Hi! I’m Jhanelle. Welcome to From the Comfort of My Bowl! I’m a born and raised Jamaican who enjoys cooking, baking and travelling while vegan. I create and share recipes of my favourite vegan comfort food dishes and take photos of the end results. I’m fairly new to vegan traveling but I’m looking forward to sharing all that I’ve learnt so far. Here’s a breakdown of my journey:
July 2014 – First solo trip abroad
Granted, it was only to Florida, which is not that far from Jamaica. But, I had really wanted to experience traveling solo for the first time and Florida was the cheapest and closest place to start. I spent two months on an organic farm, where, for the first time I got to try raw vegan food, though I wasn’t eating vegan or raw at the time.
I started my final year of university in Jamaica. I studied Dietetics and Nutrition.
I spent the summer in the US where I worked in a French bakery that made the most beautiful and tastiest desserts. I didn’t make any of them but I was always intrigued by the level of detail that these French artists placed on the treats. I’ve always loved baking, so I was inspired to attempt making some on my own. Actually, one of my dreams after high school was to go to a French pastry school.
October 2015 – Start of my vegan journey
Upon returning home to Jamaica, I got tired of eating meat one day and stopped cold turkey (no pun intended). Then I gradually stopped eating dairy, eggs and fish. The transition to veganism wasn’t as hard as I initially thought. Being the only vegan in my family I had to cook my own meals, which became a new adventure for me. So I decided to start an Instagram page dedicated to my vegan food journey.
The one thing that proved a bit challenging was finding vegan desserts, as veganism was not as widely accepted in Jamaica. This led me to start experimenting on my own which gave me a new business idea, especially after working in the bakery and being freshly out of college. So after a few months of researching, testing and writing recipes, Surprisingly Sweet Vegan Desserts was born.
May 2016 – Launch of my vegan dessert business
I debuted my new business publicly at a baking expo in Kingston, which surprisingly, was met with great interest despite the initial hesitance. We sold all the desserts that day! A few days later, I showcased my new treats on a local morning show.
March 2017 – My first solo trip while vegan
I took a break from business to visit one of the most vegan-friendly cities in America, Austin, Texas. I spent two weeks trying different “veganized” meals and attending my first vegan food festival. I went to San Antonio and Houston too.
August 2017 – Moving to Japan
After overcoming any fears I had of solo-travelling, I developed a stronger urge to travel more. So I moved to Japan (random right?). I spent 1.5 years there teaching English. Being vegan in Japan was a bit of a struggle at first as veganism was not widely understood nor did it translate the same way at times. After some time and many hours spent with the Google Translate app in the supermarkets, I learnt to pick out vegan-friendly Japanese ingredients and created my own meals with an Asian twist.
December 2017 – Bali, Indonesia
This is one of the best places in the world for vegan travel. I had a great time traveling through Bali and trying endless amounts of really cheap and satisfying vegan food.
August 2018 – South Korea
I spent only a few days in South Korea, which didn’t give me enough time to explore the vegan food scene. I do hope to return one day though.
While living in Japan, my lack of Japanese and introverted nature meant I didn’t socialize much. So I tried online dating for the first time and met my boyfriend Eric. We spent 6 months chatting over Skype everyday before we eventually met (more on that later).
I returned to Jamaica and continued my vegan desert business for a couple of months. I was surprised by and grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response that I received. However, despite getting help from some family members and friends, running a dessert business solo really took a toll on me as I spent countless hours on my feet and many nights without sleep. Although I did enjoy what I was doing, my stress levels went up and I got burnt out very quickly.
April 2019 – Meeting Eric and returning to Asia
I finally met Eric for the first time which was super nerve-wrecking, despite spending so many months talking online. Once in person, we decided to start a YouTube channel documenting our long distance relationship journey. This was also something for us to look back at and enjoy when we’re not in each other’s company. Eric also blogs about minimalism and self-help.
A week later, I left for a month-long trip to Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, I traveled through Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Southeast Asia was one of the easiest and most convenient places to travel solo and for super cheap vegan food.
May 2019 – Eric and I took our first trip together
We only spent a few days in Daytona, but it was fun!
Now – Launching my blog
After such a great vegan travel experience in Southeast Asia and receiving lots of questions on my Instagram page, I decided to finally start a blog. On From the Comfort of My Bowl, I’ll be sharing with you a bit more of my story and inspiration behind my recipes and solo travel adventures. I hope you’ll enjoy them and if you’ve made it this far, thank you!
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