zen habits : breathe

My Grand Travel Experiment

By Leo Babauta

I’m launching a 4-week travel experiment!

I love traveling and exploring the world, but I have a number of problems when I travel:

  1. Eating: I overindulge in delicious vegan food and feel unhealthy after awhile.
  2. Exercise: I find it hard to keep a regular exercise routine — I walk a lot, but want to do more strength exercises.
  3. Work: I usually do most of my work ahead of time, so I don’t have to worry about it much during my trips … but that means a ton of work before every trip. I’d prefer being able to work while traveling, at a minimal but sufficient level. That would make my travel more sustainable.

I also tend not to meditate as regularly when we travel.

So with those problems not solved yet, I’m going to focus on ways to solve them during my family trip — we’re leaving tomorrow for a 4-week trip to Europe (all 8 of us!). My thinking is that if I can solve these travel problems, I’ll be able to travel in a way that’s healthy, mindful, enjoyable and sustainable.

Here’s the plan for my Grand Travel Experiment:

  1. Eating: I’ll try to focus on healthier vegan foods when possible, but otherwise just focus on being mindful as I eat and not eating too much. In fact, I’ve found that if I stop before I’m full, that’s usually best, but I forget because the food is so delicious! So my experiment will be to rate myself after each meal: if I stop before I’m full, I get a full 5 points … if I overeat until it hurts, that’s just 1 point. I’ll try to get 12-15 points per day.
  2. Exercise: In addition to walking a lot, I’ll be doing bodyweight exercises each day. I think I’ll alternate between pushups with some yoga poses, and bodyweight squats with lunges. For every day that I exercise, I get 5 points.
  3. Work: My plan is to wake up a bit earlier than everyone, and find a coffee shop to do some work for about an hour or so. If I can do that, I’ll get by. While I’m working, everyone else can be getting ready for the day, and then we’ll all head out and explore! For every day that I work for an hour, I get 5 points.

So my maximum for each day is 25 points, and a decent minimum per day would be 20 points. At the end of each week, I should have at least 140 points (20 points per day). If I don’t get 140 points for a week, I fail!

I’m not sure what failure will mean for me … but in any case, I’ll report back here at the end of July to let you know how the experiment went, and what I learned. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I’m also going to be meditating every day for at least a few minutes, and trying to be mindful of my frustrations with the kids, letting go of control and trying to go with the flow more. We’ll see how I do.

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