How To Stay Healthy While Traveling: Hotelito Los Sueños, Sayulita, Mexico
I hear it all the time:
"I gained 10 pounds while on vacation!"
"I laid by the pool all week, drinking. I need to get back on track!"
"All I did was eat and drink!"
I'm at a cafe in Sayulita for the 4th morning in a row, savoring the breakfast potatoes I crave as soon as I wake, punching my keyboard as I write about the importance of staying balanced while traveling.
Next to me, a married couple from St. Louis pay their bill and say they're heading back home in a few hours. I ask them why they think people get off track while on vacation. The father of 3 says, "You just get lazy and eat a little bit more, drink a little bit more." His wife, a self-proclaimed foodie, says her pleasure is checking out all the best restaurants whenever traveling. She always has the "intention of working out," especially here in Sayulita since, after all, "there are yoga studios all around, but I never get around to it." Her husband adds: "You get out of the rhythm. You break it purposefully."
Enjoying ourselves is what vacation is all about. But how doing the things in which we find pleasure affect us physically and emotionally must dictate the way we vacation.
I'm staying at Hotelito Los Sueños for 2 nights while in Sayulita, Mexico. This 5-story, intricately designed boutique hotel is fantastical. The curbed staircases invite you to explore what's around the corner, a multi-floor complex with two pools. The white plaster and wooden railings accentuate colorful, tiled steps and flooring.
The beauty is immense. My room is just as you'd expect: Open and airy, with an enticing king-sized bed and a balcony looking out into the surrounding neighborhood, a glimmer of the ocean through the trees.
A 10-minute walk from all the busyness of town, Hotelito Los Sueños encapsulates what it promotes: Peacefulness. The grounds are impeccably clean; a housekeeper freshens your room daily. The staff are kind. (There's only one receptionist who doesn't seem all that thrilled, and I'm tempted to give her a hug to see if she smiles!)
As a kid, my role model--my mom--only booked hotels with lap pools, always packing her swim googles and cap. A morning workout is and has always been her routine, no matter where she is in the world. If she doesn't have a pool in which to swim, then she does yoga in the hotel room or goes on a power walk. That is a habit she embraces wholeheartedly and hammered into me.
You get up, you move your body, and then go about your day.
And so, as an adult, that's exactly what I do. (Except, ironically, this particular morning because I was so eager to start writing I headed straight to the cafe to work!)
I get up, I sweat, I move, I calm my mind and body, I center. I stay in rhythm. Energetically, physically, emotionally. I spent too many years yo-yo'ing between balance and chaos that not staying healthy, no matter the circumstances, isn't an option. It's my priority, because if I'm not balanced, then I'm not happy and I'm not able to enjoy my new surroundings or the people I'm meeting.
We often seem to live in extremes. Binging on this, abstaining from that.
We give ourselves "permission" on vacation to go all out.
I used to do this.
I can picture myself in the airport 8 years ago. Before this "vacation" ended, I stuffed a ton of random stuff into my body--all types of processed foods, including a Cinnabon. I hated myself just as much as Louis CK jokes he did in a standup bit. There was nothing about eating those foods that made me feel free.
That's what the overindulgence seems to be about: Trying to get everything "in" we normally don't allow ourselves to eat and do. We lose control in an effort to feel free, but in the process we lose ourselves. We let go with the wrong intentions.
Taking a break from routine is extremely valuable to our bodies and minds, but we must break intelligently. Excessively eating and drinking our way through a vacation doesn't support our natural rhythms. To me, vacation means self-love. What does loving ourselves really look like? At least to me, it's the opposite of waking up hungover, in a food coma, lethargic. I want energized and full of life!
When we get to a place of self-love, when we live in a way and move in a way that's done with care, that need to "get it in" disappears. But getting to a place of calm takes work, like a lot of work. And it's places like Hotelito Los Suenos that offers a calming space externally, giving us the opportunity to work on calming ourselves internally.
My first morning here I sit on my mat, doing guided breath work with a local yoga teacher and other guests. The class is slow, and though my body and mind screams for movement, I stay put for a bit and breath. The woven sheets hanging from the wooden beams and palapa roof in the open-air studio create a enchanted vibe. You want to practice here. You want to find your calm. You want to stay here forever.
The hotel invites you to stay in rhythm.
These days, this is what I do no matter where I am--at or away from home. It's why the hotel vibes so much with what I represent.
I feel what my body WANTS. A surf? A steep-hill walk/run? A swim? A yoga class? A HIIT workout? (Maybe even mine on YouTube?!) Rest? Food? Whatever I feel will ensure I stay healthy—I give that to myself. With energy, joyfully, because I want to do those things. It's what feels good, it's what makes me happy.
Clothing by Rosemary Collective in Sayulita