Culinary author, consultant and instructor, Linda Vongdara is one of the key figures in the world of French veganism. She is also the mother of a 4-year-old boy and is passionate about nature and making discoveries.
Hello Linda, your last family trip, when and where was it?
My last trip (which is a big word) was to Lille in December, for a dedication at Annie’s Kitchen restaurant and since I want to spend as much time as possible with my husband and my son, I try to take them with me as soon as work permits. We made the most of the Christmas atmosphere, and wandered the streets. To tell you the truth, I travel a lot more for my work than with my family … But that may change one day, because my son is growing up and he loves to accompany me everywhere (he is 4 years old). My husband is very busy with his design agency and he is less available for the holidays.
At home, is travel more like Club Med, rural accommodation, motorhome or palace?
Very good question, and to be honest, it’s a mix of the three… Holiday clubs are very appreciated by my son who loves wave pools, as for my husband, he has a soft spot for camping which reminds him of his children’s vacation, and as for me… I admit, I love luxury because I like beautiful design, fine gastronomy, and quality services. But we are adapting and we are a chameleon family!
What is your best memory during a family trip?
I don’t have a particular memory … because we like simple pleasures during our holidays. But there is one thing that we do whenever the opportunity arises: a Ferris wheel ride! If the city we are visiting has one, we always go there to admire the view from above. In general, it’s pretty impressive.
And during your weekends, what are your favorite activities with children?
We are fortunate to live 30 minutes from Paris and to be surrounded by greenery. Forest walks are one of my favorite activities. This allows us to meet together far from screens, to be surrounded by nature and to reconnect with the rhythm of the seasons, which is a nice change when you lead a Parisian life! My son can observe plants, fungi, insects, animals, he can run, jump, go in puddles and mud with his plastic boots (which he prefers), and nature is amazingly soothing for our minds. We spend a lot of time with my mother, who grows lots of fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, we like to cook together, play sports, yoga, and sometimes, doing nothing can also be pretty amazing.
Any advice for a serene trip with kids?
A good organization! As we have an alternative diet, we sometimes have to bring a few things in our suitcase (one day without soy milk is a complicated thing for us …) and anticipate where to eat. Think about being comfortable (handy and warm clothes, light objects, small things to snack on), and then you have to improvise and let go! And do not embark on a marathon of activities just because you are on holiday. Doing less, but with full awareness is more than enough. It has to remain fun above all.
A destination that you would like to discover together?
Japan is a destination that we all love. I’ve been there alone, but the trip is quite long and it needs to be well organized if you’re going with your family. And we may travel with passionate friends from Japan, to organize a more interesting route and see the different faces that the country has to offer, not just the tourist spots, if possible.
If you had to describe your typical vacation in one word, what would it be?
There is no typical vacation. It would be too simplistic. But what is certain is that you have to listen to your desires and your curiosity … Whether surrounded by nature or in a big city, you have to know how to appreciate what each place has to offer.
And what will be your next trip?
We do not necessarily plan our vacations ahead … But it will probably be in the mountains, Corsica or Italy.