3 tips for a zen vacation
so… i’m leaving for Cuba tomorrow… CUBA. i literally never dreamed this day would come… that i, as an American citizen, would EVER be able to visit Cuba… so i’m pretty damn excited to say the least! i’m desperately in need of a vacation, so in keeping with the theme of the moment, i thought a travel-related post was necessary. let’s get right to it.
the term “vacation” has lost a lot of its meaning in 2017 america. i’m always reading about how many people don’t use their vacation days, how few vacation days many employers even offer in the first place, & how even when we do take vacation, we have a hard time actually vacationing…
you know… we check our email, we take work calls, we text with our bosses… some people will actually sit in their hotel room & work remotely because they feel so strongly that they can’t get away or everything will fall apart.
thankfully, i’ve never been one of these people. i love travelling, understand the importance of taking a break from things to reset and recharge, & just generally love being able to live life for a week or so a few times a year as if i have no real responsibilities.
so, if you’ve ever found yourself doing any of the above… or even if you’ve actually taken your vacation days, decided to check out, & had crippling anxiety over not knowing what was going on back home to the point that you couldn’t even enjoy your vacation… you’ve come to the right place.
here are my 3 tips for a zen vacation:
1. pack a journal. journaling can be really therapeutic. putting pen to paper & just writing, not even about anything in particular, can do wonders for a racing, anxiety-ridden mind. i always pack a journal when i go on vacation, & it serves a few purposes. first, i love being able to write down all of the amazing experiences i’m having, so that i can look back on everything in detail years later. sure, pictures will help keep the memories alive, but those little details can easily be forgotten. second, it’s a great way to pause, take a step back, & really start to process and get clear on things that might be going on in your life… ya know like your feelings, emotions, where you want to go with your life, if you should or shouldn’t break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, if you should make a big, risky career move… whatever. i also love the practice of using a gratitude journal to put things into perspective & remind myself how great my life is, even when things aren’t going my way.
2. swap out your daily coffee for tea. as a society, we seriously rely on coffee to get us through the day. when you’re on vacation, you should be relaxing. sleeping in and going with the flow. sure, you might have tours or dinner reservations at specific times, but other than that, vacation is about taking it easy. instead of running to the closest Starbucks to get your daily fix, pack some herbal teas instead**… especially those of the calming variety [think chamomile, lavender, ashwaganda]. it’ll help to ease the mind & reduce all of the stress you have about not being at work… which will help you be more present in the end.
[**of course, if you’re going someplace like Columbia, Italy or Bali, where coffee is a huge part of the culture/cuisine… DRINK ALL THE COFFEE YOU WANT.]
3. get off your effing phone. i get it. we all want to be connected to our friends & family. we want to share all of the cool pictures we’re taking at all of the amazing places we’re visiting. [#doitforthegram] but, if you truly want to enjoy your vacation, if you really want to experience the culture of this new, exciting place you’re visiting… get off your effing phone. you don’t even have to go totally off the grid… [i know, scary thought, right?] even just limiting yourself to only checking social media in the evening when you’re back at your hotel can make all the difference… i mean… do you really wanna find yourself standing in front of the Taj Mahal or at the top of the Eiffel Tower scrolling through effing Facebook or answering a work email? i don’t think so.
i’m planning on going 100% dark in Cuba… my phone is going into airplane mode from the moment i step on the flight to Havana, & staying that way until i land in LA next week. i’m really craving a little disconnection, and since wifi is hard to come by in Cuba, this is the perfect opportunity to just go for it.
what are your favorite ways to check out & really keep it zen when you’re on vacation? do you have any Cuba recommendations?! leave them in the comments below… & i’ll see you on the otherside… adios!
6 healthy travel tips for maintaining balance while on vacation
if you follow me on social media, you may have picked up on the fact that i have a very exciting trip coming up this week. if you haven’t, i’ll cut right to the chase: on friday i’m off to the land down under for two weeks…. ahhhhhh!!!
this is a trip i have been dreaming about for essentially my whole life, only it’s extra special because i’ll be spending the first leg of the trip in broome [which is in western australia] to watch one of my dearest friends tie the knot! it all seems really surreal and i don’t think it’s even hit me that this is actually happening just yet!
the only thing i’m more obsessed with than health and wellness… okay, and yoga… is traveling. i’ve had the wanderlust bug ever since i first found out that traveling was a thing and that there are so many places in the world to see and experience. traveling is the best way to learn, not only about other cultures, but about ourselves, too. we all know that i’m all about balance, treating yourself and saying “no” every once in a while, but sometimes i think we use being on vacation as an excuse to throw caution to the wind and really get all sorts of out of whack. which is totally fine if you’re okay with that, but personally, i find that coming down from the vacation high and re-entering the real world is only that much sh*ttier when i also physically feel like total garbage.
i’ve done a little bit of traveling in the past couple of years and along the way i’ve picked up on some key ways to stay healthy while still 100% immersing myself in the local culture, cuisine and lifestyle of wherever i happen to be. here are 6 healthy travel tips to help you maintain balance [and still have the best effing time ever] while on vacation.
1. pack healthy snacks. i’m a foodie and one of my favorite things about traveling is getting to try the local cuisine, but i still remain mindful of the fact that my body does not appreciate it when i load up on foods it’s not used to. i’ve started packing my own snacks, not only for the plane, but to snack on throughout the course of the day during my trip, as well. it’s super easy to throw raw seeds and nuts, snack bars [i love the new glo bars from raw revolution], some dark chocolate, tea and fresh fruit into my carry-on before i head to the airport. this helps me avoid having to waste time searching for healthy snack options or eat something i wouldn’t normally eat just to satisfy my hunger [and plane food… woof].
2. find ways to move. while most hotels have fitness centers, this is not always an option, especially if you’re taking the hostel or airbnb route when traveling. and even if you do have access to a gym, not everyone wants to spend time indoors on a treadmill while visiting a new and exciting place. an easy way to move while on vacation is to book some excursions that involve being active. hiking, snorkeling, biking, surfing, paddle boarding and skiing are just a few examples and depending on where you’re headed, you might find yourself with endless options. you can also throw a jump rope in your suitcase for a quick and easy cardio option or bring a travel mat with you and check out a local yoga studio [obviously i’ll be doing this in oz]!
3. explore on foot. this one kind of goes hand-in-hand with numéro dos. one of the best ways to see a new city is to walk it. you get a much better feel for the energy of a place when you wander to and from tourist sites, through parks, in and out of shops and down small, hidden alleyways than you do taking cabs or public transportation everywhere. get your hands on a map and head out of your hotel in the morning with a general plan in mind and see where the sidewalks take you!
4. stay hydrated. okay, so i’m pretty sure that every list of tips I’ve ever compiled here includes drinking water, but that’s because it’s that effing important. staying hydrated does wonders for our entire system and there is no such thing as too much water. i travel with a vapur everywhere i go because they’re lightweight and roll up when empty to save space. do yourself a favor and invest in one of these babies before your next trip and keep it with you at all times.
5. stick to your usual meal schedule. eat whatever the eff you want. like i said before, traveling is not traveling without experiencing the local cuisine, but what i mean by this is that you should try to stay on your regular eating schedule as much as possible. eat breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same times you normally would. this way, even if your body is not used to some of the things you might be eating, it’s on a schedule it’s used to and will continue to metabolize your meals optimally.
6. sleep. it can be quite tempting to get up early to explore, be out and about all day and then go out out to party like the locals do in the evenings… which you definitely should do! just try not to do this every. single. night. and make sure that you have some room for sleeping in the next day if you do plan on pulling a “4am-er”. sleep is super important to your overall health and wellness for many reasons, and this is no different when you’re on vacation!
**bonus tip: pack the perfect carry-on for the most healthy, relaxing and enjoyable experience possible on those long flights!**
there you have it! implement these things into your next vacation and i guarantee the post-vacation blues will be a little less severe, getting back to your routine will be easier and you’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time!
p.s. if anyone has any recommendations for places to go, things to do, food to eat, alcohol to drink, etc. in broome, cairns, brisbane, north stradbroke island or sydney please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
greetings from south beach!
guys… i’m so happy to finally be able to say that bananas + bellinis is comin’ atcha from warm and sunny south beach!
after weeks of subzero temperatures, snow storms and slush puddles back in new york, this little beach getaway has been basically the only thing keeping me from totally losing my sh*t this week [even though i still kinda did just a little bit on monday night… but that’s neither here nor there].
we arrived last night and i’m beyond ready for a weekend away filled with my fraaannddssss, warm temperatures, sunshine, the beach, summer clothes, flip flops, this hat, which i don’t plan on ever taking off, and most importantly, cocktails with effing umbrellas and flowers in them. there. i said it. sue me.
i’ll fill you in on my weekend more formally next week, but be sure to follow along with me this weekend on instagram to see what I’m up to… a.k.a . what i’m eating and drinking. [disclaimer: i plan on taking the idea of balance to a new level this weekend.] we have a few restaurants/bars scoped out [as i always do anytime i go on vacation], but i would still love any recommendations you guys might have for food/drinks/activities, so leave ’em in the comments below!
stay warm and have an amazing weekend! any big plans?!
image courtesy of national geographic
healthy travel: what’s in my carry-on?
ahhh!! the day has arrived! in just a few hours, i will be in the sky, somewhere over the ocean, bound for europe, baby! the first stop on the trip is munich for OKTOBERFEST. this is a major bucket list item for me and i could not be any more excited to spend the next four days drinking beer by the stein and eating every pretzel i get within a ten foot radius of. from munich, we’re headed to budapest for a few days before spending the final leg of the trip in vienna. did i mention that i’m excited? because i am.
as much as i love traveling [i have a pretty serious case of wanderlust], figuring out how to stay healthy while on vacation can give me a lot of anxiety. obviously, vacation is about relaxing, letting loose and immersing yourself in a new place, but i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… it’s still gotta be about balance. an easy way to start your trip off on a healthy note is all in what you pack in your carry-on. airports and airplanes are full of absolute garbage for food options, getting comfortable and, god forbid, sleeping, are nearly impossible and planes are crawling with germs.
i like to make sure that my carry-on is packed full of healthy snacks, a few things to help me relax and plenty of distractions. here’s a peak into what i’m throwing in my carry-on as i’m headed to the airport today.
1. a book, magazines, headphones + a phone loaded with music. between waiting to board, the flight itself and layovers, there is typically a lot of downtime that needs to be filled. headphones and music are a no-brainer a few magazines and a book can go a long way.
2. hand sanitizer + echinacea. planes = petri dishes. seriously, they are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. hand sanitizer is absolutely necessary and i like to pop a few echinacea tablets before, during and after my flight to give my immune system a boost.
3. chamomile tea, magnesium + lavender essential oil. chamomile tea is known for is relaxing properties and i love having a cup after take off… bring your own and just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water. i’ll also take a magnesium supplement or two to help balance my melatonin and serotonin levels and a dab of lavender oil on the inside of each wrist helps me to really relax and [hopefully] drift off to sleep.
4. snacks. healthy ones. lot’s of ’em. plane. food. is. gross. even calling it food is a stretch and there is absolutely no way any of it is good for you, so i always make a run to whole foods before any trip. there are so many healthy snack options out there now which are easy to toss into your bag and i always grab a bar of dark chocolate because… why not? this is vacation.
also, i cannot recommend staying hydrated while flying enough. the stale air in the cabin can really dry you out and arriving at your destination dehydrated is never fun. if you have room, throw a small water bottle in your bag and have the flight attendants refill it for you… oh, and asking for an aisle seat is probably a good idea, if you catch my drift. i also carry kiehl’s lip balm #1 and some hand lotion with me to keep my skin and lips from drying out as well.
i have some posts scheduled to go up next week while i’m away, so keep checking back and head over to instagram to follow along with my european adventures. how do you guys survive a long flight? do you have any exciting trips planned for the fall? would love to hear all about them!
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