Healthy Summer Travel

flying sky

Hello friends,

After quite a few folks have approached me for advice on healthy travel this summer, and because summer is in full swing (no it’s not almost over, so please don't try and tell me that....) I thought it would be time to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along my wanderings.

As many of you know, I have spent the majority of my corporate professional life on the road. I’ve been to 46 states, and in addition to accumulating many miles and rental car points then I care to admit, I’ve learned a thing or two about some travel do’s and don’ts. I’ve also learned that traveling can be an incredible joyful experience – yes – with the right perspective, practice, and support, it can be something that gives you an incredible amount of space, a time to think about the course of your life and to bring freshness, creativity, and a sense of excitement back to the potential monotony of life at home.  Plus, there’s nothing like 3 flight delays in the middle of Chicago O’Hare to really challenge and grow your meditation practice, right?

Though I dive much deeper into personalized practices and sustainable habits in my new Healthy Traveler Consulting program, it’s likely that before summer’s out you’ll find yourself on the road, and I’d like to help.  Whether you’re off to a friend’s wedding in Newport for the weekend or your heading to LA for a 10 day business trip, it’s important to feel rested, energized, and vibrant. This stuff isn’t rocket science but it is important. Read on for 3 quick tips to ensure you feel great on the go…

1.     H20 is your best friend forever

Drink water before, during, and after your travels. Our bodies are composed of 65-75% water – and that’s friggin incredible! In the seesaw of AM coffee fixes and evening wine drinking we can get dehydrated. Add some travel and dry air and we can get sick.  Unfortunately as refreshing as A/C can feel, there are some schools of thought that it can do more harm than help.  Some say it can increase the appetite, can exhaust the physical body (as it swings from hot humid temps, to dry, icy, indoor ones), and most alarming perhaps can lead to getting sick.  When the mucus membranes of the nose and throat get dry (as they do at 30,000 feet), our natural ‘drainage system’ (yummy, I know) that helps process and eliminate bacteria and viruses can be compromised.   The good news? Drinking water can help combat this issue. Keeping the throat moist helps the mucus membranes armed to better combat any nastiness that’s floating around in the main cabin.

2.     Give yourself a massage.

Seriously! This sounds so weird, but I promise it works and it’s easy to do even in the middle seat of coach.  While you certainly wont’ be able to give yourself a whole body massage, there are actually sneaky techniques to restore the body, and boost immunity, even mid air, mid flight delays, or amid traffic on the NJ Turnpike.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the ancient Ayurvedic technique of Abyhanga or ‘self-massage’ can be a great restorative practice for the body.  Thought traditionally practiced sans clothing and with warm oils, mid travel trip we improvise (or we get thrown in jail.  To give yourself a modified and still beneficial self-massage. start with your face. Take your hands and start to draw small circles around the temples. Close your eyes if you like. Then move over to your forehead, down to the cheekbones, bridge of the noes, and around the jaw.  Spend time on the jaw, ears, even float on over to the scalp.  This can have a profoundly calming effect on the nervous system and is great for detoxifying the body by aiding the lymph system (which can get stagnant as we sit for a while).  When you get down to the neck use the flats of your palms to make swift sweeping motions with the hands all along the length of the neck.  Then take one arm at a time sweeping down the arm and back up, taking care to sweep under the armpits as well as there is a concentration of lymph notes present.  Then tend to the legs sweeping down the front of a leg and up the back as much you can.

3.     Pack your own snacks.

I love food. Really good food. And I hate to be hungry.  So I love snacks. All of the snacks. Though it takes a tiny bit of planning ahead, I tell my clients all the time how important to have snacks on hand. And not junk foodie snacks that you’ll want to eat as soon as you encounter a stressful situation en route, but a nourishing AND delicious snack.   Food on the road is not only expensive, it’s usually pretty gross. Though things are getting better, do yourself a favor, and pack a few snacks.  A few ideas to get the juices flowing:

  • Homemade Trailmix - any combo of nuts, and dried fruits (and perhaps a few chunks of dark chocolate) 
  • Larabars if you like sweet + salty. 
  • Rice cake sandwich with PB+ Jelly or Nutella + PB. 
  • An apple and to-go almond butter packet.
  • Brown rice tortilla with hummus and sliced tomato.
  • A hardboiiled egg and piece of Ezekiel bread.
  • A jar of overnight oats to go.

The great news is, healthy on the go doesn't have to be hard. Plan ahead a little, drink copious amounts of water, and give yourself a little time-out massage. When all else fails, you can always close your eyes and feel your breath. Enjoy your wanders and let me know what you think!