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Hello.

Welcome to The Feminist Vegan, where I write about wellness, mental health, and personal growth, all through the lens of social justice.

Benvenuto in Italia

Benvenuto in Italia

I’ve only been on Italian soil for an hour, and I’ve already managed to figure out how to order a soy cappuccino. Granted, the phrase is pretty simple – cappuccino di soya, per favore – and I only found out the airport café had soy milk because the woman in front of me ordered one. Still, I’m counting it as my first international vegan experience. I’m hanging out in the Fiumicino airport waiting for my family to arrive from Amsterdam, and then I’ll be back in one of my favorite cities in the world: Orvieto! I haven’t been back to Orvieto, or any city outside the United States, in five years. This trip was long overdue. I felt the familiar frisson of excitement when I stepped off the plane and immediately vowed to never again take such a long hiatus from global travel.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t sleep on the plane. I’ve never been a good sleeper, so I mentally prepared myself for an all-nighter on the red-eye I caught out of Newark. Between reading backlogged copies of Bitch magazine and sobbing quietly while watching Dev Patel smolder in Lion, I engaged in a battle of wills with the flight attendant. Traveling zero-waste is tougher than I thought it would be. I requested my complimentary (!) glass of red wine in my blue mason jar and was refused, but I really wanted the wine, so I took the little plastic cup and asked for water in the jar instead. Rejected again. I refused all the food throughout the flight (more plastic) and made a third and final attempt at getting water. Flying is dehydrating. An hour before landing, I smiled sweetly at the flight attendant and asked if I could fill up my water bottle. I was so thirsty, I said innocently, and I’ll need the water on the ground. No dice. “Against the rules,” he spat while glaring at me. With a sigh, I sat back in my seat. At least the Italian coffee sensibilities dictate it be consumed at the espresso bar – the coffees are so small you can down them in three sips anyway – so my cappuccino came in ceramic.

My zero-waste efforts have meant that I’ve consumed a primarily raw vegan diet for the past twenty-four hours, which I guess is a good thing. Healthy food prevents the upset stomach I often get from a combination of nerves and greasy fare when flying. There’s only so much satisfaction I can get from nuts, dried fruit, carrots, and apples, though, so I’m ready for a real meal. Sono vegana. Senza formaggio, uovo, e latte. I'm vegan. No cheese, eggs, or milk. A friend told me it’s a lot easier to be vegetarian than vegan in Italy. We’ll see how this goes.

I thought I’d also share my packing list with you all, since I’m a notoriously light packer and have incorporated a few new items to help me minimize my waste and maximize my health on the road. I’ll check back in after the trip to let you know if there was anything I regretted or missed.

  • Black leggings
  • Gray sweatshirt
  • Jean jacket (mama's from the '70s)
  • Scarf
  • International-woman-of-mystery hat (thrifted)
  • Jewelry: Earrings, necklace, rings (no extras since I’ll lose them)
  • 5 gray/blue/white shirts (3 of 5 thrifted, one is for sleeping/running)
  • 1 camisole
  • Gray maxi skirt (from a clothes swap)
  • Black skater skirt
  • Running shorts
  • Running shoes (buy Brooks, they're ethically made and vegan!)
  • Sandals (made from recycled yoga mats)
  • Sneakers
  • Sports bra
  • 2 bralettes
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • Lots of underoos
  • Bodysuit to be used as a one-piece bathing suit
  • Sunglasses
  • Toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste (bought pre-zero waste)
  • Vegan aluminum-free deodorant (bought pre-zero waste)
  • Bare Republic sunscreen
  • Face serum (bought pre-zero waste)
  • Coconut oil in a tiny upcycled glass jar (for moisturizing)
  • Makeup (all bought pre-zero waste): concealer, bronzer/highlighter duo, brow pomade, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick
  • Vegan makeup brushes: contour/face brush, angled brush for eyebrows, fluffy eye brush, reused spoolie for eyebrows and zero-waste cake mascara
  • Soap in a small Tupperware – this will be my shampoo and body wash
  • Tea tree oil (great for breakouts!)
  • Essential oil fragrance
  • Daily anti-depressants
  • Vitamins: Max for Vegans multivitamin, B12, vegan probiotic – all in a tiny Tupperware and counted out for the number of days I’ll be traveling
  • Tools: nail clippers, tweezers, eyelash curler
  • Headphones
  • Laptop + charger
  • Phone + charger
  • Fitbit + charger
  • Portable charger
  • Pint mason jar
  • Reusable grocery bag
  • Stainless steel water bottle
  • Cloth napkin
  • Metal straw
  • Bamboo spork
  • Cotton bags (currently holding snacks)
  • Needle and thread (I needed to patch up my jean jacket on the go)
  • 2 books: Lost Girls and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Bitch magazines
  • Bullet journal + pen
  • Notebook for morning pages
  • Tarot cards
  • Wallet
  • Passport
  • Purse to hold everything (thrifted)

Here's a quick list of what I didn't bring: my vegan D3 supplement (it comes in liquid form and the glass bottle is too heavy); my safety razor (the blades would get confiscated from my carry-on, and I never check luggage); fancy clothes; and plastic travel-size toiletries. I also ditched any fears about traveling while vegan and zero-waste, because a positive mindset is everything when trying to make those parts of my life work! Ciao for now, babes.

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Second Impressions of Italy

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