brighde: Amazing. I would absolutely recommend working with Stephanie. Like I said, at the top of this podcast, we did several three-month stints, I think working together. I credit you for just how we’ve managed to make progress in, a relatively short amount of time. It was just so helpful. So a huge thank you from World Vegan Travel, Stephanie.

Stephanie: Thank you. I really appreciate that and it’s been just wonderful working with you and also where we are today with this is blossomed. I would probably say a little bit of a friendship, which is just wonderful to be able to chit chat and talk and also hear about how everything’s going.

Brighde: Awesome. I’m gonna have to get you to come to a VegFest or something in Vancouver so we can have that smoothie catch-up. That would be amazing to meet in real life. For sure.

Stephanie: Absolutely. We have to make it happen.

Brighde: Thank you so much for joining me today, Stephanie.

Stephanie: Thanks for having me. Take care.

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COMING SOON: Bordeaux to Dordogne Valley: Castles, Caves, and Countryside with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

TBC: September, 2025
8 Days, 7 Nights
Group size: 15-26
stay in a private southern France villa
Tons of castles and quaint villages
17,000 year-old prehistoric cave art

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