Outdoor Showers (and more travel tips)

I am on a mission to worry less.

From worrying less about money, to what people think of me to how my kids will turn out to deadlines and success.The best way to forget the worries of the day is to get lost in exploration. So, I’ve decided to pack up the fam and take to the roads, skies, railways and waters around the globe.Traveling around the world is something I thought everyone would dream of doing. But, really, it is not for everyone. Plenty of people would consider my style of travel hard work, let alone stress-relieving vacation!

While I know people who circumvent the globe all in two week’s time for work; that is not the timeline I’m talking about. I mean, drop out of daily demands, routine and the world-as-I’ve-known it to follow a basic flight itinerary with open-ended, spontaneous and capricious adventures along the way.People are asking, “how can you afford to travel as much as you do,” “how do you decide where to go and what to do once you’re there?”

If you know anything about us Wheelers, we mostly seek adventurous, often off-the-beaten-path, natural places, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also get our gourmet vegan food and caffeine fixes in hip urban locations when we can! Opportunities to engage with locals and wildlife, eco-volunteer, avoid mass tourists, kitesurf, swim, hike and run are always on the top of the list!My number reason for this #wheelersroundtheworld adventure is to transform daily stress into life-time bliss!

Stress.
Bliss!

@WellfitJill’s Adventure Travel Tips
(subject to change at any minute so catch them while you can)

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Bliss!

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1. Less Glamour, Go Longer.

This is really the most important tip and the one that sets a typical two-week vacation apart from a transformational journey. While the beachside spa vacations have had their place in my passport, this extended trip around the globe is carefully curated to sustain the duration of a year. While exquisite 5-7 star resorts are alluring, we are able to stretch our travel for months what it would cost two weeks in luxury resorts. We find that villas through Air BnB, VRBO or similar rental sites are just as lovely without all the pampering, doting staff and other travelers. Many of the places we rent come with paddleboards or kayaks included, whereas at a resort you pay by the hour for every single extra amenity. Do your homework! It’s worth the extra effort!

2. Let Capriciousness Call You.

Capricious; adjective \ke-pri-shes
1. Determined or marked by whim or caprice rather than reason:
arbitrarywhimsical.
2. Following no predictable pattern.
Be this.
Allow your mind to change and follow it. I loved Mo’orea, but I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to fulfill my dream of sailing around French Polynesia until we got there. It was considerably more costly to do so, but being right there, I just couldn’t pass it up. We incurred a cost to cancel our other accommodations, but because we booked the sailboat at the last minute (a few days before) we were able to negotiate the price down by 15%! Last minute options like this can be great, but in certain high tourist places in-season they will be booked. We happened to get the last sailboat in the fleet, so it was worth the last minute capricious craving.

3. Life is Not All You Can Eat. Pace Yourself.

Sometimes less is more. Take your time to do the things you really want to do and don’t try to cram everything in. You can always come back. Get to know the places that really interest you. Meet locals and immerse in something meaningful that you’ll take home with you for a lifetime. Taking one of everything like it’s a buffet will leave you too full to have truly savored the fine taste of just a few special experiences. You’ll save money, too!

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4. Human Power Your Way.

Think running, hiking, walking, bike riding, sailing and swimming versus motorboats, vehicles, taxis, ATVs and jet skis. It’s better for the environment and less expensive. A slower pace will allow you to see more and connect with locals and other adventurous travelers. One of the first things we do when we go to a place is locate a local outdoor store or coffee shop and ask where the locals go for cool off-the-beaten-path adventures!

5. Stop Being Such a Snob.

If I can live with a rat, you can travel like less of a snob. My husband tried to remove the little brown rat “gifts” on the stove the first morning of our stay in Mo’orea…like I wouldn’t notice. I was already aware of the turds, but for peace of mind, convinced myself that I was sharing my kitchen with only one rat. I didn’t really want to know the truth. The lever windows had no screens, so they had easy in and out access. The bedroom doors closed with AC, so I could handle the fact that it was just the kitchen goods they wanted. I hit my rat-cohabitation limit when it (they(?), eeks) ate half of my avocado! Avocados were hard to come by in French Polynesia and I had spent three days waiting for this one to ripen. I wasn’t going to let it go to the rats…and this was my turning point to committed culinary adventurer. I cut and ate around the rat’s bite marks. The rest of the food went in the fridge after this incident.

6. Follow the Man with the Machete.

When you venture away from the crowds, especially while traveling with children, the locals will embrace you. If tourists take to the Faaroa River, which slithers it’s way through the middle of Raiatea in French Polynesia, they will undoubtedly do so in a guided kayak or paddleboard tour. We, of course, decided to navigate it on our own (the sailboat we chartered came equipped with a paddleboard and kayak). We passed a few locals in kayaks fishing primitively with simple handcrafted drop lines and met another local man flanked with big ass machetes (BAMs) on both hips, rowing his boat upriver alongside us. Between his limited English and my broken French, we accepted his invitation to his farm. An hour walkabout and 30 pounds of fruit and veggies later, we had ourselves an overloaded, sinking kayak and fixings for a great farm-to-galley dinner onboard that night! In Fiji, way off the beaten-path where dirt road meandered into lush jungle, we picked up a couple BAM-clad men after their long morning of bushwhacking work and they took us back to their remote off-the-grid village. We
learned more that afternoon about the Fijian flora, fauna and customs in the entire two weeks we were there.

My friend Louise got bruised and scraped the day before and our new buddies, Celo and Bale prepared her an on-the-spot plant poultice with leaves from the Bosucu tree, also known as Creeping Plant. There are no strangers in this world, just friends we haven’t yet met. We were, by the way, the first Americans they’ve ever met (and the best).

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7. Say YES! 

Even when you should be on your training run, yet you find yourself in the back of a local Polynesian’s land roving 110 Defender cruising through vanilla farms and learning about coconut and Temanu oil production, say yes to adventure. Run training can be made up, work can be caught up and school can be replaced with priceless lessons. Say yes to these divergences like I did the Kava ceremony, even if it gave me diarrhea for days. Because the soulful smiles and refreshing new perspective will last longer than the tummy pain will.

Oh, and Kava? Realllly good for making you forget your worries

8. Shower Outdoors Whenever Possible.

Final, and perhaps most important point, outdoor showers are the best, especially when the water comes out of a shell, because a worry-free existence includes an outdoor shower with a shell spout. It just does.

The more smiles I greet, the happier I feel. The simpler the experiences, the richer I am. The more opportunities I accept, the more free I feel. The freer I feel, the less I worry.

This, my friends, is adventure. Here’s to more of it. GO. Now.

Seek and you shall find it wherever you are.

Happy trails…

In loving-kindness,

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