5 Things I Learned from My Trip Down Under
Just before the holidays last year, I spent over a week in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to travel for work and decided to extend my stay past my required 48 hours of service. Trust me, after that non-stop 15 hour transcontinental flight the last thing you want to do is hop back on a plane after two days.
While it's been almost a year since that trip, given our current political climate, I've been idly reminiscing about my time Down Under and seriously contemplating my escape back to the Land of Oz. As if I needed reasons, I've come up with five really good ones. What I took away from the beach lifestyle, namely with regard to fitness and good health, may have you dreaming of sunshine coasts and beaches yourself. Or simply inspire you to make some adaptations to your own fitness and health regime here at home.
- Just move. There was no gym obsession in Sydney. At least I didn't detect one. Nature provided everything people needed to stay active and be healthy. We'd be wise to follow that lead.
- The above, apparently, requires a lot of caffeine. I thought America was coffee obsessed. Aussies' love for good, strong brew makes us look sleepy. The café culture is vibrant and I was buzzing as a result. Please don't interpret this as a pass to fuel your addiction. Quality is key. Have one or two REALLY GOOD, STRONG espressos and call it a day. This goes for any indulgence. If you're going to do it, do it right.
- It's easier to be kind. Pretty simple actually. Maybe it's because it was summer and Christmastime, but dang – Aussies are nice peeps. Of course, there was the rare exception – like the cab driver who cursed my name and threw my credit card at me when I couldn't pay him because his machine failed – but all in all – everyone was pleasant and happy to offer help – with a smile. Maybe you can lend a helping hand to someone today. Or just offer a smile in the elevator.
- Speaking of Christmastime, these people like to party. Office holiday parties do not seem to conjure up dread and dismay as they do in the States. Celebrations were going off – in the evening, in the afternoon, in the morning – all in the name of a little ho ho ho and holiday cheer. People really seemed to enjoy each other. Shared time trumped being glued to electronics and social media. So step away from the screen, and get to know the people that surround your cubby and live in your neighborhood. You may be surprised by who you meet and what you learn. Everyone has a story to share.
- Food is fresh. Even in the pubs and the not so fancy places – most of Australia has access to great, uncontaminated and unprocessed food. A far cry from our highly processed, intensely sugared and salted, and far accessed food supply. Do your best to shun the middle aisles of the grocery store and see what your community offers in the way of supporting local farmers, produce and other homemade products.
When it comes down to it, most of us are seeking the same thing. Joy. Love. Peace. A sense of belonging. And the good health to experience a life well lived. Remember, our well-being is not only comprised of how we move and what we put in our mouths. Our relationships – to ourselves, each other and Mother Nature – are keys to living a balanced and fulfilled life. If we follow in the footsteps of our mates Down Under, we may just find ourselves enjoying this holiday a little bit more.