If you know me, you know there are two things in life I love more (and spend more time on) than almost anything: food and travel.
Recently, my work took me to Europe for ten days of meetings, sight-seeing, and—of course—sampling delicious local foods and wines. My colleague and I had the pleasure of seeing Spain, Portugal, and the UK, and while we were definitely there for business, it was great getting to immerse ourselves in European culture a little bit.
Every time I travel to Europe, I’m reminded of how different lifestyles there can be from the typical American lifestyle. Without digging in too deep and turning this into an Anthropology lesson, suffice it to say that a lot of the lifestyle differences simply come from a difference in mindset and habits.
In keeping with my three big themes—Eat, Move, & Recharge—I felt super inspired during our trip to rethink all three of these categories with a from a more *European* frame of mind. Though my observations are certainly not universal, I did come away with some big-picture revelations. These are my takeaways on eating, moving, and recharging like a European.
I love the UK for its own reasons, but I could rave about the food in Spain and Portugal for hours. The freshness, the seafood, the olive oil . . . Ahhhh. While my diet in these countries was definitely not low fat, it was pretty light on breads, dairy, and soy. And no processed carbs! While we traveled through Spain and Portugal, we found ourselves dining more on tapas than heavy, full meals (which made sticking with PFC Every 3 pretty easy!). In addition to eating lots of fish-centered meals, we also drank quite a bit of wine. (Hey, when in Europe!). Even so, I didn’t gain a single inch, because . . .
. . . we moved a lot! Many European towns are extremely walkable. During our ten days in Europe, getting my steps in was a breeze. Even with flying to a different city almost every other day, we still managed to sightsee by foot everywhere we went. Without spending any time in the gym or committing to any “serious” workout time, I managed to log about 5–7 miles per day. That’s no joke!
Perhaps one of the most pleasant lessons I’ve ever learned from the Europeans is this: It’s okay to slow down. Even though we were in a variety of amazing, gorgeous cities, we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves to see everything. We did more than our fair share of sight seeing, but I always took a couple of hours to put my feet up in my hotel room to recharge my batteries. Being an ambivert, I needed some time by myself to regroup and recharge. I can’t speak for my colleague, but for me, taking plenty of time to recharge was key in ensuring that I had the energy and willpower to continue making good choices about food and movement while we traveled from town to town.
Whether you’re going to Europe, enjoying a domestic vacation, or simply hanging out in your hometown, I hope you find these ideas useful and that you’ll apply some of them to your own lifestyle in the upcoming week!
Do you have any of your own travel stories to share? How do you eat, move, and recharge when you’re on the road? I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below!