Lately I’ve been reflecting on the intersection between relationships and travel.
As part of this theme, I am very pleased to present a delightfully poetic interview with Rachelle Fordyce, a playwright, actor, theatre director and producer, and occasional blogger that has faced this many times herself.
I first met Rachelle at one of Steve Pavlina’s workshops and instantly realized she was a stellar person. (Of course, her being a Star Trek geek and a vegan certainly didn’t hurt.)
She’s creative; she’s smart; and I feel lucky to have had a chance to sit down with her and discuss long-distance relationships, some insights on being vegan while travelling, as well as one of the coolest ways to reach London.
1. Thanks for agreeing to an interview today, Rachelle. Let’s start with something most of us have faced, something you have firsthand experience with: LDRs. I know you’ve been in a long distance relationship for nearly 4 years now. And when it comes to long distance relationships, is the emotional roller-coaster element unavoidable? Is there a way to overcome that or is it something one just has to learn to live with?
I’d say a roller coaster element is definitely intrinsic to long distance relationships, or at least that’s been my personal experience. When you first get on a roller coaster, the first few dips and loops are usually the most dramatic. And, continuing with the roller coaster analogy, even though the dips and loops may be equally dramatic throughout the course of the ride, you tend to get used to the thrill or rush of it all, and may even grow to find it quite enjoyable! If you don’t like roller coasters, though, then you might want to avoid them all together.
There’s certainly something to love about the intensity of reuniting after being apart for a while. There’s even a certain kind of beauty that can be found in any sadness experienced due to being apart for longer periods of time. A long distance relationship is more like a vast ocean with great waves and tides that ebb and flow. If you live together all the time and have the same routine day in and day out… well, that might be more analogous to a stagnant lake.
Don’t get me wrong — an experience out at the lake can definitely be quite beautiful, calm, and relaxing! But after a while, you might long for something a bit more exciting; or you might end up throwing stones into the lake to cause some little ripples or waves to break the monotony of the smooth calm surface.
3. What advice would you give to travellers who are thinking about starting a long distance relationship? Any tips on how to maintain one?
Hmm, let me think on that one. Well, one great way to maintain a long distance relationship between travelers would be to travel together! Continuing with that analogy, your time spent together would be more like a vacation on the ocean vs. time at the lake… unless you actually travel to a lake!
My relationship partner, Steve, and I both love to travel, so we often aim to travel together. Earlier this year we spent a month together traveling in Europe, which was great!
We had a direct flight from Las Vegas to Frankfurt in Germany. Then we had a connecting flight to our first destination: Berlin. We took a taxi only once while we were there, from the airport. The rest of the time there we got around by foot or by taking rapid transit.
After Berlin, Steve and I explored a few places in The Netherlands. We actually had a friend meet us in Berlin who drove us over. And after spending about a week or so with friends in smaller dutch towns, Steve and I took a train and spent a few nights in Amsterdam.
Our next destination was London. Instead of flying there, I thought it would be fun to take a boat. We took a train from Amsterdam to a town called Hoek van Holland (i.e., Hook of Holland). From there, it was only a short walk to the boat!
Anyway, we took an overnight ferry and arrived in the UK early the next morning. The UK port we arrived at was called Harwich. From there it was only one more train into London… Oh, and I should mention, the train rides to and from the ferry were included in the cost of the ferry ticket!
While in London, we got around primarily by foot, bus, and metro.
And to return to Vegas we actually took two separate flights. Oddly, it was much less expensive to take two separate flights (thru Frankfurt) than arranging a flight back to the US directly out of London.
5. Wow! That ferry sounds like a fun and original way to get over to London. Probably more romantic than just flying over. Would you recommend it to people visiting London for the first time?
Definitely! I’d never taken an overnight ferry before, so it was a new and fun experience, and I’d recommend it just for the pure uniqueness of it all if you’ve never done it before.
The ferry we took was called the Stena Line. (Link at the end of the article.)
6. I know you’ve been vegan for many years. Was it challenging being vegan while on the boat? What about the rest of Europe?
We didn’t purchase any meals on the boat as we had some food with us already, so that wasn’t an issue. Also, the room I booked included some snacks that happened to be vegan (nuts, plain potato crisps, juice, soda, and wine), so that was great. I love wine, and it was kind of fun to be mildly tipsy on the boat.
As for the rest of Europe, no, it’s never been very difficult to find vegan food! That may be surprising to some, but I guess it’s really a matter of knowing where to look. A great resource for the traveling vegan is HappyCow.net. They also have a mobile app that you can download, and based on your GPS location, it will tell you the nearest vegan-friendly or vegan restaurant nearby!
7. So was Berlin the best city for vegan food? I’ve heard it can be the most affordable.
I loved the vegan food in Berlin! Not only were there a lot of vegan or vegan friendly restaurants, the food was so delicious, and tended to be reasonably priced (if not down right cheap at times), too!
On this most recent trip to Europe, I’d say it’s a tie for my favorite food experiences, both of which were in Berlin.
The first was at a delightful all-vegan restaurant called Kopps, a fancy-ish restaurant with excellent service, and the food was divine.
The second was a cozy little vegan café called Café Vux. From there, I had a hot chocolate and the most delicious vegan Belgian waffle with soy whipped cream and cherries. It was incredibly priced, too. We even got a few desserts to take away. The vegan desserts there were just amazing!
9. Any strange food experiences?
“Strange” food experiences? Not really. But one notable and fun food experience was the discovery of a vegan version of the traditional dutch “stroopwafel” or syrup waffle. Steve liked to call these “waffle cookies”. It consists of a sticky sweet syrup sandwiched between two very thin, round and lightly crispy waffles. Steve would get a crazy sugar high from them — he loved them!
10. What suggestions would you have for a vegan travelling to Europe for the first time? Is it challenging or is it pretty easy to adapt?
It’s definitely pretty easy to adapt, although perhaps it would depend on what specific city or country you happen to be visiting. HappyCow.net can go a long way in helping you find vegan food not only in Europe, but all around the world!
11. Thanks so much for joining me today and discussing some of the topics that we, as modern travellers, face. And before I forget, you released a video recently which I quite enjoyed. Can you tell everyone a bit about that?
I made a little video called “How To D.E.C.I.D.E.” In this video I share 6 easy steps that lead to great decision making based on my original acronym for DECIDE. It’s my first video ever made for YouTube! You can view it at http://youtu.be/kaK8hFAG3v0
12. What was the impetus for that?
Well, I had decided that I wanted to make and share a short little video on YouTube for the experience of the process, but I had some trouble deciding what topic to use for my first video. Being aware of my indecisiveness, I figured that it would make a perfect subject for my video!
Sometimes I can be really indecisive. In my youth into my early twenties, I was known amongst my friends for taking forever to make a decision, even if it was for something simple, like what to order at a restaurant. Although sometimes I still fall into old habits of being indecisive, I’ve made leaps and bounds in that area since. Using this acronym definitely helps!
Thanks again for sharing your story, Rachelle. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create in the future, and I know I’m not alone!
To Learn More about Rachelle:
- Read Rachelle’s blog — RachelleFordyce.com
- Follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/rachellefordyce
- Subscribe to her YouTube! — http://youtube.com/rachellefordyce
- Stena Line (Ferry to London) — http://stenaline.co.uk/
- Kopps Restaurant — http://kopps-berlin.de/?lang=en
- Café Vux — http://vux-berlin.com/seiten/english.html
- Find Vegan Food in your area — HappyCow.net