"It's up to me to live the life that will fulfill me".
Andy Lever, a very creative adventurer, rock climber, teacher and environmental advocate talked with Wings to the World about her lifestyle, her passion towards helping the planet and how she’s trying to make a difference and feel good about herself and her actions.
We hope you find her story inspiring!
Wings to the World: Hi Andy, we're very glad to have you at Wings to the World! Tell us, what are your main interests?
Andy: I am a mover. I like to do things, see things, experience things. I like my body to be active. My routines always involve running or biking, yoga, and rock climbing. Whenever we can, my partner and I enjoy visiting new places, hiking, and camping… connecting with nature.
Kindness towards the Earth and towards animals has lead me to become vegan and cut out all animal products from my diet and life.
Wings to the World: What’s your main source of inspiration?
Andy: I guess I try to always keep this word in my mind: Kindness. I cannot say I am even close to perfection in this, but over these past couple of years I have been consciously making decisions in my life with "kindness" at the root.
Kindness towards the Earth and towards animals has lead me to become vegan and cut out all animal products from my diet and life. (Once again, I am not perfect in this aspect but I consciously strive to do my very best.) I have been deliberately trying to cut down on my trash 'footprint' in an effort to respect and show kindness to the Earth and animals as well. I also strive to be kind to myself--my mind, my body, which is where the physical activity, yoga, nature, and eating animal-free come in. There is far too much hate in this world--we see this every day on the news. If we can consciously try to show kindness and compassion in even the smallest areas of our lives and even to ourselves, I can only imagine the bigger impact.
Wings to the World: Tasks you’re good at?
Andy: I'm a pretty creative person. I used to play some different instruments, dance, sew my own clothing. I think I forgot this part of me, which I only rediscovered a couple of months ago. I took up calligraphy and this has re-opened that creative side of me that had been dormant for a number of years!
I also love cooking and being vegan, I have a lot of opportunities to experiment with different ingredients! I love sharing vegan dishes with friends to show them how delicious cruelty-free and truly healthy eating is.
Wings to the World: Tasks you prefer not to do:
Wings to the World: Things you love to do without anyone telling you to do them?
Andy: Cooking, organizing (it's different than cleaning!), waking up early, exploring.
Wings to the World: What have been the main difficulties you have found in your professional and / or personal life?
Andy: I am very happy with my job--I have always wanted to be a teacher and I am so fortunate and greatful that I can do this while travelling and exploring different cultures. This being said, it is difficult to be so far from friends and family, especially during such important life milestones, such as marriages and babies. I feel too, that I am ready to start taking more control of my professional life. While I'd like to continue working with children, I've recently obtained my certification to teach children's yoga and I'd like to move forwards with that. I suppose I'd like to start bring that passion into my profession as I spoke about earlier; bring forth my creative side.
Wings to the World: How have those difficulties contributed to your personal development?
Andy: I've realized that really, it's up to me to live the life that will fulfill me. I have friends and family to support me but I am the only one who can make things happen. It's very exciting to realize what makes you happy in life, what changes you want to make, and to take those steps to do it. I'm so lucky to have people in my life that encourage this.
I try to share what I have learned with others in hopes of inspiring others in the way that I have been inspired, but I would never want to force my views on others.
Wings to the World: What do you think a job is or should be?
Andy: Of course I'd like to say that every job should make you happy, but we know this is not the case for all people. But I would hope that every job would be fulfilling in some way, whether it's helping people, providing for your family, or doing what you love.
Wings to the World: What would your dream job be?
Andy: Well, right now I have this vision: I would own my own yoga studio, which teaches yoga to children. Attached to the studio is a vegan café, where parents can have a meal or a bite to eat while they wait for their children to finish their yoga class!
Wings to the World: What do you feel most proud of about your lifestyle?
Andy: I feel responsible. I am choosing to live cruelty free and that's a wonderful feeling. I realize that not everyone cares about how animals feel and that wasn’t even my reason for going vegan. My first motive was for the environment, but now that I have been researching more and continually educate myself, I believe also in the the impact on others' lives and also my own body. It is very uplifting to feel that I live with compassion. I also work hard to reduce the waste in my life and I really feel that if everyone put some serious effort the world would be in a much better situation. I feel that when you consciously live to try to do better, it really changes your perspective on life.
Wings to the World: Do you think you’re leading others through your lifestyle?
Andy: Well, I know that I have influenced some close friends to try different things, like vegan foods, or using a menstrual cup. My partner rarely eats meat and enjoys the food I make for us too! I try to share what I have learned with others in hopes of inspiring others in the way that I have been inspired, but I would never want to force my views on others. Forcing will not help anyone see the value that I see…they must see it themselves.
Wings to the World: How long have you been vegan?
Andy: I don’t know exactly but it's almost been 2 years. And I'm not perfect! I have accidently (and sometimes not accidently…) eaten something that may have had egg or something in it. It's not an easy task, especially here in Colombia, but I really think the important part is caring enough to do your very best. I also have makeup and clothing that contains animal products, like a leather purse, for instance. I am not throwing them away, but rather, I no longer buy anything containing animal products, or that are tested on animals.
Wings to the World: Why did you become vegan?
Andy: It started with the impact on the environment. At first, I made the decision one day, after reading an article about the environment, that I was now vegetarian. Then about 2 or 3 days later I said, "Screw it, I'm vegan."
A lot of people just do not realize the impact their actions have on the planet.
Wings to the World: Can we change the world through how we eat?
Andy: I certainly think so. As I started to mention above, it's not just about the physical condition of the world. Studies have shown that if the world became vegan we could dramatically impact the state of our planet. However, I feel that it changes people too. If we all cared enough about the Earth and the animals, maybe we would also care more about people.
Wings to the World: Is there any person (famous or not) you consider to be a good example to follow? I have one friend who is also vegan and her name is Ana Maria! it's definitely very encouraging when you can rely on the support of others and when you have others to inspire you (an find new vegan spots to eat at!) I follow some different people on instagram, some that post different vegan food and also others that post ideas about how to be zero waste.
Wings to the World: What have you found important, interesting, and shareable, from being vegan, exercising, cooking and smiling?
Andy: For me, I most value feeling good. All of these things contribute to making me feel good physically, mentally, and spiritually. Of course, it's not all smooth sailing. Once I was eating a delicious veggie crepe and as I was on my last bite I was informed by a friend that crepes have eggs AND milk in them!! I've had accidents while climbing, doing yoga… running. People often look at me like I'm a bit crazy when I bring a jar to put hummus in at Carulla or when I yell at all my friends not to use straws while we're at dinner! I know it can be frustrating for my partner when we're trying to find a bite to eat but if his patience doesn’t prove that he loves me, then I don't know what does!!
We have to stop letting convenience dictate our actions and start considering the broader issues in the world today, especially because we are the source of many of the problems.
Wings to the World: How do you think your life style is contributing to the world?
Andy: I certainly hope that my choices are helping the environment for the better, but I also hope that I can encourage others to do the same, even just a little bit. I don't expect that everyone become vegan too (though I highly recommend it!) but I do hope to raise awareness and stir conversations so that people seek more information. I think that a lot of people just do not realize the impact their actions have on the planet. I see people using dozens and dozens of plastic bags at the grocery store, straws and other single-use plastic items, with absolutely no consciousness of what they're doing because they've never been told to think about it. Well, I AM telling people because I want them to think about it.
Wings to the World: If you were famous, what do you think people will know you about?
Andy: They'll definitely know that I am an advocate for the environment through veganism and reducing waste and our impact on the planet. I don't like to preach or impose my ideas on others but I LOVE sharing facts and information to get people thinking!
Wings to the World: What legacy do you think your life is leaving in the world?
Andy: I don't know if I'd be leaving a legacy, per se, but I do hope do just make any sort of difference. It may not seem like a lot coming from one person but I think every bit counts, and if I can encourage others too, then that's all that matters to me.
Wings to the World: What advice would you give people who are reflecting and want to change something about their life style but haven’t found how?
Andy: I want people to know they CAN make a difference and that every little bit helps. The actions one can take can seem a bit daunting at the beginning but it just takes a little bit of research to become informed and know the little things you can do. It's okay to be a little bit inconvenienced; really, we have to stop letting convenience dictate our actions and start considering the broader issues in the world today, especially because we are the source of many of the problems. Slowy, little by little, start changing your habits and you really can make a difference.
I just hope I can spread some consciousness in hopes of making the world a better place, just like you!
Read more about Andy Lever