I am going to Italy. My bags are packed, well almost packed. I can't believe that in a few short days I will be getting on a plane and flying to Italy. I'm in denial. I will be studying Italian for 6 weeks and will be living with a host family in a small city between Venezia (Venice) and Bologna. After my program I will be staying for an additional 2 weeks traveling Europe with a dear friend I've made in college (we met at orientation of all things- who would've guessed we'd end up traveling Europe together?) I am so excited, and I am so so SO nervous. I have always dreamed of going to Europe, especially Italy, but I have never done anything like this before, so naturally I have a lot of unanswered questions and anxieties that won't resolve until I am actually there in the thick of it. Despite these worries, I have to remind myself that God is with me always, no matter where I am in this world. That's what is so great about God, there are times where you have to leave your friends and family behind, but you will never be alone because He will be with you where ever you go.
Being the health enthusiast that I am, you can also imagine that I am concerned about my diet and staying in shape while abroad. My "dietary restrictions" (I don't like to call them that- I eat what makes me feel good) are slightly complicated and I don't want to offend anyone who may offer me food when I have to decline. Also, I just don't want to be difficult. On the fitness side of things, basically I won't have access to a gym, for two full months, which is inhibiting to my current exercise routine. If you have read a little of my blog, however, you know that I am all about active living and living a healthy and whole lifestyle. So just because I'm traveling does this mean I have to stop exercising and throw my food philosophy out the window for 2 months? OF COURSE NOT! Granted, I will have to make some adjustments from my routine at home, but I believe that if I am truly living a healthy and active lifestyle now, then I should feel just as happy and healthy while I am in Italy and the rest of Europe. Of course, since I like to plan, I came up with a few different ways/strategies/goals to stay active, healthy, and present, without getting stressed out and getting in the way of such an amazing experience...
1. Pack travel-able workout gear
Yoga mat is a MUST
Tennis shoes of course
Resistance bands for strength exercises ( I love these, so perfect for travel!)
2. Create a no-equipment/travel youtube playlist
Videos that you can easily roll out a yoga mat in a small space and complete. Check it out! I will be adding to it throughout my trip.
3. Incorporate physical activity and movement into my everyday routine
Walking, biking, hiking, stairs...dancing?
4. Exercise every other day
Supplement with short workouts and other forms physical activity.
5. Use running, hiking, kayaking, etc. as a way to explore new places
Instead of "hopping on the tour bus", look for ways to get to know the area off from the beaten trail.
6. View these 2 months as a break from the regular gym routine
It will make working out more enjoyable when you return.
7. Be flexible
Yep. That's hard for me, I'm a routine girl. But if I mentally prepare myself that things won't always go according to plan, it won't be as upsetting.
8. Find healthy restaurants, cafes, markets in the local area
I am going to try to connect with my fellow Italian foodies and health enthusiasts. Those of course will not be hard to find.
9. Focus on whole foods
Instead of worrying about the nit-picky details about the food, ask yourself is it fresh? Is it made with whole ingredients? Is it delicious? If yes, then by all means eat! Food is a huge part of learning about a culture and you don't want to miss out.
10. Just have fun!
Don't let concerns about fitness and food get in the way- if it does, then you probably have an unhealthy relationship with it! Trust your body as an intrinsic monitor, listen to your body.
I'm excited to see where traveling abroad takes me, literally and figuratively. I feel it will be such a huge opportunity to grow as person in so many ways- in my relationship with God, my understanding of other people and other cultures, and my overall perspective on what it truly means to be healthy. And of course, I can't wait to share it with all of you! I want to post at least once a week to update you on how my health and fitness plan is working, helpful tips for staying healthy while traveling, share a few fitness routines and of course all the good food I find in Italy and the rest of Europe. Most of all, I just want to share with you my experience, where I go, what I see, what I'm feeling. Let the adventure begin!
Look for my next post on what to pack for a travel day, I REFUSE to eat airport food, nonetheless pay for it. This should be a fun post with lots of yummy packable snack ideas. Also, if you have any other suggestions or helpful tips for staying healthy while traveling please do share!