Take Care of Yourself

“No matter where you go, there you are.
— Anonymous

Traveling, especially on a long-anticipated vacation, invites indulgence. The Big Trip has finally arrived so you want to cut loose and grab all the gusto you can manage. Muted, shut in a drawer, your common sense alarm should be advising you that it is not a great idea to try to do everything first. Wise travelers know that a trip is most successful when most of the daily life rules stay the same but are eased gradually and with attention to the ensuing results.

Are you headed to Paris for a food and wine extravaganza? Unless you routinely dine on hollandaise and escargot at home, washing them down with tanks of wine, it is best to

Enjoying cheese, wine, and produce in the region that made them is a special luxury. Don't let it become a problem.

Enjoying cheese, wine, and produce in the region that made them is a special luxury. Don’t let it become a problem.

temper your intake for the first few days. Radical changes in diet can upset your digestive tract most unpleasantly. You might lose time and enjoyment of later meals as a result of excess at the start. Stick with tasting some new things but try not to discard you entire daily menu. (If traveling in the US, this means not eating French fries at every meal, and keeping up the usual plan with raisin bran.)

The same rule applies to your level of activity. If you normally spend all your time at a desk, or know that you “have some issues” around the active life, do not try to complete the Museum, Shopping, and Sightseeing triathlon on the first day. A gradual increase in your level of activity will give you a chance to build stamina and to see how well your everyday body (the only one you have) can tolerate the vacation of your dreams. Certainly this goes for exposure to tropical sun, too. (How many of my junior high summers began with a nasty sunburn earned on the first day the city pool was open?)

Boring as it may sound, your days will go better if you keep more or less to the timetable you enjoy at home. Sleeping late and going to bed even later start off as fun but can soon become a dynamic that controls you (rather than you controlling it). It is unfortunate that so many trips begin with the disorientation of jet-lag. The best cure for jet-lag is sunlight on your face at the appropriate time of day for your destination. This resets your internal clock, and therefore means getting up at your usual time – or before noon, whichever comes first.

So let’s get this straight. You are on vacation, but I advise you not to over-indulge but to live your days as if you were at home. It sounds boring but it will make for a more memorable trip (in a good way) than going to extremes would make. Let yourself go – or make yourself go — outside the box a bit, but remember you are still you inside. Take care of yourself!

Boundaries divide. Travel unites.

28 August 2014

About Travel Unites

A travel agent since 1994, I want people to get together for greater understanding across boundaries.
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