I love to travel. In college I studied abroad in Italy and toured much of Europe while there. In fact, I dropped the only class that counted towards my core courses because the midterm was on St. Patrick's Day. And well, there were cheap flights to Galway, Ireland. Priorities.
After college I made my way to Cape Town, South Africa where I lived with a host family and volunteered at a local underprivileged school. Sprinkle in road trips, destination weddings and week or weekend long getaways and I built a pretty robust travel resume.
But as much a I loved to travel and learn about different places and cultures, my body (and belly) didn't share my affinity for it. At all. I not only gained a lot of weight but I brought back major digestive distress that led to mono, autoimmune diagnoses, bloating, acne and a ton of brain fog.
After taking some time off from traveling (upcoming blog post on grief/travel) when I finally felt emotionally ready to make the travel leap, I knew I needed to focus on ways to maintain my health while on the road. With all I have studied around gut health, I knew I could apply that knowledge to allow travel and healthy living to co-exist. True to my go-big or go-home ways, my first vacation was to Singapore. With a 10 hour layover in Turkey. Challenge accepted.
* Thanks to tending to my own gut-health, I felt so much more energized and clear throughout my trip. Health win.
* Because of that, I was able to see and experience more. Travel win.
* Best part was I never felt limited or deprived during my explorations. Life win.
Here are 5 Healthy Travel Musts:
1) Supplements. Your body needs extra loving during times of travel- it is dehydrating, consumes more energy and disrupts sleep and food routines. Anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants are clutch. My go-to's shouldn't come as a surprise; turmeric pills (anti-inflammatory) and matcha green tea (anti-oxidants). Both super powerful and easy to pack.
2) Nutrients. Many of the women I coach mistake hunger for lack of nutrients. Often times our bodies are craving vitamins and minerals, not necessarily more food. But we don't know that and reach for whatever feels like it will help. Skip this step by keeping loaded on nutrients. For me, this is through green juice each day. Pack a green juice powder just in case there isn't a juice bar easily accessible (or to save loads of money). Plus who wants to spend hours finding a place to get nutrients when on vaca? Go to the grocery store and get some staples to have on hand. I bought peanut butter, almond milk and spinach for smoothies. You can even pack a mini blender (I packed one on my last work trip- huge time and money saver). If you are on a buffet style vaca, stock up on greens at a buffet- bring takeaway baggies... whatever it takes. Make it happen.
3) Digestive Helpers. Common challenges on vacation or during travel include going to the bathroom regularly and dealing with a few too many cocktails. It's important to address both to feel your best. You need to eliminate to reduce brain fog but this can be challenging on the road. Well-Roots Super Cleanse & Liver Detox (take once at night since you aren't cleansing). Or Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move tea. Activated Charcoal and Milk Thistle caps will help with the effects of alcoholic beverages.
4) Maintain (some) routine. Bodies, bellies and minds do well with routine. Take a look at your usual health/fitness schedule and try to incorporate some routine. For me, this was starting my day with green juice powder, matcha and then making a smoothie. My afternoons and evenings were dedicated to trying new foods and drinks. I balanced by using mornings to incorporate what I knew would fuel well and give me even more energy for exploring and then immerse into anything but routine. If you journal, read, podcast, workout, drink tea, walk... whatever your "norms" may be, strive to find 20 minutes each day (Disclaimer: you can ALWAYS find 20 minutes) to make space for it. The time is well invested and will pay you back immensely!
5) Get Creative. Combine touring with fitness where you can. A lot of my sightseeing was done during early morning runs- I scoped out different areas and one time even ran to a tourist site, toured it and ran back. I looked for off-the path cafes and restaurants and wrote it down in my phone to return to when I was, well, showered. I stopped to take pictures and enjoyed seeing people in real life action. I found a juice bar and stopped for a juice. Many cities have running tours. If you aren't a runner, try hiking, renting a bike or roller blading. Go for long walks to explore areas, swim laps in the pool or get in a quick HIIT workout in your hotel room. A resistance band, sneakers and 20 minutes can do wonders for you.
** Bonus: If you have a long layover, check out airport accommodations. I found a treadmill during my 10-hour layover in Turkey! I never knew this existed. Getting a run (or walk) in during a layover really breaks up the wait, benefits your circulation and keeps you on track!
Travel and health can co-exist. Find a balance and look for spots where you can care for yourself. It's not always easy, but your energy level during your trip will improve and it'll make the transition back to reality much more manageable! Most importantly- enjoy your time away. Put down your email and be present in the moment- it CAN all wait! Cheers!
Find Melissa’s original post on her website
Catch Melissa and BostonYPA on July 16th for Rooftop Yoga, followed by healthy treats with your new friends.