I wholly believe that a self-care and movement practice while traveling is important for good health ~ in mind and body.
Physically, you are in a state of fluidity ~ moving often, experimenting with new foods, hydrating yourself with water from constantly changing sources, altering your sleeping patterns and daily routine. All of this creates the need for a balancing, restorative wellness practice.
So here are five rituals, carefully infused in to your daily travel life, that I find most beneficial:
Drink water upon waking ~
I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated, even more so when travelling through tropical regions like India and South-East Asia. Water is the elixir of life. Start each day with a litre of clean, room-temperature h2o. This simple act will kickstart your metabolism each morning, nourish your cells, and soften headaches and lethargy, while lessening the risk of dehydration. I like to find somewhere beautiful, in the soft morning light to slowly, mindfully drink my water. If you have access to fresh lemon or lime juice, add a squeeze to your water for added vitamins and cleansing of your digestive system.
Go for a walk ~
One of my favourite things about exploring a new destination is walking. Not only is it the best way to discover unexpectedly beautiful sights, but it will also become an important part of your movement practice. Walking is beneficial for all body types ~ for predominant Vata individuals like myself, walking and gentle stretching is enough of an exercise routine. Kapha and Pitta types may supplement their routine by running, swimming, taking a flow yoga class etc.
Seek out nourishing plant foods ~
In some way, travelling is like an over-extended holiday, so its fair enough that we like to treat ourselves while on the road… however, it is still so important to seek out and nourish your body with whole plant foods as much as possible. It may be weeks or even months before you begin to feel the effect of eating poorly… but as you become more in tune with your body, I can assure you that a lack of nutritional food will take a noticeable toll on your energy levels within days. Try to limit consumption of fried foods, foods containing MSG and other additives, and sugary breakfasts like the ubiquitous white toast and jam. Instead, opt for an omelette, oatmeal or organic local fruit for breakfast. Traveling through India is wonderful for vegetarians as pulses like chickpeas and lentils are eaten by the locals with almost every meal. Choose vitamin-rich vegetables as the basis for your lunch and dinner options, like sweet potato, spinach, pumpkin, broccoli and cauliflower. I find its a good idea to see what is abudant at the market, that way you know whats local, and in season. For example, traveling through the tropical state of Kerala bananas, mangoes and papayas are literally falling off the trees ~ so I’ve made sure to consume these fruits daily.
Limit your alcohol intake ~
It goes without saying, but the consumption of alcohol is a no-go for a healthy, vital temple. I know that many of us out there like to enjoy a cool beer as the sun sets, or a red wine over lunch, but try to be mindful of how much you are consuming and don’t go overboard. Its an unhealthy habit, that will prevent you from traveling as your most energetic, radiant self.
I have two mindfulness techniques that I like to draw upon while travelling, meditation and journalling. Each morning and afternoon, sit down somewhere quiet for 5 to 10 minutes and breathe through your thoughts, letting them pass over you without any judgement. Feel what ever it is you feel, but don’t become attached to those feelings. Just sit there, breathing peacefully, grounding yourself in the beautiful moment that is. This simple meditation technique is wonderful for centring and grounding you while traveling. In a constant state of movement, its easy to fall in to unnecessary thinking patterns, therefore losing your deep inner presence. Meditating each day, will bring you back to centre. So with journalling. Taking out a pen and noting down some thoughts, experiences, frustrations, whatever it is that is circling in your mind will ensure that you are clearing space for all of the beautiful experiences blossoming around you. I also like to note down 3 things I am grateful for at the end of each day.
Today, I am grateful to be sitting down with a hot cup of chai, in this beautiful retreat in the tea country of Munnar, watching the rain fall and the clouds float by.
I am grateful to be in a healthy state, without any pain or illness.
I am grateful to be travelling with my love by my side, to be immersed in this experience with him, to be laughing and loving our way through India.
Part-time plant-based cook, part-time wandering gypsy – I am happiest when I am on the road, exploring our beautiful planet and preparing my lover and I nourishing vegan food to fuel our bodies for the ever-impending adventure.