How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
For those of you who want to travel the world, for those of you who already are, how do you stay grounded and healthy while on the road?
For the past four years, I traveled the world in every way I could: hitchhiking, camping solo, backpacking through hostels, work exchange on farms, painting murals for food & accommodation, teaching yoga, living as an expat in Bali, living in several ashrams in India, and studying with Indigenous healers of Latin America. From traveling to luxurious 5 star resorts & clubs, and living on dirt floors with a family of ten, I stayed true to my lifestyle eating vegan, practicing yoga, and living healthfully. In fact, eating street food and asking for vegan food in different languages and cultures taught me about love and respect in a brand new way, and healed my relationship with food.
Growing up, my family thought I had problems eating because I wouldn’t eat any animal products. It took until going vegan cold turkey at age 14 for us to understand that I didn’t have an eating disorder, I am just highly sensitive and couldn’t eat processed foods or animal products. This turned into my early awakening, in which I learned as much as possible about eating a plant based diet, veganism, and holistic nutrition. This interest became intertwined in my identity, which I held onto deeply until my early twenties. My commitment to clean eating was obsessive at several points, both in terms of the calories, the nutritional facts, my mental and emotional health.
When I left on an around the world backpacking trip at 22, I had to surrender. It was more important to learn about new people and cultures than to be obsessive about my eating habits, however, it was still important to listen to my body and soul by eating vegan, practicing yoga, and maintaining my health, even while on the road.
I learned to say no to meat with utmost kindness in communities where serving meat is a luxury taught me about respect, kindness, and love, in a way I had never approached it in the United States, where eating meat is commonplace.
While traveling throughout Europe and Southeast Asia, I learned how to ask for vegetarian and vegan food in several languages. To my surprise, there are many plant-based communities around the world with similar outlooks on life!
By eating street food, although sticking to my dietary needs, I learned to be flexible. By learning that the love the food is prepared with is more important than the nutritional value sometimes, I integrated how to go with the flow and let go of my nutritional obsession, while still maintaining integrity with my body’s needs to stay plant-based.
Through traveling, I learned about health in a whole new light. I learned about freedom, I learned about laughter, I learned to go with the flow and let go of my strongly held identity with clean-eating. Although eating vegan is the best thing I have done for my body, this is because it is what my intuition has guided me to do, and it has purified my body in the best way possible- however learning to love, connect, and share has done more for my well-being than nutrition alone.