Melissa: Founder and Chief Editor
I had the idea to start The Vegan Jetsetter by combining my lifestyle with my travels. I have been vegan for 3+ years and in every new city I visit around the globe, I always search out all of the best spots to eat vegan food. I decided to start documenting my findings, and voila – TVJ was born.
For the past 12 years, I have suffered from a very bad skin condition (chronic hives). I originally became vegan in order to see if it would help and I’m very pleased to say that through my vegan journey, I have started to heal myself of it.
Since going vegan, my whole life has changed. It has become so much more to me than just trying to help my skin. Being vegan has not only given me a new sense of self, but given new meaning to those around me as well. What started out as just a shift in foods has snowballed into an increased sensitivity for the environment, animal rights and health matters for all of us. It has become a passion of mine and a meaningful purpose for my life.
Next to animals, my two other loves are traveling and cooking. There is a quote that hits very close to home for me:
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
I believe this. I believe that traveling, exploring, and experiencing different ways of life are what give you substance. They fill your heart with excitement and educate your mind with culture.
Cooking is my favorite pastime at home. A good vegan meal is invigorating. It brings a family together and provides for endless conversation opportunities. I am constantly coming up with new meal ideas, and I hope that this translates into recipes you can replicate and enjoy in your own kitchen!
Steve: Web Developer and Social Media Manager
Growing up, my dream was always to work at SeaWorld and train orcas, dolphins, and other cetaceans. When I was 8, my parents took me to Seaworld… and I haven’t been back since. I’m sure many of you have heard about the ‘Blackfish Effect’, and I thank every single one of you who has taken the initiative to fight against these underwater jails. Gabriela Cowperthwaite did an extraordinary job at bringing attention to those who don’t have a voice, and I can honestly say there has never been anything in the world that has affected me as deeply, and has had such a strong impact on me as Blackfish has, showcasing how these mammals are treated behind closed doors, and answering questions and fears I’ve had since I was 8.
For the past 5+ years, I have worked alongside major, medium, and small scale businesses, assisting with their digital branding and targeted marketing strategies. With my roots very strongly planted in the music and entertainment industries, and with a portfolio showcasing web projects for chart-topping musicians, worldwide companies, corporations, record labels, and management teams, when Mel came to me and asked me to help bring her idea and vision to life, I saw it as an opportunity, and I didn’t have to think twice.
I am excited to contribute my skills, to help spread awareness on animal cruelty, and to spread the vegan message.
Joanna: Writer & Jetsetter
As a little girl, all I wanted to do was write creatively, skip around the globe, eat delicious things, and be surrounded by adorable animals. Twenty-something years later, I can’t really say that all that much has changed. Granted, I’ve finally stopped writing my J’s backwards and I don’t find worms as adorable as I used to – but the underlying passion hasn’t waned.
While I have always made a conscious effort to eat local and free-range foods and purchase cruelty-free products, my real “Aha!” moment occurred while living in Australia. The number of uninterrupted animal sanctuaries and conservation areas was outstanding; nearly every city was committed to the preservation of species and respect for natural habitats. While we might not have kangaroos bouncing across the street or Nemos swimming in our local ponds, there is still every reason that we should continue the same respect for the environment and its interconnectivity to our food supplies and quality of life.
Having done my fair share of traveling, I’ve come to respect the local cuisines and species as a culture’s greatest storytellers. From the fresh produce of our local Ontario farmers to the exotic spices of the Middle East to feeding fruit to monkeys in Costa Rica, every ingredient and animal tells a story that I cannot wait to uncover.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the Vegan Jetsetter team, and I look forward to sharing my findings with you!