I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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You’ve also probably scrolled through your Instagram feed and come across pictures of influencers in Paris, New Zealand, and Bali shooting some incredible photos of themselves doing some incredible things.
One thing that’s seldom discussed or displayed on social media is the adverse effects of travel on both our physical bodies and our mental health.
Eating healthy and exercising at home is one thing. Being active and productive while on vacation is a different ballgame. Once you add travel into the mix, you step outside of your “groove” so to speak.
For example, travel jacks up our circadian rhythm (internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle). And when our rhythm is messed up, it gives us feelings of jet lag, nausea, insomnia, and so on.
When we are traveling, chances are we are eating out in restaurants, fast food joints, and even gas stations.
Let’s be real; you’re ordering that heaping pile of freshly cooked spaghetti and meatballs.
And let’s not even dive into the world of drinking while traveling! How many of us can say we drink way more while we’re on holiday verses in our typical, day to day life? I know I can.
With just one weekend in Vegas, I can drink more alcohol than what I would typically consume in an entire month!
In a study conducted by a research group at the University of Surrey in Sweden, researchers discovered that frequent, long-distance travel creates these “hypermobile” lifestyles.
It seems that continually flying in first-class and traveling to all the “must-see” destinations while dressed over-the-top glamorous clothing is the only way to experience life.
In this day and age, the world of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like thrives on competition between travelers- making sure to “check-in” and share their content from these far and distant lands.
Not only that, but a lot of the time, these influencers are making sure they cover the most ground they can within the least amount of time possible.
The reality of it is, some of these people who are engaging in frequent travel only do so to validate one’s social status among peers. The Surrey study demonstrated that these travelers tended to suffer from high levels of stress, loneliness, and inevitably long-term health problems due to lack of sleep, heavy drinking, and improper diet.
Now I’m not saying everyone is this way. There are still some travelers out there, enjoying the simple art of travel.
They see how far their dollar can take them. These travelers thrive on sitting in a hot, sweaty bus traveling six hours to Cebu, Philippines. And some are still sporting the messy bun hairstyle while trekking through the temples of Cambodia.
When I first started traveling, I didn’t have an Instagram or Snapchat account. I was rarely ever on Facebook. My first trip abroad was a service-learning project my senior year of college in the beautiful islands of Fiji.
Our group traveled to a remote village on one of the Fijian islands, at least 2 hours away from any grocery stores or hospitals.
We didn’t have running water or electricity, let alone Wi-Fi or cell service.
To take a “shower,” we had to hike up a dirt trail for half a mile to a waterfall. By the time we hiked back down, we were already dirty and sweaty again.
It was just us college students, a small health and wellness clinic, and the big blue Pacific Ocean.
I wasn’t in a fancy hotel. Instead, I was sleeping on a small mattress pad on the floor covered by a mosquito net.
I wasn’t wearing any fancy clothes. There was a strict dress code for the girls, so we had to cover our shoulders and legs.
I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn to get that perfect Instagram photo.
I was there to experience the Fijian village culture, and help some fantastic people gain access to the proper healthcare they desperately needed.
Mark Manson said it best at TravelCon 2019 in Boston.
“I know it’s really cool to go to all these foreign countries and get your picture in front of the pyramids…but, you’re not that special. It doesn’t make you a good person, it doesn’t make you an interesting person. It may make you a person who has done some interesting things, but that’s not the same thing as being an interesting person.”
Mark Manson – TravelCon 2019
Matt dropped a major truth bomb to all of us, content-creating travelers.
Let’s get back to the way travel used to be.
Not a way to measure social status. Not a way to measure “popularity” on social media sites. But just the pure joy of exploring a foreign land and connecting with the people in it.
In the end, our health and wellness are far more important than how many friends we have on Facebook. Or how many Twitter or Instagram followers we have who are sharing our pictures in front of the Statue of Liberty.
Let’s start caring more about taking care of ourselves and taking care of others.
In the end, that’s what travel is really about.
The Messy Bun Traveler is a travel lifestyle health & wellness blog that provides great advice for staying healthy on the go. If you’d like to receive exclusive info as well as weekly post updates, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!
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