Now, while I usually start these pieces with a snarky opener that is oh-so No Chill Will, I wanted to take a moment to invite some serious concerns into the post. I am not a health official, nor am I qualified to offer any diagnosis of any kind, these thoughts are just suggestions I have from my own experience and understanding of ways to stay healthy and safe when traveling. I, like you may, have a basic understanding of the coronavirus and its current presence in the headlines. The rhetoric around this virus is saturating our everyday lives. It’s confusing to understand what information is true and what's hyperbolic. All I can do, and recommend for you to do, is do your due diligence and get educated.
For better or worse, the reality is that all news is looking for hits. Don’t forget that information is a commodity and headlines are part of the package sold. Before I jump into my post I urge you to brush up on the news, stay alert to breaking news, and take care of yourself. Wash your hands often, be mindful of your surroundings, and as always stay safe in whatever way makes you feel comfortable.
I hope that piece primed you for this post, because I’m writing about two very important topics for (and I assume many others as well ) travel and health/wellness. Of course, this post is all about how you balance these two pillars of life while always staying ready for the Gram and not breaking the bank. “Studying abroad changed me,” says every basic person who had the privilege of indulging in time abroad. This phrase is not only 1000p oh-so basic, but I quoted this in every conversation I started even to the cashier at Wegmans when she asked cash or credit. I could probably write a book about my time in the UK…However, I think that instead of looking back I want to focus on the present and future when it comes to my travel experience.
“Will, where are you?” or “What are you doing there?!” That’s a common pair of questions I’ve gotten since starting my job. Firstly, yes I travel, like a lot, for work. What do I do for work? I’m a publicity coordinator for a PR agency in LA. Why/Where do I travel? My boss is dope and wants me to learn as much as I can about the film world, specifically the awards side of it all, and I travel with my team to events and film festivals. That’s why to the surprise of many I popped up in Arkansas when you would probably think, ‘What’s there to even do in Arkansas?’ The answer to your question is simple: work if your Will.
In the near future, I am excited to share that I've got two trips lined up. March will take me to Austin, TX for the first time ever and its for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. In mid-April I'll be gracing the east coast again hitting up NYC for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. And this past weekend I knocked two bird with one travel stone; I went down to San Diego, CA and I crossed into Tijuana marking my first time ever in Mexico. As you can see, traveling is a way of life for me. Even my first Sundance was saturated with flights as I had the pleasure of jumping between LA, NYC, and Utah in the span of 10 days. This exposure to traveling is how I started to create a blue print for keeping my health steady even when my time zones aren't.
Just like when preparing for the sights you'll see, doing research on yourself and what your body needs is key to performing and feeling your best.
Don't Let Your Mind and Body's Bond Go MIA
Whether it's a work trip or a weekend getaway, I believe the key to staying strong and healthy lies in maintaining a routine. This is not just any routine, this is the one of your everyday life. Comfort is key especially when traveling. Feeling comfortable in your own skin and even deeper than that is what I urge you to keep in tact.
Whatever way you're traveling, there's always going to be some kind of mental toll taken on you. When you arrive to your destination, excitement may mask how you're really feeling. If you're like me, then maybe you don't want to admit you're tired because you don't want to be a party pooper. Well I'm here to say swallow your pride and take that cat nap! If you must rally, there's nothing like a low cal sugar free energy drink,
I have found that writing helps me maintain my cool and ease my mind. You don't have to be elaborate or anything, but try making a trip itinerary and noting your health/wellness routine is useful here. For example, consider on average what times and how many times a day you eat. It's easy, especially in a place like Italy, to grab a bite here, there, and nearly everywhere in sight. I'm not saying you have to miss out or limit yourself on a trip. After all, I'm a proponent that carbs and cals don't exist on trips. What I am saying is that if you like a heavy breakfast consider making it light so that when you are out and about you don't have to feel guilt about grabbing that second macaroon or another scoop of gelato.
You can feel your body when you're full or when something's off. Are you getting stomach aches? Did you remember that your dairy free at home? Or maybe you forgot that you eat kale all day and haven't had any greens in you just yet. Keep track of this routine at home and listen to your body closely. If you're tired of walking speak up and say you need a break. If the sound of another round of drinks just makes your stomach churn, throw some water in the mix. Don't pretend that you're invincible on a trip, because I guarantee you're not.
Stay Hydrated Inside and Out
My dear friend Xhana gave me this piece of advice that I will now bless your timelines with, "Drink water." That's it - that's the tweet. No that's not it, but also it's kind of the point. It doesn't matter if you're chilling on the beach catching waves or in the snow skiing your heart off, you need good ol liquid ice aka water aka the source of all life.
I used to travel a lot for college. Every school year meant at least 4 trips going coast to coast, this of course was pretty a pricey sacrifice. Something I learned along the way was that I was burning my pockets even deeper by always indulging in airport concessions. While I could get away from always grabbing a quick bite, the one thing I was had to buy was a water bottle. Boy, were these babies not cheap! Having been an avid traveler I knew that dehydration was routine when flying. My skin would feel like it's been stretched out and turned into jerky and my throat felt that way Sponge bob did when he insisted that he didn't need water. Suffering through dehydration is never recommended if you can help it because it both damages your body and your bank if you didn't prepare.
My advice to you is this...carry a reusable water bottle! Yes! Save the turtles and save that hard earned coin! It really doesn't matter what brand or build you buy, but having a water bottle will save you in the toughest of times. From getting parched on a long ride, to waking up with a wicked hangover, having water with you at all times is vital to ensuring your body will survive, and maybe even thrive.
If you're traveling with a plan or even on a whim, then carrying water behooves you. I've had trips where I spontaneously decide to walk around the city or jump into a hike with a friend. Nothing is worse than being on vacation on not feeling like your best self because your body isn't being taken care of.
Also, along with the practical reasons that carrying a water bottle saves you money and peace of mind, it also doubles as a great way to carry any pregame potions you might concoct.
Remember To Pack Those Yoga Pants
Now vacation means taking a long earned break, and for many this means also skipping the gym completely. I believe that I am like most people in this regard. I don't think that forgetting to pack pre-workout or protein means my trip is going to set my wellness back. While I'm not a fitness fanatic, I do think that checking out a hotel hotel's gym (if I am staying in a hotel) or pre-booking a nearby fitness class can be beneficial.
Personally, being active is one of those things that not only relax me but also empowers me. After having a good sweat I feel like I aligned my mind and body. However, just because I do enjoy fitness, does not mean I'm always on track. I still do not always find time or have the energy to fit in a quick HIIT session. Like in this last trip to SD I decided to just let loose and dedicate my time to being with my friend and following her plans. This doesn't mean that I just completely didn't care about moving around or sticking to my routine.
Even if I could only fit in a 10 minute stretch in the morning that was sufficient. I'm not saying that you have to squeeze in some jumping jacks or high knees if you don't want to, but if your routine includes being active then stay with it. As previously mentioned, I've been on trips where my friends invite me to some kind of physical outing. Rather than saying no because I don't want to break a sweat on vacay, I treat this as part of my trip. I am wherever I am to do something I wouldn't do everyday. And I'm not always hiking, hitting up the beach, or even going to SoulCycle, and yes I am an LA Native. Remember I am very busy after all.
Most likely, you already wear sneakers when traveling so just fold up a good training outfit because it's already light weight and you know it won't take any room. Even if you don't have an excursion where you're burning off all that pasta at once, some space in your room is all you need. You don't even need to do anything crazy to take advantage of your training gear. Some free weights here and there is all it takes. In conclusion, roll up your gym fit into any crevice in your bag, and there you go. You won't have to get ready because you stay ready!
Be Mindful in Social Spacious
We have a tendency to think that vacation means forgetting all of our troubles. At least I used to have this mentality. Last weekend, my friends invited me to go clubbing in Mexico. My anxiety levels ran high and I swear the color in my face drained and I was as pale as the vodka soda in my hand. I was beyond nervous - and this was ignorant on my part.
My mind was racing with how dangerous I thought this could be, and I was forgetting that I often put myself in risk back home all the time. For example, the same precautions I take when partying in Hollywood are the same things I was doing down here. I was forgetting that just two years ago I was running around in dance floors in foreign countries. These were places where I didn't even speak the language. Now I know that not everyone is a party animal, but there are things we should always do when going out into social settings.
If you've traveled abroad, in a major city, or even in your neighborhood, we've been taught to be mindful of our surroundings. Keep your bags close, note whose around you, and never wander aimlessly, these are the things I do not only in a new setting but even when I'm in Downtown Los Angeles. Safety isn't always the most fun topic to discuss. But it's not meant to be fun, it's meant to ensure you have a good time with minimal risk. Shit happens plain and simple. I've had friends who lose their phones in Hollywood or have had bags stolen in Amsterdam. We cannot always control what will happen to us, things are out of our control. But if we can remember that trusting our gut and practicing caution don't disappear just because we're on vacation then just like we care about staying healthy and active this adds to that care.
Just like I always watch my drink or am weary about talking to strangers in clubs, I also wash my hands often and keep track of the hygiene of those around me. Like when I'm in NYC, if I see a big crowd I usually steer clear of it and if I'm riding public transit it then I'll take a second to wipe down my seat or rail. It's small details like this that I do in my everyday that make all the difference when traveling.
In Conclusion - Have fun!
Now with the ongoing health crisis hysteria is running high. Again, I cannot speak to how travel will be impacted or the risk of taking a trip. I can only say that even if you aren't taking a trip anytime soon always practice precautions.
From watching your diet, to staying hydrated, and maintaining an active lifestyle, these are practices that you can carry in your everyday life. Of course, always take pics, journal, keep some memory of it because basic bitches do it for the Gram and we love to Stan!
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.