How to Stay (Emotionally, Spiritually & Physically) Healthy While Traveling

Hey you traveling lovelies!  Is it just me or has there been a lot of "how to stay healthy when on the road" type content flying about?

It is absolutely wonderful that folks are thinking this way.  Being more conscientious (and conscious) about how we travel, explore, eat and experience the world just makes it better for everyone. 

Most of this content, though, has been solely focused on how to stay physically healthy whilst hopping the globe.  That's great and all, but what about everything else?  

If you're more into the holistic side of things, pop down below to find out the best ways to keep your whole, beautiful self in tact and happy when you're on the road.  

Your whole, beautiful self will thank you.  Promise.

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(Continue to) Have a Morning Routine

Hear me and hear me well, traveling friends.  A backpacking trip around Central America may not be the place to begin a new meditation practice, or wake up in a state of gratitude, or start your day with some yoga stretches.

Why?

Because if you associate these wonderful things with traveling, then you will most likely only ever do these wonderful things... while traveling.

And that's ok, I suppose, but why not do them all the time?  

Waking up with a sense of gratitude:  You guysssss.  This one is soooo harddddd.  Totally not natural for me (or most human beings), waking up with a sense of gratitude will nevertheless change your entire day from one of probable poop-titude to definitely dazzling.  

Here's how it works.  The alarm goes off.  What's your first thought?  For me, it is usually something negative and full of lack like, "I'm so tired.  Let's just hit snooze once more.  I wish I could stay in bed for two more hours.  Dammit!"  

Sound familiar?

When I have these thoughts (i.e.:  every single morning) I keep myself in bed, take a deep breath and bring something positive to mind.  For example, "Something amazing is going to happen today.  Maybe I'll meet someone new.  Maybe I'll be able to help them, or make them smile."

Now, this is all well and good when you are at home and knee-deep in your usual daily routine, but traveling?  Traveling is all fun and new experiences and amazingness!  Who would hop out of bed with a negative thought?

Sure, its rare(r) to be sad and sulky while traveling, but it does happen.  So why not be prepared with this particular routine already in the bag?

Yoga stretches:  Y'all, come on.  Just get out of bed and do some light stretching.  It feels so fabulous and gets that blood moving right away.  You'll do it anyway if you've been on a plane for hours!  If you need some help or some hotel-friendly yoga moves, go here.  And, if you are having trouble going to sleep in a new place, try legs up the wall.  Yes, you will look weird and yes, you will sleep way better.  

Meditation:  I know, I know.  If you aren't doing this already you've definitely heard that you should, and then you've probably said a million times that you are going to start.  Want to know a little baby secret?  You're doing it already.  

Boom!  Believe it! Have you ever taken a deep breath to calm yourself in the middle of traffic?  Meditation!  Ever counted to ten to avoid dumping a hot pot of coffee on a loved one early in the morning?  Meditation!  Ever felt the breeze on your face while walking your pup and thought, "thank you?"

Meditation, meditation, meditation.

Meditation doesn't have to be sitting on a golden cushion next to a Buddha statue in Bali for five hours.  But once you start?  You won't be able to quit that sweet meditation goodness!

Here's what I do:  I have a (non-golden) floor cushion upon which I sit for anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes, depending on the day and how I feel.  Sometimes I just breathe deeply, with my hands on my knees.  Sometimes I google "guided meditation" and choose what looks good from youtube.  Sometimes I just sit and dream about travel planning.

Ahem.  

I so look forward to this ritual every day, and I'm still totally a novice.  Try it today!  Light yourself a candle, sit somewhere comfy and tune in to this guided meditation.  You're welcome.

Cook If You Can, And If You Want To

We all understand that cooking our own meals is more financially responsible and healthier, yes? Excellent.

However.

If you are on vacation to get out of the kitchen (for the love of all that is holy) do not cook.  This would not be "healthy" for you!  Follow your heart, is what I'm saying.

 An example of what you may not want to purchase at your Argentinian supermarket.  Thanks Barfy!

An example of what you may not want to purchase at your Argentinian supermarket.  Thanks Barfy!

If you, though, really enjoy finding out about the local cuisine and available ingredients, have a kitchen space available to you and want to save some cash?  Cook it up!  

Alternatively, find a cooking class in your new locale and learn from the best.  I've taken stellar cooking classes in Guatemala and Brazil, and they were absolutely trip highlights.  Extra bonus?  When you return home you can cook those same dishes, reliving your glory days of being abroad, young and carefree.  (Too much?)

So find the nearest grocery store to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb and go wander the aisles!  This is a cultural experience in and of itself, when you think about it.  Why not try those crazy Ecuadorian fruits?  They look delish!

Walk to All of the Places

When booking for clients, it is of utmost importance that I find them amazing accommodations that are incredibly walkable.  Public transportation is fabulous in most countries and necessary to reach all that we want to see, but there is no greater feeling than stepping out of your apartment in Paris and taking a stroll past the Eiffel Tower to reach that patisserie window filled with pink macarons.  

Sigh.  Just go ahead and imagine that for a minute.

Obviously walking is a pretty low-level form of physical exercise, but who cares?  When you walk all day all over creation, you'll return to your hotel with lovely sore legs and a hearty sense of accomplishment.  Someone you are traveling with might remark, "Can you believe all that we were able to see today?"  And you won't!  It'll be crazy!

Pro tip:  try walking without a predetermined destination in mind.  Yes, really.  When you give yourself and your path up to the universe, you will most certainly be surprised to see where you end up, and you will encounter a bit of magic that we have let ourselves lose in this digital age.  Wandering for the sake of wandering... doesn't sound so bad, eh?

Our lifestyle in the States would not be possible without vehicles.  This is simply not the case in many cities around the world.  So grab your comfy shoes and your layers, and walk it up!

Write in a Journal

If there is anything more soothing and beautiful at the end of the day besides sitting alone on a terrace with a glass of wine and a journal in a foreign city, I need it in my life right now.  

If you are traveling solo (read:  if you are the definition of badass) then you'll definitely want to have a journal on hand.  Why?  Your mind is about to be blown with all of the newness and awesomeness and there won't always be someone there to gush about it all with.  Your journal will become your bestie for this reason. 

If you are someone who finds the above statement sad, then you have never traveled solo.  You have never tasted the deliciousness of waking up in the morning with no one's agenda but your own.  You have never relaxed in a plaza for hours with your trusty journal, scribbling away and watching three friends knit and chat about their day.  (But Whisked Away can make this happen for you!  Hit us up!)

Yes, folks traveling with others should write in journals too.  It helps you to collect your thoughts, to remember how you felt when you saw the leaning tower of Pisa and pretended you were karate-chopping it in your hilarious Instagram photos.  But solo travelers?  Writing in a journal will be the centerpiece of your trip, friend, in a way that nothing else will.  Trust in the journal!

Don't Work Out

That's right!  I said it!

Disclaimer:  if you are into running and want to run all over your beautiful new destination, do it.  Personally, I've never understood running as a choice but I have always romanticized it a bit.  It looks nice in pictures, is what I'm saying.  Freeing.

But do not, under any circumstances, go to a gym.

Why?

Are you in Munich to do crunches or to drink the best beer in the world and take a bicycle tour of the major sites?  How about Buenos Aires?  Do you see folks walking around doing lunges or strolling arm in arm on the cobblestone-d boulevards?

Listen.  You must spend your precious time in your far-flung destination doing things that are wonderful and lovely and dreamy.  This does not mean that you must rush around to all of the historical sites to "get it all in."  

This does mean, however, that if you spend an hour a day lifting weights in the grossness of fluorescent lighting, that will be one hour in which you do not sit in a cafe in Venice sipping a for-real cappuccino.  And that would be a stupid waste of your time.

Stand In Your Own Truth

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to do what feels healthy to you while traveling (and all the time).  Sure, there are some general rules we should all follow, but if your body, soul and mind are telling you to go one way and you go the other because it is something you "should" do, then that's a true bummer.  You do you!

What would you add to the list?  What habits have you cultivated to stay healthy and happy while on the road?  Share them in the comments below!