Taking the time for self care and to stay nourished is not only important, it’s essential, whatever your lifestyle or travel schedule may look like.
A healthy, balanced diet comprised of plant-based wholefoods is key to staying nourished, but food is only one part of the equation for optimum health. Nourishing body, mind and soul with these practices will leave you feeling more fulfilled, relaxed, happy and get the best out of your journey.
I remember on my first big trip around India, South East Asia and New Zealand, I wanted to see it all. I was mostly moving every few days to new locations. It was amazing, and I got to see and do so much from attending two weddings in India and Bali, jumping out of a plane in New Zealand, caving in Vietnam, island hopping in Thailand and Cambodia and skating across Singapore city by night.
I barely stopped until I got to Bali six months into the trip. I just knew I had to down the backpack for a while and ended up living in Ubud for the next few months. It was bliss and much needed. And now I’ve come to realise that a slower pace of travel with nourishing practices incorporated is the most sustainable way to travel, for my body and the environment.
Ways to Stay Nourished On Your Travels
Maybe you’ve never mediated in your life before or maybe it’s already a part of your daily practice. Making time each day, preferably in the morning, to sit in stillness and meditate is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. It allows us to slow our racing minds and become more in tune with our true inner self.
I begin each day with 20 minutes of meditation. This might take the form of sitting on my bed or on the beach, or some days I go for a walk and try to notice what thoughts come up and let them go and just focus on my breath or the sounds of nature or the ocean, depending on where I am.
Even 10 minutes a day can make a difference and you really can do it anywhere; dorm room, bus, train, beach, plane. And if you’ve never done meditation before or want to take part in group meditation there are so many classes to be found across the world. From drop in classes to 10 day courses, such as Vipassana.
I love getting a massage, there’s nothing more relaxing and I feel so calm and peaceful afterwards. Massaging the body is also a great way to relieve stress and tension (that sometimes we don’t even know we’re carrying) and to soothe aching muscles after hours of walking and exploring.
The bonus of travelling in places like India and South East Asia is that they are so affordable (as cheap as $4 an hour) it’s too hard to resist. You can pay more for a qualified practitioner but I’ve honestly had some of the best massages by women who just have hands on experience.
Sleep is key to a happy, healthy life. When we’re tired we’re more likely to crave unhealthy foods and overeat. We’re also less able to deal with stress, and our stress hormones like cortisol are running at higher levels when we’re trying to push through our day feeling exhausted. Aim for 7 to 8 hours a night.
When you’re travelling your sleep schedule can be a bit all over the place. Pack an eye mask and ear plugs to help you get a good nights sleep wherever you are, and try to avoid having such a hectic schedule by travelling slower so you have time to catch up on that much needed sleep.
Learning a new skill or information is linked with increased feelings of happiness and self worth. Lazing on the beach all day feels really good, and is sometimes much needed to unwind and relax and allow yourself to just be and simply do nothing. But it’s also nice to feel like your learning and discovering new things.
Taking a cooking class, a yoga teacher training or PADI course, reading a book on a topic you’d like to learn more about, trying out a new activity are all ways you can learn new things and grow your existing skills on your travels. You may even want to teach, volunteer or get a job to learn even more about yourself and the topic area you’re interested in.
Solitude is so important to me, and I cherish my time alone and feel better for it. It’s not just the introvert in me saying this. It’s been proven that spending time in solitude allows us to better connect to ourselves and discover our own voice. It allows us to unwind, as opposed to always being ‘on’, which can be much of the time when exploring new places, sharing a room and meeting new people daily.
Go spend time in nature, take a walk along the beach, in the near by park, around local temple ruins or wherever you find yourself. I love my time in hostels with other travellers, meeting new people in cafes, on train and bus journeys to new destinations and going off on adventures with people I’ve just met. And it’s good to catch up with long term friends when I’m back home or if our paths cross out in the world. But having that time to recharge, to create that white space to think is equally as important and necessary.
I hope you have a happy, nourishing journey, whether you’re globetrotting or calling one place home for now.
Have you experienced the burn out long term travel can bring? What ways do you practice self care on your journey?