Vegan Travel Blog - Because I Care

Hey, Vegan Travellers!

Whether you have been following along for the entirety of the journey or you are just tuning in now, you have almost certainly noticed that I am a vegan. You have probably noticed that one of my primary reasons for being vegan is ethical and in relation to the rights of non-human animals. I do not know if you have noticed how just how passionate and serious I am about those rights. Spoiler: I am about to talk about that right now.

IMG_0188IMG_3082This Easter Sunday, I will be fasting. Not because there aren’t amazing vegan alternatives to all the “traditional Easter foods,” (there are. Soooo many of them.) and not because this is my first Easter away from home and I am grieved that much (sorry, mom). I am fasting for a few reasons, which were brought to my attention by my only vegan pal in Maryland, Sarrie, who is very good at applying her vegan activism in her every day life. Sarrie reminded me, as well as a handful of others, that Easter is one of the most horrendous days for non-human animal consumption in the U.S. Animals and animal by-products are used in almost every single dish, too much food is made and much of it is thrown out. It is pretty disgusting in a whole host of different ways. And so the fast is one of solidarity, mourning, and respect for the animals. It also one of protest, and of education for those sitting around the table this year. Unfortunately for me, I won’t really be around anyone with whom I could share some information about veganism and about why I am fasting. Fortunately for me, I will be visiting a farmed animal sanctuary in Belgium and I will be taking my activism to Facebook where I see fit. And on top of that, I have whipped up a very quick and simple poem, peppered in what I believe in and served with a side of why I do what I do. Perhaps it will serve as a little bit of an explanation to my omnivourous friends.

IMG_5066I am vegan because I care.

I care about the other beings with whom I share this planet,
I care about the ones who are different from myself,
I care about the ones whom society deem, “cute,”
And I care about the ones whom society deem, “food,”

I am vegan because I care.

I care about my dog by whose side I was raised for fifteen years,
I care about the sow whom I have never met, rotting in her crate,
I care about the tigers blinded by circus lights day after day,
And I care about the bees, poisoned by fields of pesticides,

I am vegan because I care.

I care about how the choices that I make affect others,
I care about what my actions say about my beliefs,
I care about what I support with my paycheck,
And I care about from whom, what, and where my food comes.

Bonus round:
I am vegan because I do not care.

I am vegan because I do not care.
I do not care if you don’t like it,
I do not care if it’s “a hassle,”
I do not care if I am “an optimist,”
And I do not care if guac costs extra. (;

(I mean, I actually do care that guac costs extra, especially if it’s replacing sour cream and cheese, but I’m getting guac anyway and you can’t stop me.)

Before I talk about anything else and before I accidentally go on an eight-hundred word rant about burritos and the unfair pricing thereof, I would like to rewind a little bit. Go with me, if you will, all the way back, almost to the beginning of this long trip. Go back with me to my first ever visit to an animal sanctuary.


It’s November ~something or other~ 2015. I’ve just left home about a week and a half ago and won’t be back for more than six months. The Jamaican sun is glaring down on my shoulders like it’s hovering right above me. I’m dehydrated, I’m tired, I’m annoyed. Basically, I am very, very grumpy. I don’t want to travel all day in old, unsafe, unairconditioned $1 cabs with no seatbelts. I don’t want to, but I have to. I have to get up to Montego Bay Animal Haven. Ross and I have an appointment and a mission, but neither of us has a clue as to what to expect from this visit. When we step out of the last musty $1 cab of the journey and onto the gravel driveway of MBAH, the stress and the heat of the sun both slip off my shoulders immediately and I am overwhelmed by the place in which I find myself. There are these beautiful dogs everywhere. Big dogs, little dogs, old dogs, puppies; all of them excited to meet Ross and I and all of them completely in love with the person who runs the sanctuary, Tammy Browne. This is such an incredibly happy place to be. I could stand in that driveway, giving cuddles to and getting loved on by hundreds of happy puppies all day.

PUPPPPBut then the Sanctuary Experience begins. I am capitalising it because it is such a unique and sacred thing. Tammy starts telling us the horrible stories of our new friends. She tells us about the sadnesses and pains that they had known before coming to live in her haven. She tells us about the cruelness of humans and the suffering of these magnificent earthlings, all while she strokes their ears gently, and calls them all by name. I am completely overcome with a feeling that I have never experienced before. It’s the Sanctuary Experience and it is ridiculous happiness paired with horrible sadness.

Alright, fast forward back to the now.


Months and months later, that first Sanctuary Experience still sticks with me. I still think about those pups in the place so far away. And I still get that experience every time I visit another sanctuary. If reading or writing a poem about why vegans do what they do doesn’t remind you or teach you about it, I recommend visiting a sanctuary. Bring a supportive friend and some tissues.

Until next time,
Ellie Lebo

  1. Saundra 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us Ellie.

  2. Marissa Kai Miluk 8 years ago

    Wow. Love this post and all it stands for.
    (I do not care if the guac costs extra LOL!!!)
    Much love to you both.

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