Travel Reflections: Why Taking A Break From Your Routine Can Be A Good Thing

I love to travel. I love food and good wine. I also love to workout.  These are not all mutually exclusive, but I find that when I am at home in a daily routine, it’s pretty hard for me to take a break or even a rest day. It’s not like I feel negative about it, I just really enjoy moving and being active and unless I’m too busy to notice, I really miss doing something intentionally active.

We recently went on what I’ve taken to calling our “EuroTrip.” I was so excited to go and explore a new country, eat new foods, see new things and yes, get out of my routine. And the trip did not disappoint. As you can see there were many spectacular views and moments like these here:

 

Here are my reflections on the impact of getting out of my routine:

More Sleep – Overall, after the jetlag wore off (which probably took a good 3-5 days) I believe I got more and more restful sleep. Why? There was very little reason for us to turn on the television before bed, especially since we were going to bed at the same time as our little ones! There was also not a very good reason for me to check my cell phone. I wasn’t working and we didn’t have an active data plan/phone coverage. And we were tired from walking around all day and experiencing new things. Different tired. I was probably going to bed around 9pm and waking around 5am every day, netting roughly 8 hours of sleep nightly. The beautiful thing here, is that the kids were still sleeping at 5am (and taking naps during the day), so I got a little quiet time to myself in the mornings, which I used for gentle stretching and pilates (I used a routine from a book I read, Pilates Anatomy, but I’ve also taken a number of classes and had one-on-one instruction).

Back at home, I’m working out a new morning ritual, all this will take some time of course, but meditation is on the agenda as well as grateful notes and an awesome jar. We are also working on not turning on that TV at night (sure does help that we don’t have cable!), because half the time I’m working, reading or researching our next trip anyway!

More Rest – Obviously, during our travels I was not going to the gym daily. I was also not focused on getting workouts completed since my body was stressed out enough due to travel and jetlag. So the rest factor added up nicely. More sleep, no heavy lifting, more quiet time, less electronics, a lot more nature…. To be clear, we were active every day and I did move every single day, whether pilates, walking, swimming, hiking, SUP, kayaking, a few session of body weight exercises (we’re talking 100 squats, push-ups at a time), etc. But for the most part, especially that first week – it was a lot of rest.

Food Re-evaluation – Being in two different countries and eating out all the time, you are not eating what you always eat at home and you will be trying the local fare if you plan to enjoy yourself. I will say, when your options are fish & chips, you have to get creative. Always ask for “a side of veg” or a salad and pick a non-fried protein. Don’t be afraid to sample the potatoes and dumplings and potato pancakes and even pastries at breakfast – trust me foods taste different in other countries and many times are not as processed as they are in the U.S. Listen to your body and how it responds to the foods.

Two fascinating findings came out for me as well:

  • We ate three meals a day – a lot less snacking! Now, there are some reasons why this can’t be replicated all the time at home. We typically ate breakfast a little later and the mid day meal tends to be bigger AND we also ate dinner a lot earlier for the most part and, big shocker here – had dessert most nights.
  • I dropped a couple of pounds – huge surprise. But when you look at the activity (not as much as at home, so I wasn’t as hungry), more social eating at every meal (lots of conversation and pauses), no access to meals all the time (it’s good to feel a little hungry), it starts to make sense.

When we came home, I laid off the yogurt (I’m treating it more like a condiment and not eating it daily), I’m reassessing using any protein powders (although I am in the middle of a box of collagen Vital Proteins, which doesn’t have any additives), I’ve laid off the nuts and nut butters, big time, realizing that my body may need more carbs (in the form of veggies & fruit) and while fats are healthy, quantity matters, and I’m working on eating slower and savoring every bite.

Trying Something New – whether a food or an activity or learning or seeing something new, it is incredibly refreshing to do something different. The two things I tried that stick out in my mind the most are: kayaking and drinking Guinness. First, I never thought I could drink Guinness seven days in a row – and I didn’t!  But I definitely had my fair share and I enjoyed every minute of it. Second, kayaking – respect!  My shoulders have not burned like that in a long time. It was a particularly windy day on the lake and I did have a child (read, extra weight) in my kayak, but holy smokes! That was tough. Here are some restaurants and hotels we enjoyed:

  • A Design Hotel in the lake region in Poland. What we loved about this place was the architecture, modern feel, yet laid back atmosphere. The food was really, really good quality, the lake was beautiful, tranquil and relaxing and the water sports were a huge bonus: Hotel Galery 69
  • We were able to get away for a dinner out, just my husband and I, to a great restaurant on a lake, where we were also treated to a beautiful downpour! Restauracja Lago
  • This was a great boutique hotel outside of Galway. Again we loved the different decor as well as other unique touches including their own restaurant (their breakfast was very tasty) and bakery on the premises – The Twelve Hotel
  • The location above enabled us to find a hidden gem of a restaurant on the water. It was one of the top meals we had during the two weeks we traveled – O’Grady’s

I Love to Travel – I always knew this, of course, but a friend once told me I have wanderlust…

Traveling is renewed energy, it is perspective, it can be challenging, extremely rewarding, fun, hilarious, annoying, major bonding and so much more. I love every second of it. The research and planning, the travel and the new places and of course the people you meet along the way.

Is there a favorite place you’ve been to? Country, hotel, etc? Why? Where do you think I should travel next?

love2016cm

Get out into the world and Stay Active!

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