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The Truth About Vegan Camp Out 2023

Hey there, lovely plant-based pals! It's your resident Vegan Online Coach, Gary, coming at you with a tale that's part to be expected, part sincere honest truth, and all about the unforgettable Vegan Camp Out 2023! I mean, seriously, if you ever ask me if I'm going, just know that the answer is a resounding, "Yes!" without even a hint of hesitation.

So, you might be wondering why it took me a hot minute to spill the beans about this year's Vegan Camp Out on my blog. Well, truth be told, I was wrestling with the idea of how to do justice to this experience. It wasn't as easy as typing out a "Vegan Camp Out 2023 Was Awesome" kind of post (although trust me, it was beyond amazing, and I'll get to that in a sec). There was something that needed addressing – something known far and wide as the VCO Blues.

Now, let me tell you, I'm a self-reliant, emotionally sturdy kind of guy. It's a mixed blessing, really, but ever since I embraced the vegan lifestyle, I've found an unshakeable core. Nothing about being vegan feels limiting to me – not the food, not the fashion, not even the cosmetics. I can make do with what I have, or I can simply do without. But here's the kicker: the one thing that's been somewhat elusive as a vegan is forging those genuine human connections, especially while residing in a semi-rural location.

Picture this: the other day, I'm busy at my Sports Injury Clinic, buzzing in and out of the neighboring gym. Guess how many people I interacted with? A grand total of 75! And not one – not a single soul – was a fellow vegan. I mean, I'm not the only gay guy around here, but in that moment, I was unmistakably the lone vegan ranger.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've got friends aplenty, and many of them aren't vegans. I love them to bits, spend quality time with them, but there's often this invisible barrier between us.

You see, they don't share my ethical compass or my worldview because they're not vegan.

It's not exactly stress-inducing, but being out and about comes with this heightened sense of alertness. Will there be vegan options? How many times must I defend my vegan choices? The label-scanning, ingredient-checking ritual becomes second nature. As the token vegan, you can't help but feel a tad isolated day in and day out. And let me tell you, this adds up, taking a toll on those interactions we hold dear.

For 361 days of the year, I'm the odd one out – never quite fitting in, even among friends and family who I cherish.

But then, for four glorious days, everything shifts. Enter Vegan Camp Out!

Imagine being amidst a whopping 15,000 kindred spirits – a full-blown community of folks who share your values, adore animals, and see the world through a similar lens. And, oh boy, don't even get me started on the matching long hairstyles – the camaraderie is real!

So, for four fleeting days, I find myself in a place where isolation is a foreign concept. Even when flying solo, there's this inexplicable sense of belonging that washes over me – the odd one out status takes a holiday.

But wait, there's more! Think food stalls – we're talking about hundreds of them, all 100% vegan. No more wondering, no more awkwardly inquiring about vegan options – it's all there, right at your fingertips. And those stalls peddling vegan goodies? Don't even get me started!

Add to this mix the inspirational speakers dishing out wisdom on the education stage, workouts that unite like-minded souls in the mind and body zone, and music acts that set the stage on fire. It's a moment in time when no one's the odd one out, and the energy is electric.

Now, at Vegan Camp Out, I squeezed in not one, but two heart-pumping workouts. Camping? Check. Boxercise over at the camping area? You betcha! And did I mention my slight obsession with all the drool-worthy vegan grub? Oh, and Sam Ryder – let's just say there was some major fangirling involved.

Chatted to existing and new clients, mingled with social media buddies, and had a good ol' catch-up with the tried-and-true friends too.

Yet, amidst all the hustle and bustle, the real victory lay in the ability to kick back and relax. The hyper-awareness that tags along the rest of the year? It vanished – gone in a poof! For those precious days, I could breathe easy, speak my mind without a hint of reservation. To me, this, my friends, is the ultimate takeaway. The reason I'll forever support and attend Vegan Camp Out.

Sure, there were a few hours huddled up in our tent, the sound of drizzle outside like a gentle lullaby. But boredom? Restlessness? Not a chance. Why? Because I knew that at any given second, I could unzip that tent and rejoin my tribe, dive into all the vegan delights without a care in the world.

But alas, as all good things must, the moment arrives to pack up and head back to reality. The Vegan Camp Out blues sneak in – stress levels creep up, that isolated feeling gains ground with every non-vegan encounter. And then, a couple of weeks later, I adjust.

The odd one out status is back in full swing, the countdown to Vegan Camp Out 2024 begins!

So, here's to all of you – can't wait to see your smiling faces there next year!

Warmest Wishes,

Gary Ⓥ

The Vegan Online Coach


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