Travelling to far off and exciting destinations, whether for work or pleasure, is on everyone’s wish-list. However, long-distance journeys can often take the fun out of an otherwise thrilling trip. If the trip involves journeying for hours in a vehicle, it could be mind-numbingly boring and a spoiler for your adventure. Here’s how to enjoy that bus, train or plane ride and conserve your energy for your destination too.
The key to surviving long rides is to ensure that you are comfortable. This goes beyond good seats and leg-room. There’s a list of do’s and don’ts to follow to make sure your body and mind is relaxed in every way!
1. Eat Moderately – Your stomach is key to your ease on the journey. You should definitely avoid foods that tend not to agree with you, especially processed foods of the packaged kind and too much carbonated drink. The perpetual motion of travel will affect your digestion, and even a slightly disgruntled tummy will affect your mood all through the trip. If you’re getting away from civilization and washrooms are scarce, this becomes Rule No. 1. Don’t avoid eating though. Traveling takes more energy than you think.
2. Bring a book – Here’s your opportunity to catch up on that page-turner that’s been lying on your shelf for 3 months! Tablet readers are super too. Reading for long periods on a plane is perfect, and bearable on a train as well. On bumpy buses, however, reading could cause a headache. Solution? Bring some music and a comfortable pair of headphones instead!
3. Swap stories – If your journey lasts more than a few hours, even a book or your music collection may get tiresome. There’s no substitute for human contact. You will most probably land up next to some interesting people (find them, a few seats or coaches away if necessary), preferably very different from your own background, and get chatting! Letting your hair down and exchanging stories might become the most interesting part of your trip! Strangers travelling together often become friends for life at the end of the journey.
4. Change sitting positions and frequently drink water – This is so that your muscles and joints don’t get stiff. Keep your back as straight as possible to avoid unnecessary fatigue. Do a few stretching exercise for your wrists, ankles, knees, neck and upper back. You’ll be surprised how much difference this makes to your energy levels on a journey. Drink a good amount of water, but be aware of how far the next washroom is if you’re on the road. And remember, soft drinks are not a substitute for H2O.
5. Dream – Let your thoughts drift away. For the next few hours you have no deadlines, meetings or deliverables. Dream consciously. This is one of the best ways to relax and de-stress and probably the perfect way to begin an adventure. Let your subconscious mind deal with its issues safely and comfortably. If you meditate, now is a great time to get some extra hours in. Even simply watching your breath is enough. Use the beautiful landscape streaming across your window to zone out! If you end up in deep slumber you’ll find your awake feeling fresh and ready to take on the world.
Here’s a list of things you should definitely avoid:
1. Too much alcohol – While this may relax you for a while if you take a moderate amount, constant alcohol intake throughout a long journey is likely to upset your body. Nature calls can get erratic. You might find that the already long journey feels longer. If you fall asleep after a considerable amount of spirit, the constant movement while you’re asleep may cause a stinker of a hangover. You might not make friends easily either, unless you’re sitting next to another drunk!
2. Don’t dress wrong – A cautionary extra sweater can really make you sweat in a small seat. Find out about your journey in advance – temperatures, appropriate clothing, hours of travel, stops and facilities etc. Shorts when travelling through a mosquito infested area, and excess warm clothing in a moderate climate can be a bummer.
3. Travel light – Just like excess or inappropriate clothing, the wrong baggage can be quite frustrating. Find out what space is allotted to you on a coach, and how much hand luggage you can carry on that particular flight. If your luggage ends up getting shunted from one place to another for lack of space, your essentials may land up in different parts of your vehicle. Try and keep your medicines, water, tissue rolls and valuables in a small bag with you at all times. Leave that Rolex or diamond ring at home if you’re on an adventure trip.
4. Try not to complain too much – If you’re on a tour or a bus, and things aren’t going as easy as you thought they should, try not to complain.
You’re on a journey and not everything is going to go according to plan. Psychologists note that complaining in a situation that can’t be helped is the worst way to help the situation. Your mood and the mood of your fellow travellers are essential to the enjoyment of your trip. A bus or train coach filled with irritated people stuck together for a number of hours isn’t a picture you want to be part of. Look at the bright side of life!
All of the above assumes that you’re travelling by yourself. But here’s the big secret to making long journey’s fun. Don’t travel alone! A partner, a bunch of friends, your college mates or work colleagues would all probably make amazing travel companions. On journeys or holidays you get to discover a whole new side to the people you normally work or live with. Travelling brings out the best in people, and sometimes the worst. But it almost always shows you that you can trust others, and be there for them when they need it too. You’ll have conversations you’d never dream of having otherwise. Your trip would become a whole lot more fulfilling with people to share it with later. It makes going back to work and life a whole new level of fun.
Visual Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/locosteve/