In the past fourteen months, I’ve lived in forty cities. To say that I’ve learned a thing or two about being a nomad is certainly an understatement. My Ayurvedic doctor advised that I limit my travels since my constitution is “Vata” (meaning I need to stay still and grounded), but my life hasn’t permitted much stillness these days. Here are nine ways that I keep it together out here on the road.
1. Ginger root, turmeric, and lemons
I swear by hot water, add lemon, ginger, and turmeric. Dry herbs are fine, but if possible carry a few fresh lemons, ginger root and a fresh stub of turmeric. These items make a detoxing tonic that helps me feel grounded after the rigors of flights, cabs and dragging luggage around. I also pack emergency granola bars and apples to eat in the event of delays or no immediate access to food upon arriving in a new city (which happens surprisingly often).
2. Pack noise-canceling headphones and an eye mask
Flying is actually amazing. It’s the security, tight seats, long lines, delays and grumpy people that get me down. A few smart tools in your carryon make for a much more pleasant travel day.
Noise-canceling headphones are available for as little as $30 and let me tell you when that baby starts screaming on your flight, you’d fork over way more than $30 to make it stop. I also picked up an inexpensive eye mask to block out light so that I can go within and bliss out on flights. I play meditation recordings that transport me to my happy place, and whoosh—I’m in my own world until we arrive at our destination.
3. Hydrate and moisturize
Hydrate like mad the day before a flight, and continue on travel day. Hydrate like crazy again once you land, too. Try coconut water, green juices, and green teas in addition to regular old H2O.
Meanwhile, use vitamin C serum and gentle, natural oil or moisturizer on your face. This creates a protective barrier that guards against the dry air on planes. I like Aveeno moisturizers; they’re inexpensive, can be found at most drugstores, and work well with sensitive skin.
4. Use herbal anti-anxiety remedies
I recommend herbal anti-anxiety remedies such as “Rescue Remedy” Other options are Ashwagandha, passionflower, valerian, L-Theanine (green tea), Ginkgo Biloba and Brahmi. Consult an herbalist or Ayurvedic practitioner for more advice on anti-anxiety supplements and herbs.
5. Wear yoga clothes for comfort
Jeans are a terrible idea for long travel days; so is wearing full makeup and push-up bras. Ditch these and don a pair of yoga pants, a tank, and a fun, loose T-shirt. Layering is key, so you can shed or add layers as you go. Choosing fresh yoga clothes for travel days ensures that you’ll be comfy and ready to head straight to a yoga class once you land if you choose.
6. Stretch before a flight/bus/car ride
Try some yoga right before the stresses of TSA, buses, subways, and so on. No time? Seated stretches are better than none at all—Google “chair yoga” and see which poses you feel brave enough to do in public. Sometimes, I even lock myself in a bathroom stall and (without touching anything) do some standing yoga poses.
7. Practice deep breathing waiting in lines
When the representative at the counter is clicking away, unable to find your reservation, stop and take a deep, slow breath in. Watch the flow of breath as it enters, then leaves your body. Make your inhalation nice and long, then match your exhalation. Do this before you react, and things will go a little smoother for all parties involved. Smile and say “thank you” often when dealing with airport or airline employees; they’re probably tired, underpaid and overworked.
8. Be ready for variables
Your bags will be misplaced, reservations will get messed up, and you won’t get the seat you asked for. It’s great to be optimistic, but it’s equally important to be ready to be for numerous unforeseen challenges that present themselves when traveling. Keep one outfit in your carryon, along with any important medication and anything that you need in order to function. Should your checked bag be delayed, you can at least get on with your day.
9. Travel light
Pare things way down. Plan ahead to pack items that can be easily mixed and matched. Long term travelers like me need to do laundry on the road and learn to live with fewer clothes. Simple, classic pieces ensure that you won’t look like got dressed in the dark. Seriously though, pack one sharp jacket, yoga pants, ballet flats, sneakers, great denim and you’re good to go. Toiletries need to be trimmed down as well (do you really need four red lipsticks?).
Lastly, be prepared to trust that in the end, you will arrive safely at your destination. Stressing over everything will only make things worse, so I say surrender, go with the flow and you’ll experience better travel days for sure.