Tag Archives: longtermtravel

Five reasons I think I was healthier while traveling

Everyone asks me “Did you get sick while you traveled around the world?” and I can honestly answer “No”. We really never got sick, or had any major injuries. BUT since I’ve been home I seem to have every cold, flu, or crud that comes through town. What was it about traveling that was different?  How did we manage to stay healthy?  Why were we healthier “on the road” than at home?  I’ve compiled a list of my educated guesses.

 

1. Living outside:  Most of the places we stayed we lived much closer to the elements. Open windows, no A/C, outside in nature most or all of the day. We definitely got our daily dose of Vitamin D and we weren’t cooped up in a germ factory.  Our kids were out of school and probably less exposed to every germ and bug that passed through town. Even with all the plane rides we took our immune systems seemed to get a boost from our daily outdoor life.

2. Exercise as part of daily life. Many of the places we lived required us to walk to the markets, to town or to (and through) the places we wanted to tour. We spent more time hiking, walking, snorkeling, or swimming each day than we ever do at home. Being active was part of our daily living and it felt good.  We drove considerably less. Being home it requires much more of an effort. I admire those friends who ride their bikes to work and walk to the grocery or adhere to a regular exercise time schedule. You have to make it a priority here, or you will lead a less active lifestyle than when traveling.

3. Stress free. Yes, I can’t ignore the fact that we left jobs and school and activities behind for a year. We were living a much less stressful daily existence and it was healthy. There are still real pressures while traveling but being “unplugged” was healthy and provided for a valuable lesson about the stress we tolerate here. Trying to reduce stress and too much structure (over-scheduling) has been part of our return plan – but the reality is that living in the US with jobs and two children makes for a hectic daily schedule.  That reality has added stress to our lives and we continue to try and find the elusive “balance”.

4. Eating healthy. Part of traveling is enjoying the food. It is ironic that it is often the food that makes travelers sick. We were part lucky but we were also vigilant about monitoring what we ate on the road, making sure to visit any health food store that appealed to us over the street food.  I attribute our not getting sick to that. In many places, we never drank the water unless it was bottled.  Not even to brush our teeth.  We also avoided fruits you couldn’t peel and salads.  If it was fried or cooked we generally ate it. We tried most things in every country – including occasional “street food”. In sum, we ate a lot of organic, local, fresh food throughout the world and very little processed food. Eating healthy in the USA is definitely possible – but compared to many places it is more expensive.  Also, there are also plenty of ways to eat poorly here at home and it is difficult to avoid the temptation of quick, processed, fried, fatty and fast foods.

5.Good healthcare. We had our shots before we left. We took anti-maleria meds where we needed to. We had everything we needed before we left and were able to find pharmacies around the world to get us staples when we needed them. Preventative healthcare, our general good health, and a lifetime of good healthcare prepared us for a year of traveling. I can’t say enough about starting with a good foundation as a means to help you stay healthy.

So as I sit here, congested with a head cold, envying how warm it is in Fiji in February, I will say that traveling was a healthy experience for us. I’m going to have to work on making life at home just as healthy… or I’m just going to have to get back on the road.

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You can do it too! Long-term travel with family IS FOR EVERYONE. But everyone must do it in their own way.

My family and I returned in May 2013 from almost a year-long adventure traveling the world. We visited over twenty countries and six continents. We have two kids who were 10 and 14 at the time and we lived our dream. It has changed the way we look at life.

The truth is if you asked me three years ago if we could do this kind of trip I think we all would have said “no”. We were the typical American family. We were over-scheduled, over-indulged and way too busy to take a year off. There was no way our jobs, the kids’ sports, or our life would allow us to “up and leave”. Amazingly, once we made the decision to go – everything fell into place.

The specifics of why we chose to go and how we did it are in another blog. And truthfully they are unimportant to you. Every family’s reasons for going, how to go and where to go will be unique. Just like parenting choices, buying clothes or decorating your house. We have different styles of travel. There isn’t a “right way”. BUT traveling with your family is good. The benefits are plenty. Finding a way to make it priority and to make it happen will pay off. It will be the best decision you ever made.

This is why I am starting this blog. I am here to motivate and charge you with taking the first step. I want you to just say you are interested in traveling with your kids. Then help you find the way to make it fit with your lifestyle.

There are plenty of websites that will give you the “how to’s” and connect you to the people who have done it. I will help you navigate them. I will get help you stay motivated. I just want you to reach the point where you say “I CAN DO IT!”

We did it. You can too. You don’t need to do it the way we did. Just use us as an interesting story that motivates you. I’ll tell you a bunch more and maybe, hopefully you’ll find your own path!

If you want to read our story:
http://www.andtheyreoffblog.com

Before the trip!!!
Before the trip!!!

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#longtermtravel #travel #justdoit #travelwithkids #familytravel