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Travel & Staying Fit – A Difficult Part of the Journey

Challenges of Full-Time Travel

Location: Punta Cana Dominican Republic

When we started this life of full-time travel I imagined getting in awesome shape while we traveled.  But it hasn’t been that easy.  In fact, it’s one of the more difficult parts of this ongoing journey – getting and staying in shape.  Not at all what I was expecting.

There are several factors I’ve identified to this particular travel challenge.  But before I share those, let me say that this has been a life long battle for me.  Keeping a healthy weight has never come easy for

Running in our neighborhood

me.  I am not a tiny girl…a comfortable size 12 or 10 is my USA size.  But I fluctuate a lot and always have.

A decade ago when I began running I found a wonderful new outlet for both stress release and weight control.  I love to run!.  But in that decade I have also experienced some severe injuries that kept me from running up to as long as a year.  Suffering from sciatic nerve damage and plantar fasciitis being two of the worst things that have sidelined me.


But even when I am healthy, running is not always feasible on this full-time travel journey.  I was surprised to find as we circled the globe how many destinations are unsafe for running; dangerous roads, uneven sidewalks, vicious dogs (remember the  dog bite?) not to mention many countries where a woman should not be out alone.  These surprises stymied my running for months at a time.

We cycle when we can

We are currently in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and I am really enjoying running here.  After not running for the entire month we were in Guatemala (all the reasons listed above) Punta Cana offers a flat, safe (sidewalks wow!) and easy routes direct from our apartment.  Today I did 3.5 and my goal is 5 miles before we leave here.

Swimming is another favorite work out of mine, but alas, in three years of travel I can only think of three places we have been where a swimming pool was large enough to swim laps.  Most pools are very small, and open ocean swimming isn’t something I’m comfortable with.

I can do yoga just about anywhere, and I do.  I do it on my own nearly every day, and take classes when they are convenient and affordable.  Yoga builds strength and flexibility as well as clears the mind and helps focus, but I really need to have a good strong regular aerobic exercise to keep my weight down.

Yoga for body and mind

And then of course there is the food.  And the alcohol.  I love to eat and cook and try lots of new foods in every country we visit.  Some countries the food is better than others, but I’ll try everything once (well

We hike and walk a lot

almost everything) and we enjoy food as a cultural experience wherever we are. Although I believe we are eating fresher and more organic and locally grown than in the USA, we still eat with pleasure and sometimes too much, despite the fact we usually only have two meals a day.

During our first part of the Grand Adventure I drank alcohol every day, usually a gin and tonic or two, sometimes beer.  But this past winter I decided the caloric intake of alcohol just isn’t worth it to me, particularly when I am in countries where I feel like I’m not getting enough exercise.  So I cut way back on alcohol.  I now drink one or two drinks a week, and sometimes not even that.

But alas, I am returning to the USA in May after nearly ten months of travel, about ten pounds gained since leaving.  When we returned to the USA last summer it was the same…and I worked all summer to take it off, successfully.

Hopefully being back in the USA where I know I have access to the YMCA as well as safe running roads

Swimming in Thailand

and trails I can get back into a fabulous and fit daily work out routine.  It’s one of the things I am most looking forward to back in Washington State.

So I have two goals;.

  1. Drop the ten pounds gained and perhaps a few more.  Feel fit and ready to tackle the world once again when we head out for our third round of the Grand Adventure next September.
  2. While traveling focus on aerobic exercise, fresh and locally grown and prepared food, eat only two meals a day, drink lots of water and diminish the amount of alcohol and sugar I consume.

Want to join me in a summer get fit challenge?  Let’s do it.

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  • Reply Ann

    I love this post. I’ve been doing some of those high intensity interval training videos online and really like them. You don’t need equipment and can do them anywhere!

    May 3, 2019 at 12:06 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Great idea. Might try it!

      May 3, 2019 at 12:40 pm
  • Reply Karen

    OMG Laureen, you wrote this just for me! I read me in every paragraph. I have similar challenges and need to return to some good fitness habits. Thank you sharing your challenges, makes me feel normal. kx

    May 3, 2019 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Julie

    I’m up for the challenge! Thanks for sharing your tips.

    May 3, 2019 at 4:35 pm
  • Reply Sue Davies

    Good post. We went to Singapore for 3 months in the winter. We gained weight during the first 2 weeks then immediately started exercising every day and walking a lot. It made a big difference. and, it’s hard to prioritize while traveling and when home!

    May 3, 2019 at 6:33 pm
  • Reply Laureen

    Yes it is! But we must persevere!

    May 4, 2019 at 3:34 am
  • Reply Candy

    Sticking to a regular routine when traveling is hard! I find on true vacations, I log more steps and get more activity overall. I also practice yoga in my hotel room frequently.

    May 4, 2019 at 12:41 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      I do walk a lot too. It’s great exercise!

      May 4, 2019 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply Amy Tull

    It’s always a challenge to balance exercise and travel. Especially as we get older! Thanks for your honest look at this subject.

    May 4, 2019 at 1:15 pm
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