“How are you getting to travel?” We’ve been asked this quite a bit over the last year and a half, considering the state of the world. And the simple response is because we choose to. We choose to live our lives in Love, not in fear. We stay healthy (and in turn do our part for the greater good) by taking care of our immune system, staying hydrated, getting a daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, getting adequate sleep, eating lots of organic vegetables, exercising daily (mostly ;), reading books, focusing on self through meditation and reflection, interacting with our environment, including other people and nature, and generally approaching life with a positive mindset. We believe our health is our responsibility. We do these things because we are response-able.
Let’s break it down a little further and talk about the following: being responsible for your health and well-being, taking care of your immune system, eating well and staying hydrated, not letting fear control you, being mindful and respectful of others, and understanding actual conditions on travel.
Being responsible for your health and well-being: Who is the primary driver of the state of your overall wellness and health outcomes? You are, of course. That’s what we believe. We’re not counting on you, a medical practitioner, a government, friends, or family to run the show when it comes to our overall health and decision-making. Ain’t none of them got the time, the care, or the ability for that! You are your own best health advocate. Your choices have the most impact on you. Your health is your responsibility. Once you believe this, you are empowered to make positive choices and take positive actions for your well-being on the daily. And as a result, living life, much less traveling, doesn’t look so scary.
Taking care of your immune system: We’re big believers in the power of our innate immune system; the one that God gave us all and the one that has helped the human species stay alive and thrive over its existence. And just like all other areas of your health, it is hugely important to nurture and build your immune system so that it is operating at its best and thus providing you with the best possible protection from disease (or recovery should you catch something).
Based on our health journeys and research, we’ve learned the crux of the immune system is in the gut, meaning the digestive tract, or microbiome. For most of us, the microbiomeis in a constant state of bombardment from all the toxicity that we consume, both what we willfully put in (and on) our bodies through eating and drinking, medical, and personal products as well as toxins from our environment. It is also affected by our emotions, past traumas, inflammation, negative energy, and stress, among many other things.
So what’s a poor little ’ol you to do in such a big bad world? Take care of it. Make it your responsibility. Build it up rather than tear it down. Leaky gut can be repaired. A dysfunctional immune system can become functional again. Some actions that we employ to nurture and build our immune systems include taking high-quality supplements, drinking plenty of water, getting outdoors in the sun and mixing it up with nature, eating organic vegetables so we are properly nourished, and practicing mindfulness so we keep our stress/cortisol levels down.
Eating well enough: If you’re like us, you love to eat out, order an appetizer (or two), have a couple drinks, the best-looking main on the menu, and possibly a dessert if you’re not already stuffed. However, we’ve realized that if you do this every meal, you tend to not feel your best. Like most things in life, for us, it’s about balance. You always have choice.
We try to cook at least half our meals while traveling; often that means a lot of breakfasts/brunches are made by us. When we cook, we like to use organic ingredients (whenever available/possible) ideally purchased from local farmer’s markets. We like to go heavy on healthy fat foods like avocados and olive oil as well as greens and cruciferous and root vegetables like rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, and other greens like cilantro and parsley for flavor. We like to get omega-3 eggs, or ideally pasture-raised eggs from local farms (meaning the chickens are free to forage in pasture and eat their natural diet of insects), when available. When we use cheese, which admittedly is more than is good for us, we use goat or sheep’s milk cheese.
If we’re by the ocean, we like to buy fresh, wild-caught fish and shellfish; we try to avoid any farmed, sustainable seafood products. We love a good steak, preferably a nice cut from a grass-raised and finished cow from a local farmer’s market. And we don’t eat animal products at every meal. A tray of oven-baked veggies with some salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and olive oil is a great meal on the road. For a few of our favorite travel recipes, see the Nourishing section of our site under the Living menu.
Remember we said we only cook about half our meals. The other half, we go enjoy the local fare. We love to eat out! We love cocktails and carpaccio. We always want to try the best spots around and the can’t-miss items on the menu. We’re Big Adventure Living, not a couple basic b’s. Of course we try not to go too crazy, but part of the experience of being anywhere on the road is sampling the local fare and having fun. Check out some of our favorite restaurants in the Reviews section of our site under the Exploring menu.
Staying hydrated: Equally important to what we eat is what we drink (and don’t drink). The number one drink in our daily life is water. To be adequately hydrated, we follow the functional health guidance that says you should consume the number of ounces of water corresponding to the number of your weight in pounds divided by two. For example, Reed weighs 210 pounds, so he should consume half that in ounces of water, or 105 ounces daily. Also, we don’t just drink any water. It’s important to get quality water free of all the impurities and toxicity, like fluoride, found in a lot of tap waters, including in the US. So, if we can get spring water from the tap (like many places in Costa Rica), great! Otherwise, we buy bulk natural spring water from the grocery store and refill our water bottles with it.
We don’t skimp on water. What you put in your body is your fuel. You don’t put regular into a Ferrari do you? Also, we try to limit consumption of sugary beverages, excluding alcohol, to near nil; this includes fruit juices, even freshly squeezed, which are basically just sugar. Whole fruits, in moderation, are great though.
Finally, we like an adult beverage or two. We try to keep it down to one or two a day, if any at all, and at that, to dark-colored liquor cocktails, gin-based cocktails, champagne, and/or red wine. This is often hard because we’re suckers for Sauvignon Blanc and Hendrix dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives. Let’s just say we’re working on it, ok? Oh, and we have beer on occasion, for instance as a post-hike reward or if there is a cool brewery in town.
Not letting fear control you: How many decisions in your life lately have come from the inside out? What is governing your actions, the outside world or your heart? Are you living in Love or in fear? We’re not here to judge you, whatever your answers to these questions. And your life is your life, your decisions are your decisions, as ours are ours. We respect your sovereignty as another human being. At Big Adventure Living, we believe in Love. Without getting too into it, Love is the only thing that’s real. God is Love; Love is the context in which we exist and live. We see fear for what it is, an illusion, or a separation from Love.
We make our decisions coming from a space of Love. This paradigm allows us to navigate stormy seas, to bring light to darkness, and to live in Love rather than fear. This isn’t to say we don’t get scared. We don’t go hucking off Corbett’s without a big dump first (what if we shit our pants)? That’s some ski humor for the uninitiated. It is to say, however, that we don’t let fear dictate our decision-making or outcomes. We work in the now, from Love, and we arrive at where we’re supposed to be. We say yes to adventure, to ourselves, and to abundance. We’re tuned up! What we’re saying is you have a choice in this life, to look and live from with-in or with-out. We’re all IN baby! And that allows us to do the things we want to do, like travel the world regardless of the circumstances.
Being mindful and respectful of others: We’ll keep this brief, as this one is kind of obvious. At Big Adventure Living, we believe in the Golden Rule. If you don’t know what that is, look it up because you might be an asshole. And if you are, that’s cool, we need you too. We’re one, after all, and we have a lot of shit to let go. All quasi-kidding aside, we believe in how life generally has operated throughout history when coming from Love – – you help your neighbor when they’re in need, you try to see another’s perspective instead of standing on your own arrogance, you don’t comfort dysfunction, you treat another as a sovereign human being, and you don’t impart yourself unto their space.
When we go to a new place, we respect the culture, the people, and the environment. We do as the locals do. If we’re sick with the flu, we don’t go out. If we sneeze into our hands, we wash them before we go touching stuff. We don’t give steely looks to coughing strangers. We shake your hand and look you in the eye. And if we find ourselves judging, we look within as to why. Sometimes you have to take the plank out of your own eye before you try to take the spec out of someone else’s.
Knowing the actual conditions on travel: When our original plan to travel around the world started to fall apart circa March 2020, it did have a sky-is-falling feeling. Borders were closing, planes weren’t flying, lockdowns were happening, it was real. So, we initially felt very restricted, like we shouldn’t go anywhere or do anything. Then, we went to Sedona, AZ. Out there, we could hike and enjoy the outdoors without any real impediment. Then, we went on a houseboat trip on Lake Powell. There we could be with family and hug and laugh and love without any real impediment. Then, we went canyoneering in Utah. There we could share blood, sweat, and tears in close quarters for two days navigating our way down canyons without any real impediment. Then, we started to camp around the western US for months without any real impediment. None of the places we went those first 3 months restricted us from entry or turned us away. Quite the opposite actually, as people who depend on tourism for a living were hurting, badly. We were helping them.
Then, we heard Croatia was open to Americans (one of the few countries in the world that was), so we went there. It was the one and only time in the last year we had to take a nasal-swab test to be granted entry. Seemed like an easy decision for two people who are healthy and take care of their immune systems. Then, once we’d been in Croatia for over two weeks, we could go to Montenegro. So we flew there after our month-and-a-half in Croatia. Then, we could go to Albania without any real impediment, so we bussed there after our few weeks in Montenegro. Then, after driving around Albania for a few weeks, we could get into North Macedonia, so we drove there for a couple weeks, then back to Albania without any real impediment. Then, after flying home for the holidays, we decided to go to Costa Rica. So, we flew down there without any real impediment.
See, these were the actual conditions on travel during the last year. It wasn’t that we couldn’t go anywhere. We weren’t homebound or hamstrung based on fear or the outside conditions the world was bombarding us with. We chose to say yes, to take the reality at hand and take action. We didn’t “should” on ourselves, and you don’t have to either! And what about the people in all the places we travelled, how did they feel about all this?
In a year of traveling since April 2020, we haven’t met one person who has said you shouldn’t be traveling during this time, we don’t want you here, why did you come here, or some variant of those questions. We have been welcomed, we have been treated with dignity and respect, we have been embraced (figuratively and literally), and we have been appreciated. We wonder what is going to happen to this world if so many people continue to succumb to fear? We’re going to continue choosing Love.