Trust me, I know how tempting and easy it is to become a bit of a slob when travelling.
But, determined to combat this slob-syndrome, I’ve put together some ideas (mostly common sense) for staying fit and healthy on the road, as well as tips on how to stay vegan while abroad.
Love, Sophia x
It can sometimes be hard to ‘find time’ for exercising if you’re constantly on the road. Shift your way of thinking. You DO have time, even if that means waking up 15 minutes earlier to fit in some exercise. It’s not that you don’t have time. It’s that you don’t PRIORITISE it.
Simple changes you can make are to walk instead of taking a taxi. If you’re a keen cyclist, why not buy a bike when you’re out there and cycle your whole trip (I’ve met many who do this and love it). I mean I’ve even met someone who skateboarded all across Japan.
Obviously, you’ll be walking around lots while you’re exploring a new location, but maybe target visiting more natural places, places with mountains to hike or forests to trek through.
Starting your morning by stretching (and incorporating some yoga asanas (poses) perhaps) is a wonderful way to begin your day and will make you feel so much more energised, connected, directed and peaceful. It gets your muscles stretching and your blood moving gently.
If you enjoy running, you can easily do this while travelling. Just make sure you have comfortable shoes (as I learnt the hard way, hiking boots often don’t work out for long runs). Run anywhere! You don’t have to be home running along a pretty beach or on the treadmill for it to count as a run.
Many towns abroad will (would you believe it!) have a gym you could check out, but there are plenty of substitutes around and about. Rather than using a step machine, why not climb some… actual steps. Push ups, sit ups, burpees, lunges, planks… all these things can be done without a gym. Many towns have public tennis courts, or nets set up for basketball, so use them! It can be a great way to make friends with locals and other travelers alike.
Get involved with activities that get your blood pumping. Whether it’s finding a local ranch to do some horse-riding, or spending half an hour swimming in the pool/sea you’re holidaying next to, rather than lay next to it, there are cheap ways to get involved.
If you have a bit of extra money, maybe even treat yourself to learning a new sport. Be it windsurfing or boxing, many places, just like home, have classes, courses and beginners’ days for learning something new.
My last tip would be to get yourself a skipping rope. I recently did this and it’s actually wonderful! It’s so lightweight so doesn’t bog down my backpack and it ends up being a surprisingly intense workout if you go flat out. You can whip it out anywhere: whether you’ve got a while waiting for your flight at the airport, or you’re stuck inside the hostel room on a rainy day. I’d definitely recommend!
By far the cheapest and healthiest way to eat while travelling is to buy ingredients at a supermarket and cook yourself.
And it goes without saying that one of the biggest costs when travelling, for many, is alcohol. So just avoid drinking when abroad. It’s expensive and frankly not good at all for your health and the way your body looks.
I’ll be posting some cheap, quick easy vegan recipes soon, so watch this space for some inspo.
But for now, here are a few of my favourite snacks on the road, which are all fairly healthy and vegan:
- Hummus with… pretty much anything; any veggie goes.
- Jars of pre-cooked chickpeas. These are full of protein and surprisingly filling. Make sure to drain/wash them before eating.
- Seeds and nuts. Again, full of protein and good fats. You can’t really ever get sick of them, either, given the huge variety out there. My personal favourites are almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts.
- Fruit. Sweet, simple, available anywhere.
- ‘Healthy bars’. So this one requires a little more forward planning, and also a food processor (although I’m sure you could do it by hand). Basically just throw whatever healthy ingredients you fancy into a food processor, squish it together in a tray/plate, and voila! Usually I use dates (which makes the bars stick together), a handful of nuts (walnuts), some goji berries, and a little bit of cacao to make chocolate flavoured bars. Or another favourite of mine is to use dried apricots (they also work to stick it all together), shredded coconut, lemon (zest and juice) and a few nuts. Adding a little syrup (maple or argave) can also help them to stick together, but I find if you process the ingredients together enough in the food processor, it’ll naturally start coming together. If you have access to a fridge, leaving the bars in there for a few hours also works wonders for making the bars hold.
I find it much more challenging being vegan abroad than at home where I have a comfortable eating routine and know where to source all the right vegan ingredients.
There’s the additional problem that, abroad, all the food looks so exciting, exotic and tempting, and so it’s hard not to try the local (very non-vegan) cuisine.
I’m not going to lie, I do find being vegan very difficult at times. I’m not going to put myself out there as the perfect vegan who never slips up. Not because it’s hard when I get into the swing of it, but I sometimes find it tempting to have a ‘cheat day’ (aka eat a whole tub of Nutella in an evening), especially if I’m on period/ upset/ stressed out. If you face a similar challenge, my advice would be the following:
- Remind yourself why you turned vegan. Was it for moral/ environmental/ health reasons? What made you turn vegan in the first place- a speech online? A documentary? Talking to a vegan friend about it? Immerse yourself in those resources again. Watch another speech, talk to more vegans, remind yourself what got you going in the first place and it will keep you motivated.
- Look after your body and soul. If you’re exercising well, you won’t want to put fattening/ acidic animal protein in your body and reverse some of your progress. If you’re doing things that nourish your soul, such as meditating, reading, creating art, you’ll most likely be feeling more inspired and respectful towards yourself and the planet, and you won’t want to be eating something as cruel as meat or dairy.
- Lastly, just don’t buy it. I know it can be really tempting, but practice a little self discipline and opt for the vegan option instead. Make sure before you go to sleep that you have vegan food lined up for breakfast: it means you’ll start your day eating clean and feeling good about it, and be less likely to slip up during the day.
I’ve found, after a couple of years of mostly being vegan but occasionally ‘slipping up’ that I have finally completely lost the desire to eat dairy. I guess it’s different for everyone and you’ve got to listen to your body. But I used to get cravings and feel temptation almost every time I saw something chocolatey and creamy. Now even looking at it makes me feel a little repulsed. Everyone’s on a different journey, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip up or it takes you a while to fully commit, like I did. The important thing is that the intention is there, and with that, only good will follow.
Lastly, I want to emphasise that it’s just as important to nurture your spirit and soul. Sometimes travelling can get hectic and stressful, at very least- bloody tiring.
Whether it’s writing a story in your journal, doing some sketching, reading a book or playing the ukulele, try to fill your day with the things you love.
I’ve started this ‘ritual’ where I go to a (free) art gallery, exhibition or museum once a week. No matter where I am in the world, I find something to go to. And then once a month (at least) I find a music concert, play, gig or something else that makes me feel inspired creatively and artistically. Like brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s important to get into the habit of going to places and doing things that will inspire your growth and nourish your soul– this is just as important for your wellness as what you’re eating and how you’re exercising.