Once, I was interviewing a pageant director for a human interest piece. She kept telling me I should enter a pageant, and I kept politely declining, but she kept pushing, so finally I told her I thought the swimwear/fitnesswear portions were objectifying and ridiculous. “Oh! Those are so you can show the judges how physically fit you are! Pageant queens have to be in very good shape because they travel so much.”
. . .
I thought that was BS then, and I think it’s BS now: you can’t tell how fit a person is based on the way she looks in a bikini or a sports bra. I will give her a little credit, though: you do have to be in good shape if you want to travel—or at least if you want to travel well.
Traveling is in the cards for me this year: this summer I’ll be spending two weeks in Greece on a school trip, ten or so days in Israel with my grandpa, and nine days in Uganda with Invisible Children. And I’m hoping/planning for many weekend excursions throughout the year.
But for me, traveling well means walking the cities, rafting the waters, eating good foods, being entirely uninhibited, and learning my surroundings before the days begin—by going on morning runs.
I stay in decent shape all the time, so walking, rafting, and the like are always doable for me. But eating well and living freely? Those are harder for me, as I have a historically abusive relationship with food, and I’ve always (since I can remember) struggled with self-image and all that gross emotional doubt stuff that means worrying about how fat my thighs look instead of fully realizing my surroundings.
And then morning runs? Ha! I am so out of shape right now that a few miles is a HUGE deal, a real energy- and time-drainer, and it’s just zero fun.
So here’s the plan: for the next 16 weeks, I’m going to focus on my health. I’m going to run, and I’m going to build muscle, and I’m going to eat lots of good food. And when I board my first international flight of the year (to Greece), the only baggage I’ll have will be the kind that you check (although, let’s be real: good packers only carry on) and will include running shoes.
In 2014, I’m going to eat, sleep, learn, read, write, laugh, and run in four different countries and at least five different states. Let’s. Go.