The traveling life hasn't stopped since my two-month long journey through Europe in May and June. Granted, I asked the Universe for this lifestyle of steady movement and exploration. Yet I underestimated the toll it can take on mental/physical health and relationships.
This summer's hectic schedule led me to discover quickly how stability can waver when acclimating to a new place, or adventuring on a multi-day trip in Buttercup, or venturing on a 13-hour road trip for an outdoor trade show.
I've learned a few important lessons about making the most of my time away from home, while staying grounded and maintaining a sense of normalcy. If you’re a traveler, try a few of these tips and see if they help sustain you on your next trip.
- Find a Daily Routine: Pack light, but bring with you a ritual that keeps you grounded. For me, I love waking up in the morning and centering myself with coffee and journaling. Beginning each day with dedicated quiet time helps clear my mind and keep me balanced when travel woes get thrown in my path.
- Don’t Overplan: Before arriving in Rome, I had a ridiculously long list of sites to see and things to do. Realistically, I had only 4 days and I did need to sleep at some point. I ended up focusing on the experiences that were most important to me and embarking on one larger expedition a day (ex: visiting the Vatican). This left time for spontaneous exploration and I didn’t feel anxious trying to see everything.
- Stay Active: Vacation should be about getting some rest and relaxation. However, keeping active helped me resist lethargy, keep my bodily functions in check, and my stress levels low. The type of exercise doesn’t need to be overly exerting. If you're in a city, walking to your destination instead of riding public transportation is an easy option.
- Indulge, but don’t Overindulge: I learned this the hard way by going on an everyday gelato spree. Just because there is a gelateria on every corner does not mean I need to stop and order from all of them. There seems to be this accepted truth that it’s okay to over consume just because we’re “on vacation”. But eating and drinking too much will quickly catch up with your physical and mental health. Everything in moderation.
- Let Go Of Work: As much as possible. We can connect virtually anytime, anywhere. That fact does not make working during vacation acceptable. Research even shows that you’ll be more effective when you return to work if you use vacation to truly unplug. Try repeating this mantra: “I deserve this time for rest, relaxation, and exploration.”