Guest Post – Africa Travels

Posted: June 27, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Enjoy this last guest post before I return for normal blogging tomorrow! Courtney always has very interesting travel stories and has many great tips. This is a great read.

Hi! My name is Courtney and I have a new healthy living and travel blog called Pancakes & Postcards ( My passion is traveling—I have visited more than sixteen countries and forty US states, and still feel like I haven’t seen a thing—and trying to rationalize my worldly adventures with a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Currently, I am serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a beach town in Mozambique, Africa. I am more than 20 months in to my 26-month tour and while my experiences have been incredible, I look forward to returning to the States in December to begin the next stage of my life.


There is no shortage of info out there about healthy travel, whether it be “stay at hotels with gyms!” or “bring workout DVDs and resistance bands everywhere!” so I’ll make an effort not to repeat the tried-and-true adages we’ve all heard before. Rather, I’d like to share some of the most important tips I have learned about healthy and happy travel… whether it be a leisurely trip through the French Riviera, or a backpacking tour through Mozambique!


What about the food?


Eating is one of the most “stressful” parts of traveling: guaranteeing that healthy options are available. My advice is this: do the best you can to seek out healthy options, but recognize that you are traveling, they might not always be available, and accept that NOW before you let it ruin your trip.

· Stock up on satiating snacks.


I have had packages sent from the States with nuts, dried fruit, and oatmeal packets, as well as some Clif and Z-bars. I always bring a few of these things when I am traveling, which helps me (sometimes) avoid the other available options (cookies and bread and soda) if I have a few things with me. If you are leaving for a trip, this stuff is portable and does not go bad ANY time soon. Bring stuff with you! I carry nuts, fruit, and a jar of peanut butter with me pretty much everywhere.

· Be careful with fruits and veggies. As much as we would love to eat all raw, real, foods, all the time, sometimes this is the source of your problems overseas. You may be able to get away with wiping your grocery store apple on your jeans in the States, but this could definitely get you in trouble elsewhere. Even if the fruits and veggies are relatively clean, you are dealing with a completely different set of bacteria that might mess up your system. Also, recognize that your salad veggies, for example, were probably washed in normal tap water. Etc. So, take care to make sure your fruits are clean (I often go for bananas and oranges on the road for this reason). Rubbing hand sanitizer on it does not make it clean. Unfortunately, people have tried.

· Educate yourself about what your options are. Most every culture or country has some vegetarian dishes—figure out what they are! Use your foodie curiosity as a good excuse to talk to locals—figure out what they eat, what the most popular dishes are, and go for those. Balance is key. White corn meal is not going to kill you in small portions. If you are nervous about options out at a restaurant or food stall, eat a healthy snack beforehand, so you can always turn down something you don’t feel comfortable eating. But with that being said…

· Try new things! Often times people view travel as a great opportunity to fly to a distant, exotic land, sleep in a room much like theirs at home, while watching the same TV programs that they watch at home, and EATING nearly the same dishes that they have at home! What’s the point? Take advantage of the opportunities for culinary experimentation, it is one of the best things about travel.


Okay, come on. How the heck do I get exercise?!


Exercise is the key to health and happiness in many ways while traveling: it beats jet lag, it keeps your body invigorated, and it allows more flexibility for your changed diet. Unfortunately, it can also prove incredibly difficult (unless you are at a hotel with a gym or there’s one nearby, in which case it is not so hard!). Make the most of it. Some suggestions:

· WALK EVERYWHERE. NEVER STOP WALKING. Okay, there’s a few places (Johannesburg, Nairobi) where I wouldn’t advise walking—but learn about the safety situation (and always ask people at the hotel/hostel you are staying at about the surrounding area) and if it is safe, walk it out! I love exploring new cities on foot and you can easily walk ten, fifteen miles in a day exploring without feeling like you’re “getting exercise.” This is the best way I have found to guarantee exercise while traveling. Bring your walking shoes!

· Run, at your own risk. Running is amazing because it is “portable”—you can do it anywhere in the world with no equipment! But like always, do your research before you go for a run—make sure the area is safe, don’t carry valuables on you, don’t go before dawn or after dark and PLEASE don’t get lost!

· Make the most of it! In backpacker’s lodges and hostels, finding free space to work out can be difficult. If you have your own room (or even just a little area to yourself), make your own workout with exercises that don’t require any equipment (crunches, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc.) Be on the lookout for other activities to work seamlessly into your vacation or trip: on the beach? Swim up and down the shoreline. In a woodsy area? Go for hikes. Check out guided tours on foot, bicycle rentals, and any number of other “active” possibilities. Sure, you might not be able to go to Body Pump on vaycay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move your body. Make the most of it!


Striking a healthy balance while traveling will always be a challenge, but with a bit of preparation and an open mind, you can have an enjoyable, eye-opening and even healthy adventure! I hope you found this post interesting; come check my blog out at Pancakes & Postcards and tell me about your travels and adventures and tips—I would love to hear about them.


Question from Tina…Where is the most interesting place you have ever been?


5 Comments to “Guest Post – Africa Travels”
  1. Great tips!! I love the handwritten ST workouts and the great points about running and walking, and fitting it in while staying safe!!

    Most interesting place? I dunno – maybe Jamaica? I found it fascinating and loved the people – but, truth be told, spent the majority of my time at the resort!

  2. Nichole says:

    Terrific thoughts on travel health and lifestyle. Love your snack bag, so essential. I’m so distracted by the beautiful pictures, how amazing.

    Costa Rica was a recent vaca we went on that had everything. Trails, lovely towns and amazing beaches.

    Thanks for sharing your amazing journey!

  3. I loved reading this post-there were so many great ideas!

  4. Thanks everyone for reading 🙂 Tina, WELCOME BACK!!! And thanks again for letting me do a guest post for you!

  5. Brittany says:

    Love this and Courtney! So many great things!

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