(Not) Staying fit on the road

Spoiler: eating barbecue and driving a lot isn’t good for your health. This post is about attempts to stay fit and healthy while living the van life.

“I just imagine you guys hiking all the time,” said my friend Eva who was surprised to hear we were having a hard time staying active.

To effectively treat a problem you need a diagnosis, yes? Here are the barriers to physical activity we’ve faced the past few months:

  1. Aggressive timeline. Up until recently, we’ve had deadlines for arriving places — mostly due to work commitments. So we were driving a LOT.
  2. Longer trails, please. Many of the state parks we visited had pathetic trails. It wasn’t until we got to the Carolinas that we found challenging hikes longer than 0.75mi.
  3. Dog + hot car = abuse. When we did find long hikes, they weren’t feasible when we had Holly. Cars heat up quick during the day and it would’ve been mean to leave her. (We’d give anything to still be worrying about this.)
  4. What is a sidewalk? One of my freelance projects is related to preventing childhood obesity. I’d always read about non-walkable cities and towns, but it’s another thing to be in one. Lack of sidewalks and bike lanes. Sprawl. We even stopped at a bank to use an ATM and there wasn’t even a walk-up one; you had to use the drive-thru.
  5. Laziness. Having a car makes us lazy. Period.

And then there’s all that delicious food:


Eatin ribs

Chris and I stuffing our faces with delicious smoked ribs (no regrets!) at our friends’ house in Louisville


This list is not an excuse — it’s informative. What we learned from this exercise (pun intended) is that nearly all of this is in our control. What did we decide to do about it?

Chris and Tamara’s DIY Wellness Retreat

We’ve found a temporary home in Savannah, Georgia where we’ll spend one month focused on our fitness. It’s slower travel, which we enjoy. Red Delicious will take a well-deserved break.


Red Delicious in Savannah

Our little cottage (center) on an island outside Savannah


After spending a fun-filled and bourbon-soaked week with our friends Amabelle and Andrew in Louisville (photos below), we set up shop in this cottage outside Savannah. There still aren’t any sidewalks, but it’s a quiet enough street.

We’ve also set up a schedule if you want to try something similar.

  • Stress-Free Sunday: Long walk, bike ride
  • Move-It Monday: Long walk, golf (Chris), yoga (Tamara)
  • Too-Fit Tuesday: Long walk, tennis
  • Wellness Wednesday: Long walk, golf (Chris), yoga (Tamara)
  • Think-Healthy Thursday: Hike
  • Fat-Free Friday: Long walk, tennis
  • Stress-Free Saturday: Long walk, bike ride

We do not follow this schedule.

But, we do use it as a guide. For example, on Tuesday we rode our bikes to the grocery store and back (6.5mi), I went to yoga, and we took a two-hour walking tour of downtown Savannah. There are free tennis courts a five-minute walk from us where we’ve played. Chris found a municipal golf course where he can walk the course for $16. I found a $49 one-month unlimited yoga pass. We also did an approx. 12-mile bike ride:


McQueens Island Trail

The western end of the McQueen’s Island Historic Trail, which used to be a railroad


The point is not to lose weight, although that would be nice. We just feel better when we’re more active. We’ll let you know how it goes. We’re testing this hypothesis: perhaps the key to staying fit is staying put in places longer.

Stay tuned for more photos of Savannah. For now, here are our favorite memories from Kentucky.

Obligatory state welcome sign photo

Thunder Over Louisville

The crowd gathering before the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks

T and C in Louisville

With our friends Andrew and Amabelle

Walking across the bridge

Taking a walk across the Ohio River to Indiana


Willett stencilFor marking the bourbon barrels

Bourbon in the beginning

It looks like hot cocoa but it’s bourbon’s humble beginnings


Rowan, the distillery cat

Andrew at Willett

Andrew hammering in the bunghole


Willett barrelA filled barrel on its way to age in the rickhouse

Makers Mark Rickhouse

The view looking out from one of Maker’s Mark’s rickhouses

Makers Mark Chihuly

Spirit of the Maker” — a Chihuly installation at Maker’s Mark

  5 comments for “(Not) Staying fit on the road

  1. Eva
    2015-05-01 at 6:56 am

    So now my rose-colored glasses are slightly more accurate. Now I’m picturing you biking all day, every day, right after sunrise yoga (silhouetted by a backdrop of an idyllic vista, natch).

  2. 2015-05-03 at 9:03 pm

    Hi there! I just found your blog from You Tube and read ALL your entries. What a cool idea! I have a mini van…LOL Although fitting in 5 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cats, 10 hens, and 2 ducks might be an issue. (Sorry to read about Holly! My mini-poo died of the same at 15.) 😉 Anyhoo! I love this idea, especially for quick couple’s camping here and there…My husband-to-be – we marry Mother’s Day! – would someday like to be full-time RVers (once the kids are grown). Right now our plan is tent camping, but. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures!

    • Tamara & Chris
      2015-05-04 at 5:08 am

      Thanks for reading and following! It means so much when we hear that, and I hope you find a way to hit the road in a way that works for you all someday soon. And thanks for the note about Holly and sorry to hear about your friend too. Here’s hoping your other furry and feathered friends are keeping you all company. 🙂 Thanks again!

  3. Esther
    2015-05-04 at 7:14 pm

    Ooh bourbon!

    Have you tried the free videos on the Do Yoga With Me site? I use them when I’m on the road.

    • Tamara & Chris
      2015-05-05 at 4:44 am

      Oh! Will check them out. Thanks!

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