While you needn’t look red carpet ready or be fit for a cover of a magazine while traveling, keeping a proper appearance helps a lot. As an extremely self-conscious woman, I can tell from experience that my first year backpacking was a complete disaster for my beauty and style. I made a number of mistakes with my hair, body and overall appearance. My buddies are mostly people who couldn’t care less about their outer appearance and at first it seemed that I am the only one who really cared how she looked. However, during that year I also learned a lot and maintaining simple beauty while on the road now seems easy and manageable.
Most of it is practical advice you can take even if you are only travelling for a week.
Lesson #1: Keep your hairstyle as simple as possible.
The long nights and long travels take their toll on your hair. Don’t let it suffer more.
Sub-rule #1: Don’t dye it. The bright sunlight will drastically change your color and soon it won’t look as good as in the beginning.
Sub-rule #2: Don’t change drastically your hairstyle. If you think that shorter hair will be easier to maintain, you are up for a rude awakening – it won’t happen. The best is keeping your hair with middle length. The reason is two-fold. You won’t have to tame it all day long (shorter version) and it doesn’t take ages to dry (long hair).
Lesson #2 Epilate your legs, don’t shave them
It might seem counter intuitive, but shaving legs every day is quite a chore while backpacking. Most of the time you won’t have access to running water at the appropriate time and when you get to the hostel you will be too tired to do this daily. On the other side if you get a small epilator like this without too many options you will be able to get by epilating every other week. Time = saved
Lesson #3 Growing a beard isn’t attractive
Sure enough shaving every day is next to impossible, but with today’s technology you can simply get a cordless trimmer and tame your beard every so often. Quickly and easily.
Lesson #4 Keep your style as practical as possible
Ditch the high heels. Hello comfortable wear! Invest in multi-functional items – like bandana, large scarf, multi-tools, good looking but very comfortable dark sneakers
If you think that backpacking alone will keep you fit – you are up to a rude awakening. It will only do if you have extremely sedentary lifestyle and eat junk all day. Otherwise, you’ll have to make effort my friend. Nothing in life comes free, so getting in shape and staying in shape requires some sacrifices. After all you spend your time and money on backpacking, it will be a real shame if you are not fit enough to enjoy them. Luckily, even small changes counts and are steps towards getting fit.
‘Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.’ ~Robert Collier
Rise and s..mile
I cannot tell you enough, how important it is to begin your day with a smile. To tell you the truth, I used to wake up grumpy and got to be easily irritated by even the smallest things around me. Then a friend of mine told me his small secret to happiness – he never goes to bed without a smile, and he always wakes up with a smile on his face.
‘What a weirdo’, I thought and almost immediately forgot this small conversation. However, one particular day I simply woke up happy. I smiled to the mirror when I went to the bathroom. I kept smiling to my reflection when I brushed my teeth and I left home happy.
That whole day was different, and I truly enjoyed each and every minute of the day. Right then and there I decided to keep doing that every morning for the rest of my life. My wife says that I am much happier person now, and I pay attention to the small things in life.
Get a healthy morning ritual
So, dust your happy self off and kick your butt to do some exercise. Even the smallest effort matters. Even if you have just 5 or 10 minutes you can do something positive for your body.
Slowly circle your head, shoulders and ankles. Rock your legs a bit to loosen your ankles.
Next, stretch your body. Open your arms, stretch your legs. Put on your top and pants, get in a good pair of workout shoes and let’s move: First do some press-up and sit-ups. Then do some squats. Finally do some planks to strengthen your core.
Yes, it’s THAT SIMPLE! There will be times you don’t feel like getting out of bed and just want to spend these 5 mins conveniently buried in your sheets. Remind yourself that exactly these minutes would make the difference between being a coach potato and seeing fit bodies only on TV and being that fit body yourself.
If you fail one time, dust yourself and try harder next time.
Drink plenty of water
Being dehydrated would reduce your brain and physical performance with 30%. Don’t be lazy ass. Drink at least half a gallon of water each day.
And remember, Coke and coffee do NOT count!
Kick off junk food forever
You might think that eating junk food for a week or two won’t be a disaster, but think again. It is enough to ruin your good habits. It takes many more days to get back in shape. What if you don’t eat junk at all? You won’t have to deal with the consequences or your reckless eating habits. How good is that?
Remember, you only have one body your entire life. Take a good care of it, if you want to be healthy when you get old. Be the best person EVERY DAY. Make every day counts, so when you get old, you won’t regret the things you didn’t do.
A quick motivational video to keep you inspired:
Back in the days I started preparing my stuff weeks before departure. I come up with elaborate packing lists of what to take with me. And sincerely, I’ve always overpacked. I leaved with a tank full of suitcases, only to return a week or two after that with most of my luggage never been touched.
I used to pack few changes of winter clothes, few changes of summer clothes and few changes of in-between clothes no matter where I went. I also made sure to have at least 4 pairs of shoes, and a backpack of snacks.
Moving from place to place was elaborate experience. Someone observing might say that a camel caravan is moving to the next oasis.
It was all before. For me, traveling was more of a nightmare instead of a pleasant experience. And I learned to travel light. I learned to be flexible. I learned a lot the hard way. Let me share my favorite tips with you now:
- Pack light!
This is the most important point for me. Pack the mere essentials. Never overpack Make sure you have a middle sized 50lbs backpack. Don’t be tempted to get the larger 70 lbs one, as I can tell you, you will manage to fill it up rather quickly. And swinging around with a 70 lbs on your back is certainly not an enjoyable experience.
- Pack only one change of clothes
and a few days of underwear. If you are to travel in the hot summer days, make sure you get a bandana and dark-colored clothes. You will sweat no matter what, just accept it. Sweat marks are not visible on dark colored tops.
- Make sure you have additional pair of shoes.
If you are to travel rough terrain, you’d better take some good boots with you – here are some tips on what to look for when buying good boots. I prefer dark colored boots – brown or black.
- Make sure you check to which airport you are going
the day before departure. As most big cities have more than one airport, you’ll save a lot of hassle if you know your direction upfront.
- Be flexible with your time and itinerary.
Or at least with one of these. You could find some amazing deals on the cheap if you are flexible and have enough time. Sure enough the usual hitchhiking methods still works, but you could find some really affordable flights here. Take your time, enjoy the whole experience at the fullest and don’t rush. That brings me to the next..
- Plan your whole trip.
Make sure you steer on the side of precaution, though. Don’t assume you will see the best sight-seeings in one-two hours and then catch your next flight. Stay at least two days in every place you visit.
What is your favorite backpacking tip? Share in the comments below!