A few months ago, I announced my decision to become voluntarily homeless so I can travel the U.S. and share my “self-care is healthcare” message. I deal with the reality of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis every day, so you can imagine the importance of managing this reality while living on the road.
Food, movement, and mindfulness are at the core of my miracle outcome, but they can be quite a daunting task to maintain as I travel. This reality mirrors the obstacles athletes face when they leave their normal routines and commitments. Recently, while returning to California from PaleoFX in Austin, I took extra care to note the tips and tricks that allowed my journey to support my wellness program without a hiccup. Below are my top five tips for traveling consciously.
Self-care is all in the planning. Just as you plan your week to include a supportive workout schedule, this same effort needs to be incorporated into your travel plans. This task can seem daunting, especially when traveling for work or a trade show.
I have found great success by reaching out to others for recommendations pertaining to their town or city. This can be done searching for bloggers, social media pages, or meet-ups that are specific to the visiting town. I found people love sharing their community with others and supporting your journey.
I’m not sure why, but for most of us when our daily routine is changed up we stop supporting ourselves as much as we usually do. It almost feels like you get a “Get out of Jail Free” card when routine becomes disrupted.
Committing to you is essential to success, especially when traveling. Travel places higher demands on your body and mind, so supporting your workout efforts should be at the top of your list. You might need to change up your game to allow yourself the chance to grow and explore in spite of travel.
For example, if you usually run on the treadmill, consider running outside to explore the surrounding area while bringing a nice shift to your normal routine. Continued commitment will honor your body and offer a wealth of opportunity to explore, grow, and learn when traveling.
Travel of any kind can make hydration hard, especially if you’re traveling during hot and humid months or places with limited water. A decade of travel for work taught me the value of a trusted water bottle. Bottled water isn’t necessarily the best way to maintain performance, health goals, or the environment. Find a glass or stainless container to stay hydrated on the road and at home.
If you’re looking for some alternatives to water, try out these fun hydration solutions: Have Fun With Hydration: Infused Mason Jar Water
This trick has never failed me. I play a mental game of chess that begins the moment I step out of my door to begin my travel and ends when I return home. I walk through each day asking what my needs are mentally, physically, and emotionally. I make sure I can support them each day.
This game of mental chess offers insight into tools that may be needed to support the journey. These tools may be food, workouts, or mindfulness needs. For example, at home I start every day with MCT oil, but that’s not always easy to find when I’m traveling, so I eat other high-fat foods instead. I also eat organ meat at home, but I am not going to pack liver or go crazy to find a place to supply it during my travels, so I pack liver pills instead. Same outcome, just a different delivery mechanism. Playing mental chess allows me to prepare for and anticipate these needs when traveling.
At the end of the day, the driving force rests in caring enough about yourself to commit the same level of self-respect you apply day to day. Just because the autopilot of life is disrupted does not mean your wellness goals and athletic performance goals should suffer. The same energy that drives the athlete in all of us needs to be committed to the traveler in us.
Taking time off from training is also an act of self-love, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into doing nothing. Instead of running five miles, try walking. Instead of CrossFit, maybe yoga or a spin class is a better way to apply those loving principles while on the road.
Nothing happens just because. Conscious effort is needed to maintain any level of performance, especially when you are an athlete. Over the years I have found preparing foods, identifying a community, and a little mental chess goes a long way in producing results, even while on the road.