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December 01, 2019
Travelling the world has never been easier. Cheaper flights, wallet friendly accommodations and more countries that opened up their borders for curious wanderlusts. Yet, for some who want to see the world there's still one stumbling block that leaves them hesitant about seeing the world – their diet. If you ever fretted about travelling the world as a plant based eater, then rejoice dear plant/animal/planet loving friend because we have a perfect solution for you. If your passport and ................. (insert your fave vegan snack, dish or a restaurant) had a baby, it would be The Veganary, your next vegan BFF. The Veganary’s mission is to empower both vegans and aspiring vegans to live their travel dreams to the fullest while meeting like-minded people along the way. We were curious about how this amazing project started and we desperately wanted to meet the humans behind it. So we invited them for a brunch at our fave vegan café (shout out to Olive + Ruby) and it instantly felt like meeting old friends. Get to know Natan and Shani and learn more about The Veganary, below!
Describe yourself in 3 words.Natan: creator / self-learner / perfectionistShani: foodie/ creator/ daydreamer
Emoji that best describes you?Natan: 🧐Shani: 🤗
Juice or smoothie? Natan: Smoothie!Shani: Smoothie!
Ocean or mountains?Natan: OceanShani: Mountains
Choice of super hero power?Natan: FlyingShani: Teleportation
What makes your smile?Natan: Succeeding at what I do Shani: Being with people I love, and feeding them 🙂
TV shows or movies?Natan: MoviesShani: TV shows
What is one of your weird quirks?Natan: When I try working on text, I often read some words out loud without realising it.Shani: I can’t eat food that someone else puts on my plate! I just have to organize it myself the way I like; sometimes even at restaurants I ask for an extra plate and re-organize everything the way I want.
If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would those be?Natan: Peanut butter banana toast, dark chocolate and salads Shani: Kale chips, figs and chopped vegetables
If I’m cooking at home, it’s probably…Natan: A smoothie bowlShani: Zucchini oats
A perfect night to me is…Natan: Going out with friendsShani: Drinking wine with family/close friends
My dream dinner party lineup would include…Natan: Nas Daily, Obama and EminemShani: Natan (of course) and 20 other vegans; each one from a different country from around the world
I’m listening to…Natan: Nearly anythingShani: World music
And currently reading…Natan: Endless vegan related articles from around the globe Shani: Do Your OM Thing/ Rebecca Pacheco and Recipe Books
I’d love to travel to…Natan: ArgentinaShani: Italy
I won’t go anywhere without…Natan: my wallet 😉Shani: a bag with snacks
Hello Natan and Shani. Thank you for chatting with us (we are huge fans)! Please introduce yourselves.Natan is a passionate vegan traveller and a jack of all digital trades while Shani is a real foodie at heart who loves to travel, explore and do yoga. Our main passion is to explore new places while meeting new and interesting people we can share our experiences with. The two of us met in college and after a year of working at “ordinary” marketing jobs, we decided to leave everything behind and go on a journey around the world; short after the Veganary idea came to life.
Explain The Veganary in just five words.Crowd-sourced worldwide vegan travel platform.
I bet there is an interesting story behind how The Veganary started. Would you mind telling us more about it? While traveling around Asia and working on our new digital marketing business, we realized that traveling as vegans was harder than we initially thought. As much as we tried searching online, we always felt like it was far too time consuming for the actual practical information you get and still much of the information was not available at all. The more we researched it, the more we grew aware of the need for a real constructed and organized source of information.
Slowly we figured out that the best sources for authentic vegan related information are the actual local vegans that live in a particular country. The information they shared with us blew us away each time. This is when we decided to create a platform where local vegans can share their knowledge with the world. Thus, making it easy for other vegans when visiting their country.
How did you come up with the name and that cute neon green bunny mascot?When we started to think about how the website and logo should look like, we brainstormed our image for the “ideal” vegan traveler. It was clear to us from the start that it should be an animal. So we started doing some sketches. The rabbit with the glasses was truly one of our first ideas and we both loved it from the get-go.
What do you think has been the most challenging part of building The Veganary?Staying focused. When you start working on such a huge project you’re always thinking of new angles while getting tons of ideas. At the beginning we just wanted to do it all until we realized we must make the right choices to get it started and expand from there. Today, we’re still dealing with the same issues as we’re getting a lot of messages with amazing ideas for improving our website and adding information. While we still have our own long “wishlist” for improving our website, we try to always make it a positive challenge when deciding where our focus should go.
Did you have any work experience before starting The Veganary that you felt was super helpful?We were both working in digital marketing field, Natan worked at an affiliate marketing company and Shani at an advertising agency; each of us gaining different experiences in these fields. We both learned a lot from our work experience. We gained many skills that helped us with creating The Veganary and turn it into what it is today.
The Veganary was created by vegan travelers for vegan travelers. What makes you passionate about vegan traveling? Tell us about your most memorable trip.Since we were working and travelling at the same time, we had to spend a lot of time reading about vegan travel, watching videos and exploring blogs, books and any other available sources of information we could find, so that made us even more passionate about vegan travel.
Our top picks would have to be Sri-Lanka, Japan, South India and Vietnam. Each one of these has its own reason for being so awesome and memorable for us!
What’s the most important reason why you feel committed to a vegan lifestyle?We initially became vegan for health reasons, but that quickly changed with our travels where we saw many animals suffering and later learned about the massive impact the animal industries have on our environment. Today we find all these three reasons to be as equally important.
When work gets really stressful, do you have any calming habits?Natan: Running / Working out.Shani: Yoga!
What does a perfect day off look like for you? Do you take days off?Natan: Morning workouts followed by a hike and finish off with a picnic on a beach.Shani: Morning yoga, then going for a hike or exploring a new area we haven’t visited yet. It can be in the city or any other new place we can think of.
Is there anything you wish you had more time to do?Natan: Learn how to code.Shani: Cooking, traveling and doing a yoga teaching course.
Late night snacks. It’s what we live for. What are some of your favorite snacks right now (excluding Smartbite Snacks of course 😉)?Natan: Fruit, apple chips and dark chocolate.Shani: Dates with walnuts, fresh fruits and kale chips.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to become more plant-based but feels overwhelmed by the change?Natan: Change is a gradual process but a very satisfying one. If you ever fail, just see it as a small glitch on your path to success.Shani: It doesn’t have to happen in one day, even starting with what looks like a small change leads to a big one! It’s better to have one achievable goal at a time, rather than trying to do too much at once and give up because it’s too hard.
What are your favorite Instagram and YouTube accounts to recommend to us and our readers?
@feastingonfruit, @choosingchia, @nutrition_facts_org and of course hashtag #vegantravel
There are only four weeks left until 2020 but a lot can happen in a month. What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2019?
Succeed with our crowdfunding campaign and bring together vegans from around the world towards our shared common goals.
Peep our fave peeps on Facebook, ch-ch-check out their Instagram and get your latest vegan scoop from around the world at theveganary.com.
WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions.
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February 28, 2020
Little story time: When we were looking for a graphic designer to join our tiny but mighty team last year, Kayla’s application was the very last one that made it into our inbox. After going through all 319 resumes and after picking a couple of hot candidates, we decided to click on Kayla’s email at last and we are so glad we did.
Who is Kayla? The short answer: a Vancouver based graphic designer who is behind the majority of Smartbite Snacks promo designs and who is about to start working on our US product packaging.
To give you the long answer, we caught up with Kayla one rainy Saturday morning at our favourite local cafe DALINA to talk about her creative process, drawing inspiration from her life, and her advice to aspiring creatives in an ever-changing digital world.
January 28, 2020
November 28, 2019
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