I have been travelling now for the last 4+ months and it has surprised me in this time the things I have missed and craved from my previous life routine. I think travelling gives you so much opportunity to learn more about yourself and this is one of those moments of reflection that has taught me about what I need in my own life. So here are some of the key things I need in each of my days to feel at my best:
I think it’s really important to have a purpose for each day or week or if it’s a big goal, month. Especially when you are travelling you can feel like days go by and you don’t really achieve anything or your days lack purpose and this can be a little disheartening at times. I applied this same practice to every day life and it was really beneficial to my mental health and I think the same applies to travelling. When I was at work I would set a purpose for the day to achieve certain goals, whether big or small, and that can really boost your mood and sense of worth and success. This doesn’t have to be work related though. For me on this trip it can be as simple as “today I am going to visit a new place, go on a small adventure, write a blog post for my website, do a yoga class” or something even less tangible than that, “no negative self talk all day, take a day without my phone, smile at every person I pass, start a conversation with a stranger”. Starting your day with purpose is so positive and often it all links back into your big picture WHY. Or if I am focusing on some self development, I can set a purpose for the day that is going to directly help that goal.
This is a big one for me. I realise I enjoy having a bit of structure to my day, and I don’t mean having every second and minute planned out. Having literally zero plans and no structure doesn’t make me happy in the long run and can make my day feel a bit empty and I think this can be applied to work life and travel life. I love starting the day with exercise as it sets me up in a good mental space and I have already achieved something before my day has truly begun. With work, I like having a bit of a plan in place. A few hours of business development, then an hour of social media work, go for a long walk/run, see friends. I realised with travelling this is important to. Obviously sometimes it comes down to having limited time in one spot and wanting to make the most of it but also it’s just nice knowing you have things to look forward to that day. I have been lucky that I haven’t had to rush anything as I have had time on my hands given the length of this trip but in the next few weeks here on the Philippines there is a lot to see, so having a bit of a plan in place each day as to where I want to go, booking certain accomodation or tours ahead of schedule just so prices don’t soar, or things get booked up, is really helpful. It also feeds into purpose really nicely as well. It gives my day meaning and a great feeling at the end of it of having accomplished something. I think also it can be really easy for whole days to slip by and you haven’t done much and for me, that isn’t great for my mental health.
I have to move each day. It’s something I have worked out about myself having noticed my moods and feelings on the days that I am really sedentary and it’s why I am really passionate about helping companies incorporate movement into their employees daily lives as it definitely improves productivity. For me, starting my day with movement is key. Then by 8am you have already accomplished something positive and it puts you into a great mood, it gets the blood pumping round the body, endorphins kicking and metabolism moving and then you feel much more ready to tackle the tasks ahead of you. I also think in a working day, breaking up your time in the office with movement is extremely important. I have talked endlessly about how many of us sit at our desks and work through lunch or just sit for our lunch break and don’t move. If you incorporate even just half an hour of movement into your lunch time, you will notice a difference, I PROMISE. It makes coming back to work so much easier as you are invigorated, refreshed and your mind has had the chance to switch off from whatever it is you were doing and rest before you jump back into it. It can give you a new perspective and ability to tackle any difficult tasks you may have had and it makes the afternoon zoom by. I was really into either a long walk, a run, or a gym session in my lunch break and I recommend you do the same. Another clever way of incorporating movement into a working day is walking meetings. They are great and actually I find them more effective as you’re more at ease and open to have honest and valuable conversations. Whilst travelling it can be hard to find a gym but there are so many other ways to do it. Surfing, walks, running, hikes, expeditions, kayaking, paddle boarding, cycle tours, the list is endless and you are killing a million birds with one stone. Movement is a great way to explore more when you travel but also to get to know where you live better too. Why not google a new coffee shop or cafe and see if it’s walking distance from your office and go check it out! Ditch the electric scooters and walk 🙂
Anyone that knows me knows how much I love food. I have my parents to thank for that and being vegan is no different. I LOVE food. But most importantly I love nourishing food. I have been so lucky on this trip to go to destinations that really allow you to eat healthy and nutritious food, whilst still being on a budget. Eating abroad can be daunting for some but it’s so easy to be healthy if you put a little time into researching places to go and/or cooking for yourself. I learnt early on even picking hotels/hostels that have a fridge helps enormously as you can then make things like overnight oats for breakfast, or buy some fruit to have as snacks, or get some yoghurt and store it. But also, eating out is great and once you know where to go It’s a piece of cake. I am vegan so people assume it’s tougher and sometimes it definitely takes a little more thought but I have found it really easy as more and more people around the world are aware of what it means and are happy to cater for it. Again, eating nutritiously improves my moods, my energy levels for the day and is how I do a lot of my socialising.
Some time to reflect on how I’m feeling, what I need moving forward to make the day improve if things aren’t going my way and also just to take some time to feel gratitude and think about the positives is extremely beneficial. I think we can get a little caught up in the small things and forget all the good when we are stressed out or things are seemingly not going the way we might want them to. Too often we don’t actually give ourselves the time to realise all of that positive stuff. Adding in some time into each day to reflect has been incredibly valuable to me and I recommend you to do the same. It can be a five minute ‘meditation’ or just writing down 3 things you’re grateful for, or removing yourself from your current environment and taking a walk to think things through, or even talking to a friend and both reflecting on the good in your lives. I think you can also use that time to reflect on what you can do differently, or if there are things you want to improve, how can you actually do something about it to change your situation. Often we can fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves and our situation but not actually look to solve the issue. If you keep doing things the same how can you expect a different result?
This is a big one for me and something I didn’t do enough of when I was working full time. Taking some designated time to relax. Relaxation can mean something different for different people so it doesn’t necessarily mean lying or sitting down doing nothing. It can be reading a book or watching a movie but it could be a fun activity that personally relaxes you like surfing or climbing. For me cooking is a hugely relaxing activity. I get completely absorbed into what I am doing and so it doesn’t allow myself to get caught up in other thoughts. It helps clear my mind and switch off which is great. Also for me, getting outside and fully immersed in nature is huge. Going for a beach walk or swim, or just sitting and watching the waves soothes me. When travelling there is a lot of relaxation time in comparison to usual daily life so it’s taught me how invaluable that can be. I do recommend trying to make most of your relaxation time away from a screen though. It can only be a positive thing for your mental and physical health as we tend to be a little too attached to these devices of ours.
I hope some of these things resonate with you or maybe make you rethink how to shape your own day to get the most out of it and feel mentally and physically stronger. I know for me, having worked out what I need has made such a difference to how I feel when I come to the end of my day each evening.