I've had some really terrible experiences traveling due to illness. And not major illness, but minor things like headaches, dizzy spells, lethargy. I mean, I flew all the way to Brazil a few years ago, and ended up sleeping in the hotel for a huge portion of the week.
Is this my version of the travel bug? There has never been a real sickness, just an overall sense of being wiped out from the effort and stress of traveling, combined with an icky-feeling belly filled with foreign and not-terribly-healthy food. I think my system is just very, very sensitive and gets knocked off balance. What fun.
Needless to say, I was nervous that our trip to Puerto Rico would be more of the same. Since I really, really didn't want that to happen, Max helped me with some measures that kept my sanity intact and belly calm. It worked! We had a great week. Not once did I feel dizzy or lethargic, and we did all sorts of things like snorkeling, kayaking at night in the luminescent bay, and hiking in the rainforest. Plus, I was able to enjoy and not utterly regret some amazing local food! Pictured above is a Mofongo con pulpo (Fried mashed plantains with octopus). Sorry for the bad photo, it was taken on my phone!
I'm wondering if any of you have had similar experiences with your health while traveling? Here are some of the ways I kept myself in balance during our trip:
1. Eat a familiar, healthy breakfast
I couldn't boil whole oats in our hotel room, but I did buy a box of Ezekial sprouted grain cereal, soymilk and fresh fruit. This way I'd get some fresh fruit and fiber to start my day, and that at least one meal wouldn't include animal products or sugar, since both tend to slow me down.
2. Keep hydrated
Why is it that on vacation it's hard to get enough water? Is it just me? In many cases I don't want to drink the tap water, so it's important to stock up on bottled water. Sounds obvious but so often we'll spend the day in the sun, have dinner with wine, and then get a few drinks afterwards...by the next morning I'm dying of thirst. In my experience, restaurants outside the US don't bring water to the table unless you ask, and even then the glasses are tiny. So, I gotta make hydration a priority!
3. Breathe. Breathe.
My nerves have all sorts of reason to act up on vacation – catching flights and hoping the luggage isn't lost, finding our way around on new roads and getting lost, dealing with language barriers, etc. I took time this vaca to stop and breathe slow, deep breaths any time I started to feel stressed. Just like when I'm home and at yoga, breathing techniques work on a deep level to bring me back to center.
4. Balancing Vata
According to Ayurvedic medicine, traveling puts Vata out of balance. Since I'm already a Vata type traveling during the Vata time of year, it was important for me to bring oil for massage during the trip. The practice of abhyanga (self oil massage) is a great way to care for yourself and bring Vata back into balance. I'm planning a blog post about abhyanga coming up shortly to talk more about it! And if all this sounds crazy, well, it kind of is but it's also pretty awesome.
5. Getting rid off expectations
Sometimes we try to do too much, in life and on vacation. I tried this time around to keep my expectations to a minimum. Maybe we find our way to the rainforest, maybe we'll get lost and find a neat place to eat instead. Maybe we'll love snorkeling off the catamaran, maybe we'll get seasick, but either way it will be an experience. I found it helped to lose the expectation of perfectly executed plans.
How were your holiday travels? Even traveling short distances can knock me off balance, so I'm interested in how you dealt with driving to grandma's or flying to wherever home is. And if your traveling is done, welcome home and happy new year!