Whenever a new traveler asks me for advice I often find myself giving out the same tidbits. Beyond packing checklists, sites to see and how much money you should expect to spend, my best tip is to start conditioning your body for the trip. Travel is so rewarding, but it can be taxing on the body. Here are some basic things to do now to get your body ready for your next adventure.
My most important tip is to start adding more steps to your daily routine. Depending on when you take off, start now or like my South African brethren like to say – Now Now. Most tourist destinations require a lot of walking and standing. Check out Trip Advisors’ most popular US destinations in 2018. It should basically read: big cities, walking, nature, walking, gambling, walking, Disney World, too much damn walking, walking in the cold, walking hills, drinking and walking.
“Here’s the thing when you travel abroad there’s MORE Walking ?”- Rita Baldwin
A good number of the most marvelous places in the world take some effort to reach an explore. Watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat was one of the most surreal sights I’ve ever seen. I went on this trip with my Sis Moni, from She Wanders The Globe. We spent most of my morning exploring the halls, towers, and libraries of the temple before going to see the rest of the ancient city, nearby Angkor Thom and Angkor Bayon. By the time we arrived at Ta Phrom, the Tomb Raider temple, Moni decided to opt out. I was worn out too. However, that ruin was so intimate and I would have been sad to miss it. All in all, I was on my feet from 4 AM until around 3 that afternoon. While that seems like a lot, the incredible experience I had learning about Cambodia’s history made the walking seem like nothing – dead ass.
Trust me, walking now will help you as you go see more of the globe. It is also the easiest way to keep your body in shape, honestly. There are even companies that’ll give you money to walk – come on bruh. Side hustle ALERT* get SweatCoin Can’t find motivation? Try joining a walking group, taking or hosting local walking tours or try watching TV on the treadmill. You can walk with me in Austin anytime too.
Take the Stairs
Stairs are commonplace in older cities and at ancient sites, especially abroad. Many cool adventures require stair sweat equity. Now, I understand that stairs take more effort, but, usually whatever is at the top is worth it – unless it’s white water rafting in Bali – that was just an L. My favorite tour in Kuala Lumpur is the Dark Cave at the Batu Cave temple. The site is a marvel unto itself. The world’s tallest gold statue of Hindu deity Murugan sits out front and monkeys roam freely mainly looking for food. They also have a bird sanctuary and lower level caves that feature Lord Rama’s story. It reminds me of a Hindu Madame Tussauds. So with taking one step the venue has plenty to offer. However, 272 steps above the city there’s a lot to take in and the dark wet cave tour is certainly one of those marvels.
The tour has one-of-a-kind species in a pitch black cave with a smart and spunky natural lover guiding the way. The finale of the dark wet cave is awe-inspiring. After walking for roughly an hour, the rocks open up to reveal a window to the sky. It is one of those sights stays with you in life and a rather pretty metaphor from God.
Here’s a tip on tours with stairs and elevation. No your limits before you go. However, you went up is how you will come down and sometimes the descend is the scariest part. Remember to climb wisely. Build core strength, walk up stairs or inclines, and consider yoga to get stronger for stairs – no matter what your level.
Drink More Water
Drinking water helps you be better at life. Same goes for travel. Most of us travel in the summer or to warmer climates or both. Exerting twice the energy in warmer, more humid places – humidity is the real killer to me – makes dehydration a real thing to consider, for everyone.
The recommended daily water intake is a half gallon. If you are not hitting that mark, start there. Reach to hit that baseline before you jet set. For the rest of us that are drinking at least a half gallon. Push for a gallon. Google via the National Academy of Medicine suggests men try to drink almost a gallon of water a day, while women should have 11 cups of daily water intake to be properly hydrated. Water helps in all aspects of travel – except maybe for the bathroom trips. Getting there, recovery for flying, touring, recovery for drinking, etc. They go smoother for your body drinking more water.
The Right Shoes Matter
This is a serious one for me. I began my non-stop travel in Prague and the pavement there and around Europe for the next three months, but my right foot was in trouble by the end of the journey. Why? My shoes. My foot didn’t have the right support, especially on these cobblestones streets Y’all. My shoes were usually flat. Also, trying to be cute *facepalm* I wore a slightly too small pair of Jordans when it rained and got cold. Needless to say, my poor packing decisions early on. When I arrived in Asia my right foot had a new pain on the lateral side that was constantly sore. I switched things up quick in Asia and discovered Adidas slides. Hallelujah, Thank you, Jesus! Yeah, those seem to work well for city walking for me.
It took almost a year for my foot to completely heal and it took a combination of rest, ice on occasion, massage, and physical therapy to do so – on top of changing most of my shoe choices. I cannot stress the importance of having the right shoes. Walking even for hours in Disney World can do some serious damage on your feet. Don’t suffer out the gate with bad shoes, I’m just saying.
Hey, Y’all! Rita B. to those who know me well. I’ve been traveling non-stop since 2016 and I talk about it with other travelers and nomads on my Podcast – MissBaldwin While Traveling. Check out an episode on Anchor, Spotify, iTunes, or just about wherever most podcasts are streamed. See my trips, food, and fetishes @missbaldwin @badgirleats @streetart_vagabound. More coming soon!