With no return ticket, no plans, no idea what the fuck I’m actually doing with my life, its difficult to feel grounded. I feel like I’m floating in the abyss of the unknown universe, tethered to nothing solid. But lets be honest, I feel that way even when I’m not traveling. I just think being out of the comfortable surroundings of my Denver home has heightened it.
The only way to feel grounded for me is to do my best to be healthy. In body, mind, and spirit.
It’s way too easy to take this time to over indulge. One of the funnest parts about traveling is trying the food from another culture. However, everything in Australia is extremely expensive, and their food is not anything different than you’d find in the states. It isn’t like visiting Asia where the cuisine is completely different than at home. It isn’t exotic, and paying $20 for Avo and toast gets old real quick.
As I am craving some semblance of a routine I decided to reach out to a friend of mine whom I met at my Yoga Teacher Training in India. She is a BAMF body builder named Steph. I hired her to create a custom, simple diet and exercise program that I could implement while traveling. My Ozzie mate Courtney asked me as I resisted eating pizza (okay, I did have one bite) with her after an ecstatic dance event if this was really a good time to start a diet. And I said, yes, its the one thing within my control right now. What I put in my mouth and when.
So, here are 5 tips to staying healthy when traveling abroad:
- Keep it simple. I’m cooking really simple healthy meals. Keeping it simple makes grocery shopping (and then walking/carrying said groceries) easy. I’ve bought spices in little packets, tons of veg, and protein. I throw it together for nutritious, delicious, and filling meals that are quick and easy to make. I feel so much better eating clean like this, and its actually the best choice financially living in this country to cook at home.
- Devote to your practice. It has been more challenging to find the time and space for my spiritual practice without a dedicated space to call my own. But, as one of my friends poignantly said “you are your dedicated space”. Also, where theres a will, theres a way. Even 20 minutes of mediation does wonders for a healthy state of mind. Dedication is done out of discipline, which then transmutes to devotion which is done out of love.
- Rest. Theres so much to do and see in a new city. And a part of me feels like a loser if I’m not doing and seeing all the things. But, I only have so much energy, and it takes a lot to go to all the events and mingle with new people. I have found myself feeling quite tired and I’m allowing myself to rest more than usual. I can tell my body and spirit need it.
- Party Sober. The truth is, drugs and alcohol are toxic for the body, mind, and spirit. If you want to stay healthy while traveling abroad, consider partying sober (theres actually a lot of fun to be had without substances!). I’ve been sober for the better part of the last 2 years, although not completely. Its difficult for me to be that rigid, and just like there’s cheat days for a diet, having cheat days for sobriety works for me to remain sober most of the time. Of course, just like with a diet, you don’t binge out of control on your cheat days because you’re going to feel like shit if you do. It doesn’t work for everyone, and some people need to completely avoid all drugs and alcohol if they’re dealing with a serious addiction disease. The other benefit of partying sober is making authentic connections without the influence of substances. I’ve learned in my many years of partying definitely not sober that when the drugs/booze wore off and the parties over people can be quite different (This isn’t always the case, of course, but its been my experience more so than not).The connections you can make while traveling are so incredible and fun, and when you meet on a sober, conscious, and aware level, they can become deep, powerful, and magic. And most importantly, real.
- Feel your feelings. It’s okay to not be okay. Give yourself permission to feel all of your feelings, “good” or “bad”. Resist labeling your experience in this way. I’ve been feeling a lot of “negative” emotions while on this journey from loneliness to downright depression. I’ve also had moments of immense gratitude, excitement, joy, and bliss. There’s this new age philosophy about positive thinking that I think can be dangerous. The worst thing we can do is to feel guilt and shame for our truth. Also, there’s no going around our feelings. There’s only one way out, and thats in. Don’t you feel better after you’ve cried? Don’t you feel better if you let out a scream when you’re angry? Its the bottling up of emotions that give way to disease. So, if you want to stay healthy while traveling abroad, where a myriad of emotions are sure to be felt, then feel them, fully.
*Bonus Tip: Write all your feelings down! Journal. It’s very therapeutic and its always insightful to look back and read things you’ve written, especially when written during travels.
Do these tips resonate for you? Leave a comment and let me know!
Elena Rose Davis