Beware the Vacation Mind-Set

/, Nomad Life, Well-Being/Beware the Vacation Mind-Set

Beware the Vacation Mind-Set


Enjoying the local brew in Cusco, Peru

If you’re anything like me, vacation is a permission slip to eat whatever you want and drink beer/wine/cocktails almost any time of day. Exercise isn’t something you schedule or take time out to do while you’re on vacation; it happens if it’s convenient and appropriate to your destination (walking around a new city, snorkeling, hiking, bike riding…).

This is all well and good when you’re only on vacation for a week or two; you can go back to your normal (and presumably healthier) routines once you get home, and everything will go back to normal.

But what if you’re a nomad or expat?

If you’re traveling long-term, or living in another country for a period of time, it’s natural to have that vacation state of mind. But if you don’t snap out of it at some point, you’ll start to see (and feel) the effects.

The next thing you know, none of the clothes you packed will fit anymore!

To stay on top of your health goals (and perhaps even improve on them) while traveling or spending time overseas, I suggest setting some ground rules to help you avoid letting too much time pass with a vacation mind-set.

For example, if you’re traveling slowly, you might allow yourself a week in each new destination to sample the local flavors and settle in without putting pressure on yourself to eat a certain way or exercise.

Or you might be better off avoiding the vacation mind-set altogether and pledging to stick to the same patterns you follow at home.

Pay attention to the things you do in a new destination that you wouldn’t do at home. For me, a big one is drinking cheap, crappy beer. When I’m at home, I’m quite picky about the beer I drink; I’d rather not drink at all than have some watered-down lager. But when I’m traveling, especially in hot climates, and the beer is ice-cold (and, often, cheaper than water), I’m all over it.

After a while, I have to stop and remind myself that I wouldn’t drink that crap at home; now that the road is my home, shouldn’t the same rules apply?

Another pitfall nomads and expats need to watch out for is craving flavors from home. When I’m on the road, I find myself eating more Doritos and Snickers than I ever would at home in the States, simply because I’m eager for a familiar taste. Sometimes you just have to have it, but again, try to keep it to a minimum.

Recognizing your vacation tendencies, and reminding yourself that this is your life, not a vacation, can help you stay on track.

How about you? What aspects of your vacation mind-set could get you into trouble in the long term? 

This post was part of a blog challenge I did in October where I published a post every single day for a month.

2017-04-09T08:07:42+00:00October 20, 2013|blogging challenge, Nomad Life, Well-Being|12 Comments


  1. Maryann Candito October 21, 2013 at 1:11 am - Reply

    What a great post, I only dream about this lifestyle! I am kind of a homebody but I do fantasize about an overseas trip/book tour. Italy is on the top of my destination list. But first I need to finish that book I am writing! Thank! 🙂

    • Amy Scott October 21, 2013 at 1:17 am - Reply

      Thanks, Maryann! Ooh, Italy is fabulous (and there’s SO much good food to sample). 🙂

      Good luck with your book!

  2. Timothy Torrents October 21, 2013 at 1:30 am - Reply

    Getting out of the vacation mindset can be quite difficult. It is so much easier to sit around and not do anything than to work.

    In fact, I found that it is much more difficult to start working if you haven’t worked in awhile. Gaining weight has never really been a problem for me – naturally skinny.

    Great article!

    • Amy Scott October 21, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Good point, Timothy! I started thinking about this topic yesterday because of food, but the not-working aspect of the vacation mind-set is another insidious one. Perhaps fodder for another blog post… 🙂

  3. Lina October 21, 2013 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Oooh this IS very tricky!
    I love that you’re bringing it up because I’m so guilty of still being in that – I snack and eat way more candy than I normally do.

    At home I love to cook but here it feels like a “hassle” – with a gas-oven (so not used to matches & fire!), products I don’t know, feelings of not being inspired… well, it’s way easier to just make a sandwich or go out for lunch.
    Hungary has some of the best foods in the world – but it’s often meat, fat, potatoe, meat, fat and some more meat. Great fruit and vegetables can be tricky to come by here in the fall, you need to do your research.

    • Amy Scott October 21, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Yes, you’re right, Lina! And finding good fruit and vegetables is definitely a tricky aspect in some destinations. It can be more effort to eat well, and I know the struggle all too well. Luckily there are more and more blogs and online resources for finding healthy food around the world, so hopefully this will become easier over time.

  4. Llyane @FrenchOnSkype October 21, 2013 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Oh, such a good advice!

    …and true too!
    Being from Europe, I’m constantly looking here, in America, for familiar tastes… when I find it, I binge.
    I am better off if I call my mom 🙂


    • Amy Scott October 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Good idea, Llyane! 🙂

  5. Kelly O October 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I totally hear you on this!! We’ve been on the road for several months now and still do a terrible job with exercise. And eating healthy……[sigh]……

    • Amy Scott October 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Yes, it really is a challenge, isn’t it? I don’t claim to have it all figured out either, even after all these years.

      I think it’s even harder if you really love food and want to taste all a country has to offer!

      Not to mention being in hot climates where it can be hard to motivate to exercise…

  6. Valerie Conners October 24, 2013 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    This topic has been top of mind for me in the last 6 weeks. I’ve been nomadic since February, and have found that I can go through phases of maintaining a schedule (when we’re in 1 location for an extended time) but typically fall short of my goals. This summer was spent in the Southwest and West and involved constant road trips to National Parks, hiking and camping. I told myself that all the hiking I was doing compensated for my campfire meals (wine? yes! hot dogs? gross, but YES!). Well, it didn’t.

    I’ve spent Sept. and this month trying SO HARD to stick to an exercise and clean eating regime and it’s going so-so, but truthfully, we’re at the beach now, and sunset cocktails and apps are my downfall. Next stop in Buenos Aires for 2 months, and I’m nervous how I’ll balance all the amazing food while there!

    Anyway, I appreciate your post – it’s an ongoing struggle for a lot of us nomads, I guess!

    • Amy Scott October 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Valerie! Yes, sometimes the hiking/wandering around new cities/renting bikes/etc. helps balance things out, but not always. And I find road trips are the worst! Our six months in the States last year was really tough for me.

      Good luck in Buenos Aires… that’s my home base! There’s a lot of great food there, but luckily it’s getting easier to find healthy stuff, AND it’s a great city for walking. Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Leave A Comment

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

We use cookies on our website.

We use cookies to customize your experience, to improve the content we deliver to you, and—very rarely—to show you relevant advertising on sites like Facebook or Instagram. Please accept the use of cookies below, or you can decline and continue to use this site without any data being sent to third-party services. Read our full Privacy Policy here.