- 107 hours of commuting time, including airplane seats, train seats, taxi seats, and airport seats
- 10 nights sleeping in hotels
- 3 nights sleeping (kind of) on planes
- 6 time zones (including the layover in LA)
I’m really not looking for sympathy as it was a FANTASTIC trip. I tremendously enjoyed my time with colleagues from around the world. I went to Weight Watchers Leader conventions in three different cities, and the energy was undeniable. I was able to spend time in some of the most beautiful and exciting cities on Earth. I even got to see Real Madrid play Espanyol Barcelona in Madrid, which was a tremendous opportunity and experience (particularly for a Yank).
However, I’m whipped! Even for me, this was a crazy trip. It reminds me of my favorite travel maxims: I love being places, I just hate getting there. One of the reasons is that its really hard to keep on the straight and narrow of a healthy life at this kind of topsy turvy pace. 107 hours of commuting is a lot of time surrounded by a lot of bad food choices.
For some reason, all of this reminded me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A road trip mixed with a strange city can lead to a temptation laden environment resulting in not good choices. At the extreme (understatement here):
"The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers . . . and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls . . . Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon." Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
[BTW, I realize that Fear and Loathing is everyone's cup of tea, so I appreciate the indulgence in allowing me to quote from a book that made me laugh violently during my college years.]
OK, the hotel mini bar is not quite the same thing as the trunk of Hunter S. Thompson’s Chevrolet Impala convertible, but I found the circumstances uncomfortably similar. If you spend too much time away from normal, it gets harder and harder to keep the bad choices at bay.
On the food side, I found myself slipping a little bit more as the trip progressed. I started strong and resolved, and I convinced myself that I was a grown man who could make responsible decisions no matter where he was. Right up until they asked me if I’d like the cheese plate as a desert on my flight to Sydney. Soon, I was accepting any and all cups of nuts on my flights. By the end of the trip, I laid siege to the mini-bar twice in London, demolishing two bags of salty rice snacks, two largish bags of cashew nuts, and one bag of Whoppers. Not exactly illicit drugs, but cashew nuts are certainly one of my drugs of choice.
I finished the trip slightly damaged, but still undaunted. During times of stress, you learn what you go-to healthy habits are. As was gratified that I was able to keep the faith in:
- Sticking to a healthy breakfast
- Eating a pretty healthy lunch
- Ordering fairly healthy dinner options
- Most importantly, I exercised every morning I possibly could regardless of how little sleep
I don’t think I did any permanent damage, and I may not have even really gained any weight. Yet I came out knowing where my strengths were and where my weaknesses were still evident. Frankly, I was a little mad at myself about the whole mini-bar fiasco as I usually resist this temptation. However, I also recognize that I'm not perfect, and it's perfectly alright for me to fall off the program in spectacular fashion from time-to-time.
Most importantly, I am finally back on my home turf where I know how to live healthily. Therefore, Monday is a new day, and my tracker is out and blazing with POINTS-friendly entries. I’m looking at the last three weeks as a freakish road trip that was an aberration, not a new reality. I have a full month until the travel madness begins anew, and I need to get back on track. Redemption is mine!