Having traveled full-time for the last year, I know one or two things about travel. And let me tell you, I can pack a suitcase faster than Vanilla Ice’s music career.
Seriously, I slay when it comes to travel and self care. I’m not trying to brag, but seeing as this is my blog, I thought it a good opportunity to do so anyway.
While I didn’t figure this shit out my first few months. When I first started traveling full-time, I was often too tired and uninspired. Eventually, I was able to cultivate a life where I was treating myself better and creating time amidst the chaos. My discoveries have proven both simple and indispensable whether you’re flying or driving. So, here is my experience taking care of myself while full-time traveling, the no bullshit guide.
First off, it’s different for everyone. I know that makes this entire article pointless, but I got more to share, so don’t fret.
Take some time and think about what allows you to recharge. Many people confuse this with “downtime,” and tell me they watch Netflix or eat an entire bag of cookies. I highly doubt that binging Oreos or the Office makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. I’m talking about what renews you, what brings you zen, what energizes you to your core. Figure it out, and then schedule it in. Every damn day.
I used to think that I needed to schedule out multiples calls to talk with friends and family each day when I first started travelling. However, I learned that talking to people for work and for leisure often left me exhausted and my throat sore at the end of the day. I started to become intune with my mind and body and went for walks, wrote out my thoughts, or even took the occasional bath. I needed some goddamn peace and quiet. So, find what replenishes your soul.
Have Something Consistent
I don’t mean create a detailed routine, although that is allowed considering I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. It helps to have an item or practice that makes you feel right with yourself and your current environment. Some ideas are as follows: picture frame with something or someone significant in it, your favorite book, personal pillowcase for when you sleep (can also be used as a laundry bag), facial mask, perfume, poetry, sketching, letter, blanket, etc. You get the idea. I found that talking to my partner each day kept some semblance of consistency, whether it was 5 minutes or a few hours.
Hygiene is Important
You wouldn’t think that I would write this into this article seeing as that showers and clipping your nails should be a given, but travel can be both time consuming and taxing on the body to the point of exhaustion. It is the soap and combs that set us apart from the animals, so take the time to use them. You will feel better about yourself if you take the extra 10 minutes to take care of your nails, skin, or whatever needs a little extra TLC. Plus, everyone likes to feel pretty and groomed.
Along with your basic hygiene, it’s important to maintain your overall health through eating right, sleeping, exercising, and drinking water. Drink water like the earth’s resources are depleting and people actually care. If you don’t have a water bottle, I recommend investing in one A$AP. Rocky. I like to have a “fancy” water bottle so I feel like a queen when I hydrate.
* When asked to weigh in on the Hydro Flask vs. Swell debate, I choose to abstain. Both are great vessels for H2O.
I found that when I gave myself the space to lose sleep for a few nights or forgo vegetables, the repercussions affected my mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. This is not to say you shouldn’t treat yo’ self to a late night out, bowl of ice cream, or pint of ice cream. It’s to emphasize that you need to give your body what it both needs and deserves since it has to carry your ass around.
Build your community and keep it
I always tell people that there is a difference between loneliness and solidarity. Time to yourself is necessary and can often be our most insightful periods. But, trying to maintain this balance on the road can be confusing and challenging. I find that being alone on the road is freeing. I have the time and space to reflect and embrace these opportunities with open arms. That’s not to say that I don’t have moments of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or loneliness. I address these moments with a call or some form of communication with someone I care about who I think gives a shit about me, too.
Humans need to communicate with other humans. New or old. I recommend talking to someone each day or you could run the risk of losing your mind. Schedule a call with a friend, family member, or even strike up conversation with a stranger along your travels if you’re feeling ballsy. In the end, you need to figure out your balance in being alone, and reconstruct your days to accommodate your needs.
Do something creative or learn a new language. Feed your dying soul what it needs and enrich your mind. This is the one area in my travels I wish I would have stressed more. Listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, read books, and more. Rekindle that fire for knowledge. After school, you are in charge of your education. This is great since you get to personalize it to your needs and interests; however, it is equally disturbing that the curriculum is no longer fed to us on expensive silver covered by our tuition. It’s time to be proactive and start learning and practicing the things that matter to you. Think of it as investing in yourself, but without the pretentious money swaps of stocks and Wall Street chatter.
Fuckin’ take a Chill Pill
Lastly, and likely the most important, BREATHE. Travelling can be incredibly stressful, if you let it be. I like the 4 7 8 Method: Breathe in through nose 4 counts, hold for 7, and release from your mouth 8 counts.
Everything is going to be okay. Whether your flight was delayed or your tire lay flat, the sun will rise tomorrow and the world will keep turning. Don’t let the worries of travel consume you. Just STOP and BREATHE.
If you have questions or examples of practicing self care on the road please feel free to share your experiences. Thank you for reading, and if you have any topics or anything you want me to try on my blog or channel, let me know in the comments.
Sending good vibes your way.