We left our home in Calgary 55 days ago. That means we still have 12 months on the road. Not that I’m complaining, but traveling isn’t always glamorous. We’ve caught 7 flights, driven over 10,000 km, hit 6 provinces and 3 countries. I’m tired.

If you followed my Instagram stories back in July, you’d have seen that I sold my car and we rented out our home. Our furniture and home items are still at our house as we are renting it fully furnished, and some personal items and work/winter clothes are in a locked storage room in our basement. But basically all of our lives are packed into two inflatable paddleboard bags and two carry-on bags.

I’ve posted before about doing carry-on only travel. It’s awesome, it saves you money on bags, and you don’t have to wait for your bags when you arrive at your destination. Plus, sometimes it allows you to switch flights easily, as happened to us on our way to Newfoundland a few weeks ago (thanks, Air Canada for letting us avoid a 5 hour layover and hop on an earlier flight!). HOWEVER… living out of your suitcase can also be incredibly overwhelming.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned in the past two months about long-term travel:

  1. You need to build in down-time.

    We didn’t, and we were sooo burned out by the time we got back to Cape Breton. We actually spent a day working out, stretching, napping, eating veggies, and watching crappy movies. I also ate two bags of Smart Pop while sitting on the couch. I don’t think we could have gone out sight seeing if we even wanted to! We’re now looking into our future travel schedule and looking at how we can build in some down time when we are frequently traveling. Sometimes you just need to book a nice hotel room and stay in that comfy bed all day.

  2. You don’t need as much clothing as you think.

    I’m sure you’ve noticed that my Instagram wardrobe is primarily black. That’s only because everywhere we went was cold and my outerwear is all black. But I still had my packing cubes filled with clothing, and there was a lot of it that I haven’t worn at all in the past two months. I’m still working on my capsule wardrobe, but I know I can get away with less. Let’s be real – we all have our favorite items, and we wear them most frequently. Why add more weight to your suitcase, and more clothes to flip through?

  3. You miss your people.

    We’ve been lucky to have a few trips this summer where we’ve met up with friends – a wedding in Manitoba, a wedding in Newfoundland, family in Saskatchewan, family in Cape Breton. But we miss our friends that we are used to seeing all the time. My babes from work who I eat lunch with every day and hang out with on weekends, or the friends we have over on Sundays for football, or my coffee or wine dates with besties each week. Luckily, we have amazing friends and family who have booked trips to come and meet us around the world in the next year. I’m still going to need lots of Facetime dates, and I’m going to have to step out of my introvert shell to meet some new people along the way.

  4. You need to eat healthy, take vitamins, and workout.

    I’d love to say that we are healthy when we travel, but it’s really not true. I think the biggest take-away from this summer is that we can’t live like we are on a vacation for the next year. We can’t eat out every meal, avoid yoga or the gym, or forget to take supplements. OMG how fat would we be?! I actually started surf training (ugh that seems so lame) the other day because I know I’ll be in San Diego in just over a month, and I don’t want to look like a beached whale and I want to actually have some degree of success while surfing. We have been living this summer largely like we were on vacation, but we were chatting the other day and realized we can’t continue it. Long-term travel needs to include healthy meals and exercise, so it’s important to schedule your travel plans to fit this stuff in. We actually discovered that our Goodlife memberships from Canada are valid at 24 Hour Fitness across the States – how awesome is that?

  5. Your beauty routine will suffer.

    Okay, we all know I’m no beauty or fashion blogger and I’m not one to use a lot of products. But MAN, does traveling take a toll on your skin/hair/everything. Airplanes have mega dry air, which leads to dehydration, flaky skin, and chapped lips. I used to have alcoholic drinks on planes (ok, I will occasionally have one now…) but now I focus on drinking water and slathering on moisturizer or Rocky Mountain Soap Co’s hydration spray and lip butter. Plus, you seem to forget about all of the little things. I woke up this morning and suddenly my eyebrows looked like caterpillars. When the $&*% did that happen?! My hair stylist isn’t traveling with me, nor is my brow lady. I don’t want to take a million face or hair products with me either. Tips for overcoming this point are still up in the air, but I’m working on it.

  6. You want to record your travels in some way.

    The beauty of the Internet is we have so many beautiful way to keep records of our travels – Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, blogging. My memories are primarily through pictures, but I’m trying to start blogging our travels more frequently. There are so many awesome tools out there, and I’m learning to utilize my time a little bit better (ie. going through/editing photos on the plane, answering e-mails in the airport, etc). That leads me to my last point…

  7. You have to schedule your time.

    Okay, I don’t mean like every hour of every day needs to be planned. But if I’m going to write a blog, I need to make the time for it. If I’m going to post to Instagram, I need to use a scheduling tool (still working on that one…). As I said above, I need to plan for workouts, yoga, phone calls with friends, and healthy eating. I didn’t realize how much I missed my parents until I talked with them on the phone for an hour yesterday, followed by a chat with one of my brothers. I hadn’t made time for any of those things in the past month (2 weeks in Ireland/Scotland, followed by a whirlwind few days in Cape Breton with a 90th birthday and a baptism, followed by 9 days in Newfoundland) and I really needed it. I know there are spontaneous travelers out there, and I am NOT one of them, but I think everyone needs to recognize the benefits of planning time to do things that are important to you. When we have a 9-5 job (or 8-3 in our case), it’s easy to schedule in time for yourself. When you’re on the road on a completely random schedule, it’s easier to forget about those things.

Perhaps this post is more a reminder to myself of the things that I need to do in the next year, but hopefully it can help you with some of your planning if you’re thinking of traveling for longer time periods.

I’ll be posting about our Ireland and Newfoundland adventures soon!


PS – You can check out the map/details of our summer travels here: https://www.rome2rio.com/trip/jxmqspyw


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