I've just returned from two weeks working in Hawaii, the second week being completely tech-free. No phone. No texting. No internet. No Facebook. No nada. I cannot recommend a tech break enough. (Paradox: My recommendation is coming via this blog post, proving once again that there's no such thing as perfection.)
Hawaii is an amazing place but the 6 hour flight (or how about 20+ hours of flight time for our European students who came over!) can be brutal on the body. Here is a combination of my travel experiences and how our young family deals with the hi-speed stillness traveling requires.
1. We never sit down in the airport unless we're doing some sort of stretch while doing so. And even then, it's on the floor and not in the chairs.
2. Waiting for a connection? Find your gate and then start pacing. I once walked for two hours straight in Chicago's O'Hare airport while waiting for my connection to Rome. Yes, I walked while eating my hot dog, but the point was, I got a ton of movement in before having to sit down for 10 hours straight.
God bless Honolulu airport for this outdoor park in the middle of their terminal. We had our lunch and some play time while waiting for our second flight.
3. We don't pre-board. Even with our littles, we've found that pre-boarding doesn't service our family in the long run. Yes, it's easier to not have to wait in line or deal with a few minutes of chaos in the aisles while trying to get our kids and stuff stowed away, but in the long run, it typically means 20 additional minutes of lock-down. Instead, we have jumping and hanging contests in the emptiest sections of the lobby. Those 20 extra minutes of movement add up!
1. We pack our own food.
This is a pic of some of the delicious food we got on Hawaiian Airlines. I like to call this meal: Why don't you drink this cup of coffee, cup of water and cup of pineapple juice, eat two servings of fruit, a packet of crackers, and a hunk of chocolate and then try to sit still for the next six hours.
Airline food is notoriously dry (dehydrated) and/or sugary (jittery) -- two conditions that are already aggrieved by the flight itself. My husband is an Ayurvedic practitioner and he wrote a great article on Vata-minimizing "carry-ons" for air travel. You can read it by clicking here (it's at the bottom of the first article).
When packing food, think super-oily. Water keeps you hydrated too, but oil really seals the deal. When you want to hydrate your skin, you don't put water on it, right? You use some sort of oil for longer-lasting moisturizing. The same goes for your diet. Although I will say that for you breastfeeding moms, water is a MUST. A lactation consultant-friend once told me I need an extra pint of water for every hour I flew (this, on top of my regular water consumption).
P.S. The one dehydrated food we do bring is jerky. The bulk of clean (meaning not-messy) protein trumps the dehydration factor. Something like sardines would be good too, but the thought of being covered in fish juice and parts for over 5-hours doesn't work for me. Maybe someday when I go on vacation sans toddlers...
2. Change the way you sit. Vary your joint positions as much as possible.
There was a woman a few rows ahead of us who stood up almost the entire flight. I'd never even thought of that. She was on her iPad, using the top of the seat as a work station. I've always preferred the window seat for the view but now I'm thinking the aisle seat is a movement-lovers best friend. You can stand up as long as the seat belt light is off and walk around without being held to your seat by your aisle-mates when you're traveling solo.
My littlest is a hanging fiend. If we're standing, we'll let her hang off our hands, but when we fly, she's forever hanging on the seat back in front of her. Here she is, mid-fall.
We make sure it's OK with the person in front of us (it helps if you have a gap-tooth and gummy smile and make monkey noises when you hang) and we let her go for it. In fact, we all go for our own versions of in-seat stretches.
Want some more ideas of what you can do in your seat? One of our program graduates wrote an entire post filled with pics of her doing stuff on the plane (here).
Although sometimes the person in front of you decides to recline all the way after the first 10 minutes of the flight
and sometimes you are trapped between a bunch of children you've bribed with suckers and Caillou.
In these cases, it's best to work on all that still meditation you were going to do this month but never got around to.
Ok, that's enough for now. I've got to address all the work I've missed the last couple of weeks. But, I will be posting more on what it was like to live in this environment for the last two weeks.