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15 Ways To Stay Present and Calm On Your Road Trip of Life

Being on the road in and out of hotel rooms and friends and families homes sounds enticing, yet last year when we did this for 2 weeks, I realized it was just downright uncomfortable after awhile. I did not like living out of a suitcase and being out of my daily rhythm. I rolled with it as I have learned to do, especially in the first week. I handled that more easily. By the second week, I was ready to be at our final destination. Ready to unpack, unwind, and get into my own groove. I had to engage lots of practices to stay calm, present and engaged. I swore we would not do that again.

It was our second driving trip to St. Augustine, Florida. We did the first drive in October 2014. We were staying for a month. Before we left New England, we had made two visits, and then continued south, stopping for a night or two.

Last year, we spent two weeks on the road, then 2 months in St. Augustine, Florida.

This year we are staying for 3 months. We added a shorter road trip at the beginning and at the end of our stay. We have family we do not see often, so these two road trips are to visit 2 sisters and their families.

I learned from my experience last year. As much as I enjoy our visit with my mother-in-law in CT and friends in New Jersey, I do begin to get a bit anxious that 2 or 3 days after leaving home in New Hampshire, we haven’t gotten very far into our trip. Of course, this time was no different, except, I was armed with positivity and a commitment to be present and enjoy the ride.

I also have a learned a thing or two from the previous trips, so I put that new knowledge into play. I packed very differently. I made sure the things I use daily were accessible both in the car and wherever we stayed. I used a bigger suitcase for the clothes I wanted to have available for the road trip. I established some self-care ground rules for the trip. This made a huge difference. I was still ready to be done and settled into our rental in St. Augustine and I am very grateful we shortened the road trip to one week instead of two. The more I learn about myself and own my feelings, needs, and wants without judging or criticizing myself the easier it becomes to make choices that support me. I encourage you to do the same.

Truth be told, I really can be a pain in the a#$. I used to apologize for this or ignore my needs so I could accommodate everyone else. I still do a lot of this. I know when I am not taking care of what I need to take care of, when I begin to feel resentful, overwhelmed, exhausted or get a sore throat. I like to help, nurture and give to others. I have just learned to do it within my limits.

What’s the point of giving so much that I shut down and need days to regroup over and over again? I seem to have this syndrome where I feel a sense of responsibility for those who I love, that it is my job to give everything I have to support them or anyone who I think needs me. I have to fight hard to remind myself that this is not my responsibility. It is a choice I can make, and I prefer to make it from a place of love, grounding, and presence.

So what did I do differently on this road trip?

  1. I gave myself permission to just enjoy the ride. I gave my mind a rest. Burt and I listened to podcasts and audible books that inspired our creativity.
  2. I packed my essential Beautycounter products; so that wherever we were I was cleaning my body and hair with non-toxic nourishing skincare and beauty products.
  3. On the mornings we were in a hotel, I walked on the treadmill in the fitness room. I walked outside everyday at all our stops.
  4. I began the morning with my simple yoga, breathing and centering routine.
  5. Every time we stopped for gas or a break, I got out of the car to stretch and move.
  6. Throughout the car ride, I would breathe slowly and deeply into all parts of my body that were feeling stiff or sore
  7. I used my favorite therapeutic grade essential oils every day and night, spraying the rooms and on the bedding and pillows, and rubbing onto my feet. My husband rubbed my back with clary sage and cedar wood mixed in with a nourishing body lotion for my sore muscles.
  8. I kept my daily pages practice, which is one thing that keeps me centered and creative.
  9. I played lots of “Words With Friends,” read and just looked out the window, enjoying the scenery. It was a real practice in being still and present.
  10. I enjoyed everyone we saw and felt such gratitude that we could spend this time with people we love.
  11. Whenever I felt anxious after being in the car too long, I would come back to center, use EFT tapping, breathe, remember to be present, connect to love, and be grateful.
  12. I was in bed early every night letting my body rest and relax, either reading or watching TV.
  13. We drove for short periods keeping it under 6 hours.
  14. We ate nourishing meals every day, and drank lots of water (among other things in the evening.)
  15. I colored.  I began it last year on our trip to Florida and have continued to use it as a meditative practice.

Having my comforts at hand, keeping a sense of ritual every day regardless of where we woke up or went to sleep made a big difference for me. I am also very fortunate to have the nicest guy in the world do all the driving, enjoy talking philosophy with me, hanging out with me and being understanding of my comfort needs. He’s the best and I am so lucky to have Burt as my husband and best friend.

Now you may not be on a road trip, but if you think of your life as a road trip, which I am beginning to do, then it’s important to identify for yourself your needs and wants. What are priorities for your self-care? Do you practice them? 

You may not have such a long list as I have here, but I highly suggest you select at least one and get started. Having simple practices or rituals can make all the difference in being present in your every day life and especially when things get off kilter.

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