I have pretty much always been a vegetarian. There were times, growing up and even into college, when I took "breaks" for various reasons - generally health-related - but I gave up eating meat very young. My parents, especially my dad, were very supportive of my decision, but it still didn't make it easy. When I was younger, it was very hard to find vegetarian alternatives at the grocery store and unless you lived in an urban area, people thought you were odd if you didn't eat meat. Restaurants didn't have options beyond salads and it grew somewhat frustrating, not only for me, but for my friends and family as well.
Fortunately, a lot has changed since the early 1990's. Vegetarians are a lot more common and almost every restaurant has options, some more than others. Still, a few options are far better than living off salad (not that I mind salad, but we like variety, too!). Even fast food restaurants, with the exception of McDonald's, have come around and started to make it easier to go the same places as the people you know without making a big issue of things.
Of course, that's not the same as being vegan, but it's slowly getting better for vegans, too. Personally, I am not a vegan but not because I don't like vegan food. I actually eat plenty of vegan options and don't mind when products are vegan at all. I just haven't made that step.
My parents were recently traveling and came across the book How to Be Vegan, which they sent me as a surprise. I was pleased that they sent it, because they are not only showing support for our choices, but also helping us eat even better.
This is a great book. It's fairly straightforward, but the writing style is conversational and entertaining. Sometimes vegan or vegetarian books or blogs come across preachy, but this doesn't. It handles even some of the more complicated challenges, such as explaining why you are not eating that food, in a fun but informative way.
There are specific tips for traveling, including foods to look out for in various countries. The book doesn't just focus on a vegan diet, either, but a lifestyle, and discusses leather (an obvious no-no), but also the complex issues related to wool and silk. There is a section listing beauty and cleaning supplies that are vegan and cruelty-free, as well as a full appendix of resources.
In addition, the book also serves as a vegan cookbook, with recipes for every meal. I love that it is so versatile, while also being compact. You could keep this with you and refer to it when shopping or traveling, or put it in your kitchen to take out for meal planning.
If you are considering a vegan diet and/or lifestyle, I recommend this book because it's a great resource and truly thorough. I also do love the tone of the writer, which may not work for everyone, but definitely felt like chatting with a friend for me.