When we used to go on vacation prior to our backpacking trip, all bets were off when it came to what we ate and drank. I'd come back bloated and dehydrated. I might have worked out or gone for a run once or twice but didn't make it an everyday habit. I believe this is normal for most people. Most people go on vacation to relax and indulge themselves because normally they can't on a regular basis. One comment I kept on hearing on my return back, especially from my fellow crossfitters, was "Wow, you're not fat!". Well, thank goodness for that. Even though I'm not where I was physically before I left I did not let my body go completely to the crapper. Let me tell you how.
No, I don't mean I was on a diet. Far from it. I didn't go on a world tour to watch what I ate. Sampling the different cuisines from around the world was my favorite part of the trip. How could one resist the delicious French pastries or the pasta, pizza and gelato in Italy (yes, Italy has a lot of great food). Was I supposed to say no to Peking duck in Beijing or a deep fried pork chop in Puerto Rico? No! Get in my belly!
The most important part was to have some self-control. I tried to not indulge in every craving I had. I might have ate my fair share of gelato while we were in Venice but that's neither here nor there. Fresh food markets are plentiful overseas with merchants selling fresh fruit and small bites of food to go. We would eat smaller meals throughout the day and share our plates at restaurants. It worked out cheaper for us and we weren't full where we'd feel like taking a nap instead of exploring. There's no reason to have an appetizer and entree for each meal. Remember, sharing is caring!
Anyone who knows me, knows I like to indulge in a alcholic beverage from time to time. However, I didn't go around the world to spend my days reliving my college years. I wanted to have a clear head and vivid memories of our adventure. Why?
At home I usually keep active with my job and going to the gym. Initially on our trip I started to go on runs and dropped-in to different crossfit gyms wherever we visited. However, this proved to be difficult after the first month on the road. Trying to locate a good crossfit gym nearby was a tedious task and once I found one I'd have to figure out how to get there. So after my visit to Crossfit Amsterdam I decided that visiting different boxes (crossfit gyms) was not sustainable. So this is when I had to get creative with my workouts. Not having access to gym equipment and weights made this harder but not impossible.
My workouts consisted of all bodyweight movements such as air squats and push-ups. In addition to working out in my room or outside, I was also active. We would walk everywhere and I mean everywhere! Averaging 6-8 miles a day, the most around 11 miles in a day. Most cities in Europe are pedestrian friendly and the best way to get to know a city is to walk around. Also, on different tours such as the Great Wall or hiking the Inca Trail we were getting great workouts. Being in warmer climates allowed us to be outside all day and we would go for walks, go hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, etc. The outdoors became my gym.
I made conscience decisions on how much I indulged because I did not want to lose what I had worked so hard for the past couple of years. Being fit makes me happy and I did not want to sacrifice my long-term happiness for a short-term craving. However, I did not let it stop me from trying some of the best foods from around the world. I guess that's what life is about, finding that balance that makes you happy. I hope this helps you on your next trip. Need advice? Reach out to me here. I'm always happy to help!
Edgar & Laurie, Couple of Roamers