Practical Habits To Have On The Road: Fall Edition

Back in spring, I wrote about which habits to practice daily while traveling, but now that it's the heart of autumn, we're do for a refresh!

Your daily habits summed up are the bulk of your day and in many ways represent your identity. Your habits are who you are.

When you're out exploring and seeing new sights, travel brings you away from home base. Be it a vacation, a multi-day camping trip, visiting a friend in another city for a weekend, or a full day adventure. Often there is a gap between what you WANT to do and what habits ACTUALLY happen. The reason it can be so tricky to maintain your preferred actions on the go is because one of the main factors for successful habits goes out the window. Your environment.

The physical space in which you live and act out your routine changes. Without a consistent environment with cues and reminders to DO your habit, you get swept up with others actions around you. Llike eating a late dinner, even though you don't want to, or missing out on practices that make you feel good, like 20 minutes of stretching in the morning.

The nice part is, some habits do stick! Have you ever noticed which of your habits don't change no matter who you're with or where you are?

In the past, fall has been a challenging season for me with rising anxiety and "getting stuck" but looking back, I didn't have the most supportive routines to that changed with the seasons, especially when I'm on an outdoor adventure or living in the van.

"The reality is you can't bring all your habits on the road and perform them in the same way. Something has to give, otherwise your travels become a drag and you will often feel defeated because you can't do all things. Travel should be fun and full of spontaneity! Not an orchestrated set of rules to follow."

Here are a few key habits for fall to take with you on the road to feel in your body, nourished, and balanced.

Pause electronics at night

Darker evenings and lower energy means we are all inside sooner which can often lead to an increase in watching videos, movies, online shopping, and social media to fill the time before sleep. On the road, you have more brain activity because most of what and whom you're experiencing is new and out or your normal routine. So you need to rest! Screens will only wake you up more. Prioritize sufficient sleep in a new bed or campsite so you have a fighting chance to fall asleep and stay asleep. Literally, put your electronics away in a bag, another room, or drawer/closet an hour or two before laying down.

Don't over schedule yourself

I know, you want to do and see all the fun things while you're traveling but fall encourages us to slow down our pace of life. For example, if you have 4 things on your calendar for the day, change it to 3 or even 2. Spend more time in one place, with the same people. Think quality over quantity. Embrace a slower pace a set aside the mindset of trying to tick everything off your "to see" list.

Hydrate your body from the inside out

Drinking water is never a habit to leave at home but as the temperatures outside get cooler, the temperature of your water should go up. It doesn't need to be super hot but at least room temperature to very warm. Keep a big thermos of hot water with you that you either boil up yourself and fill up at a gas station. Near the coffee station, there is a red handle that always has hot water ready to go.

Fall dryness can show up in your scalp, skin, nails, nose, eyes, and feet. The most important time to drink warm water is right when you wake up (being on an empty stomach) to about 1pm, after that, you get a sufficient amount of water from your food.

Eat warm, spiced and sweet foods

Love on your digestive system with cooked root vegetables, soups, baked dishes, and warm cereals. All the warm comfort food, yes please!

If you have access to a kitchen or camp stove, making a meal with hot water that doesn't take a long time is key. That way you use less fuel and you don't have as much time in the kitchen. My go to meals to make anytime are gourmet grilled cheeses (gluten-free, dairy-free style), white rice with sautéed scrambled tofu and vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes with sautéed kale and chicken sausage, and ramen with kombu (sea vegetable), mushrooms, scallions, bok choy and ramen noodles.

For breakfast, slice a half apple and boil in an inch or so of boiling water for 5-10mins, then add oats, maple syrup, walnuts, and ghee (clarified butter). My favorite spices to add are cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and clove.

If you're ordering out or eating at someone else's home, go for the same style foods. Think warm, cooked, comforting, and mushy. Try to limit fried foods, processed, and raw foods (like salads). Do your best to plan your meals ahead and get a good idea of your options BEFORE you get really hungry. For example, when you're in the airport, check out the directory for all the restaurants and decide where you will eat, walk in that direction and wait for your stomach to say, "I'm hungry!"

Pack just the essentials

Only pack what you NEED and not what you WANT. Why? You will create less anxiety for yourself and be a happier traveller for it. Less stuff = easier organization, you'll make less choices, and more opportunities to be in the moment. If you're flying, aim to only pack a small bag and one carry on. If you're driving, have a small bag in the front seat and aim for everything else to fit in the trunk. There's more room in a car but see how empty you can keep it. A clear visual space allows for a clear mental space. Keep it light, keep it happy!