Healthy apparently now depends on your own interpretation. Even though obesity is linked to countless serious health problems, the mainstream media is trying to push the false ideology that obesity and cellulite are now the ‘new healthy’. I don’t care how many times the media tries to push this narrative, I will never agree with it. Nor should you.
If you are looking to go on a short-term or even a long-term trip to a foreign country, you may be curious how to stay healthy. If you are not in perfect shape right now, that’s completely okay. Don’t worry.
My goal is only to inform you of the best and easiest ways to maintain relatively good health while on the road. I have been using these methods since I started traveling in 2016… and I would say it has worked quite well for me.
Easiest Ways To Stay Fit & Healthy While Solo Traveling
- Weight / Physical Shape / Gut Health While Traveling
- Watch What You Eat (& Don’t Eat)
- Specific Workout
- Exercise Via Fun Activities
- Live An Active Lifestyle
- Immediate Health While Traveling
- Illness / Pre Existing Condition
- First Aid
- Mental Health / Emotional State While Traveling
- Stress vs Mindset
- Focus on Positivity
Weight / Physical Shape / Gut Health While Traveling
Watch What You Eat (& Don’t Eat)
Arguably, the most important factor in regards to a person’s health is the food that they consume. This includes what you eat, as well as what you don’t eat. The nutrition that you consume and absorb is directly connected to gut health/digestion.
What Not To Eat
As you probably already know, try to avoid foods that are greasy. Anything that is deep fried and/or uses a lot of oil.
In contradiction to the western food pyramid, try your best to avoid grains like Wheat, Rice, Oats, Rye, Buckwheat, Quinoa, and many more. For example, about 80% of the dry weight of rice grains are carbohydrates…and most of those carbohydrates are starch. Starch is sugar, in the form of a polysaccharide. Confused yet?
Don’t worry. In short, almost all grains are sugar. And what happens when extra sugar (more than what is required) enters your body? It gets stored as fat! (Keep in mind that the human body does not require much sugar!) The moral of this story is that the more grains that you consume, the more adipose tissue (fat cells) your body will create.
If you want to lose weight, then eat less grains. And if you want to maintain your current body weight, do not increase the intake of grains. Yes there are many other factors but this is a rather big one.
What To Eat
First and foremost, I do not trust the information that I am given from people who are frequently sick and/or overweight. I do trust information from people who are approaching their elder years and have the physique of someone who is half their age. Yes, they do exist!
From most respected nutritionists, it is common knowledge that raw fruits, raw vegetables, raw nuts, raw seeds, and raw leafy greens have the highest nutritional value for the human body.
Did you know that if you heat any food to about 115 F (46 C) or above, the majority of the beneficial properties (proteins & enzymes) of that food denatures and basically renders as almost useless? Yep!
You may be thinking “oh my gosh. Almost everything that I eat is cooked!” Yes, you are probably right. Crazy, huh? I could talk to you for an hour on this topic, alone. But I digress…
So, am I a saint? Do I eat perfectly healthy every single day? Absolutely not! There are days where I go and eat something that I know is not healthy…or when people invite me to a restaurant or into their house and cook food for me – I do not reject their offer. I eat whatever they serve me.
However, I do try my best to eat as much raw food as possible when I am alone. I find many of these items at the local supermarket, or even a local street market. And the good news is that these food items are rather cheap. Eating raw foods is significantly cheaper than going to an expensive restaurant for even a single meal.
Do you want to know a cool trick? Back in 2010 I found a company that sources some of the most beneficial foods for the human body, and condenses it down into an ultra nutritionally-dense powder – which is then used to create a delicious meal-replacement Shake. [Only available in certain countries].
They even put them in convenient packets that I can take with me wherever I go. Since then, I have ordered these products every single month until this very date. I have no plans on stopping anytime soon. I absolutely love the way that this superfood makes me feel.
Before I left on a major trip I literally bought about 200 of these packets to take with me. The bottom half of my bag was packed full of them! I had one every day for like 6 months!
Specifically taking time out of your day to rigorously move your body will obviously be of great benefit. I encourage everyone to exercise daily. There are several different options while traveling. Options may vary depending on the country that you are in, though. Some countries are very developed and other countries are very much still underdeveloped, which might make it difficult to find a particular workout method.
As I just mentioned, some countries have many different gyms to choose from within one single city. And in other countries, there is one gym within an entire city. And if you live in the countryside, there may not be any at all.
I am not a big fan of yoga, however, there are many people who are! It is a wonderful way to exercise. There are countries who have yoga classes available to everyone. Don’t worry, even if you are a foreigner and do not speak their language, you can still enter and participate. Don’t be shy! Remember, you are in foreign country to experience culture, so don’t let the language barrier stop you! Remember, body language is a universal language.
If you currently live in the countryside, or you are too shy to enter a gym while in a foreign country, don’t worry. There is one last option. You can open up YouTube and search for any type of workout session that you wish. You can follow along on your TV, phone, or laptop.
Exercise Via Fun Activities
This is my type of work out! I’m not a big fan of the gym. Every once in a while I will participate in an activity that requires a good amount of physical effort. Here are a few examples:
You can search via Nearify to find some interesting dance classes happening in your local area. Also you can check a few different blogs using Google to see if there are any organized dancing classes available to attend in your area. Again, don’t let the language barrier stop you!
I’m not a big fan of jogging but I certainly do love walking! While traveling, it is normal for me to walk 5 to 15 km in one single day. One of my favorite hobbies while in another country is to walk along the streets. To me, this is super interesting because I’m able to see how people live, where people eat, how they drive, and also I get to interact with the local people. This is one of my favorite forms of exercise.
If you are traveling in an area where there are water sports available, by all means, do some! Maybe you will go snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, surfboarding, kayaking or something else. All of them are great options.
Hiking is yet another one of my favorite activities. Depending on the hike, it can require hours upon hours of endurance to make it to the top and back to the bottom. And if you are an extreme hiker, it may take several days to complete the trip which would require that you sleep in a tent or small cabin along the way. You’ll burn some serious calories, though!
Ride a Bike
Along with walking, riding a bike is yet another one of my favorites. I’m able to not only explore throughout the city, but I am also able to visit some of the countryside on a bicycle as well. A bicycle is unique because it allows me to still be able to communicate to people. Sometimes local people shout at me, to get my attention, and it is easy to stop and chat with them.
But if I was on a motorbike, for example, nobody would try to stop me. The longest I have ever rode in one day was 52 kilometers, and I was in Vietnam. I left at about 8 in the morning and I returned home at about 7 at night. It was such an amazing journey!
Live An Active Lifestyle
If you are a Solo Traveler, or are looking to become one, then you will most likely be moving a lot. Probably more than what you are doing every day at your job…unless your job is manual labor. So generally, you probably will not need to set a specific time to do a workout.
Your constant daily motion will most likely be enough to replace an actual workout. In the last 10 years, I have probably spent a total of 5 hours inside of a gym (combined!). It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I live a rather active lifestyle – and so going to a gym isn’t really necessary.
I challenge you to walk more, and go on more adventures that require movement…be active in general – rather than dedicating a ‘time for being healthy’. It is always a good time to be healthy. And also remember to take the stairs when possible. They are usually empty.
I know I mentioned a lot of information above, but don’t overcomplicate it too much. Generally, all I do is eat as healthy as possible and live an active lifestyle. I’m a firm believer that the foods which enter (or don’t enter) my mouth have the largest impact on my heath. I never ‘work out’. I just live a rather active lifestyle. And for a guy that was born in the late 80’s, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape.
Immediate Health While Traveling
Now that we just talked a little bit about long-term Health, let’s dive into the immediate health. Things like current illnesses, random infections and/or injuries.
Illness / Pre Existing Condition
If you currently have an illness or pre-existing condition, it is probably a good idea to check with pharmacies in the country that you plan on traveling to, to determine whether or not they have your type of medication or type of doctor in case you have a specific problem. Imagine, for a moment, being in another country and your bag was stolen which contained all of your medication. But you’re in a country where they do not sell that type of medication. Without this medication, your health, and possibly your life, would be at risk. What would you do? Kind of scary, isn’t it? Things like this must be taken into consideration, especially if your pre-existing condition is life-threatening.
Unfortunately, traveling the world isn’t always roses, puppies, and balloons. Sometimes there are serious problems that a traveler must face. Some of those problems include infections. This could be something relatively simple like food poisoning, or something more serious like malaria from a mosquito. Are you physically, mentally, and financially prepared to handle these types of situations? If you are starting to feel ill, and you are alone, it is important that you find your way to a doctor as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it may be impossible for you to reach the doctor in time. Always research your options the moment you arrive in a new destination. It is always better to know beforehand, if possible.
Some countries require that you have health insurance before you enter their country, and some do not. Regardless of what the regulations are, there are many reasons why traveling with medical insurance is very important.
Most people who are reading this blog right now are probably familiar with the basics of first aid. When traveling to less-developed countries, you will learn rather quickly that there are many people who do not understand the basics of first aid. It has been quite common for me to see people with large cuts or scrapes that are exposed to the elements without any use of basic care or sanitation. I have seen hundreds of people with infections because they simply do not know the benefits of cleaning and dressing a wound. This is just from walking down the streets!
It’s a good idea to brush up on your basic first aid skills. This type of information can be easily found on websites like YouTube. I have lost track of how many times I have stopped and helped local people take care of their wounds.
I remember once while walking around in India, there was a man who came up to speak with me. He simply wanted to know where I was from. I happened to notice his thumb had a massive injury. I learned that just moments ago he crushed his thumb with a hammer. It looked like a pancake (not joking). It was unbelievably disturbing. His thumb was split into several pieces. I was carrying an iodine-based cream and told him how to use it. He was so happy and thankful. I saw him again about 7 months later by complete coincidence. I looked at his thumb and it was just like new. There were absolutely zero signs of any damage. I couldn’t believe it!
But don’t just learn first aid for the benefit of other people. Learn it for yourself as well. There might be moments when you need your own basic first aid treatment. It is better to be prepared and treat the problem yourself rather than relying on an expensive doctor visit.
Mental Health / Emotional State While Traveling
Mental health is a pretty big deal. If someone is in a state of depression, it can have a domino effect on many aspects of that person’s travels, as well as their life. I’m sure you already know this.
Stress vs Mindset
Your mindset plays a huge factor in your mental health and/or emotional state. Imagine for a moment you are traveling in a foreign country and everything seems to go wrong. Your hotel is not what it looked like in the pictures. There are many items that are unclean. The food that you have been eating wasn’t very good. It was very difficult to find a taxi. Everyone tries to cheat you because you are a foreigner….etc. The list could go on forever.
All of this sounds a bit negative, and, well, it kind of is. However, if you adopt the mindset that you are traveling to strictly understand culture and to experience life in another country, then suddenly these “negative things” aren’t so negative. They are simply experiences. Try to expect these problems to happen in the first place. When you expect them, and then they happen, suddenly the problem isn’t so big after all – mainly because you will be prepared to handle them.
Focus on Positivity
I know this sounds rather childish, but it’s rather important. Sit down and write a list of items that you honestly enjoy doing. This could be anything such as riding a bike, walking through a town, meeting local people, cooking, reading, hiking, sailing…Etc. The sky’s the limit. Once you have determined a handful of things that you absolutely love doing, then simply make time to do them! You are traveling the world…so what are you waiting for? Do what you want, when you want, where you want, and with whom you want. This is your life. No one can tell you what to do. If you choose to spend a lot of time doing what truly makes you happy, then you won’t have too many problems with stress – which would lead to poor mental health.
The key happiness while traveling is to focus your attention on the things that make you happy rather than dwelling on the things that frustrate you. There might be several things that frustrate you while traveling, simply try to ignore them and redirect your attention to the fun thing that happened earlier in the day, or the fun things that you know will happen in the immediate future. This is pretty simple to do, yet it is unfortunately overlooked by many people. Be sure to learn how to have as much fun as possible while traveling.