Still healing, but things are continuing to improve and feel better. I am hoping that after I come back from ATL I might be able to start light jogging. Hashtag fingers crossed.
This weekend, I had the incredible fortune to attend the first annual Women in Travel Summit (WITS) as a representative of Ramblen alongside co-founders (and bastions of awesomeness) Danielle and Natalie.
First of all, I just want to say thank you thank you thank you ladies–I am having an amazing time with you all, and I am so excited that you are so willing to bring me into the fold of Ramblen. Plus I get to wear the hat. WINNING.
At The Gage Thursday night, Natalie asked me a simple question: Do you feel like maintaining such a lifestyle when you are traveling makes you feel better, makes you more likely to embrace your travel experience? Is maintaining your lifestyle while on the road important to you? In short: Why do you put effort into maintaining your healthy lifestyle while traveling?
We all have our reasons for why we lead the lifestyles we do; maybe you run purely to maintain your weight. Maybe running literally is your therapy. Perhaps you weight train or do load-bearing exercises because you want to prevent osteoporosis, or maybe you are Alex. And are just insane.
But why, when you are on “vacation,” would you consciously choose to do “work?”
Alex and I can laze with the best of them. We are ace biscuit sitters. (Zoe is ace at…. being Zoe.) That said, when we travel, whether to home or abroad, we make the active choice to make smart food choices and to seek out activities that help us move our feet. We also check out gyms and running routes. In Rome, I ran loops in the Borghese Gardens. Alex paid to go to a real gym (we didn’t have one in our hotel).
The top 2 are views of Paris, the last is Borghese Gardens, all taken in my Defyances while on runs. When else are you going to see the Louvre completely empty??
Why? Because we were indulging? Because we felt guilty? Nope. Because we wanted to. Because taking care of ourselves is important to us no matter where we are in the world.
For myself, I am happiest when I feel physically strong–like my body is ready to take on the world. And I experience these feelings of empowerment and eagerness to go out and explore when I am continuously active and taking good care of myself. If I just stopped exercising and eating well cold turkey, I would become increasingly lethargic and unengaged. And for Alex and I, when we go on vacation, we want to be engaged in the place we are visiting. And that means balancing activity and rest as we would in everyday life. Sometimes, on vacation, we have less opportunity for working out in the traditional sense because we are busy resting. On the other hand, often vacation finally presents the time for us to put the emphasis back on physical activity. For Alex, particularly with his current schedule, vacation provides him unparalleled access to gym time, at a a premium during his workweek.
For myself (Ie as a person generally not pressed to squirrel away time during the day for workouts), I might take the opportunity to ease off on strength, or ease off on running to give my body a necessary break as it needs it. I consider vacation time within my larger training cycle and periodization. But most importantly, I seek to maintain my healthy lifestyle of being active and not just loafing it at the spa for some key reasons:
- Budget: While this can go either way (paying for gym time can be $$$), we all know that paying for tours, etc, can be as well. And I know that organized, activity-based events can be expensive as well. But take into consideration how much money you can save by walking rather than taking a cab.
- Active, authentic enjoyment rather than passive chillin’. Let’s be honest, you can biscuit sit by a pool a lot of places. But there is only one place in the world that you can walk from St. Peter’s to the Piazza Navona to the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountaion. Sure you might get pistachio gelato, but how Audrey Hepburn is it to walk around with a small gelato whilst enjoying the sites.
- Health: It gives me the energy–when I don’t stay active and keep up parts of my routine, I feel like BLAARG. And then I don’t want to do anything. And then what is the point?
- (Sorry Mom) It makes me more like to, ahem, engage in other physical activities of the romantic variety. Think about it: increased blood flow, efficiently working body systems, sweaty glistening bodies in an exciting, exotic (to you) location…. dur.
- Quality of sleep.
- Mental health–Working out gives my brain a vacation. I can go and just shut off, pump my music, get lost in a book, whatever.
- Mental Health 2.0–Sure, I’ll admit it, I feel a lot better about eating pizza everyday in Rome if I am taking care of myself. But I also feel a lot better after eating said pizza because my body can process it.
- Happiness–I love food, I love good food, and I love to eat and experience culture. But I also like the way I eat–I associate it with health and happiness. I associate certain meals and other diets with discomfort and fear. Why would I want to eat something that gives me anxiety, especially when I love and adore clean foods?
- Reintegration into everyday life. I bolded this because many people don’t really take this into consideration: think about how hard and seemingly insurmountable it feels to start up “real life” again after a break. It’s like starting running again, but without the luxury of easing into it. So lessen your chance of injury and hating your life for the first 3 weeks post vacation!
Balance is, of course, important: Alex and I have been known to walk a hilarious number of miles in, around, and throughout cities and places. But then we come back to the hotel, put up our feet, and share a drink/bottle of wine/snack and reflect on the day or just chat. Some of our richest have occurred at these times.
Ramblen is a site/media platform looking to curate and congregate health and fitness resources for like-minded travelers. I wish we could have had access to a Ramblen type site when we went abroad (though I would still do my own research, etc)–I would love to know great running routes in Paris, or places that others with dietary restrictions or similar eating preferences have eaten as well as how they order! Then maybe I wouldn’t have ended up with mayo all over a salad in Paris, or Alex’s and my epic restaurant finding fail our first evening in London (though it worked out, we searched for about an hour and were literally at the point of panic by the time we found the pub).
I’m hoping that my Tapering while Honeymooning guest post will be up soon–you all will definitely relate to the concept, but it is definitely representative of the Suzlyfe 😀
Until then, let us dream of the places we will go, the beaches we will run on, and the lake front paths we hope soon occupy will no longer be blitzkrieg’ed by frigid wind.
Do you seek out resources that enable you to continue your active lifestyles when you travel? Or do you throw it all out the window and treat it like post-marathon recovery 😉 ?