Over the years, I have become quite adept at travelling light.
Not in terms of my bags, which are enormous and filled with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, but it terms of my body and how it feels.
Gone are the days when I used to have to get drunk to be able to board a plane, for my fear of flying was intense. These days I love to fly and in fact find it restful and enjoyable.
So how do I do it? Here are some simple tips that work for me, and may just work for you:
- If you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it when you are away
We have a tendency when we are going away to behave differently, which is part of the fun and allure of holidays. We tend to treat ourselves, let our hair hang down and let ourselves go, doing whatever we feel like doing with reckless disregard of the consequences. I used to live like this and would come home from holidays feeling exhausted and wrecked and in need of a holiday to recover from the one I had just had!
Now, when I travel, I live the same rhythm that I live at home. As much as is humanly possible, I keep the same hours, eat the same types of foods, drink the same drinks, and exercise in the same way, so my body does not have to go into shock over the way I am treating it.
I may be in a different place, but I am still in the same body, and treat it with the same tender loving care. The flavours of my daily activities may be different, but the essence of how I care for my body is the same.
- Put your body into the time zone you are living in
When I fly, I rest deeply during the flight and then try to go to bed at my usual bedtime in the new time zone I am in, no matter how far that is from my time zone at home. This helps my body clock to adjust within a day and minimises jet lag and disorientation.
- Drink plenty of water
Flying can be incredibly dehydrating, and it is important to drink water regularly to keep yourself hydrated.
Drinks such as alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea and energy drinks are also dehydrating and it is great to keep these to a minimum, not only when you are flying!
- Eat lightly
It is tempting to while away the hours spent travelling by eating all the food that is put in front of you on a plane, and all the food that is there to tempt you while waiting at airports, but try and resist this temptation.
It is fine to eat your regular types and amounts of food, but don’t gorge yourself or you may feel uncomfortable, bloated and find it difficult to sleep when the time comes. The foods offered are generally speaking low in nutrients and high in calories, and you will feel better without them. They may be ‘free’ but your body will pay a price for eating too much of them.
- Stay open to what is happening
Travelling always carries an element of the unknown. Flights may be delayed or cancelled, weather can interfere with plans, bookings may be mixed up and hotels not available, etc.
Try and stay open to what is actually happening, not just what you want to happen, make the most of what is on offer and don’t be too fixed on events unfolding in a certain way.
Lighten up and have a bit of fun with the unexpected turn of events… who knows? Your experience may end up being even more enjoyable than the one you had planned.
- Make your trip about people, first and foremost
Whatever the reasons for your travel, make it about people first and foremost. Connect with the airport staff, the flight attendants, customs officers, and all the other people you meet along the way and appreciate the job they are doing in supporting you to have a safe and pleasant travel experience.
Connect with your fellow passengers… not in an imposing way, but just acknowledging the fact that you are sitting close to a fellow human being for several hours.
Connect with the people at your destination… get to know them as people, who are not just there to serve your needs, but are part of the place you have come to visit, and appreciate what they have to offer, and their different ways of being.
- Leave behind a legacy of love
Live in a way that leaves an imprint of love… appreciate your holiday destination, make the most of it, don’t compare it unfavourably with home, but celebrate the unique joys and experiences it has to offer.
- Come home with renewed appreciation for where you live
I remember that after my first trip overseas as a young adult, I came home with a renewed appreciation for the beauty and grace of the place I lived in.
Make the most of the place you spend most of your life in, and if you don’t like it, consider moving to somewhere you can appreciate more deeply, that feels more loving for you.
Life is to be lived and appreciated in full, wherever in the world we are. And if we live in such a way, we bring that lightness of being with us, everywhere we go.