On the night of May 27th, I went to bed full of excitement knowing that when I awoke, the only thing between me and Thailand would be the 40-hour trek getting there. Yikes! This intimidating adventure would comprise of one metro ride, two bus rides, three flights, some terrifying taxiing, a journey via speedboat, and a final stretch on the back of a scooter. It was long and, at times, pretty darn scary, but in the end, we managed to arrive in the Land of Smiles safe and sound. After a three-hour nap, we were totally adjusted to the eleven-hour time difference.
Here’s how we took care of ourselves throughout what otherwise could have been a very stressful journey.
You always have to take care of your body. However, while you are traveling it will need some extra love. Wear clothes that are stretchy and comfortable so that you can sleep and stretch anywhere in them. By wearing layers, you can also bundle up or strip down whenever you need to.
Our bodies need to move every few hours to help with circulation. At airports, we did sun salutations (followed by aggressive hand-washing). On planes and buses, we would walk down the aisles as often as we could. If we did not have the aisle-seat, this meant standing up every time our neighboring passenger got up to go to the bathroom. My favorite stretch was forward fold – but play around a little and find what feels good. *As a side note, my foot is on my thigh in the photo. If I can pass on one wee little crumb of knowledge from all of my yoga experience, it is to NEVER put anything on your knee. Every teacher says so, so just don’t do it.
Be sure to drink enough water as flights are dehydrating (and all that extra water will get your butt up out of your seat and off to the washroom for some bonus-movement-points!). If you can, bring your own reusable water bottle. They hold more than the skimpy plastic cups you are given, and they save the planet. Just be sure to empty it before going through security or you will have to stand there and chug it – even though you already really have to pee – while people stare at you.
- Move with the Cycles.
If you are off to a country with a different time zone, you can start adjusting to the new hours before you even get there. “What?!?” you exclaim. That’s right. On the day you are traveling, set your watch/ cellphone/ pocket-watch/ sundial, etc. to the time of the country you are traveling to. This way, your brain is adjusting to its new hours before you even arrive. Nifty, right?
You should base your eating and sleeping schedule on your new hours to the best of your ability and do your best to respect what will be your night/ day cycles, meaning that when it is “nighttime”, stay away from bright lights and screens. When it is “daytime”, get as much natural (or artificial, if you must) light as you can. Natural light can get pretty weird while traveling – at one point while flying near the arctic circle, I realized that it had been light outside for 24 hours in a row. I still consider that to be one of the trippiest things that I’ve experienced.
TRAVELERS WITH SPECIFIC DIETS, this one is for you.
Willem (my partner) and I had assumed that we could just tell someone at the airport that we were vegan and that it wouldn’t be a problem (I am facepalming right now at my naivety). You know what they say about assumptions…
In reality, you have to call the airlines at least 48 hours in advance to let them know about whatever specificities you have going on. They have more options than you’d think, and actually, by eating something different than everyone else on the flight, it often meant we were served first (making it definitely something to consider for people of any diet *cheesy wink*).
We learnt this 48-hour rule the hard way upon arriving in Toronto. We asked the woman at the desk if it would at all be possible to have vegan food for our 14.5-hour flight, please, and she – very politely – said no. At the news, our mouths and eyes all popped open in absolute terror. We had a little under an hour to stock up on enough airport food to last us the whole flight.
As we roamed from small shop to small shop, we began to feel hopeless. At this point, we had accumulated a handful of protein bars meant to replace meals, a box of nuts, and a bag of granola. It was by far the least colourful food-run we had ever done, ever. It would not do. I was used to our grocery carts overflowing with beautiful greens, and reds, and oranges, and yellows, and purples, and blues, and at this point you have tuned out, so I will stop allowing the memories of beautiful colours and flavours to distract me. Needless to say – our bag contained an underwhelming amount of drab-looking foods. Where we finally found some colour was at Starbucks. You know those apples and bananas that they usually keep by the cash as decoration and to make customers feel like they are consuming healthier products? We bought the whole display. I felt very much like a young Harry Potter (movie-version) telling the trolley lady “We’ll take the lot!”. When we left, our bags were bursting with overpriced (but worth it) fruit. Eating with your funky diet is possible anywhere, I swear it. This July, my lovely mom and I went on a girls’ trip to the fishing town of Ogunquit, Maine. How we found an abundance of vegan food in the lobster-crazed town, I will have to tell you in another post.
Until next time,