Rise & Shine Interview: Kristin Lajeunesse of Will Travel For Vegan Food

Ever wondered how you can earn a living by doing exactly what you love? I'm excited that today, Kristin Lajeunesse, is “Speaking From the Heart” and sharing her experiences with all of us. 

Kristin Lajeunesse has been travelling around the U.S. since September 2011 in an effort to eat at, and write about, every single vegan establishment she can find. Kristin is also a lifestyle and business coach, specializing in helping others discover how to earn a livingdoing exactly what they love. Follow her foodie travels and businessadventures on Will Travel For Vegan Food. I was introduced to Kristin through Jacqueline Boone, who suggested we interview Kristin for our web show (check out the video here). I am really inspired by Kristin's vision and passion, so I asked her to be part of this series.  Read her interview below.

Meeting Kristin at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. in October 2015.

Meeting Kristin at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. in October 2015.

Why do you believe self-expression (speaking from the heart) is important?

While it may sound cliché, it is true that you are gifted with a special set of skills. These are usually embodied within the things that you most enjoy or the things you find yourself doing when you don't have to work (or sometimes as a means of procrastination). These are things that come easily to you, that you love, and that you'd choose to do regularly if you could. Here's the best part: by expressing these heart-driven expressions of true, deep passion you then unveil what it is that draws other people to you. This is the sweet spot! This is where you want to be. Your self-expression, what makes you-you, is what will make your business successful, it's how others will relate to you, and most importantly it means that you'll enjoy what you do. Self-expression is not only a means to happiness but a means to success, in all you do. Let the fun, silly, nerdy, dancey, dorky you shine every so often, in all you do. It will pay off in more ways than one.

How has writing empowered you in other areas of your life?

Whether I'm working on a blog post, a chapter of a book, or replying to an email from a dear friend (or even a business email for that matter), taking time to write provides invaluable opportunities to evaluate and reevaluate how I express myself, what I'm feeling, and what I'm choosing to share with the world. I liken writing to meditation (which I'm very new to) in that it requires a significant hunk of time, dedication, it can be challenging to stay focused, but the end result is more than worth the effort. In short, writing helps me find my voice, the best way to showcase that voice, and ultimately makes me a more confident, sound and better person.

How did you find your authentic voice through writing?

This question reminds me of an episode of Marie TV, wherein expert marketer Marie Forleo interviewed business owner Kris Carr during which the topic of finding her voice within the written word came up. In response Kris said "...the evolution was not about me finding my voice, but me giving myself permission to use my voice." Oh, that's good!

To be honest I haven't yet given myself full permission to use my authentic voice but I am working on it. I find that when I begin a letter or open a new email I often revert to my professional communications voice that I learned as a customer relationship manager at a previous job - which of course had very strict rules about what you could and could not say. Having said that, the practice of writing has absolutely opened me up to experimenting with my authentic self as a whole - voice soon to follow.


How did you develop the courage to stand tall (i.e., get the courage to share your writing)?

It was when I started writing for the reader instead of for me. When I was on my road trip I committed to writing about every single vegan restaurant in the United States (every one that I visited, that is). Therefore, writing about the food and a bit about my journey between each stop, meant that it had greater meaning now. Essentially I was writing on behalf of restaurants nationwide and what I said or how I said it could influence their exposure and/or who of my readers chose to take a trip just to go eat there. Now, as I work on my first-ever book I'm writing about the personal side of the journey - how it changed me and who I met - which is just as valuable. In this way I need to take into consideration the reader again and understand what they really want to hear, not just how I happened to feel on a given day. Once I recognized that I was not actually writing for me, but for you, is when some* of the fear went out the window.

*I say "some" because the fear of writing and sharing my thoughts shifted from "will this sound okay and will people want to read it" to "OMG, what if I sound silly or use too many of the same words, or not enough, or it isn't what people actually were expecting, etc." Haha.. and back to empowerment and authentic voice, right? :)

When you have a hard time writing, what do you do to work through it?

I go on Facebook. Ha! Just kidding (sometimes). Most of my writing lately has been focused on the road trip that I'm just now finishing. Therefore, in order to break through a block I try to envision and relive the exact moment, down to the smell and touch of things, that I'm trying to write about. Sometimes that backfires and I just end up crying (usually happy tears) because of the overwhelm of reliving that experience. But it sure does result in some hefty paragraphs which then usually lead to fun-to-write content (once my eyes stop watering).

How did you find your support group?

I'm not sure that I have what you'd consider a traditional support group, but I do chat once a month with a dear friend of mine, during what we call "jam sessions." We're both marketing-minded entrepreneurs who are just starting out so we use our jam sessions to do everything from vent about our frustrations to brainstorming new ideas and even setting goals to reach before our next meeting. The unique thing about our relationship is that we also pay each other to do work for one another as well. We've known each other for a few years now after having met at a previous job. About two years ago I ran across multiple articles about the benefits of these 'power posse' groups that many entrepreneurs work within, so I emailed my friend one day to ask if she'd be down, and she said yes. :)

Any advice for new writers/authors?

Start before you are ready.

Thanks for speaking from your heart and empowering others, Kristin! Keep up the fantastic work! If you have any specific questions for Kristin, please feel free to ask :)  

**Update April 2015, Kristin just released her first book. Check out the book trailer below or order it here. Yay for amazing women rising to their platform and shining! So proud of Kristin for turning her dream into a reality.

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!