About Janessa

I'm a travelin' vegan gal, event planner & writer who loves eating, drinking, hiking, biking, reading, writing, loving, scheming, learning, laughing, champagne-ing and gerunds.

Vegan Mofo: BEER ‘Round the World


It’s Friday! That means it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

While I drank my share of white wine spritzers in Europe, the beverage that has been the most constant throughout Europe and Asia is of course… beer.


Mid-afternoon pint in London: the best time for beer

Mid-afternoon pint in London: the best time for beer

Good ol’ beer. Fitting, considering I spent 7 years working at a brewpub. I drank Amstel in Holland, cider in London, Tiger beer in Vietnam and Lao Beer in Laos. Beer is typically the cheapest adult beverage (in some countries even more affordable than water), and readily available almost everywhere.


I think my favorite beer drinking happened in The Netherlands, where pubs offer two sizes and offer complimentary nuts and snacky treats with every pint. Or else in Laos (where I currently am), because Beer Lao is everywhere and better than I thought it might be. Or else London, because I love cider probably a little bit more than beer. Or, well, okay. I’ve loved them all.









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Vegan Mofo: Pringles in SE Asia



Hello and happy Tuesday! Welcome to the last installment of snacky treats.

I missed posting yesterday–not for want of trying. I traveled via bus from Southern Thailand to Laos in a 48 hour span and a post simply wasn’t happening. I had planned a post about desserts in Budapest for the Sweet Treat portion, but that post may just have to wait for another time. So now it’s on to… Pringles!


My older brother Ahimsa is a vegan, and he travels around the world with his girlfriend Rachel in between teaching gigs. I’ve written about him before, and I’m currently traveling with the two of them in Thailand and Laos, which is great fun. I don’t see him often enough, so we always have a blast when we get to hang out.


He and Rachel have a vegan budget travel blog called Are We There Yeti, and a few years ago he posted about his favorite Pringles flavors of Indochina. That post sort of slipped my mind until I was in Vietnam last month with my friend Billy, on our way back from Halong Bay.


At the little mart where all buses stop to give their passengers the opportunity to buy expensive wood carvings, silk ties or snacks, I spotted a few wacky Pringles flavors. We knew we wanted to try a few of them (Pringles are often vegan, and often have ingredients in English, making it a good road snack for traveling vegans) so picked out the Hot & Spicy flavor and the Salty Seaweed.


Verdict: They’re both surprisingly good! I don’t know the last time I bought Pringles in the States, but as a safe vegan snack in SE Asia, they were just the ticket. One note: there’s also a regular ol’ seaweed flavor (not salted) that is just boring; don’t mistakenly get that one.

I still haven’t found the dill pickle (sadly) or the blueberry hazelnut (thankfully) Pringles my brother mentioned in his blog. But I still have two weeks; there’s time!


Vegan Mofo: 5 1/2 International Travel Tips


This is the last Wednesday Travel Post of the month. Here are 5 (1/2) tips for international travel I’ve learned over the last four months.

travel tips

1. Before you go, scan your passport and email it to yourself and to a trusted family member or friend.

This way you will always have an accessible copy in case your passport is lost or stolen, and you won’t need to carry around photocopies with you.

2. Bring laundry detergent sheets with you.

This + a sink + water will clean a few articles of clothing in a pinch. (Laundry service is very affordable in many parts of the world, but sometimes you don’t want to wait a day for clean laundry.)

3. Learn how to say at least “hello” “thank you” and “no thanks” in the language of the country you’re in.

This goes a long way to endear you to the locals of the country you’re in. Even if you get the tone wrong (quite easy to do in countries like Vietnam or Taiwan, and can change the meaning dramatically based on your inflection), people appreciate you making an effort. And it usually causes a good-natured chuckle.

4. On public transportation like buses and metros, take note of how other people disembark before your stop. 

Stop notifications range from pushing buttons to not pushing buttons to pulling doors to pushing doors to being at the right door. If you stay aware of how others do it, you have a good chance of not missing your stop and having to backtrack. (This has happened to me on far too many occasions.)

5. Google Maps.

 If you have an Android, your GPS will work even if your WiFi doesn’t. This means you have 55% less chance of getting lost. I ‘favorite’ locations I’m headed to–like my hotel or a vegan restaurant–this helps me get my bearing and have a clear sense of where I am, and also helps in case tuk tuk or taxi drivers don’t know where to go–also keeps them honest about the route.

My advice is strictly for phones with Google maps; in my experience Apple’s iPhone map doesn’t work nearly as well.

5a. Google Maps–Screenshot.

Screenshot your planned route or hotel/flight reservations; this way, even if you can’t connect to your internet and get directions/access pertinent info, you’ll have a reserve of everything you may need.


The helpful Screenshot

A helpful Screenshot


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Vegan Mofo: The Bottled Aperol Spritz


Cheers! Welcome to Friday’s installment of It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

 On the roster this week is the Aperol Spritz.

Aperol is a lovely bright red liqueur, a slightly sweeter version of bitter Campari. It still has that mouth-puckering polarizing love-it-or-hate-it bitterness of Campari, but is more palatable to some tastebuds. I love both, and one of my favorite Aperol cocktails is the Aperol Spritz.


The Aperol Spritz is a blend of sparkling wine, Aperol, a splash of soda water and a slice of orange. Perfectly refreshing on a summer day(, fall day, spring day, or winter day).


When I arrived in The Netherlands, I noticed that grocery stores carried 4-packs of readymade Aperol Spritz bottles. My lucky day. Lucky country. Whatever.

 Bites from Abroad

I sampled them at my friend Mireilla’s birthday potluck. While not as fresh and effervescent of a freshly prepared Aperol Spritz cocktail, these bottles still had that sparkly sweet/bitter taste that I love. If this were readily available in the States, I would definitely pick these up from time to time. In addition to being an easy summer sipper, they’re just so adorable.

bites from abroad

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