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:
- Aggressive timeline. Up until recently, we’ve had deadlines for arriving places — mostly due to work commitments. So we were driving a LOT.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Laziness. Having a car makes us lazy. Period.
And then there’s all that delicious food:
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.
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:
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
The crowd gathering before the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks
With our friends Andrew and Amabelle
Taking a walk across the Ohio River to Indiana
For marking the bourbon barrels
It looks like hot cocoa but it’s bourbon’s humble beginnings
Rowan, the distillery cat
Andrew hammering in the bunghole
A filled barrel on its way to age in the rickhouse
The view looking out from one of Maker’s Mark’s rickhouses
“Spirit of the Maker” — a Chihuly installation at Maker’s Mark