We all know what confidence is and what it feels like to be confident, but have you ever thought of what feeds this feeling or state of the self?
I opened a dictionary, looked up confidence and the definition next to it said: “the state of feeling certain about the truth of something” It seems like this feeling certainty fuels confidence. However, traveling sometimes can be affected by uncertainty and thus make us feel less confident about our experience.
So how do we overcome our fears and become confident travelers?
For me, there have always been three primary elements which will make or break my trip, namely rest, preparation and stress management. They will be the fuel of my problems if I fail to deal with them respectfully and for sure make me less confident about the travel experience.
Let’s look at each of them in more detail and discuss ways to improve them and boost your confidence as a traveler of the great big world.
Rest has always been the most important of those three for me. If I’m not well rested, my body and mind are just not tuned to make the best, more suitable and sensible for the situation decisions. Not to mention that with the added stress of unknown elements of travel, it gets worse.
There are a few aspects that I would like to mention and give you my approach to dealing with them. I’m sure they are very personal for everyone and might not be entirely applicable for you, but this is just a guideline.
I imagine that sleep is like you taking your car for service. Every night we take our bodies to the shop so they can be serviced entirely and repaired of all the damages we did to them during the day. This spa procedure is not only for healing of the body but the mind too.
How much sleep do you get? Do you keep snoozing? Honestly, I don’t think there is a right answer to how much sleep we should be getting, just because the damage we incur to our bodies is different every day.
As a general guideline between 6-9 hours should be enough. Less than 6 hours is quite little and would only contribute to making a poor decision in stressful situations, resulting in you being even less confident as a traveler.
When approaching a change in your sleep pattern to benefit your travel experience and feeling of being rested and ready for adventures, it is important to note that a simple one day 8 hours of sleep might not help a lot. Be consistent at least a week before traveling, or even better if you do it as a constant change, would impact your life significantly.
Taking better, attentive care of your sleep is already one of the best practices for improving your state of body and mind but is it enough? We have to also make sure that our bodies are fueled from the inside out to function and perform at its best day in and out.
Proper nutrition and exercise can be a deal breaker and improve or worsen the way you feel. Recent studies show that the mental well being, as well as physical, for most people, depend solely on the bacteria living in your gut which is a GOOD bacteria, not to be mistaken with harmful ones.
I’m not a dietician, so I am not going to preach to you about what you should and should not eat. Instead, I will give you an idea of what I do and maybe you can try it for yourself.
For me, one of the most important things is first to hydrate my body. I drink a lot of water. Maybe about a gallon/ day, some days more if I do mountain biking or hiking.
Every morning your body wakes up dehydrated. Starting my day with 32oz of water before I do anything else has grown to be a very healthy habit for me. Then I continue with a stretch for the spine. I basically hang on one of those pull-up bars that you can attach to your door. I am quite active, but sometimes I wake up sore or stiff, the stretch really helps. Then I do some hanging knee raises for my core.
I try to hit the gym at least 3 times a week. I find it very helpful for my mind and energy levels. Keeps me excited throughout the day and gets me off the office chair.
Drinking alcohol is also dehydrating the body quite a lot. I love to enjoy a beer or two especially on those hot summer nights, but I try to avoid drinking before long flights and especially if I am going to be scuba diving on the trip.
Prepare not to fail is one of my favorite mantras that I try to obey at all cost. Whether its a few hours hiking trips just outside the city or a 10 day trip to Vietnam, thorough preparation will set me on a right starting track.
The itinerary is something that I love to take care of. Being involved with arts, planning it feels like designing something from scratch or like putting a puzzle together. It also requires strategic thinking, so if you are into business, you will enjoy it too.
Minimizing commutes or avoiding traffic on road trips allows you to maximize the time spent on travel experiences like zip lining through the Costa Rican canopy. Investment in pleasure is the how I chose to describe the time spent on preparation.
Comfortable shoes for long adventure days are crucial. Uncomfortable shoes will get you through the day but will make your feet miserable for the days to come, if you are on a multi-day trip.
I tend to choose sneakers with flatter soles but with good cushioning for extensive walking and city exploration. If you are hiking, especially on a more challenging trail, I would highly recommend have hiking booties. La Sportiva is my favorite brand, their shoes are built to last forever and are very comfortable.
Especially for mountain biking and hiking trips, there are a few items that don’t leave my backpack no matter what. Snacks like Clif power bars, the same brand has nutritious energy gels and a 2l hydration pack from Osprey. I will list some of my favorite items down below so you can find them easily.
Please, get a first aid kit now they make them in all sizes possible so it won’t take much space whatever bag you are bringing. Hopefully, you never need to use it, but if you do, you are covered. I have one in my car by First Aid Only and another small and light one in my day backpack from Adventure Medical Kits. They have all the essentials to help you deal with life on the go.
Because life on the road can be extreme, you will sometimes have to deal with what gets thrown at you. Problems are not predictable so you can’t really prepare to deal with them the same way you can hydrate your body for example.
Although, there is something you can do! Set your mind to the right frequency. If you make peace with the idea that something unexpected might happen, you are more likely to react in a calm and sensible manner and resolve the situation fast.
Meditation is an excellent method of putting your body in a favorable position to cope with stress of whatever kind. If you are not sure how to do it, there are tons of apps with guided meditation and also a lot of information on the positive effects of this practice on your body and mind.
If you encounter a stressful situation, act cool you can handle it, don’t let your mind trick you into making a wrong decision.
We would love to hear your favorite strategies for dealing with life on the road. Comment below, let’s build a productive conversation and help our fellow travelers conquer their dreams in a relaxed manner.