Sorry for being totally MIA for a few weeks. I was actually out of the country.
I don’t get to travel often, and I love, love, love traveling and seeing the world and experiencing new cultures. This time, I got to go to Ireland (and the UK) for a few days. It was beyond beautiful, and I feel so grateful for being able to go and explore with my cousin Annie.
I got back, and I weighed in yesterday, and saw that I was exactly the same as I was before my trip. Historically, I would take a trip and lose a few pounds just from the sheer amount of walking done. I was quite active on the trip (more on this later), but I am also significantly more active now than I was when I had traveled previously.
The last time I took a major trip was back in 2010, just a few weeks after I had started Weight Watchers. I went to Madrid and Tenerife. Before I went, I had no plans for activity, but I did have plans to eat my face off. Because, you know, the best way for me to instantly connect with a new culture is through food. That’s still part of the experience of travel—and I definitely enjoyed the local food and drink while in Ireland—but it’s not what it’s all about.
Here are a few changes that I observed between my November 2010 trip to Spain versus my 2012 trip to Ireland:
1. Jetlag and overall feeling
I remember landing in Madrid, and the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. I was exhausted. To the point where I was falling asleep during conference lectures. It was horrible. I felt like the walking dead.
I was very scared that I was going to suffer from major jetlag when I went to Ireland, but, to my pleasant surprise, I experienced near zero jetlag. I got off the plane, got to the hotel, showered, and then spent the entire day exploring Dublin by myself. I have to attribute this at least partially to where I am now physically. Not to mention that I wasn’t constantly in pain because of my feet or my back. It was amazing to just walk around and not worry about my body aching.
2. Crossfit abroad
When I went to Madrid, I had also been doing Crossfit for about a week. I remember Caleb sending me an email full of WODs I could do from the road. At the time, I thought it was very thoughtful and sweet. But did it ever pass through my mind to actuallydo them? Ahem. Hell no.
This trip? Well…call me a nerd, but the very first thing I did once I was showered and set for my first walkabout in Dublin was to find the nearby Crossfit. (And, I actually went out of my way to book a hotel within easy walking distance to Crossfit Dublin.) I only got to go once, but I was SO excited to go and WORK OUT on my VACATION with other Crossfitters! What an amazing experience! What a powerful connection to make!
3. Enjoying my photos
One of my biggest regrets of my Madrid trip, in retrospect, was looking at the photos of me. I felt like I ruined photos of beautiful scenery because of the way I looked.
This trip? Well…let’s just say I’m fairly pleased with my photos. I was able to enjoy the sites and not worry too much about a triple chin or if a certain angle didn’t work well. What a relief!
4. Being active outside
During the Madrid trip, I did a fair amount of walking around the city, but when we got to Tenerife, aside from lounging on black sand beaches, I tended to stay in the apartment, and hang out on the balcony while my travel mates took hikes and enjoyed the scenery.
The issue was, not only am I not super outdoorsy, but hiking or doing anything active outside was SO intimidating that I would not even try. I was afraid of sweating, and I was afraid of looking like an idiot and panting and being out of breath. So I just avoided it altogether.
The Ireland trip? Well, I packed up some Vibram-soled shoes and took to it.
I hiked the Cliffs of Moher.
I. FREAKING. HIKED.
That entailed jumping a few stone walls, trekking through mud and up hills. And it was AMAZING. And I can’t believe how much fun it was!
And I wasn’t even winded!
I did a several-hour walkabout on Inis Oírr, one of the Aran Islands.
I hiked around the Burren. More climbing around big rocks. More walking. More stuff.
And honestly, after this trip, I can’t imagine going someplace and saying NO to seeing the sites from an outdoor activity. I can’t imagine NOT having seen the Cliffs of Moher from the hike we did. I can’t imagine seeing the Burren from the road. But a year or so ago, that’s exactly what would have happened on this trip. I would not have been physically capable of doing most of the things I did. I would have complained the whole time about how this or that hurt, and I would have just wanted to hang out at coffee shops.
The other thing I learned?
Well, if you couldn’t guess by what I’m already saying…traveling isn’t JUST about food. Like I said, I definitely enjoyed my fair share of ciders, Irish Coffees, potatoes, and scones. But I did just that—I enjoyed it. I didn’t make my trip ABOUT food.
Instead, I connected with the culture and the people through being with the land and the places. It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. And I am so, so grateful.
So I maintained this week at weigh-in? Yeah. I’ll call that a victory.