The Best Vegan Restaurants In Melbourne

After living in Melbourne for three months – and spending a large part of that time eating out – I’ve come up with a list of the best vegan restaurants that Melbourne has to offer. This list is not comprehensive, as there are new places popping up monthly here! My favorites so far are:

Best Vegan Restaurants Melbourne

1.Urban Projuice

This place is amazing. Located in Albert Park, they do the best breakfasts and lunches. My goal is to try everything on the menu. I’m pretty close, and so far everything has been completely drool-worthy. I am a big fan of vegan restaurants that are health conscious; Urban Projuice delivers nutritious and delicious food.

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Best Vegan Restaurants Melbourne Urban Projuice Tofu on Toast

The ambiance of Urban Projuice is fab – perfect for a coffee date with your best friend, but also a great spot to spend the morning working online. There is great indoor seating, but I usually like to snag a seat on the front or back patio.

A meal at Urban Projuice will set you back about $15-$23, depending on additions (avocado is $4.50). Breakfast runs a bit lighter, with tofu on toast for $8; you backpackers on a budget can make it work here!

I rate Urban Projuice as a DO NOT MISS.

2. Red Sparrow

If you are tired of healthy food and are looking to dig into a chewy, cheesy and [faux] meaty pizza, Red Sparrow is the place to go. Located in Collingwood, Red Sparrow is a newly opened Melbourne pizzeria, and it doesn’t seem like the buzz is going to die down anytime soon here. Every time I walk past, it’s packed. I’d recommend going early or making a reservation if you can. I love this place so much I wrote an entire post about it.

Red Sparrow Pizza Pizzeria Melbourne

The pizzas at Red Sparrow are by far the best pizza I’ve ever had in my two years of being vegan. I’ve never had such an impressive mock pepperoni or such perfectly melted and gooey cheese. The specials are quite impressive, offering up daily pizzas like chick’n curry pizza (which was very good) and italian sausage pizza topped with feta and arugula. They also offer a large selection of vegan wine and beer, juices, and even kombucha, if you’re in the mood.

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Red Sparrow is a DO NOT MISS. Pizzas will cost you about $17-$20 each.

3. Sister of Soul 

Located just south of Melbourne CBD in St Kilda, Sister of Soul offers up a wide variety of cultural dishes – choose from dal, noodle stir fries, gnocchi, burritos; Sister of Soul has it all. This place will satisfy any picky eater.

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Best Vegan Restaurants Melbourne Sister of Soul

Best Vegan Restaurants Melbourne Sister of Soul

Meals here range from about $17- $23. I rate Sister of Soul as HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

4. Vegie Bar

Located in the vegan heaven of Fitzroy, Vegie Bar is one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Melbourne. Everything is vegetarian, and anything can be made vegan. It’s focused on traditional foods made vegan – think nachos, burgers, pizzas, pasta.

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Vegan Melbourne Vegie Bar

I tried the nachos and just about died, they were so amazing. They are pretty filling and would probably be best shared. We also had the tofu and quinoa burger, which was super tasty, but a bit small – don’t try to share this one 😉

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Vegie Bar pricing is standard, roughly $15-$20 for a meal. I rate Vegie Bar as definitely recommended. 

5. Smith and Deli

Smith and Deli is my favorite place to stop in for a low-key nosh. It’s deli-style, which means no seating, but a great place to grab a breakfast sandwich and coffee to go. They have three walls filled entirely with vegan groceries, which can be very tempting. Almost as tempting as that pastry case…

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I wrote an entire post on how much love I have for this place too.

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I love the hipster vibe and the variety of foods. I always seem to get breakfast foods here, and can highly recommend the egg mcmartinez. The coffee is also top notch. I definitely recommend giving this place a try out.

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Breakfast sandwiches run from $7- $12. I rate Smith and Deli as DO NOT MISS.

6. Yong Green Foods

If the Melbourne weather has got you down (seriously, the weather is by far the worst part of Melbourne), hop into Yong Green Foods for a hot bowl of vegan pho. I can’t resist a piping hot bowl of goodness when it’s wet and raining outside and I’m near Brunswick Street in Fitzroy.

Best Vegan Restaurants Melbourne

I usually get just tofu and veg in my pho, but they also offer mock meat if you are into that.

Best Vegan Restaurants Melbourne

A bowl of pho will set you back about $17. I rate Yong Green Foods as highly recommended.

 

What do you think of my list? Which place would you go to first??

 

 

 

 

THE BOOK IS HERE

Happy New Year! It’s 2017 and I hope that everyone is looking forward to the New Year. I love the energy that a new year brings. Fresh beginnings, a clean start, all of the opportunity that we can create this year – let’s do it!

I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds. I have loads of personal and professional goals lined up, along with a LOT of travel goals! Speaking of which…. Remember a few months ago I mentioned that I was working on an ebook?? Well, it’s finished, and IT’S HERE.

I’ve been working on an ultimate guide to traveling the world – this baby contains all of the answers to the questions I get asked so often, plus lots of tips and tricks for traveling. I’ll give you a sneak peak – here is the table of contents.

  1. Why I Chose Long Term Travel over the American Dream
  1. Preparing for your trip: What to do immediately
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Savings Plan
  • Travel Insurance
  • Planning Your Trip
  1. How to Pack Only the Necessities & the Gear You’ll Need to Do It  
  1. How to Find the Cheapest Flight & Are ‘Around The World’ Tickets Worth It?
  1. Booking Accommodation
  • Which type of accommodation are you looking for?
  • Long Term Accommodation: How to Find The Best Apartment
  • How to Keep Your Stuff Safe While Travelling
  1. How to Get Around
  • Figuring out Local Transportation
  • Safety on the Road
  1. Saving Money on the Road
  • How to Get Free Tours
  1. So You Want to Travel Long Term
  • Work Visas vs Tourist Visas
  • Making Money Online
  • Getting Your Stuff Together at Home – Opportunities

9. Sample budgets from Thailand, South America, Europe and Australia

 

As you can see, I’ve covered a LOT of information. This book is 40+ pages full of insight on how to save money to travel, how I used travel hacking to get free flights (and how you can too!) and even tips on keeping your stuff safe while traveling. It’s pretty jam packed!

I know you guys will love the book. I created this because my mission is to help people travel more. Travel has changed my life in the best ways possible and has helped me grow into a better person. I hope that I can help you achieve your travel goals in 2017! Click here to get your copy – I can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

xoxoxx

Amanda

 

The Best Day in WA

All of my dreams came true today. I finally went wine tasting in Australia. For those of you who don’t know, I worked in the wine industry for about 4 years before quitting my job to travel the world. I really love wine and so I was so excited to learn that there is a little wine region just about 20 mins north of Perth! Major score. So you better believe that I headed up there as soon as I could to taste some wines.

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I went to a few wineries and tried loads of wines. The weather was great (it gets pretty warm here), the wines were fantastic, and it was just a great day overall. I even ended up buying a bottle (okay maybe two) to take home with me.

After a full day of wine tasting (with an incredible lunch that I forgot to photograph), we headed to the beach to watch the sunset. Life in Western Australia is seriously a dream. 

A lot of people skip Western Australia when they visit Australia because it’s a bit far out of the way, and most of the major cities in Australia are on the east coast. If you ever plan on coming to Australia, I would highly recommend fitting in WA as it is a side of Australia that you should not miss. Also, how could you resist sunsets at the beach?!

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Moving To Melbourne

It’s official – I’ve moved to Melbourne! I can’t believe that I am living in Australia. Getting to Australia was as far as I’d planned out in my travels. I knew everything that I was doing before this and now I’m here. I have an apartment (2 bed, 1 bath, small, with one English housemate) and I’m getting to know Melbourne. I’ve been here for one month now and I have finally come to the realization that I’m not dreaming. I’ve unpacked my suitcase, learned the best local coffee shops, I’ve even gotten groceries delivered to my apartment (and made friends with the delivery guy, of course). I’ve met Australians and foreigners. I’ve gone out dancing until 2 am and I’ve spent nights in bed binging on Netflix (I’ve finally started watching Lost. I know I’m a bit late to the game on that one). I’ve gone on long walks and I’ve drank a lot of coffee. I’ve gone out for brunch and I’ve tried vegan burgers. I even was able to attend World Vegan Day in Fitzroy, where my friend Renae and I visited multiple vegan restaurants and caught up over the best vegan food. I’ve made a good amount of friends and am finally feeling settled.

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I’ve settled down just a bit south of the city. I live in a great little financial-district type of area, close to the beautiful Albert Park. I went for a walk around Albert Park when I first moved in, which took about an hour and a half – it’s 5 miles from my house to get around the park and back. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s turning to spring here in Melbourne, and the trees and colors are just stunning. Though the locals love to tell me that there are four seasons in one day here, yet I am still never prepared. I get told that at least once a day though. I still don’t own an umbrella – I’m chasing an endless summer and I refuse to buy an umbrella. Most days the worst that happens is that my hair gives me whiplash due to the excessive wind.

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I’ve gotten a job, thank goodness. I will start working for a nonprofit to raise donations for charity tomorrow. I’m excited to be working again and to be a part of a community. The company that I will be working for seems great – my favorite work perk is that they will pay for us to travel to different parts of Australia to do fundraising. Sounds like my dream job! I am very excited to see what that turns into.

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In the next few weeks, I’ll finalize my plans for Australia. I’m currently exploring options and considering a second year visa. I’m looking into where I want to live (you know I’ll be moving around!) and what I want to do and see while I’m here. I can’t wait to get my kangaroo selfie and show you guys the best places in Melbourne. Stay tuned and stay adventurous.

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How to Make Friends While Traveling

I get asked how I make friends while traveling so often, I don’t know why I haven’t addressed this before. I made so many friends in Europe, I made friends in Central and South America, I have actually spent more time with people than alone in most places I visit. How do I manage to meet so many amazing people? The answer is different for each country, surprisingly. I have so many ways that I’ve met people, but I’ve taken different approaches in different places.

Ways to meet people:

  1. Couchsurfing. I met sooo many awesome people (who I am still great friends with!) through couchsurfing in Europe. Couchsurfing is so much fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I will admit, it’s definitely easier for girls, but you can meet some fantastic people on there. I love couchsurfing because it allowed me to have a great mix of alone time and time with other people. During the day, I’d explore on my own, and at night, I would spend time with my host. It was a great balance for me. IMG_9310You can also meet people on couchsurfing if you never plan to stay at someone’s place. I met friends on there that found out that I was in their city and realized that we had stuff in common. One of my favorite examples of this is Hannah from Prague – we met for lunch at a cafe and totally hit it off. We hung out a few more times (sadly I was only in Prague for one week), and we had so much fun! It was especially great since I was couch surfing with a host who couldn’t spend a lot of time with me. I miss you, Hannah!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 
  2. Staying at hostels. There are so many solo travelers to be found at hostels! I made some great friends in Cali, Colombia, at one of my favorite hostels of all time, El Viajero. This place was amazing. They had a pool that tons of people would hang out at daily, they had a great outdoor bar, it was just a super social place. If you are looking to make friends, check out hostelworld.com and read reviews to see which hostels are really social! Usually if the hostel offers something like classes, a pool, a bar, etc, then it will most likely be a pretty social place.
  3. Facebook groups. This is how I’ve made lots of friends in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I joined a few Facebook groups (helpful if you are staying somewhere long term), and I was able to find a few people that are staying here a bit longer. This is where I met my great friend, Maddy! IMG_1115.png
  4. Other social networks. This one might be a stretch for some people, but I noticed that some people I follow on youtube are currently in the same city as me. I reached out to Aly from Psycho Traveler (on youtube), and we got coffee together. We have so much in common (both travelers, both make videos, both writers), it’s been so great to connect with her. If you can find people who are into the same things as you, it’s a great bonus!
  5. Meetup groups. Check out meetup.com for a massive variety of groups to meet up with. There are meetup groups for EVERYTHING. Photography, walking, raw food, whatever you are into, there is probably a meetup group for it.
  6. Just doing things that you are interested in! Go to a yoga class, a cat cafe, volunteer at a local animal shelter. Hang out in the health food store or sip a latte in a small coffee shop. There are so many great and easy ways to meet people, and most are open to making new friends.

I hope this list helped you! Let me know in the comments below how you make friends while traveling.

“You Should Buy Some Sexier Clothes”

I got a message on my Facebook page today from someone I don’t know. It was a guy, and his message was as follows:

“hey your story inspire me a lot you are living the dream and it’s not an easy decision that you made i respect , you are saving money .. i suggest that you spend money to get a professional camera and little tutoriels in photoshop and a some sexy clothes people will love to see stunning pictures and stunning videos focus in that more than articles and they will share pictures then you will have more popularity”

The first time I read this, I was shocked. Is he serious? He thinks that I should become some kind of sexy model, posting pictures of myself and videos in sexy clothes, and abandon writing!? I interpret this as him saying that I am of more value (to him) when I post attractive photos than when I have something to say that I hope will inspire and change people. I am trying very hard to not be judgmental and/or take this very personally. The four agreements, you know?

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I have been a feminist for years, ever since I learned what it was. I strongly believe that women should have equal rights as men, we should be getting paid the same amount for the same work, and we should be valued more in society, at least as equals to men. It seriously disturbs me to see the effects on women of the media telling them to look a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain way. It drives me up the wall to hear men tell women that they should be staying at home to clean the house and do their laundry. I was actually shocked when my now-ex boyfriend once told me that I needed to act more like a girlfriend by cleaning up the house and cooking him dinner more often.

Feminism gets a bad rap in our culture. So many people assume that feminists are all man-haters. This is so far from the truth. I consider myself a feminist but I have nothing against men. I believe men and women should be EQUAL; this doesn’t mean that I hate men.

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Women have so much to offer in the world other than showing off their bodies. I believe that I have so much more to offer than what this guy suggests. I don’t take what he said personally, but people like this are the reason why we don’t have equality between men and women.

Traveling has taught me so much about cultural differences in regards to feminism. When I visited Denmark, I realized that the gap in equality between men and women is very small there. It’s safe for women to walk alone at night, because rape is so rare. I realized what it could be like to live in a society where women and men were valued as equals.

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This message comes at an interesting time, considering one of the most popular topics in media in the United States at the moment. The Stanford rape case is gaining so much media attention. If you haven’t heard of it, basically what happened is that a Stanford student aggressively raped a passed out girl for 20 minutes behind a dumpster. He was sent to court and got a sentence of 6 months, which was reduced to 3 months. His father said that this was a high price to pay for “20 minutes of action.” I’m sure this is just as disgusting to the general population as it is to me.

Feminism is such an important topic, and I hope that everyone reading this is an advocated for equal rights. I hope this article makes you think about what feminism means to you. For now, I will respond to the message above letting my new friend know that I wrote an article about him. I would be interested to know – how would you respond to a message like this?

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Why I Quit Budgeting for Travel

Recently, I was thinking about how much money I should be spending in Thailand. I broke it down by day, telling myself to spend only 200 baht a day, which equals out to about $6 USD. Then my friend had a going away party. Then another friend asked me out to coffee when I’d already gone out to lunch. Then I got invited to something else.

I had to make a choice. I could either stick to my extremely small budget, or I could go out and live my life. I could travel very cheaply or I could do what I wanted to do. If you know me at all, you know which one I chose.

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I saved money to travel so that I could experience a different style of life. I wanted to go out into the world and experience it to the best of my ability. I recently watched Me Before You (yes, another friend date), and there is a quote from that movie that really stuck with me. One of the main characters says, “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.” This could be my new slogan, I am so much in agreement.

While I definitely admire those that can travel on a super small or zero budget, I am not one of them. I like my luxury apartment with once a week cleaning, I like going out to eat with friends, I like having a bicycle and taking songathews (a very interesting Thai twist on a taxi) at night instead of walking. It’s worth it to me to maybe have to find a way to make money sooner rather than later. I am in Thailand to figure out what I want to do, find my passion and live my life. I didn’t come here to hole up in my apartment every day and force myself to be creative when I don’t feel it.

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Sometimes I do eat three meals at home in one day. Sometimes I go out for coffee twice a day. Sometimes I spend hardly any money, other times I go crazy and spend $20 in a day. Twenty USD can get you pretty far in Thailand. The point is, I came to live in Thailand because it’s inexpensive and I don’t have to worry about things like sticking to a strict budget. As long as I’m not spending tons and tons of money, I can still live here for less than it costs me to travel in other parts of the world. So, for now, I quit budgeting. I quit worrying about money. I buy what I need and I’m a relatively budget conscious person already. But no more will I calculate how much I spend in a day and whether or not it’s over my budget. From now on, my goal in Thailand is to LIVE.

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So yes, I will keep going out for banana coffee smoothies (pictured above). Because I’m wild and free.

I’ll Never Buy {New} Clothes Again

I watched a documentary a couple nights ago called The True Cost. It’s on Netflix (go check it out), and it is super interesting. I was aware of mostly everything that was brought up in the movie, but it is a great reminder of what we are supporting when we buy clothes that are made abroad and super inexpensive. The documentary really goes in depth with the people who work in the factories that produce clothing for the United States. At a few different points during the show, I was actually repulsed by the way these companies are treating the workers and getting away with it. It disgusted me enough to make a pact.

I have made a decision that from now on, I will not buy new clothes anymore UNLESS they are fair trade. I’ll be buying most of my clothes second hand (this is so much easier on the environment too), which will be a fun challenge. I really look forward to where this leads me, and I really hope that you can watch the movie and join my pledge. If you are willing to pledge with me, leave a comment down below and let me know. 🙂

P.S. Check out the YouTube video I did on this subject here.

Why I Moved To Thailand

It’s official! I signed a three month lease for a luxury studio apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I could not be more excited to settle down in the first place I ever traveled to – ironically, it was exactly a year ago that I was here for the first time.

It’s a bit weird to re-experience Chiang Mai as a more seasoned traveler. I’ll be honest with you – the first time I came here, I could barely read a map. I spent so much time getting lost and trying to find my way back to my guest house. I did all of the touristy things last year, like visit the elephant sanctuary (awesome) and check out the Tha Phae gate with a hot cup of Starbucks (highly recommended).

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But now I am back in Chiang Mai, after a whole year; 6 months of which was spent traveling the world. I feel like a new person. I decided to take a break from traveling after realizing that I had been to SEVENTEEN countries in the past six months. Seventeen! I was traveling way too fast. I was just going and going and going, I wasn’t spending enough time in any of these places. I needed a break from buses and planes and trains and ferries and cars.

I decided to settle down in Chiang Mai specifically not just because it holds a certain nostalgia for me, but because it is stuffed to the brim with expats. There are people from all over the world who have moved to Chiang Mai, many of whom have quit their jobs to try to survive here as a digital nomad. Chiang Mai is a popular destination for digital nomads because it has everything. There are tons of cafes, coworking spaces, and the living is cheap. A studio apartment can cost as little as $150 a month. Eating out is often less expensive than making your own food. I eat out most meals, and they usually cost me around $3 max.

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Chiang Mai is a vegan heaven. It is ALMOST on par with the US. I can get vegan food anywhere, and there are over 100 vegan restaurants in this city. I absolutely love it. The weather is great, there are tons of pools, and the Thai people are among the friendliest in the world. There is no cat calling, no worries of getting mugged, no worries of getting my bike stolen when I leave it outside. There is greenery everywhere, the locals are so friendly, and the fruit is incredibly sweet. Chiang Mai is just a magical place.

I am so excited to spend the next three months here in Chiang Mai, exploring Thailand and spending my time how I choose to spend it. I’ve been working a lot on my writing (seriously considering writing a book), spending hours a day reading, walking a lot, I even bought a bicycle to ride around town. I spent my first two weeks in Koh Samui, daringly riding a motorcycle around the island. I’ve made a lot of good decisions in my life (especially in the past year, hello travel!), but choosing to live in Chiang Mai may just be one of the best. I have never been happier and I’ve never experienced such radical self growth as I have in the past few months. Cheers to you, Thailand!

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How To Plan A Trip Anywhere

Today I am going to tell you a story. This is a story about how I decided to travel the world. And it’s a good one.

About a year ago, I was on airbnb.com, dreaming of all of the beautiful vacation rentals around the world. I had wanderlust, and I had it bad. I found this stunner in Costa Rica and decided I could not let this beautiful place continue to exist without me in it. I immediately texted my sisters and asked if they would want to go to Costa Rica, and live in this house. Of course they agreed. How could they not?!

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We booked the trip, my mom joined in (terrified to travel somewhere new, but we reassured her that it would be fine), and we started planning. I started looking at maps to see where we would be and what we could do. I realized that maybe I could extend this trip and check off some other countries to my list. I’d wanted to go to Nicaragua after my friend Diana went there – her pictures were stunning. I had already started a vague plan with my brother to visit Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Why not throw all of these together and just do it all at once?

Once I decided to do these all at the same time, the trip got bigger by the minute. I knew I wouldn’t get enough time off work to be able to travel to all of these places, so I came to the conclusion that I would have to quit my job. I committed to this trip. It became my baby. It spiraled into an around the world trip. Because, why not? Or Por Que No, as they say in Nicaragua. 😉

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After making these decisions, I knew that I would have to start saving. I saved incessantly. I was obsessed. Knowing that I only had a certain amount of time (and income) to save, I became ruthless. I cancelled my cell phone contract immediately. I started carpooling to work. I turned into a money saving machine. I did my own pedicures. I started making coffee at home and banned myself from Starbucks. I have an entire article of everything I did to save money, see it here.

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The bottom line is this: if you want to plan a vacation, or if you want to quit your 9-5 to travel the world for a year (or forever), you can. Just do it! Make a plan, save like a crazy person, spend time on travel websites, and cut your expenses. If I can do it, anyone can. It just involves dedication, a little research, and a decent amount of saving. Let me know in the comments where you want to go next!