“Life is complex. Each one of us must make their own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another...The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness.”
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth
For many dreamers and doers, the focus is chiefly on others — what are you doing for your community? how are you being of service? what about WE?
While that is needed and important, how are we expected to serve the world, if we don’t first learn how to serve and care for ourselves? Prompted after a 30-day journey that included 8 Flights, 4 States, 7 Workshops I co-facilitated, 1 Wedding, and 1 Crazy Ass Election, this is a reminder to put your own oxygen mask on first.
Top 3 lessons learned:
Pay Attention. When you’re in an airport, get off your phone. Get yourself situated. Your social life will be there. Make sure you’re in the right gate at the right time. Give yourself plenty of time to make it to the airport. Make sure if you’re traveling internationally that your passport is good for 3+ more months (most countries won’t let you travel if your passport expires in anything less than 3 months) and that you arrive two hours early.
Be Present. Be conscious of those around you. You never know who you will meet and what they will share with you or how they might help you. Many of the most interesting people I’ve met have been on planes or in transit. Being in motion is magic, you’re there for a reason, look up, look around, be here now.
Take care of yourself. This is the most important lesson I’ve learned on this trip. It seems very obvious, but the truth is the only person really looking out for you is you. You have to be your own advocate, best friend, and life coach. If you choose the road less traveled, you’ve got to learn to take exceptional care of yourself because even if you’re young and think you’re super human, you’re human. Investing in yourself is the best investment you could ever make.
Master list of Travel Pro-Tips:
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise."
— Benjamin Franklin
While jet-lag and once-in-a-lifetime adventures don’t always allow you to be early to bed and early to rise, this Master List is designed for the healthy, wealthy, and wise.
I. HEALTHY (caring for your body + soul)
Every BODY is different. These are some ways I love my body while on the road.
Splurge on massages – I think it’s so important you ease out the tension your body accumulates from long plane flights and new sleeping arrangements every few days. If I have a multiple leg trip I book a massage at least once. I find massage therapists on Yelp or Trip Advisor. Another nice option is a good friend and some massage oil. Take turns and help each other unwind!
Soak in a hot tub - this is a great way to unwind and heal your body. The body is 90% water and loves being in it! I sneak into hotels or Yelp/Google/Trip Advisor search hot tubs for rent. There are places where you can rent for $20-$25 an hour. You get a nice private cedar hot tub, sauna, and shower. The price is way better than an upscale spa but if you can afford the splurge, go for it!
Bring your own mini-pharmacy to keep your immune system strong. Mine includes:
Tea - Throat Coat tea with Echinacea and Green Tea
Vitamin C packets and/or Airborne
Green Vibrance - Contains over 70 ingredients, 25 billion probiotics, enzymes, fruits & vegetables, liver support, vitamins, trace minerals, skeletal support, and adaptogens.
Digestive Enzymes - aids digestion especially if you have an adventurous palate like me!
Gaba and/or Melatonin - Gaba helps your brain relax, Melatonin helps you sleep and adjust to time difference (less jet lag!)
Be hyper-vigilant about healthy eating habits - this sounds obvious but is easy to ignore while traveling. A few of mine:
Spinach every day - or as often as possible
Cut back on sugar, caffeine (besides tea), and fried foods
Reduce gluten (bread, pasta, etc.)
Bring healthy snacks – I like plantain chips, avocados, fruit, and superfood bars.
The SOUL is the ship, the body is the passenger.
Create a grounding ritual that centers you no matter where you are. I recommend an "Hour of Power". I usually do 10 minutes of stretching in the morning, 10-15 minutes of meditation, and 20+ minutes of yoga or a run. I also keep my phone on airplane mode when I sleep and play atmospheric instrumental music when I rise.
Make yourself at home. When you check-in to wherever you’re staying, set your belongings and ground the space so it feels like yours, as much as it can be. Integrate your energy into the space, when you come back you will feel more at home.
Bring something that reminds you of home. For me, that’s scent, I love lavender so I bring a little pillow (size of my palm) that has lavender in it. I also have a few oils (peppermint and lavender) and sprays (palo santo + rosewood).
Community networks – this totally depends on the community you’ve built but you’d be surprised how interconnected we all are and HOW WILLING people are to host you. Put it out in your Facebook groups or on any of the social channels that you use that you’re looking for a place to stay and people will reach out their community tentacles to help you.
Couchsurfing – I haven’t done this in a while but it was my go-to during my 3 month Euro-backpacking trip. I’ve had really positive experiences. I used the filters to filter what I felt comfortable with and also intently read the profiles of the potential hosts. When I reached out, I wrote very personalized messages. I noted things we shared in common, shared my intention for the trip, and made the ask. I aim to be as gracious and grateful as possible in all my communication.
Airbnb – I love Airbnb. It’s brilliantly designed. Like Couchsurfing I aim to be very personable, gracious, and clear in my request. When I have a positive experience (and so far it’s all been very positive!), I make it a point to leave a glowing review, it’s good karma, the hosts really appreciate it.
Stand-By Buddy Passes – if you have a friend or family member who works for an airline, they may be able to hook you up with a Buddy Pass. These are like Guest Passes that cost way less like $200 roundtrip but you fly standby meaning you are the least important person to get on the plane. If you’re strapped for cash and have the time, go for it. Otherwise, it can be very frustrating. I’ve used United and Southwest buddy passes.
Bring food to the airport – a lot of people don’t know that you can have food through security. Airport food is often disappointing and expensive. I like to bring apples, chips, hummus, avocados, anything really.
TSA pre or Global Reserve – only $100 and saves you a ton of time not having to go through security
CREATE A BUDGET!
Work with a Financial Advisor to set yourself up for the year. If you know you want to/are going to travel, plan for it. I plan for at least six personal trips/year and am on the road for client work 50% time.
Keep track of your expenses. I use Mint and a Google Excel to organize my expenses month by month.
Get a good credit card – rack up those points for Cashback and Flyer Miles! I use Chase Sapphire Reserve.
III. WISE (work smarter not harder)
Build a pack list – cuts down on pack time and makes you a prepped pro. Here’s mine in Google Excel.
Organize your clothing like file folders – use big zip lock bags, space saver bags, or packing containers. I separate my things (casual, business casual, going out, formal etc.).
Earplugs on the airplane. You can still hear everything but it cuts down on the engine noise during flight, which subtly reduces stress.
Keep shoes in bags – they can get dirty and cross contaminate the suitcase
When I pack I lay out outfits and then mix and match by adding one item. Then I can stop myself from over packing and eliminating clothes that can’t be used more than once. A good go to are simple solid colors which you can add pops of color to with scarves.
Separate wet and dry toiletries. Oils always leak – eventually they need separate bags in toiletries
To conclude, on the road less traveled, it is easy to find yourself feeling lost, uncertain, burnt-out, and overwhelmed along the way.
Just remember, to be easy on yourself and take your time.
And if at any moment you freak out and don’t know what to do, Be Still. You are wise beyond your years. The Universe supports you in all ways. Take deep breaths to slow down time, listen deeply and the answer will come.
Your air mask on first.
With love x light,
p.s. got your own self-care pro tips to share? Comment below!