As I mentioned in my first post, this blog is for those who leave home in search of adventure. A large chunk of the "adventure" category includes those who desire to escape the urban jungle for peace and quiet in the great outdoors.
I absolutely love to backpack. Give me a lightweight pack, throw in a warm sleeping bag, small tarp, and a few pounds of food, and I'm ready to test my metal against the unknown variables of Mother Nature. I've done weekend trips through Kentucky, a week long excursion in the Boundary Waters, and a week long trip through the Adirondacks. Every time I've "escaped", it's been difficult to come back.
But I digress. As much as I'd love to talk about all my adventures, it's much more practical to give some solid advice that YOU all can use immediately.
So without further ado, I present my Definitive Guide to Backpacking Nutrition:
According to Leo Babuata of zenhabits, meditation is the most important habit to implement.
Three years ago, I began meditation after StumblingUpon Babuata's blog.
Every morning I woke up, sat on a comfortable cushion, and listened to my breath for 10-15 minutes. Well, every morning I wasn't hungover. And every morning I wasn't busy with school work. Aaand every morning I was at home, and not on the road.
Before diving in to the specifics of how to stay healthy on the road, I’m going to write three primers on the three keys to healthy living. This post is the first in the series and will address the ideal foods to eat for a healthy, happy body.
None of the following suggestions are impossible to follow while traveling. Some of them may take an extra bit of brainstorming and preparation, but, I promise, your body will more than thank you for putting in the extra effort
Suggestion 1: EAT REAL FOOD
Among travelers, it’s common to eat processed, pre-packaged foods due to their convenience and transportability. Processed foods last longer, usually don’t need refrigeration and, with loads of salt and fat, are highly palatable.
I hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of the “Primer Series”. If you have any questions about nutrition, or are looking for scientific evidence behind my assertions, please comment or send me an e-mail. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.
Okay. So Part 2 of the “Primer Series” deals with fitness, and what approach one should take to the wonderful world of exercise while traveling. My recommendations are easy to implement while on the road, yet still incredibly beneficial for your overall health and physique. As a note, I understand many readers are already walking quite a bit while traveling. These tips are for travelers who want to incorporate an intentional fitness routine into their day.
Suggestion 1: Make Fitness Simple
When you think of fitness in the context of modern society, what picture immediately pops into your head? Probably a gym filled with treadmills, ellipticals, machine-weights and a few free-weights. Buying an over-priced membership at the local YMCA is the common solution to a widespread weight crisis in America.
Health ain't easy. In fact, achieving perfect health is next to impossible. So why go through all the effort in creating new wellness habits, when plenty of other people are just (seemingly) getting on fine with their day-to-day lives?
My opinion? Do it for the same reason you travel: Freedom.
Morning routines are like excuses. Everyone has one. And just like excuses, some morning routines are more "legit" than others.
Take, for example, the rushed morning routine that involves waking up 10-15 minutes before departure, grabbing a quick bowl of cereal or energy bar, and heading out the door. This is the common way in which nearly everyone handles their mornings.
What's the more "legit" routine? I call it the relaxed approach: by waking up at least 45 minutes before departure at a set time every morning, the relaxed approach emphasizes a well thought-out morning routine that enables productivity and a happy mood throughout the day.
For most of my life, I've had a rushed morning routine, and man, was it AWFUL!
I've picked up a couple creative writing books on the side, one being "Naked, Drunk and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay," by Adair Lara. It's a great read on writing creative non-fiction that I highly recommend.
Anywho, I'm on to chapter 8, and it's about working with other writers.
Which brings me to my question:
Is anyone interested in starting a writing partnership? I write nearly every morning, and would love to be kept accountable by another writer. It's a great to way to improve quickly, something I'm quite interested in.
Some friends downstate just called and want to plan an impromptu get together for the upcoming weekend. The plan? Meet at a park a few hours away and enjoy the lovely weather while going for a few extended day hikes. There's a lodge nearby where you'll be staying (or, if you're like me, you just bring a sleeping bag and shelter), as your friends want to spend the weekend away from home.
But, there's a problem. Your friends, as much as they love the combo of fitness + being outside, are not conscientious of their nutritional habits. A typical grill-out with Jim and Sally consist of a few hamburgers and brits with white flour buns, potato chips, potato salad and a couple beers.
What do you do?
Pack a cooler!
I recently read a post on zenhabits.net, detailing 12 rules fitness expert Craig Ballantyne lives his life by. I figured this is a great topic to tackle for Travel n' Wellness by answering the question: "What wellness rules do I live by while traveling?"
Before delving into my rules, I'd like to separate myself from Ballantyne and the manner in which he laid out his rules.
In Ballantyne's introduction, he gives the example of vegetarians and how they're dogmatically committed to following a certain set of protocols. Vegetarians, he says, no matter the circumstance, will not eat meat. They've created a unique world perspective that includes a strong commitment to not eat the flesh of any living organism. This world perspective enables them to entertain guilt-free behavior congruent with personal goals.
Let me make something clear: Dogmatism should not be the goal in following any rules. When you follow something dogmatically, you often do so in the face of conflicting logical evidence.
Supposed "experts" within the fitness realm are keen to dole out a plethora of suggestions on how to stay in shape. Typical advice ranges from ridiculous things like "run 30 minutes on a treadmill, 3 days a week" to even MORE ridiculous tips like "avoid all free weights or DIE a slow and painful death." While the advice is awful, the intent is promising: improve your health to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
But why is it important to improve your health?
Sure, it's a powerful ego boost to look good naked at home and impress the attractive girl at work (not at the same time, necessarily); and there's incontrovertible evidence concerning the myriad of health benefits that come from getting off the couch and losing weight.