We have just returned from an amazing trip to the Galapagos islands where we were constantly reminded of the fragility and power of nature. One of our great concerns on this trip was if the food was going to be okay for us, but the National Geograpic/Linblad folks assured us that lots of vegans travel with them. And except for one mishap involving bacon in the black beans they did take remarkably good care of us, even going so far as to make us strawberry, banana, broccoli smoothies every morning per my request.

The bacon incident was near the end of the trip and the person who made the mistake felt just awful. It was a miscommunication with the kitchen, and except for the disgusting fact that I ingested a tiny fragment of bacon, it was actually an opportunity to both learn and teach. When mistakes like this are made it is easy to get mad but that only serves to reinforce the “angry vegan” stereotype. Stereotypes are bad for us because it makes it easy for others to dismiss us as fanatics. To them meat is food. They don’t see it yet for what it is – just as most of us didn’t at one time. A kind explanation usually makes a better impression than an angry rant. There are times when ranting is in order but a vacation and a protest are not the same platform. That is why when a zodiac boat full of our fellow travelers were worried about whether or not a baby sea lion on the rocks looked too thin I restrained the urge to say, “Why are you so worried about this one sea lion when you fill your plates with dead animals three times a day? They were cute babies too once. Veal still is a baby.”

I don’t think that would have gone over very well.

Restraint. It’s a good thing. That remark probably would have left them feeling very anti-vegan.

Even if I was right.