When you are travelling, the days start to mesh into one another and you lose track of time, weekdays become weekends, weekends become another just another day, and so on. It’s a wonderful opportunity to let go of all the routines, diary checks, appointments and deadlines, and just go with the flow. We constantly say to each: ‘what day is it?’. Of course, ‘letting go’ is sometimes the hardest part, and we are just starting to do that as we head into the heart of WA and beyond – nearly 5 weeks since we left ‘home’!
Once you start travelling beyond the cities to remote areas, the life you left behind becomes a blur and you fall into a routine which exists between sunrise and sunset; that’s when you get things done. You have around 10 hours of sunlight: to get your driving done; cook up food; check out the local environment biking; hiking and swimming; buy food or drinks; stock up on ice and fuel and access any other essential items you may need. Once the sun goes down, you need to be off the road (Roo Alert!) and finding some place to stay for the night, or if you already have a spot, then you need to steal a sunset with a ‘sun-downer’, plan your dinner, pack up, wash up and hit the hay.
If you want to stay healthy during all of this, then you need a plan, everyday. If you let fate take over, it’s amazing how easy it is to slip into bad habits: so we, both (honest!), have a plan, & a few unwritten rules which we try to stick to. Planning to be healthy takes a bit of effort, and some discipline when everyone around you is sucking on ice cream, eating hot chips and swigging beer by midday! Nothing wrong with any of that, but if we did that every-day for four months, we might as well give up our day jobs in fitness and change careers.
Here are a few things we do to keep active, healthy and mindful on the road:
Dress like you are about to do some exercise!
Every morning, we pop on some exercise gear (half battle? look the part) and expect to be active at any opportunity, or use any and every opportunity to be active. Some things will be planned, such as a hike or bike ride, but others may turn out as a walk and then turn into something bigger. Even if we know we’ll be in the car for a lot of the day, we can stop at any time and go for a walk, or do our push-ups and sit-ups at the end of the day as we cruise into town or Caravan Park. Being in the gear makes us more likely to get out there and do something active.
Make your own meals as much as possible
This is tricky as some places don’t have much in the way of ‘healthy meals’. The local supermarket may only stock soups loaded with sugar, maize starch and heaps of salt, and the fresh veg and fruit will be pretty inedible. We stock up on our healthy soups ‘La Zuppa’ in major towns, so that we always have them as a stop-gap on the road. We make our own breakfast/brunch, which keeps us going until dinner. We stock up on healthy snacks: mandarins, apples, nuts, Carmens muesli bars (this lady is an Aussie Saint, in our eyes!). Tins of tuna and eggs are our preferred protein; chickpeas, three bean mix, lentils, white beans and small potatoes are our starches of choice.
We don’t eat take-aways chips, sweets, dips, blocks of brie every day in normal day life, so why start now?…….(well, sometimes, he says: ‘hot chips!’…moderation, eh?)
Try to eat as normal as possible and not trawl the shops that front the local villages; those shops are not serving up healthy food, but convenience and holiday food, aimed at those who want to indulge for a week or two, not for those who are on a four – month road trip around Australia!
Bikes are brilliant!
I’m so glad we brought the bikes, even though they’ve caused us dramas! We picked up our bike rack the morning we left the coast (thank you Jo!) and we did not have a number plate to hang off the back, so we ordered one on the phone whilst travelling to Canberra (it takes 3 to 4 weeks and we had to get G&M, Avoca to send it to us Perth!…thanks Moppy & Grant). In between, we packed those bikes into the back of the van and unpacked them every night too, so we could sleep, until we received our number plate.
It was a pain in arse, when you want to reverse and we can’t open the back of the VW. But, we are so happy we brought them (the bikes) because we’ve done the most amazing bike rides and Australia, you have some wonderful cycle tracks! When we hit a town, we can jump on the bikes and explore; carry a back – pack (with sun-downer) and go see what’s out there. It gives us freedom, it keeps us active, it allows us to see more of this great country. Sometimes we get our heart rate up, and other times, we just cruise, but it’s great to see things from the comfort of a bike…as opposed to ‘pounding the pavements’.
You need someone to keep you honest! Honest!!
Be honest with each other about fitness and food; sometimes when you’re travelling, others (like hubby) can be a bad influence. I’m better with food, and he’s better with fitness; we know our strengths. He will encourage me to do my sit-ups, push-ups, and TRX core workouts every second day, and I’ll keep him off the hot chips, battered fish and second helpings of bread! Also we (??!) do beer – belly checks every few weeks!
The bottom line, have a plan of action, just like in normal every-day life, plan to be healthy and make time for fitness. You are in charge of your day and how it runs.