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Wellness & Mindful Travel: Nurturing Self-Care on Your Journeys

Embarking on a journey is not just about visiting new places; it's an opportunity to nurture your well-being and practice mindfulness. As avid travelers, Victor and I have discovered the importance of self-care during our adventures. Whether we're exploring bustling cities or serene landscapes, our wellness routines remain a priority, allowing us to find solitude and peace amidst the excitement. In this blog post, we'll share our tips and personal anecdotes on how we incorporate fitness, yoga, mindful activities, and peaceful moments into our travels. From maintaining our workout routines to finding tranquility in the most unexpected places, join us on a journey of self-discovery and mindful exploration.

Fitness on the Road: Keeping the Routine Alive

One of our top priorities during travel is maintaining our fitness routines. No matter where we are, Victor and I make a conscious effort to wake up early and start the day with a workout. People do think we are crazy for doing this, but particularly as we don’t tend to travel more than about 10-day stretches at a time maximum, we don’t feel it makes sense to completely let go of our normal sleeping and waking routines. Also, we don’t need to sleep in until 10am to feel energized, but having our bodies continue to operate at a normal rhythm and wake up naturally (not with an alarm and no work to rush off to!), we always feel better anyway. To help us stay on track, we use the following:

Running Paths: Victor generally just goes for a run and naturally heads towards the water and runs along the beach. If I am going for a run, I tend to generally use MapMyRun to map out my run and distance. Victor will run a 10K every day and likes the out-and-back element of a course, whereas I am more of a complete loop kind-of-girl.

Image: Running on the beach in Portimao.

Resistance Bands: As part of our packing essentials list, we always travel with a set of resistance bands for strength training on the go. They come in a variety of different resistances, so you can choose which one you need for your workout.

Victor follows his own workout plan which includes the following:

  • 45 minutes of cardio (generally running at a comfortable pace)

  • 45 minutes of Strength Training

    • Chest Press (2 sets x 30)

    • Inclined Chest Press (2 sets x 30)

    • Reverse Fly (2 sets x 20)

    • Shoulder Press (2 sets x 30)

    • Press-Ups (2 sets x 100)

    • Bicep Curls (Dumbbells) (2 sets x 24)

    • Shrugs (2 sets x 50)

    • Bicep Curls (Resistance Bands) (2 sets x 50 each arm)

    • Situps (2 sets x 200)

    • Crunches (2 sets x 200)

    • Toe Taps (2 sets x 200)

    • Split Squats (2 sets x 50 each leg)

    • Calf Raises (2 sets x 100 each leg)

YouTube Fitness Channels: As for my workout routine, I turn to YouTube. My absolute go-to is Sydney Cummings Houdyshell as I find her down-to-earth approach and diverse workouts cater to my fitness level and preferences. With just my phone, I can easily select a video to follow along to one of her many no-equipment workouts or stretching videos anywhere in the world! It is one of those creature comforts and familiarity that gets my day started off, just like home. I have been doing her workouts for 4 years and as someone who was new to strength training, it was perfect. Could not recommend her enough, for any level (as she provides modifications throughout and doesn't put annoying pressure on you, only positive encouragement unlike some other workout videos).

Here is an example of one of her workouts here (90-day programme - all FREE and accessible on YouTube!)

Protein Powder: Another part of our travel essentials for keeping our fitness routine and regime is bringing along our protein powder. We use Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey protein and have been for 10+ years. It works for us and comes in a variety of flavors (we like the chocolate, strawberry and banana). We bring a pouch with the number of scoops needed for our whole holiday. This again allows us to keep our routine, keep healthy and nourish ourselves. It has a low amount of sugar in comparison with many other protein powders and we just mix it with water. While we would highly recommend this as a protein powder, this may not be the right protein source for yourself, but is just what has worked for us. Every body is different and nutritional needs may be vastly different, so just keep that in mind.

Yoga and Mindfulness: Nurturing Inner Peace

Practicing yoga and mindfulness plays a significant role in our travel wellness routine. Whether it's in a serene park, on a quiet beach, or in the comfort of our accommodation, we set aside time for gentle yoga flows and meditation. This helps us reconnect with ourselves, find inner peace, and embrace the present moment fully. You don’t have to do a full on video, trying to do a handstand on the beach or anything, but just sitting, clothing your eyes, paying attention to your breathe and taking in the sounds (beach, quiet, wind, carnival noises, you name it!) and being in the moment is what mindfulness is all about!

If you are looking for a video, you can check out to Gaiam, which is a great app that can be used on-the-go. My personal favorite is Rodney Yee, the morning routine. He has been my families go-to yogi since I was a kid. Even in high-school, my parents and I would get up at 5am and do some yoga together (even if we were all half asleep!), it started our day out right.

Here is also the episode on YouTube... although you may notice the quality is not quite the same as directly on the app - hello VHS!

Embracing Solitude: Moments of Peace

In the midst of bustling travel itineraries, we intentionally seek out moments of solitude and peace. These might be found in a secluded garden, on a scenic hilltop, or by the calming ocean waves. Embracing these moments allows us to unwind, reflect, and truly appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.

We always do our research before our next adventure to find something a little off the beaten path. Or even if it is one of the more touristy things, such as walking over the Rialto Bridge in Venice, we benefited from waking up early and experiencing the city before it got too crowded. While it was still a city, you were less distracted and could pay more attention to the city itself as opposed to if you were going to bump into somebody, watch for pickpockets, or get in the way of someone’s camera. There is definitely a moment of peace to be found on every trip - even in a city!

Mindful Snacking and Savory Delights

No travel experience is complete without indulging in the delectable flavors of the local cuisine. While exploring new destinations, Victor and I fully immerse ourselves in the culinary adventure, embracing the concept of mindful snacking and savoring each bite. With that being said, mindful travel is all about striking a balance.

While we of course indulge in local treats, we also make conscious choices to maintain our overall well-being. We avoid excessive (as in, every single meal, every day of our holiday!) sugary or greasy foods and opt for nutritious options that keep us energized for the day's adventures. By selecting a mix of flavors and cuisines, we can fully appreciate the diversity of the local culinary scene while caring for our bodies. As you can see in the image below, we are stocking up with snacks, so much so, that I can't carry them! Naturally, we balance this out with LESS sugary meals later in the day, loads of walking and water.

Mindful Beach Time

While Victor enjoys spending time on the beach, I find my peace under a cute tent (like this one), providing shade and protection from too much sun exposure. I embrace the beach atmosphere without sacrificing my comfort, finding my personal oasis of relaxation by the shore. We also religiously use sunscreen every hour and in the last few years’ I have made a pledge to myself and my skin to never get burned again!

Although I have always been outdoorsy and often lived in hot climates in the US, my skin thrives in the UK temperature much better. It becomes more of a shock these days when I am exposed to strong sun, so I am overly conscious to keep my skin protected, hydrate and have now further invested in SPF clothing.

That way, I can walk around more confidently on a hike, knowing that I have more of my extremities protected and I can focus more on enjoying the journey than dealing with the aftermath of a burn! A very quick way to ruin a vacation and cause problems for your skin and body. I will do a more in-depth review, but the clothing that has been my life savor is from Solbari. It is on the higher priced side, but I only have a couple pieces that are so soft, comfy and stylish that I will be buying more. I currently have a long-sleeved top (and no, you don’t get overheated in it!) and casual travel pants that just give me an overwhelming peace of mind that I am taking care of myself and my skin!

I use a slightly smaller one, but it is so easy to transport (even in a backpack!) and it makes the beach much more enjoyable when you have a bit of reprieve. Most people use umbrellas, but I find they don't have the shade coverage and can blow away easily.

Bonus tip: If you are traveling in Portugal, we have found that Lidl has the cheapest sunscreen. Particularly if you are traveling for a longer period of time, we always head there first to buy a big container and after sun instead of using our precious liquids space.

Wellness and mindful travel go hand in hand, offering a rejuvenating escape from the fast-paced demands of modern life. As technology keeps us constantly connected and work-related stress looms in the background, travel becomes a chance to disconnect, unwind, and find the perfect balance. Some travelers even embrace a nomadic lifestyle, making travel a full-time pursuit. No matter your travel style, nurturing self-care and mindful moments is key to making the most of your experiences on the road.

Embrace the opportunity to explore new destinations, engage in invigorating workouts, and discover moments of tranquility that connect you to the world in a profound way. Travel presents a chance to break free from routines, revitalize your senses, and connect with cultures and communities beyond your comfort zone. Embrace mindful strolls through local markets, savor the flavors of regional cuisine, and let yoga and meditation guide you towards inner peace.

By prioritizing wellness and mindful travel, you create a harmonious journey that enriches not only your destination experiences but also your own well-being. So, as you embark on your journeys, remember to cherish the escape from daily pressures, savor the moments of relaxation, and embrace the world with open arms. Let travel be a transformative experience that renews your spirit, nurtures your body, and leaves you with unforgettable memories. Happy travels, wellness seekers, and mindful explorers!

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