So often I wondered if this would be a disease that stuck with me forever, one that I could never rid myself of — that is, the travel bug. The untold truth, travel has left its mark on my body, something I never knew could happen.
Rewind back two years ago, my first campaign to Sun Valley, Idaho. Fast forward through seeing Petra, swimming with sharks in Bora Bora, hiking the alps in Switzerland, overnight trains in Vietnam, cruising Greece's islands, and here I am today, a bit more battered then I was two years ago. What am I talking about? I am talking about my health and body.
I guess our bodies are not designed to be 30,000 feet in the sky for an extended amount of time, and it's safe to say my body has had its fair share of time in the sky. It wasn't until June this year that I started to notice the wear and tear. It started small, like weird skin infections and the occasional bloat I blamed as overeating on bread. If you've traveled, you know the game of "get caffeinated" and "grab anything that will fill your stomach until the next meal" mindset. I did this for two years, and I wish I hadn't.
I beat and battered my body, until it broke. I found it easy to push through the pains of exhaustion, acid reflux, and more — it is surprising how much your body can take before it speaks loud enough for you to hear. It was September, about two months ago in Florence, Italy. I sat down the dinner that would prove to be the final straw. It was an incredible pasta dish, both rich and salty enough to be in perfect harmony. Two glasses of red wine during the meal and my usual espresso after dinner — seems like a usual dinner on the town, right? Well the three months prior I had been struggling with so much acid reflux that I often felt like there was a lump in my throat (I owe to it the exhaustion, too much caffeine, and poor eating habits). That night after dinner, my acid was so bad, I couldn't even keep my meal down. I knew my body had had enough.
A month of no international travel couldn't have come at a better time. I met up with a friend who shared her journey through an Ayurvedic program, where she rid her body of my same symptoms. I took it as a sign, wrote down the number of her practitioner and made the call the next day.
Quitting sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, beans, nuts, dark proteins, alcohol, and most other fun foods cold turkey was both the best and worst at the same time. Maybe I had my fill of feeling sick, inflamed, and tired that it just made sense. Either way, I knew it was what my body needed. Through the guidance of my practitioner, we worked through a regiment that was tailored to my body to cleanse it of the different ailments or as I described it, "travel." It included a rather strict diet (listed above), exercise, and herbal teas to clean my liver and blood. I remember when I wrote down week 1 in my journal, and thought I would never see week 6. My goal was to do the program until I left for Bali (this week).
It was worth it. I never knew it could feel so good to eat so clean. I love food, I am French, do you blame me? It was a challenging month, but the results were life changing.
As I walked through the program, I started to think, what does this mean going forward in travel? Eating clean while traveling, and balancing the importance of trying local foods, is not easy. Here's how I've decided to move forward in travel:
+ Know when and where. There are times to try good, local food. Does it need to be every meal? Probably not. Everything in reason.
+ Don't overdue it with the caffeine. Recognize when I am tired, and slow down.
+ Be realistic and don't be hard on yourself.
I'm excited to close out this year with a few more exciting travels that I will share with you soon. I feel refreshed to continue on the journey of eating clean, even when traveling. I've had a few test runs with weekend trips, and am slowly gaining the confidence that I can step out knowing that I can travel and feel well. This past month of cleansing my body of travel has had triumphs and turbulence, but has been one of the best months home I've had in a long time.