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Grounded Travel

Travel doesn't have to be taxing to the body, mind or the soul, or even the bank balance. In this feed Root Steady provides you with 5 tips to keep yourself in check and grounded whilst on the move.

It's easy to get sucked into the traps of travel and it's easy to understand why - you're unfamiliar with the culture you have just stepped into, you may not know the language and you probably have no real idea of where you are or where your planning on going. For this reason often you start to go the easy/comfort route - buying the food you know from home, getting package deals, staying in hostels or hotels full of people in the same situation as you and before you know it your cash is getting low, you've not really em-braised much of the local culture and your bodies not feeling it's usual self - maybe due to the easy but poor food choices, lack of exercise and general lack of discipline and slip ups. Now, i'm not saying you shouldn't let yourself go a bit when you travel - in fact you definitely should. Especially when you're in a situation where you've saved up your holiday, have 3-4 weeks to do what you like in a place you haven't been to before and you have the cash to back it up, with the reassurance that when you jump on that plane home you know you're going back to your job and routine life. However, as with a lot of people, your trip might be a year long or possibly open ended with no real idea of where this journey will take you and if so this post is more directed to you. This was my situation after I left my job back in May 2017 and i'm still going strong. Here I will list a few of my tips that I've picked up along the way that have kept me going, in good shape and grounded whilst I've been on the move. 1 - Work whilst you travel. This doesn't have to be fancy, you don't need to be tech savoy, own a blog, have the ability to write code or be a professional photographer to work whilst you travel. In-fact, all you need is the willingness to give up your time and work just 25 hours a week (five hours a day Monday to Friday). You can pick an area you're are interested in and in the country of your choice and for this you will be provided with food and accommodation in return that's going to satisfy your soul. So on that I present to you - Workaway .

Workaway is essentially an international hospitality service that allows members to contact one another to organise home-stays and cultural exchange in exchange for giving them a helping hand in whatever area they need. I'm surprised how many people haven't heard of it (I was one) yet it is all over the world. As i'm writing this i'm in the middle of a Workaway in Ecuador, I knew I had a month free between my two yoga teaching jobs so I opened Workaway pumped Ecuador into the search and out jumped 441 potential hosts. In total as of the date of this publication there are 35,772 hosts across the planet with open doors. Now, you can be a bit more specific in your search and add the words "surf" or "cooking" or what ever you're interested in and you'll pretty much be guaranteed to find somewhere you like with the type of work you'll be happy to do. As you're volunteering you do not need a working visa to do this and some hosts even offer payment. In addition to the fact your food and accommodation is covered you'll also be completely submerging yourself in the local culture, living with local people, sharing meals with them, learning the language, picking up new skills and most probably be deep into the country in areas you wouldn't normally go - avoiding any kind of 'tourist trap'. How does it work? You sign yourself up to Workaway, a membership costs $38 for a year which you'll make back in the first couple of days for sure, and fill out your profile. Once that's done you can start searching and connecting to potential hosts. I would suggest putting a little bit of effort into your profile to really sell yourself, my profile looks a little bit like an informal CV and putting some effort does pay off as you'll get a lot more interest. You'll be getting offers in no time! Another similar website to Workaway is Woofing, this is more focused of farming and agriculture but is still all over the world. I became a yoga teacher last November so I have also used websites such as Yoga-Trade , Yoga Travel Jobs and Surf Travel Jobs. These are great if your a yoga teacher, chef, surf instructor, photographer or something related to these industries. My first jobs whilst traveling was from Yoga Travel Jobs and I wasn't even a yoga instructor then,it was to help convert a 17th century castle in the south west of France into a yoga retreat center, so all the websites are worth taking a look at. Without a doubt though, Workaway is the best and most diverse of them all. 2 - Buy local food. Keep it simple - buy local food. Food is cheap in pretty much every country you go to but this is only true if you buy the food that is local to the areas that you're visiting. You're going to have to pass up on your home comforts if you want to keep your cost down. In addition to that, the chances that your home comfort foods in their plastic wrapping and long shelf life aren't going to be particularly good for you anyway.

Before being in Ecuador I was just teaching yoga at at Surf Camp in Costa Rica which also happened to be on Workaway, the area was pricey, one of the most expensive places I've been to. This was mainly due to the flood of North American tourists they get throughout the year. One of the workawayers who was also at the camp would buy himself a Coke after every surf session to keep his "sugar levels up", he did this until he realized he could just by a banana... A coke would cost him $2.30 each time. A banana? $0.10. Great for your bank balance and your health. Another tip would be to cruise around the area in your first couple of days, check out all the shops and markets to see what they have to offer. Take this time to figure out where you can get more bang for your buck. 3 - Gymnastic Rings.

Gymnastic rings are with out a doubt the single best piece of upper body gym equipment you can own and on top of that they are extremely compact, light weight and you can hang them almost anywhere - perfect to take with you on your travels. I always knew of the rings but they never really became a part of my life until I started following Ido Portal. Ido is a movement specialist and the pioneer of 'The movement culture' which is all about well, movement. He's probably most know for being Connor Mcgregor's movement coach and he joins into Connors camps two to three weeks before his fights. One of the reasons for Connors success is his unique style, ability to move and ability mimic his opponents movement to then lure them into a strike. Although this perhaps isn't so successful in the 'ground and pound' aspect of the game...

What Ido made apparent to me is that the rings make you strong and very, very stable. They have the ability to move in 360 degrees so they will always move to your weakest area which is why they are so great for development, especially with the stabilizing muscles you tend not to use in conventional gym exercises. If you are weak in one position you'll move into that position therefore making you stronger and more stable in that area. This is why you see people shaking all over the place whenever they first jump on a set of rings. In addition to this, when you train with the rings you're activating far more muscle areas including your core, nothing works in isolation, so you getting a much more well rounded upper-body work out. Far more natural in my opinion. You can buy yourself a set of rings on Amazon or Ebay very easily and thanks to the boom in the Cross-fit industry the prices of rings have dropped dramatically over the past few years - prices range from £15-£30. Just make a note on the length of the straps and see which is best for you. Gymnastic rings really were a game changer for me and they go everywhere I do. You think you're strong until you start training with the rings. 4 - Utilise Airport Prayer Rooms People tend to forget about these hidden gems in airports and 9 times out of 10 they're empty. They are called multi-faith prayer rooms because they're available to everyone. They're especially great if your traveling alone, have a particularly long lay over or you just a bit tired and all over the place from travel. Airports tend to be rather unnatural places with a lot of noise, artificial light and they never sleep. So if you need a quick break and a chance to re-set your body & mind, take advantage of these rooms. Use them to do some mediation, stretch out your muscles (especially your hip-flexors - traveling means a lot of sitting!) or to just read a book in silence. As long and you're not making any noise, keeping to yourself and abiding to the few rules they have there is no reason why you cant use these rooms. 5 - Travel itself - Don't Stress! When you're in one place for a while you can really start to ground yourself but, as always with traveling , the time will come again to get up and on the move. The actual travel, moving from one place to another, is probably the most challenging and taxing part about traveling but just know that everything works its self out, always! Just break your journey down into the natural chunks that it tends to be - one bus ride, then the airport, then from the airport to the train station... you get what i'm saying. If your mind isn't in the moment and to busy worrying if your going to find your hostel when you land in the next country tomorrow morning you're probably going to make things a lot worse for yourself than they are. Take these moments to sit back and look out of the window, they are the times when you get to see most of the country your visiting and you don't have to do a thing!

Keep your food intake fairly light and clean during your travel from one destination to the next to keep your head clear and focused, allows your fat stores take over so keep the carbs to a minimum but most important is to drink plenty of water. A few downloaded podcasts are essential too! Also, if you have taken these tips on board then the chances are you might have a few pennies to spare so you can always be good to yourself and spend a little more for that extra comfort when your travel. Maybe taking a £30 shuttle directly from your hostel to the airport is worth it over the three separate public buses for £8.50. So there you have it, just a few tips from me to keep your feet rooted and your head steady whilst you enjoying whichever epic adventure you're on!

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