Given that I’m vegan, and that I travel a lot, I’m often asking people if they know where I might find some good vegan food. I used to ask people who live in these places I travel to because I figured locals know all the secrets. It was not uncommon for me to be told I would be starving because their city had no options at all for me. In fact, some of the cities where I’ve had the best vegan food in my life, have been cities where locals told me there was no vegan food to be had. The important part of this story is that the locals weren’t vegan. They didn’t think their city had any vegan food because they’d never looked for it. It might have been right in front of their faces (or on the same street as their house as it was in one occasion) but they were obvious to it. It wasn’t on their radar.

Turns out there’s a lesson here. Just because something isn’t apparent, doesn’t mean it’s not there. It could be hiding right in front of you.

I try to think about this from time to time, though honestly not often enough. It’s easy (for me) to fall into the trap of expecting things to be obvious. The solution should be obvious. The next step should be obvious. The path to take should be obvious. I have to remind myself that just because the solution seems like taking the next step down this obvious path, that maybe there are other options. Less obvious ones that might be right in front of me but I can’t see them because they aren’t on my radar. It’s like they have a cloaking device.

I would love to say that I’ve found a great way to discover these unseen paths, but I haven’t. I don’t have the answer. Sometimes I find them, sometimes I don’t. When I don’t, sometimes it’s because I didn’t look, sometimes it’s because I probably looked in the wrong place.

I almost never ask the locals where the vegan food is anymore. I ask other vegans. And now anywhere I go, within minutes I have personal recommendations from people I trust. I feel like I have a cheat sheet. It’s like my secret posse, and one of the benefits of subcultures. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently all of my life. More on that soon, but there’s a lesson here as well. It’s just not as obvious.