Australia is such a beautiful country. I should know, I lived there for almost 6 years of my life. A lot of who I am today solidified itself there. I went from 'carefree playa,’ to vegan with a planned purpose while there. And I will forever be indebted to Australia – especially Melbourne (I love you, Melbourne!).
Australia is also a beautiful country because that’s usually what I tell people when I don’t really feel like talking to them about my adventure there. It usually goes something like this:
- Friend of mine: Hey, my friend just moved back from Australia
- Stranger (to me): Oh really? How was it?
- Me: It’s such a beautiful place (and then I change the subject or move along)
Lol. I may seem like I’m being slightly dick-ish, but when you’ve had that same conversation, so many times, with that many drunk people – you might start being a little dick-ish too. Anyways, since returning from Australia, as a proud vegan man, I have noticed a few things. See, I went vegan while living in Melbourne, and made all my vegan friends there too. I had no concept of veganism before then, so I partook in all those ridiculous carnivorous ‘pleasures’ with my friends back then – without even a thought to one day being who I am today (isn’t it funny how life works like that?). So upon returning, I am completely different. And this is coming from a man that was already ‘already different.’ Now, I’m DIFFERENT! And at no time was I going to kid myself into believing that things would be the same as they were before (even though parts of you wishes they were). People change. They get married, divorced, harden, soften – any and all of the above. But now, I sort of feel a lot like kid Cudi: A man on the moon.
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See, among all the battles, struggles and hurdles us vegans have to endure, none of them can seem as tough as just trying to be ‘normal.’ I mean, think about it. Who the f*ck wants to go to a barbecue house? Or fishing? Or watch their friend disgustingly ingest a plate full of chicken wings, drenched in ranch, while they guzzle beer and watch sports? That stuff just isn’t me anymore. And to those people who I used to partake in those activities with, they just can’t understand why it’s no longer acceptable. Yeah, they know I’m vegan – but they just don’t GET IT. And therein lies the problems. They believe I’m being picky, or, erroneous, or ridiculous – or just trying to be different for the sake of being different. They’ve stopped inviting me to things because ‘they’re gonna be eating burgers there and we knew you wouldn’t like that.’ And a lot of times they’re right. But that doesn’t (at times) not make it incredibly hard to just live while I let live. Everything has changed with the relationships I used to have with my friends. I still like sports, and beautiful women, and working out, and jokes, and having a good time – but I am not the same guy. I’ve evolved into something better. Someone who I understand a hell of a lot more –even though the vast majority of the population doesn’t. And let me be the first to tell you, that’s one of the reasons I got involved with Vegr. Because I felt like we NEEDED a sanctuary where we can go and be understood. One that's convenient and easy to understand. Some people may disagree with apps like Tinder or Happn – but they serve a purpose. They give people a centralized place where they can turn to. When your car's gas gauge says it’s close to empty, we know where to go to refuel. We know where to get food and clothes – and where a gym is located. Why shouldn’t we have OUR own places to congregate and connect? And this is not an advertisement for Vegr. It’s a testimonial... To the fact that being vegan IS sometimes lonely. It was Senora Ray that once famously said: Doing the right things is not always easy, and it’s not always popular – but isn’t it enough that it’s right?
So even on those days when it’s hard, challenging, and even annoying – I rest on the principle that what I am doing is the right thing. And from there I make sure to embrace the things I do have in my life that make me happy. And the future possibilities that are yet to come. I haven’t been back in the United States long enough to feel fully settled (5 months). Which means that many of the better friends I used to have are no longer those great friends that they used to be. But going forward, I plan to make new friends in every way possible. Facebook groups, events, and yes, Vegr – when it finally arrives. I mean, what's the alternative? A life or solitude and complaints, playing video games all day in mom's basement – hoping things change? I'm sorry, but that's simply not an option.
So, for all those people that are or have been in this situation, or something like it – where you’re feeling a bit alone, alienated, and left out – understand that you are most certainly not alone. You just have to take action and adapt your current conditions and situations into a something you want them to be. Veganism can be lonely – but it doesn’t have to be. In the same way your car’s fuel tank or your stomach can be empty, but doesn’t have to be. You can fill your life with many new friends and activities – if you so choose. I believe you can. But that means nothing if YOU don’t believe you can. Here’s to never having to be a lonely vegan again, people! Stay humble, and best of luck!
Vegr Contributor, Entrepreneur, Speaker.