Travel

Honeymooning on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi town shed for the wed honeymoon goals

In September, Conor and I went to our friends’ wedding in Amalfi, Italy. It was a dream: the clear blue water, the mountainous terrain, lemons everywhere, THE FOOD. It was a truly magical and beyond romantic experience. While we were pretty much occupato the entire time we were there, I could not help but notice what an amazing spot it would be to honeymoon! Here are some of the most romantic highlights from our trip. Allora, andiamo!

Stay on a lemon farm (or at least visit)

This was probably the most surprising gem of an experience. We booked an AirBNB and were not really sure what to expect. Since most of our friends had chosen to stay nearer to the water, we wondered if we had made a mistake. NOPE. Every morning we woke up in a little slice of paradise. We literally watched people walking donkeys through the fields of lemons. There was a waterfall right next door. Breakfast every morning under the lemon tree canopy. We felt far from the hustle and bustle of all the tourists in town, even though it was just a quick walk away. The one downside–it is a pretty steep walk up the hill after our long nights. But I do wonder if it helped me with not gaining any weight on the trip! (Downright miraculous really!)

If staying there isn’t your cup of tea, they have lemon experience tours! This company owned our AirBNB and had a booming tour business. You definitely don’t want to miss the more mountainous side of town.

Go for a swim at Hotel Luna

Yes, this is really us. Can you feel the bliss??

Yes, this is really us. Can you feel the bliss??

Um, the picture above says enough, right? The pools are built into the rocky terrain, and have access to the sea. It’s private and quiet compared to the nearby spiaggie (beaches)! Maybe the highlight is a little Italian man named Pepe who runs the show there. Watch out, he may become your new best friend.

Bonus points: go for a midnight swim in town with your boo. Yeah we did that too! Skinny dipping anyone? #romanticAF

Sail to Capri

Can you even with that crystal clear, turquoise water? I CANNOT.

Can you even with that crystal clear, turquoise water? I CANNOT.

La Canzone Del Mar Beach Club Capri honeymoon shed for the wed

Taking a day trip to Capri is a must. Capri is a little island about 20 miles away from Amalfi. It is a bit of a tourist mecca, so best to go in the off season if you can. It’s probably most well know for its blue grotto. We visited a private beach club, La Canzone Del Mar, while we were there. We had a fabulous lunch and swim there. Be aware, if you do choose to swim there, they will charge you €!

Spend some time in Ravello

The view from Villa Eva - the reception venue for the wedding.

The view from Villa Eva - the reception venue for the wedding.

Taken in the town square at cocktail hour. The sun was just breaking through the clouds. *magic*

Taken in the town square at cocktail hour. The sun was just breaking through the clouds. *magic*

Ravello is a charming town set in the hills looking down on Amalfi and the sea. It’s a little slice of heaven. It’s where the wedding actually took place, so we didn’t have time to do enough exploring. But can you beat cocktail hour in the main square in town after a fresh summer shower? The views are unbeatable. You can apparently hike to and from Amalfi, but I wouldn’t recommend it in heels! The town almost transports you back to a simpler time. Don’t miss it.

Eat like the Locals

This was served in a parmesan cheese bowl. I’m still drooling, months later.

This was served in a parmesan cheese bowl. I’m still drooling, months later.

A little prosciutto panini? Yes please!

A little prosciutto panini? Yes please!

Grilled octopus (polpa griglia!) in a chili tomato broth. Absolute heaven.

Grilled octopus (polpa griglia!) in a chili tomato broth. Absolute heaven.

Yes- enjoy the carbs. But don’t miss out on some of the freshest seafood ever. We are talking literally fisherman to table here people. The grilled octopus shown above may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten in the entirety of my life. And yes, don’t sweat the carbs and fat. You are walking enough to just enjoy. Also, food is real in Italy. Ingredients are better, fresher, and food isn’t over processed. Soak it all up! Try to avoid the tourist traps though. Things to watch out for- Alfredo sauce (an American invention), the use of the word “marinara” (another American invention!), and pictures on menus.



Other thing of note

Go shopping! The Amalfi coast is known for it’s gorgeous painted ceramics. Stock up!

Don’t drive. Please don’t drive. But, if you do drive: it’s critical to pick up your car within the reservation time. Unlike in the US, they will give your car away, and automatic transmissions are hard to come by. If you aren’t comfortable driving a manual transmission around coastal cliffs and hills, that is. We ended up in a SUV. We had to drive it through the tiny narrow streets all the way up to our AirBNB. Our Italian host literally called my husband a hero for not hitting anything or anyone. No one needs that kind of stress! There are ferries, trains, and buses that can get you where you need to go!

Positano. We were supposed to visit Positano but our plans were disrupted. From what I hear, it’s also on the not to be missed!


This is by no means a comprehensive list of what you could do during your stay on the Amalfi Coast. But I hope it inspired some wanderlust and could help you visualize what your coastal honeymoon could look like! Can you feel the romance?? I’m still swooning. What’s on your honeymoon short list? -AHS

The Glow Up

Hello beauties! First and foremost: this is your reminder that you are amazing and perfect just as you are. Right this very second! Are you feeling your fabulous selves today? Do a lil shimmy! Okay, now we’re ready!

I created Shed for the Wed because I wanted to help brides feel good! Planning a wedding whether for 500 people or just an intimate occasion with just your nearest and dearest can be stressful. It can bring up a lot of different emotions and can be downright exhausting! I want you to feel* full of life, love, and energy during your engagement. And I want to help you glow on the big day. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but the foundations of achieving this are the 3 Ss: Sustenance, Sweat, and Spirit. These are the basics that I want you to make sure you prioritizing in your pre-wedding routine. I will dive into each of the three Ss more in later posts- but I wanted to lay the foundation for the wedding glow up!

glow up - food for fuel vitamins minerals eat the rainbow

Sustenance

It is so, so critical to fuel your body with foods that provide nutritional value. Make sure you are “eating the rainbow” and getting your vitamins and minerals through whole food sources that are accessible for your body to process. Eating this way (and eliminating foods that may hinder it) give you ample energy and make your skin glow from the inside out.

Beyond that, have you ever noticed when you haven’t been eating healthy foods and perhaps have been drinking too much alcohol, you tend to feel more anxious or sad? This is not unusual, but you may not have made the correlation before. Healthy foods and water galore help not just your glow, but your mind too! All of this was taken into consideration when creating the Shed for the Wed Nutrition Programs! You can have piece of mind that you are fueling you glow and not adding to your pre-wedding nerves!

Sweat

yoga wheel exercise sweat it out sweating for the wedding

Getting your sweat on is the most obvious place people start when #sheddingforthewedding - which is actually why I don’t focus on it that much. I’m sure you already know there are serious benefits to exercise. Ranging from good heart health, increased bone density, all the way to relief from depression and anxiety– it really is fantastic. I find that when I have a good sweat routine, I know I’m taking care of my body, and I automatically just feel better about myself. When you build physical strength, you also build mental strength. I include it in the glow up list mostly because it’s an awesome way to boost your confidence. Just don’t overdo it- if you focus too much on sweating for the wedding, it can actually end up doing more harm then good.


Spirit

Spirit is the hardest to define, because we are have different essences to our beings and our souls and what satisfies my spirit may be very different to yours. But it is maybe the most important part of the glow up. You should be LIT about your life. I blather on about “self-care” quite a bit. But really any of the things on the following list could fall into that category. Do things that you love every single day.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Connection

  • Going on date night with your boo (*ahem* I mean almost spouse)

  • Belly laughs with friends

  • Spending time with loved ones

  • Volunteering

  • Cooking for loved ones

Nature

  • Swimming in the sea

  • Sunshine

  • Hiking (also counts as sweating!)

  • Gardening

Mindset

Spirituality

  • Praying

  • Going to church (or temple, mosque, whatever your affiliation)

  • Meditating (again)

Creativity

  • Making music

  • Writing

  • Painting

  • Drawing

  • Blogging

  • Cooking

Other

  • Traveling

  • Participating in activism

  • Snuggle time with a pet

  • Taking a social media hiatus

  • Whatever you consider fun!

My spirit is flying high on this one! Hiking, sunshine, nature, travel, all with my favorite person- doesn’t get much better than that! <3

My spirit is flying high on this one! Hiking, sunshine, nature, travel, all with my favorite person- doesn’t get much better than that! <3

The 3 Ss are the perfect trifecta to maximize your glow up for the big day. Which one are you going to begin to focus on first? Leave me a note in the comments or on Instagram or FB!

Happy glowing!

-AHS


*It’s okay to feel any emotion during this time, but I’m assuming you want to feel your best, thus I want to help you get there! Have a read of this post if you are feeling less than stellar mentally during your engagement.

Mini Guide to Cape Town

cape town mini healthy guide

I have been blessed to have been to glorious Cape Town on two occasions, the first time to visit my BFF when she lived there back in 2012, and the second time I tacked on a visit after her wedding (May 2018) in Durban, South Africa. Both times I wanted to move there. I am a sucker for the combination of mountains and ocean in one location. But besides the absolutely jar dropping landscape; it has an enthralling history, a rich culture, and friendly people.  Photos featured are all my own. Attraction titles link (when available) to website resource. 

 

The great outdoors

Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens

The magical Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens.

The magical Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens.

This may be my favorite place in all of Cape Town. For a small entrance fee you can wander the gorgeous botanic gardens. It was the perfect place to journal and reflect. Can't you feel the good juju even in the one photo above? There is an abundance of flora, fauna, and animals. One of my favorite things I stumbled upon was a tree canopy walk, which was super cool. Maybe the best part? They have free concerts and you can picnic there! 


Table Mountain

There are various routes to hike your way up Table Mountain. Back in 2012 I did it with the girls and almost died (not really, but it was hard) and my camera actually did die, and I got no pics from the top. It was very sad! However, if you aren't into the hiking route, there are gondolas that take you to the top! All of the view, none of the work! Also, the best part of the gondola IMO is that if you hike to the top you can gondola down. 


Lion's Head

Me at the top of Lions Head! Very proud moment indeed.&nbsp;

Me at the top of Lions Head! Very proud moment indeed. 

This hike is not as intensive as Table Mountain and relatively quick, but if you miss the sign you could end up climbing vertically with random ladders and chains built into the side of a mountain, ahem, like me and apparently this guy. That being said I have a fear of falling from great heights, and I was able to push through and hike this by myself. It was definitely scary at times, but I think if you were with another person it would be a-ok. The views are absolutely unreal, and not to miss. 


Boulders Beach... where my penguins at?&nbsp;

Boulders Beach... where my penguins at? 

This look brought to you by 2012.&nbsp;

This look brought to you by 2012. 

A gorgeous beach laden with, big shocker, boulders and also where the penguins call home. It's a perfect place for a chill afternoon, get some sun and spend some time with our feathered pals. I took hundred of penguins pics. All of the cuteness. Honestly, I don't have anything to add. Could you imagine anything better? 


Groot Constantia, you beaut.&nbsp;

Groot Constantia, you beaut. 

Baboon friends who attacked our picnic. Don't worry, official "baboon security" came to our rescue!&nbsp;

Baboon friends who attacked our picnic. Don't worry, official "baboon security" came to our rescue! 

This winery is gorgeous and the oldest wine producing farm in the country. It's a great option if you want to include wine tastings in your trip but don't want to head all the way to Stellenbosch (the major wine region). Groot Constantia is easily accessible from the city tour buses. If you're lucky, you will get to see some baboons like we did! 


Cape of Good Hope

Views from the Cape of Good Hope

Views from the Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope Cape Town South Africa

Known for its stunning scenery, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. Our guy, Bartolomeu Dias, was the first modern explorer to round the cape in 1488. It used to be thought of as the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, however, modern cartography tells us that isn't quite right. 🤔🤔🤔 Go there for some stunning views and a feeling like you are on the edge of the world. 


Camps Bay

Oooo Table Mountain, your backside looking good, girl.&nbsp;

Oooo Table Mountain, your backside looking good, girl. 

camps bay beach view cape town

Beautiful beaches. Great dining options. No brainer. It's probably one of the more accessible beaches if you are staying in the city. It feels like you've stumbled upon a beach town in the midst of the city.


History

The stunning landscape makes it easy to forget some of the heartbreaking history in this beautiful place. I recommend you read up on apartheid before you travel there, because while it ended in the 90s, it has shaped a lot of what exists today in South Africa. 

District Six Museum

JPEG image-24209C8B2C98-3.jpeg
District Six Museum Cape Town South Africa

Robben Island

robben island freedom
"We want Robben Island to reflect the triumph of freedom and human dignity over oppression and humiliation." -Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner

Robben Island was home to a maximum security prison that held Nobel Laureate and former president of SA, Nelson Mandela, for 18 of his 27 years in exile. Two other political inmates held there, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, also went on to become president of South Africa. 

It is definitely a somber experience visiting the island, but being there to learn and feel the history are the makings of a life changing trip. 

This article is a great read for further information.

View of the mainland from Robben Island.&nbsp;

View of the mainland from Robben Island. 


Wellness Finds

Mojo Market

Mojo Market Sea Point Cape Town

Mojo market is an indoor market with beach views. Amazing food and drink (see below) vendors and some really cool unique boutique retailers. There was also a yoga studio down the street, but I was sick so I wasn't up to it that day. That being said, the Sea Point area seems like the go to for all your wellness finds! You can even go for a run on their beachfront running path. 

Beetbox RX

High Vibe juices, crystal bowls, and sourced 95% from local farms- ya can't beet it! (pun intended)

High Vibe juices, crystal bowls, and sourced 95% from local farms- ya can't beet it! (pun intended)

Yep poke made it all the way to SA. This bowl hit the spot after a long day of touristing.&nbsp;

Yep poke made it all the way to SA. This bowl hit the spot after a long day of touristing. 

There is no shortage of spas or yoga studios around, but as I didn't have a chance to experience them, I won't elaborate on my findings. If you want more- this article from Well + Good was very helpful! 


More Touristy goodness

V&A Waterfront

cape town V&A waterfront harbour
Cape Town V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is probably the tourist Mecca, but it truly is beautiful. There are lots of great dining options and awesome shopping. There are actually a lot of really cool local artisans around, but you have to look for them in the sea of mass retailers.  And yeah, you can find an almond milk matcha there. #winning


Greenmarket Square

Located in the heart of the city, there are some super cool markets. It definitely is targeted at tourists, but you can find a lot of really cool local artisan finds there too. You can definitely barter, but try to do it ethically. If you are coming from the US you can probably afford to pay their mark up. It's a safe area, but people with ask you for money or to buy them food. The architecture surrounding the square is gorgeous and makes for a scenic shopping trip. 


Accomodations

The Tree House Boutique Hotel

I only have stayed at one hotel in Cape Town, but I couldn't recommend it more. The Tree House Boutique Hotel was amazing and the staff were beyond helpful. My stay came with complimentary breakfast, which was incredible. It had a transitional fresh tree house vibe with hints of balinese. Basically, made for me. It was walking distance to the V&A Waterfront, the boojiest Woolies (Woolworth's) I've ever been in and some great restaurants and gelato! 


Things that I still haven't done but think you should do

Bo-Kaap - Beautiful, cultural rich neigborhood

Company's Gardens - lovely gardens in the city center

Muizenberg beach - colorful shacks on the beach? Yep, that's Muizenberg. Great for surfing or beach yoga!

Stellenbosch - incredible wines come from Stellenbosch. Wine tasting sounds like a pretty romantic way to spend your honeymoon!


A note on water conservation in Cape Town

Cape Town is running out of fresh water. To prevent this, they have enacted lots of water conservation efforts in order to preserve water. This has deterred lots of tourism from the city and country. I can tell you, this did not negatively affect my stay in any capacity. If anything, it helped me to realize just how much water I waste on a daily basis. Please do not overlook this glorious place for that reason- the lack of tourists has had a huge impact on the people and the economy. 

 

Has this inspired you to head to Cape Town for your honeymoon? Let me know if you have any questions on this glorious place, I would love to give you any pointers from my experiences there! Happy travels! -AHS

My Best Friend's (African) Wedding

Photo by Eileen Laubscher,  BrightGirl Photography .

Photo by Eileen Laubscher, BrightGirl Photography.

To give a bit of background, the my bestie, Anna, lived in Cape Town for a few years, a few years ago. That is when she met Awonke back in 2012. (Fun fact: I came to visit her and met him the month before they started dating! I'm very glad I did because I wouldn't have gotten another opportunity to meet him for at least another 3 years after that!) She moved back to the States in 2014 (right before my wedding!) and these two lovebirds have been doing long distance ever since. I won't go into specifics but it has not been an easy road for them. Through long distance, to immigration issues – it would have been so much easier for them to pull the plug on this relationship a long time ago. But they didn't, thankfully, because they love each other a whole lot.  This wedding was sublime, not just because of the setting or culture, but because it was the start of a new beginning for these two beautiful souls who deserve to be together, wherever they want to be, forever. 

The wedding took place in Durban, South Africa in April – and it was glorious. 

My only picture from that night that is worthy of sharing.&nbsp;

My only picture from that night that is worthy of sharing. 

Day 1: Bachelorette Party (and Bachelor Party)

I flew in and made it by 8pm after delays lasting for more than 8 hours! Woof. Not everyone was in yet, but we had a lovely evening drinking wine and catching up with some of my favorite humans. Just, ya know, in Africa. 

Simultaneously the bachelor party was going on, and I think it was a bit... more wild... than our evening. 

 

Day 2: Welcome... and other monkey business

This was the day mostly everyone arrived, so there were last minute details to finish. We distributed welcome bags to the hotel rooms of the guests. They were stacked with goodies, one of which was "biltong" a South African specialty, which is basically another form of beef jerky. The local monkeys knew that there were goodies inside- and I was "attacked." Dramatic. Basically, the monkey lunged at me so I would drop my goods. Luckily, a groomsman came to my aid and escorted me to my room. Because I kept the welcome bag... the MONKEYS FOLLOWED ME to my room! Here is a sentence I never thought I'd say or write – monkeys are sexist and harassers. It's true!! They leave men alone and harass women. Also side note: when I was in Cape Town in 2012 we were attacked by baboons... ask me about that story another time. :)

I also was able to go to the beach with the sistah's of the bride (and co-MOHs!). And that evening was the welcome party! It was amazing to meet so many wonderful people who love my friends just as much as I do. It's always fun to meet friends from different phases in life, but rarely do you have an opportunity to meet friends from another continent. "Good people beget good people,™" is my wedding mantra and this wedding did not disappoint. The party went on long into the night! I should've gone to bed early, but hey, lost track of time, begetting goodness. 

Day 3: It's happening! Wedding day!

Today was the day we had been waiting for, the actual wedding! It was a perfect day. I woke up to a spectacular sunrise (#jetlag). We drank bubbles alongside our dandelion root tea (#shedtip to cure bloat! and yes these two things probably cancelled each other out), got our hair did, and took photos. The ceremony was in a church on top of a hill, with a window wall behind the altar that overlooked the ocean. I was honored to do a reading and be one of the witnesses to their union. The priest was a character. And here is really where things began to get interesting. The groom's family sang the most beautiful songs every chance they could, (you can hear some post wedding in the video below). It was just the beginning. And just like that, these two were married!

(Please don't judge my video skills - I was just trying to capture some of the music and dancing of the day! I legit have no editing skills, feel free to fast forward!)

The cocktail hour looked out over the ocean with an abundance of incredible food. The reception was full of love, laughter, tears, and 10 speeches. No, not a typo, 10 speeches. But they were interspersed throughout the evening and flowed beautifully. There was spontaneous dancing mid-eating. More singing. Dance offs. It was perfect. 

Day 4: the Zulu Wedding

I don't think I've mentioned yet that the entire wedding experience did not feel like real life. It was incredible. And then, the Zulu festivities began. And then it really felt like a dream!

To be clear, I am no where close to being an expert on South Africa's history or culture, but I will try to illuminate on what I do know. There are many tribes (I believe I've read that there are more than 3000) in South Africa, but there are two main tribes that tend to dominate - the largest is Zulu, the second largest are the Xhosa. IsiZulu is South Africa's most widely spoken official language. The groom's father was Zulu and his mother was Xhosa, but it's a patriarchal culture so he is considered Zulu. Even for a lot of the South African's there, many had never been to a Zulu wedding, so it was a privilege to have been in attendance. 

As a member of Anna's "tribe," we waited patiently at a neighbors house down the road from the groom's parents, waiting for Awonke's tribe to come fetch her! They came singing and dancing down the road singing that Anna was their's! 

Really the best way to describe the day is by watching the compilation below. It includes a lot of singing and dancing. It ends with an impressive performance by the groom!

(Note: The groom's brother, Anelisa, was married a couple years ago, but they did not have a full Zulu celebration, so they celebrated his marriage at the same time. So there are co-grooms and co-brides in some of these photos.)

The co-grooms! Awonke (left) and Anelisa (right).

The co-grooms! Awonke (left) and Anelisa (right).

Aren't they beautiful? The co-brides in their first outfit change for the day! Belinda (left) and Anna (right).&nbsp;

Aren't they beautiful? The co-brides in their first outfit change for the day! Belinda (left) and Anna (right). 

The father of the bride after receiving his blanket!&nbsp;

The father of the bride after receiving his blanket! 

Earlier in the week, the family had slaughtered a goat and a cow in honor of the festivities. In Zulu culture it symbolizes to the ancestors that a celebration is beginning. What I think is wonderful is that they use every part of the animal. The hide of the goat will be made into a rug for the newlyweds. The meat was served at the reception. They passed around a feast of bread, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, goat and beef on platters a plenty. I unfortunately didn't get a picture(?!). Shocking I know, I think I was just too excited to eat it! 

The ceremony was long – about 4 1/2 hours - but as you you could see in the video, it was mesmerizing. A large portion of the time was dedicated to gift giving. From the groom's family to the brides and vice versa. The gift of choice were blankets. Everyone gave everyone blankets. I'm not sure what the symbolism was behind it, except for general hospitality - and if you ever come to visit you know there will be extra blankets! 

In the Zulu tradition, Anna had to put this necklace around Awonke's neck to make their marriage offish.&nbsp;

In the Zulu tradition, Anna had to put this necklace around Awonke's neck to make their marriage offish. 

The moment!&nbsp;

The moment! 

Many of the elders in the family gave the newlyweds advice. Ranging from conjugal rights to not looking at your husband's phone, the topics proved entertaining!

The elders had a front row view of the festivities.

The elders had a front row view of the festivities.

New Friends In Durban
Met these fun ladies on the way to the bathroom!

Met these fun ladies on the way to the bathroom!

Love them so much!&nbsp;

Love them so much! 

We ended the evening celebrating the groom's birthday. Can you imagine a better way to spend your birthday?! 

We are singing "Happy birthday" - can you tell?

We are singing "Happy birthday" - can you tell?

Outfit change with a view!&nbsp;

Outfit change with a view! 

The only pic I have with both of them!&nbsp;

The only pic I have with both of them! 

Bride Tribe

There is probably so much I missed, but I tried to do the celebrations justice. The weekend was so joyous and truly was a celebration of love!  I was honored to be involved. And I will end with this: 

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." - Maya Angelou

Cheers to the newlyweds and their happily ever after. - AHS 

5 Things I Wish I Had Done To Stay Healthy While Traveling Abroad

birds of paradise durban south africa

While London was a case study in what to do right, South Africa was a study in my failings. Learn from my mistakes. Study up if you have a honeymoon in your near future! 

 

1. Put vanity aside, and get yourself a face mask.

Yes, I'm talking about those SARS masks. Really, the first tip is don't be too embarrassed to wear a face mask to protect you from other people's germs when you have a lot of travel ahead of you. I wish I had brought one, the man next to me on the plane was clearly very sick, and I know I caught a flu/cold from him. I don't think any of you will actually do it- but seriously, it's worth the embarrassment. If nothing more just have one on hand, just in case you need saving from Mr. Sniffles in the middle seat.

 

2. Skip the booze on the plane.

Night one. We got down on some wine.&nbsp;

Night one. We got down on some wine. 

While I don’t normally drink on flights- this was a lot of travel. 2 full days of it (the trip doesn't normally take this long, but longer than usual layovers plus delays made it so). I don't take sleeping pills or melatonin (doesn't help me) on planes, and a bit of wine can help knock me out. While that may be okay in a normal vacation scenario -  I went straight into wedding "party mode" when I arrived: a bachelorette party, a welcome party, a traditional wedding, and a Zulu wedding all consecutive days. If I had skipped booze on the plane,  I would have been in better shape for all the parties ahead. Instead, I was dehydrated, and it left my immune system a lil bit weaker than usual (which as you learned earlier, was not the best). 

 

Glass half full &lt;3

Glass half full <3

3. Make hydration a priority  

I repeatedly struggled to drink enough water, especially throughout wedding festivities (and I probably needed it the most then!). I had debated on bringing a big ole water bottle with me, but decided against it because my carry on was already approaching 30 lbs. In retrospect, I would've brought the bottle and left some books at home! 

 

4. Make time to meditate

As mentioned before, when I landed I went straight into wedding chaos. My first morning I had a bit of time, but instead of waking and doing my morning meditation, I let curiosity and excitement get the better of me and I went to go explore. Regrets, friends, regrets. That was the last opportunity I had for meditation for the next 3 days. Late nights, early mornings, and lots of parties prevented me from keeping up with my routine. While skipping these things are okay while on vacation- I missed out on good self care that would've served me well! I didn't let the habit lapse the whole trip though – after the wedding events ended I got back into my routine! :) 

At the top of Lion's Head Mountain in Cape Town... perhaps not the safest meditation spot.&nbsp;

At the top of Lion's Head Mountain in Cape Town... perhaps not the safest meditation spot. 

5. Bring a pharmacy

I'm an experienced traveler, and I thought I was prepared, but I really was not. I had all my supplements with me, but no medicine. While I took special probiotics to prevent traveler's diarrhea, they didn't really work. I'm not exactly sure why, but regardless, I wish I had brought some Imodium in my kit. I also had menstrual cramps- Aleve, please. I had a fever (yes, I couldn't catch a break) - Ibuprofen was necessary. My sickness evolved into a cold/cough from h*ll - so I definitely needed some cold meds and throat lozenges. 

A lot of these goods were available at the local chemist, but I was not staying close to town for the first part of the trip. However, I was saved because I had friends who, unlike me, brought pharmacies with them. So moral of the story is to plan for the worst case scenario. The only thing worse than getting sick on vacation is not having meds to make you feel better. 

Side note: I'm a bit hippy dippy and when I'm at home. I try to not take medicine unless I really need it. I like to hydrate, rest, and let nature take it's course. However, in the case of vacation in far away places, this is the time to hop right off that high horse and take some meds. Your time away is short, and you want to savor these memories, not recalling how terrible you felt!


I hope these tips were helpful and you learned from my mistakes! What's the biggest travel fail you've ever experienced? Leave me a note in the comments below or on Insta! - AHS

 

Looking for more travel tips? Check out the posts below! 

 

 

 

5 tips to keep up your healthy lifestyle while traveling abroad

Poached eggs spinach parm Blixen London

If you don't know me personally, you may not know that travel is my favorite hobby. I have been to 30 countries in my 30 years* of life, and I intend to keep that ratio going. I however, have not always been the perfect example of health whilst on the road. As my life has become increasingly focused on health, I have had to adapt my indulgent ways to create balance in my life. Inspired by my trip to London last week, I have assembled some tips to help you while you travel internationally (and domestic as well for many!). Remember it is all about Soulful Healthy (Eating) Decisions, every day. 

Tip #1: Eat Clean before you go

My first tip actually starts before you even set foot in the airport. If you know you will be traveling, try to cook at home as much as you can the week before you leave, and obviously, keep it clean. This will help set you up for success and not feel overly indulgent once you arrive in your destination. Basically, you are prepping your body to splurge a bit. Bonus points if you are going on a beach vacay, you will feel great in that bathing suit! 

Also, prepare for the flight and immediate arrival by bringing your own healthy fare. For the plane I brought almonds and dried fruit. I also had a couple RX bars on hand for mini meals upon arrival. Kick your trip off on a good note!

banana oatmeal healthy tips while traveling

Tip #2: Make a trip to the local grocery

If you are staying at an AirBNB you most likely had this as a part of your plan, but for the rest of the hotel dwellers, you may think twice about this step. Going to the grocery store at your destination can be an awesome asset. If you have a fridge in your room you can pack up with all of your go-tos. You could get yogurt, almond milk, fresh fruit that needs refrigeration, etc. It really opens up a whole realm of possibilities. If a fridge is not in the cards, there are lots of shelf stable foods that can help you stay on track. On my trip last week, the minibar fridge was full so I didn't have the option. I bought GF oatmeal, bananas, and some popcorn for snacking. We had a kettle in the room, so that was all we needed for a quick and easy brekky. Starting your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast (I sound like a commercial from the 90s) allows for wiggle room later! This will also help you save some $$!

Tip #3: lean into what the locals eat

Just because you are starting the day right doesn't mean you should be eating all of your meals in your room. The fact is, you are in a new place, you should enjoy it! Try street fare, go to all the best restaurants and eat what sounds good to you. When you are experiencing a new culture, you shouldn't stress about eating too many carbs or having dessert. This is why tips 1 and 2 are so important. By starting off on the right foot, you can be more indulgent in other areas. 

 

 

 

Tip #4: Pick your spots to indulge

Shameless (truly) eating of the most delicious NOT gf buttery scones in all the land. At Hoi Polloi in Shoreditch, London.

Shameless (truly) eating of the most delicious NOT gf buttery scones in all the land. At Hoi Polloi in Shoreditch, London.

Chia pod and chai almond milk latte - still starting the day clean!

Chia pod and chai almond milk latte - still starting the day clean!

So, please, you absolutely should indulge during your trip. BUT – you do not need to indulge at every meal. If you think that you will be eating an extravagant dinner, try to not have an indulgent lunch. This move should also be apart of your healthy living routine in life, so don't throw it to the wayside just cuz you're not in your every day reality! 

Also, you can still make healthy decisions whilst eating out. As always, keep an eye out for lots of veggies and lean protein. Choose some meals to not have white carbs (potatoes, pasta, bread, etc). 

 

Tip #5: Move

This may be an obvious one, but try to move your body while you are traveling. Post long plane ride you are going to want to stretch it out. Try to reconnect with nature upon arrival. Walk around and let the earth know where you've landed (yeah my woo-woo side is showing). On some vacations, activity is just built right in! Go hiking on Machu Picchu! Go swim in the ocean with some dolphins! Bike through tulip fields in Holland! Even playing golf counts (just don't use a cart ;)).  But if you're traveling for work you may not have those lovely options. Here is a list of possible ways to move if you are not so lucky:

  • walk everywhere
  • use the hotel fitness center
  • do a yoga flow in your room (or in nature if possible!)
  • go to a local fitness studio
  • use a fitness app on your phone
  • go for a run (if the neighborhood is safe and is culturally appropriate)

Moving your body daily will make you feel good and help you stay in balance. Try to keep it up for the duration of your trip, but listen to your body. If you're tired, rest! :) 

Bonus Tip #6: don't expect to be perfect

It's all about the ebbs and flows of life. You are on a trip: whether it be business or vacation, you are experiencing a part of the world you don't get to be in all of the time. Soak up every second. Be present. Enjoy yourself and don't obsess! When you get home, you can get back to your healthy routine as usual. Life is good. 


Where are you off to next?  Would love to hear about your next big trip and your biggest challenges when traveling! Leave me a note below or a comment on the gram. Cheers friends! Xx - AHS

*I wrote this when I was still 30. I turned 31 this week. Ratio to be updated hopefully soon!