FINDING BALANCE ON THE ROAD
Even though we’re part-timers, James and I have been on the road a lot lately.
James is fortunate. His day job allows him to work remotely, so it’s easy for him to hit the road. He’s actually pretty great at balancing work while still making the trip feel special.
I guess I’m to blame for why we aren’t out there RVing more. I’m a personal trainer and wellness coach, and even though others in my field can do that remotely, I feel I’m more effective working in person. But, that’s not the only reason we’re not full-timers.
I like the balance of having an actual home, and having the RV as a vacation, and keeping the two things separate. So when I told you we’ve been on the road a lot lately, you probably assumed that was a good thing. And…it usually is, but when the RV starts feeling a little too “home-like”…you know, the days start to look the same, or I’m less interested in exploring my surroundings … I start getting nervous. That’s when I know it’s time to head home.
Now, I know others balance the full-time RV life successfully and have found strategies to keep it fresh and exciting. Good for them! There isn’t just one way of RVing that’s the best way for everyone. I simply know that I’m better suited to the part-time lifestyle. It allows me to continue to love RVing and keeps me always looking forward to the next adventure. In a nutshell, it keeps me balanced.
In fact, keeping equilibrium in life, I believe, is one of the most important aspects of living our best lives. That goes for the RV lifestyle as well. It’s that never-ending juggling act, keeping all the life balls up in the air as efficiently as possible. If you can do that well, congratulations, you’ve got high levels of “balance” in your life. Naturally, the RV lifestyle adds its own challenges to keeping your life balanced. And those of you who know me know I’ve got a thing or two to say on the topic.
A Fit Body Means a Fit Mind: It’s all too easy to fall into vacation-mindset and allow ourselves to slack on our fitness when we hit the road. But actually, that’s the worst thing we can do on vacation. Over on my website, The Fit RV, I’ve started a new trend called “Boot Camping.” Once a week, I’ve been putting up a video of one campground-friendly exercise, and have been challenging RVers to try to do that exercise each day all week.
Exercise doesn’t only strengthen our bodies; it also makes our brains healthier too…better memory, improved brain function, less stress, etc. It is the hands-down-non-negotiable-most-important component to keeping balance in the RV and in life.
Physical Balance Goes Hand in Hand with Mental Balance: Okay, so maybe you read that last part and thought, “well I already work out, so I’ve got that part covered.” But do you work ALL aspects of your fitness? Practicing actual physical balance exercises is often neglected, even amongst fit people.
Balance poses trigger our stabilizer muscles, and you need a high amount of brain power to do them. That’s great because it means you’re going to be mindful and present. That state of mind is actually a sort of meditation, whether you know you’re doing it or not. Research shows mindfulness grows grey matter in your brain, and helps regulate your emotions. And besides, practicing balance exercises improves your movement efficiency in your daily living. You see why physical balance is crucial for keeping mentally balanced in life?
Be Present: Remember earlier when I told you I didn’t like when RV trips started to feel more like home than vacation? THIS is one of the reasons why. When I first set out on a trip, I’m in complete vacation-mindset. I’m excited, I’m checking everything out, I’m curious, I’m PRESENT. That’s what I love so much about RVing. It puts me in this incredibly healthy state of mind and I don’t even have to work for it! To keep balanced on the road, you’ve got to find ways to stay in this mindset.
Many people turn to meditation for this very reason. It’s a way to learn how to be aware and mindful of the present moment, so we don’t miss it as the moment moves from present to past.
Eat Well: Now look. I love food just as much as the next guy, so don’t think I’m here trying to be a self-righteous know-it-all. This one’s hard for me, too. Because when you’re in “vacation mindset” it gets pretty tempting to eat more and eat poor. Boy don’t I know it.
But having a belly overstuffed with junk has no place in a balanced life. You’ll be left with feelings of guilt and disappointment, and you’ll also have the physical discomfort to deal with…making you imbalanced both mentally and physically. I’m not telling you to eat like a saint on your trips. I don’t, so I can’t ask that of you. I’m only hoping you’ll keep it in mind and try your best. Remember, we eat for our “future” selves, the one we aspire to be, not the present one who can’t see past the repercussions of those s’mores staring them in the face.
So there you go…a few ways I find balance on the road; hopefully there’s something you can take away, too. Just keep in mind that keeping balanced is a perpetual work in progress. It’s not something you can achieve without effort… and there’s definitely a trick to it. Wish I could spell it out for you, but alas, that trick is undefinable. It’s dynamic, ever-changing, and it completely depends on your own set of circumstances. You have to create your own tricks to find your balance. There’s a great quote I love “Balance is the process of holding things steady during change.” I like that. Perhaps the trick is somewhere in those words.