Tag Archives: running

How to stay in Shape while Travelling

For starters…avoid injuries. Splitting my knee open was the beginning of a bad 2 month spell for me. Prior to that I had been running daily in Australia. I must say, it’s not ideal to run daily when staying in hostels for a few reasons…your stuff stinks, and you need to air it out but you share a room with 7 strangers, you’re the only one going…coming back after 1km still seems like an accomplishment, you are going to have to do laundry more often…which in AUS/NZ is an 8 dollar setback each time. BUT I will say, that I have had the most fun, taken the most photos, and been most keen to try new things when I’ve been fit and feeling good about myself.

I’ve been doing pretty well for the last few weeks in New Zealand, but only running a couple times a week…here are a few tips on getting active (For cheap) regularly while living a nomadic lifestyle…or just going to Mexico.

1. WALK. Seriously…I walked 23km yesterday. I saw more of Auckland than on the $40 grey haired bus, got to stop when and where I wanted. Got to window shop 10s of sweet cafes for lunch and eat it looking over the whole of downtown. All in all I burned around 1200 calories yesterday (Auckland has nasty hills)…and didn’t feel like I was ‘working out’ at all. Free and easy. Check sites like Mapmyrun to see run/walk routes people have already taken…or just ask the info centre where the bus usually goes and follow a route. 20km can take less than 6 hours…it’s actually great time to reflect if you’re travelling alone.

2. lululemon athletica. I am going to free yoga tonight at the Britomart location, and free bootcamp tomorrow at the Ponsonby location AND (for the traveller) they supply mats and/or equipment!! Every non-factory outlet lululemon has free in store classes (or should)…and if they aren’t hosting them they should have passes (free or $5 ish) to other local studios. They should also be able to tell you great runs in the area…be ware of being distracted by 100 pants….it defeats the `cheap workout` purpose…

3. Trial Weeks. Yoga studios (like when I went to Bikram Noosa) will usually have some sort of first week or 3 classes for less than 20 dollars…which is all you ever need when travelling! Also, gyms will usually give you a week for 20 bucks as well…especially if you find ones that are new to the area. I am trying out a gym called lifestyle fitness on a FREE 7day trial in Auckland at the moment!

4. YouTube. 8 minute abs, buns, thighs, arms, back….my heroes thanks to my old roommate Jenny. I’m pretty sure they have all sorts of other exercise programs, but whether you watch and go, or just write down the sequences they are quick [not that embarassing] exercises you can do in your dorm room or at a park close by that dont require weights, and will keep your muscles working without leaving drenched bootcamp style.

5. Take Away containers. Buy one, recycle one…whatever the case, always have one accessible. I find backpacking, it’s excruciating to throw away food…even if it rotting from the inside out. For that reason, before I had my container I was always over eating just out of ‘not wasting food’. Have a container around and spread out small meals…it will make you more comfortable on those nasty bus rides if you don’t eat the whole bag of pasta first anyhow.

6. WATER. Yes, common sense…but it’s free…it keeps you hydrated so you aren’t to tired or lazy to do day long walks or hikes, and it helps you not over-eat. Never mind the fact that you don’t want sun stroke to ruin your limited time in a location.

7. Take the stairs. It may seem minimal…but even if you’re on the 8th floor…if stairs are accessible, take them…if you’re in a shopping centre skip the escalator. I’m not saying run them, or do doubles…you can even walk really slow and pretend to be on the phone if it makes you feel better. Every little bit counts when your travelling. It is extra cardio-and tones those glutes!

8. Long walks on the beach. Walk in the dry sand, get your calves an extra work out. And for the sake of everyone else laying on the beach…DON’T wear your flip flops! On this not of beaches…if you’re near one, go often. My worst month of staying fit was when I was working then partying constantly and didn’t hit the beach for 25 days….day 26-30 was self pity and denial…but having to be in a bikini definitely sparked motivation for me to get it together.

So thanks to the meatheads from Minnesota that I’ve been sharing a room with for the last few days….as they had no interest in hearing about where to travel or what to do…but only how to stay in shape. “You weigh less than 200lbs. hey?” “I’d hope so” “is that lots for a chick? …if I can’t find a gym can I press you?” “no?” “Come on, you’re hot, and I need to stay hot” “was asking if I was 200lbs a pick up line” “yeah…well, and I do need to press something” ……welcome to hostel life.

Airlie Beach

B E A UTIFUL. For some reason this beach is a lot nicer than the others. With the exception of today’s overcast it is super sunny, breezy not windy, and the water is full of sail boats ready to emerge on the Whitsundays. It seems that most people are brief in their time here as most only book a pre/post Whitsundays night but we are staying for a week and I’m glad we are. Definitely too small a town to live in, but the hills of beach homes and paths around the coast line are a great scenic run! There’s an esplanade like in Cairns, but there’s actual beach as well. It’s tourist central not just for backpackers but for Australians as well. Tons of ‘everything under 20’ stores and souvenir shops including the community market we visited today. I will post more after we’ve visited Whitsundays but I figured after the Maggie Island update a more positive note was in order!

Also-before I forget-you can do stand by tours for the Whitsundays that are like half price. If you’re travelling alone I definitely recommend it. AND There’s a fish and chip place right by airlie beach backpackers that is AMAZING.

Oh! and also…beware of stairwells on Friday nights after the bar closes. I was using internet when I started hearing a couple hooking up a floor below. Then they walked passed me to go to the upstairs loft (probably to get a condom), they came back down and said “should we go elsewhere? / No its fine she wont know what we’re doing/ she looks american, she won’t understand us.” Too bad they were speaking French, I’m Canadian, and anybody could have decoded her audition to be Kelly Preston in a Jerry Maguire remake.

Cairns 2.0

The last few days in Cairns have been great! I must admit, Thursday after Halloween I had no idea how I’d fill the time for the week I booked at the hostel, now that I leave tomorrow I feel like I could stay for weeks (which is what most people end up doing). The only thing pushing me to go is the fact that I have 87, yes EIGHTY SEVEN bug bites (I say bug because I haven’t got a clue what bugs they are) [ALSO, apparently sunscreen or baby oil stops sand flies and most mosquitos because they can’t get through the oil] (I was told this after bite 82), and it’s about to be 45 celcius with 100% humidity.
I have gone for runs in the morning the last few days…at ‘half six’ (6:30 am) because it gets too hot by 7:30. The Cairns promenade/esplanade is 6.5km from one end to the other and back, so it’s been slightly taxing on my previously sedentary limbs, but great for getting my mind back on track. I would probably have been wasted on ‘goon’ (10 dollar box wine…only sold past 4 pm because they don’t want aboriginals drinking it earlier…supposedly) nightly and extending my time in Cairns like the others. The downfalls: legs too sore to snorkel, sweat=premature laundry, BUG BITES, additional unneeded tan lines. I also played soccer for an hour in 35 degree, breezeless heat on Saturday which was royally terrible and contributed to bruises on my legs. So my legs are now unshaved (can’t get over the 27 bites on my right lower leg), bruised, and covered in bug bites…good thing I have my rumored boyfriend to love me anyway.
What does everybody around the world love? Gossip. My friend Simon (from England) …who has a girlfriend of almost 5 years…and I have been getting along well and hanging out quite a bit… Mostly because we both don’t smoke, like $1 cheeseburgers and 30c cones, need internet, don’t want to always be wasted, and are travelling alone starting in Cairns. If Simon were a girl it would be ‘so sweet you found somebody to travel with’ but instead it’s become ‘so you too ;)’. The good part is that we both find it quite entertaining because as Brits or Aussies would say, we’re just mates. So to milk it, we enjoy cooking meals together and being back sunscreen partners. Ahhh the comfortsof home. Oh, he’s also been teaching me ‘English’…instead of ‘Canadian’.
On that note, I’ve realized the only way I can tell Americans and Canadians apart is manners and the sound of the ‘a’ in the word Pasta. Unless of course they’re from the East, Mid West, or South USA. So really, I’ve gotten less mad at people thinking I’m American based on accent…it’s when they’ve known me for a week and ask where in the states that I’m from that feelings get hurt.
Even further tangent…I don’t know anybody’s name unless I’ve spent over 5 hours with them sober…until then they are their country. So really half my friends are Holland, the other are Germany…The only people I’ve really liked have been Aussies and Brits….and I know their names. Also, if you feel awkward, just think of me on a Barrier Reef trip with people I’ve been with for the last week asking ‘what’s your name again?’ The good part about backpacking is that there is a common understanding that nobody knows names…also that laundry sucks…also that eating carrots, apples, and crackers for dinner is part of a balanced diet. Also, when you electrocute yourself trying to unplug your cellphone from the adapter in the bathroom, people have also done it (2outlets in 8bed dorms).
I’ve also met a lovely girl named (or ‘called’) Ashley from England. I only spent a few hours hanging out with her but she may have been the most influential person on the mindset of my trip thus far. She has travelled New Zealand by herself for a year, then Oz for a couple months and has now set off to South east Asia. She is the one that inspired me to get over my hangover and go for a run (she has done 2/3 of her trip dry), and also made me feel okay about being overwhelmed by travelling alone. Pretty much the entire week in Sydney (besides while having fun with people) I was contemplating when I could come home that would be the least embarrassing (seeing as how I set out for a year+. I didn’t think my TFN would ever come, I didn’t think a non-creepy job offer would make its way through, and I didn’t think I’d meet any other travellers. Since meeting her and being in Cairns with loads of others who are fruit picking, not because they’re desperate but because they want a 2nd visa, has been a great shift of mindset for me. I definitely don’t want to (at this stage) stay for a second year…but it’s making me realize a year isn’t really all that long , and that the 3 months I was considering staying is way too short. I’ve also realized that while I have a good amount of cash but wanted more, most people here came with a quarter the funds I did…so I’m feeling much better about things. I’ve also met some hard to understand and frequently wasted individuals that have had sweet jobs, so by comparison I think I’ll be fine.
Done with the deep—ish thoughts…promise. Yesterday I headed off to the Great Barrier reef with another Canadian, Simon, and 2 Dutch from our hostel. A guy approached us at the public pool in Cairns and offered us a trip out for $50 bucks…so less than half price. The reason I’m writing now is so you know I didn’t die. Basically he (Steve) is sailing around the world, currently Australia, and stops at tourist points to transport travellers for a day for extra cash. He has 6 other travellers living in the boat as he makes 6 week trips from point to point along the coast. It was very bush league, but very fun. The sail to and from Green Island was gorgeous and the food was great. The barrier reef sucked where we were as did the snorkelling equipment, although I wasn’t really that disappointed. Most people actually didn’t see great reef in Cairns so I may try from another point…or just buy a postcard. I do really need to figure out how to swim properly though…when my mask filled I thought I was going to die.
Today we’re off on a free rainforest walk and BBQ organized by Nomads (our hostel) which should be fun….then off to plan the next leg of the trip…and maybe do laundry.