Updated: Jun 15, 2020
I wrote this a while back after returning from my 6 month solo backpacking trip. During my time away I really appreciated how lucky I was to be able to partake in such amazing experiences by having a fit and able body to haul me around.
Over the last 6 months I have been off adventuring around the world. I escaped the bleak weather and short days of the British winter, despite returning home without much of a tan...I visited India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Bali, Singapore and finally Vietnam.
During the course of the 6 months, alongside gaining the most incredible memories, I also managed to gain a few extra kg's... I know this certainly was not due to muscle growth due to very inconsistent and ad-hoc training.
I even had to retire my favourite pair of denim shorts after having to recruit help to get them off (very embarrassing moment being walked in on in the dorm panicking and sweating whilst stuck in a pair of shorts). Luckily enough I was well stocked up on my activewear, I can not thank Joseph Shivers enough (the creative genius that invented lycra). Lycra will always have your back (and more importantly- big ass).
The change in my body composition was due to the massive modification in my lifestyle. I have always had a pretty consistent routine even throughout my uni days. I always get up fairly early (or very early if I had shifts starting at 6am). Consistently training throughout the week, another thing I have always prioritised in my life. I love keeping fit and exercising so weight training to help improve strength is something I really enjoy doing. I also love walking, I hit my 10,000 steps pretty easily within my job as I am on my feet most of the day and I enjoy plugging into a good podcast and hitting my steps when I am not at work.
Whilst galavanting around the globe I certainly had some big changes to my normal routine...
Firstly my very inconsistent training. Training whilst away was one I found pretty hard to stick to, although I enjoyed running to explore new cities, the heat was certainly a massive factor that would leave me feeling pretty drained! The gyms were also pretty hard to find and hard to come by (or inaccessible as a female like a few in Sri Lanka-I was not happy). I certainly made the most of the rusty gyms I did manage to find a lot the way.
A very disrupted sleeping pattern- Being jet lagged, doing overnight busses and trains, always changing my sleeping environment in different hostels did not account for a great sleep routine. Not forgetting the inconsiderate backpacker who keeps snoozing their alarm at 5am, the new hostel couple romancing in the bunk above you and late night arguments over whether the air-con should be on in the dorm (the answer is always YES!!!)
Finding Sri Lanka had local bread vans (like an ice cream van but it sold bread- what dreams are made of)
Eating a lot of super noodles. I think the record of days in which noodles consumed was 5 in a row
Making the most of a free hostel buffet breakfast- white bread and rice crisps again...
$5 dominos in NZ and Aus. A no brainer for a check easy dinner when the hostel kitchen is rammed and the one pan they have doesn't even have a handle
Ferg Burgers (if you know, you know)
Consuming copious volumes of cheap alcohol. This is probably the main culprit to the change of my body composition. I do enjoy a drink now and then, but whilst backpacking and having that holiday vibe with very little responsibility it is easy to get dragged into a round of 'Never have I ever' and straight arm drinking goon... #backpackerlife
Although I wouldn't say the last 6 months have been the healthiest of my life and my fitness has certainly taken a dive...
I honestly had the time of my life and would take 6 months backpacking over a 6 pack any day. Funnily enough the leanest I looked during my trip was after a horrendous bout of food poisoning where I most definitely felt my worst... Never trust a Vietnamese sausage...
So here is a little shoutout to my amazing body for all the things it allowed me to do during my time away:
Being fit enough to hike to mountain peaks and see some of the most breathtaking views!
Hauling my over packed rucksack around whilst trying to locate the evenings hostel after being dropped off in the wrong place by a tuk tuk.
Being able to squat hold, balance and wee whilst carrying my 17kg backpack. All whilst hovering millimetres from a rather unhygienic toilet seat in a Sri Lankan bus station. If there is ever a time I am more grateful for having strong legs it is when I am hovering above an unhygienic public toilet.
Swimming to safety after being involuntarily masturbated over by a Philippino man whilst snorkelling. I must look that great in my goggles...
Running and defending myself after being chased by a stray pack of dogs in Sri Lanka. The advise given is not to run... a lot easier said than done at the time! (To my mums horror this did not put me off stroking and taking selfies with cute stray dogs during my trip)
Just managing to board my flight in Bali after having to sprint around the airport trying to locate my passport that I had stupidly left it in WHSmiths... I would not advise joining a beer pong tournament the night before a 6am flight (I then later went to leave my two brand new books I had purchased on the plane) Not my finest day.
Life is about celebrating what your body is able to achieve and the amazing experiences it allow you to pursue. Yes I certainly lost levels of fitness and got a little fluffier along the way but I have had the absolute time of my life!