Have you ever burst into tears because you couldn’t decide what to have for supper? Truth is, I have.
People often see the life of a flight attendant as glamorous and exciting. Who can blame them, when you can go from breakfast in Paris to cocktails and tapas in Barcelona in the same day?
It is very common for cabin crew to suffer from the “f word” as it is so often referred to, because it is not ever used lightly and it isn’t easy to talk about. Airlines have strict guidelines they must adhere to with crew’s schedules, including honoring minimum rest periods, controlling limitations of movement between time zones and maximum duty hours. However, they are not always realistic for the human body tolerate, a slow gradual build up of sleep deprivation, with long working hours, early and late starts can really creep up on you.
Fatigue can affect anyone and everyone’s symptoms can range from physical symptoms like headaches, feeling weak, having slow responses and poor decision making skills. To emotional symptoms such as; suffering from depression, anxiety, being easily irritated, and even experiencing insomnia.
I myself, turn into the most volatile and irritated person on earth when I am fatigued. My decision-making skills are thrown out of the window; if you ask me how I am doing, I will either bite your head off or struggle to string a sentence together that actually makes any sense. Or better yet, cry if you ask me if I want my eggs scrambled or poached. So much so I actually make my family and loved ones nervous upon my arrival home from a long trip away, as they never know quite what condition I will be in.
I’m not talking about falling asleep on your jump seat kind of tired, although that is not ideal either. I’m talking about going to sleep for 12 hours and waking up feeling worse than you did the night before. In the same day, I will not be able to fall asleep and will suffer at the mercy of my good friend – insomnia.
Admittedly, talking about being tired is a fairly dull topic. However the truth is when the ‘f word’ hits; we make bad choices, selfish decisions and give into temptations. Not to mention as crew we put ourselves, colleagues, aircraft and passengers all in danger, but also jeopardies our personal relationships, health and wellbeing.
So although I do not have all the answers and still struggle a great deal with fatigue, I would not wish it upon anyone else. So I’ve done a little of my own research to avoid it in the first place, to help combat any symptoms and hopefully keep this pesky soul sucker away.
Get ahead of the problem Study your roster, look for periods that might pose fatigue risk and prepare for them. If you can, swap off certain duties. Give yourself as much rest as possible during tight turn around periods. Plan your rest before a night flight.
Try to get good at sleeping Sounds obvious, but the more you get used to napping the less time it will take to fall asleep when you need to rest before a duty, or have rest within a duty.
Make your bedroom a sleepy zone Create a relaxed environment in your own room, with no TV or bright screens, read books not twitter. Including in the your hotel room, I never turn my TV on and always put my phone on the other side of the room.
Check your overall health If you are genuinely worried about long term or chronic fatigue; speak to your doctor and get an assessment.
Spend more time in corpse pose As if I needed to preach the benefits of yoga anymore. British studies show that after just 1 class a week for 6 weeks; clients reported improved energy and clearer thinking.
Up your water intake Dehydration alone can decrease alertness and cause lack of concentration, so drink plenty of water especially before and after a flight.
Cut the caffeine Only use it as stimulant to keep you awake when you need it. Caffeine can stay in your system for 3-5 hours, so ditch it as your go-to to avoid over doing it.
Take some time out If you just cannot catch up with yourself, so take leave or report your fatigue to your airline or workplace. Most companies have allowances for fatigue related time off.
I love my job, but sometimes it can be hard to combat the physical and mental stresses flying can cause. I’ve practiced yoga for a few years now and during this time I have learnt to take key elements of my classes away with me to help alleviate some of the stresses cause by flying for long periods of time. Here are some of the best ways to use yoga after a flight, or just in general if you’re stressed, want to relieve aches and pains or improve your circulation and mental wellbeing.
Sleep aid for insomnia Travelling through time zones, working long days with little sleep or early starts can leave your body confused and often I find, overtired. Even after being awake travelling for 24 hours I can sometimes find myself collapsing into bed exhausted yet struggling to fall asleep. Yoga helps focus your attention to your breathing, allowing you to clear your mind, thinking about nothing else other than inhaling and exhaling. The more you bring your focus to your breathing, the more you feel all of your muscles start to relax, starting from your toes all the way up to your forehead. If I find myself tossing and turning unable to sleep, I will lie in Savasana or ‘Corpse Pose’, a restorative pose where you lie flat on your back, feet relaxed and turned outwards with your palms facing up. This pose helps take uneven pressure off the spine and neck and also helps relax the diaphragm so you can breathe more freely.
Easing lower back pain Another benefit to lying in Savasana is, when done properly, it helps to relax the muscles in your back, which often become tense and tired after sitting for long periods of time. I find it is the best way to ease lower back pain, brought on either from sitting still on a flight or from working as crew, where during a long shift it is easy to forget your manual handling techniques and not lift things correctly. This is especially common I find when closing some awkward overhead lockers which are over-full. It takes a lot of strength if you can’t get someone else to assist you! Also lifting heavy objects, such as canisters and trolley tops, in awkward spaces such as small galleys can leave you with a tight lower back too. Obviously it’s better to first try to lift correctly, but if you do find yourself with some tightness, I find that lying on my back and hugging my knees into my chest – a common stretch used in yoga to massage out the sacroiliac – can really help and almost eradicate the problem immediately. Try rolling from side to side and in small circles to relieve pain and pressure points, then lie back into Savasana to relax and allow any tension to leave the body.
Reboost your blood flow A common problem I encounter with long flights are complaints about swollen feet and ankles. When you’re working on a flight this isn’t such a problem as you tend to be on your feet moving, but sitting for hours on end can lead to this. It’s uncomfortable and sometimes it can be painful, you are also highly at risk if you suffer from DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), which if left untreated can lead to blot clots. Yoga is especially good at moving the blood around your hands and feet, which will help ease the swelling to these areas. Spending just a few minutes in an inversion (where your heart is higher than your head) like a headstand or shoulder stand will increase the rate of blood flow to your heart, which in turn gets pumped back to your lungs to be re-oxygenated.
Decease Bloat I hate that bloated feeling you get after a flight, so I find doing some gentle movements can really help get your body and your digestive system back on track. Manipulating your internal organs by using twisting motions will help move blood and fluid around your body, try a twisted seating pose or a bind. I personally also find that simply sitting in Child’s Pose can really help, as your knees put gentle pressure on your internal organs to help release any trapped gas and toxins.
Mental Wellbeing Frequent flyer or not, operating as crew or travelling as a passenger, sipping Moet in first or slumming it in economy – travelling is stressful. I could list the number of influencing factors that bring so much stress to travelling but I would be here forever. Taking 5 minutes to yourself after a long journey or flight can really help clear your mind and refocus, remind yourself of why you are where you are, why you are doing the job and what benefits you can now gain from this trip. Forget Mr. Andrews sat in 11A and his screaming brat of a child who kept kicking your seat, and forget about how frustrating it is (again) trying to get two grown adults to talk reasonably to each other about weather a seat is to be reclined and not reclined *smacks palm to face*
Find somewhere comfortable and quiet, in any seated position you can happily stay still in for longer than 5 minutes. Close your eyes, breath deeply, inhale and exhale those negative thoughts. Think about nothing other than your breathing, go to your “happy place” if you know where that is… I am yet to find mine so don’t worry if that’s not there for you. I’m not saying you have to chant three “Ohms” or anything; it’s just good to center yourself for a moment or two. This generally helps me make better decisions when I am down route, as I am normally short on time due to our layovers becoming increasingly shorter and shorter. I worry that I spend a lot of time deciding what to do with my precious time, which in turn wastes that time! I find these fives minutes spent in a medative state help me focus on the priorities and what I really want to get out of a trip. The overall goal here for me is to calm my thoughts and make better choices about what I do with my time, what I say and what I consume. Of all of the benefits I have touched on, this to me is by far the most useful tool I have when recovering from a long day of travel.
If you’re looking to start yoga or attend a practice somewhere else other than your normal class or comfort zone, here are a few of my personal recommendations from the places I have visited.
I write this sitting on a flight back home from a trip away to a place I have been dreaming of visiting for years. Bali. Beautiful Bali, a country I had shaped in my mind, and from my friend’s stories, to be the most blissful place on Earth. With beautiful weather, warm seas, glorious tropical surroundings and a yoga retreat on every corner, I had already built it up to be a place that I immediately would want to pack my bags and runaway to forever, even before my first visit.
Thanks to a Qatar sale, some last minute decision-making and ignoring the fact that it was wet season, I was on my way. For me, travelling in more of a “backpacker” style is now somewhat a novelty that I love and miss. As most of my trips are away with my airline, I don’t get to decide where I stay, whom I am with and I always feel so limited with so little time. This time I went with my boyfriend, two of his friends, and I had nine whole days; a huge luxury for me – in fact I was secretly a little worried I would get bored.
Bali is everything I imagined it to be, and more. We stayed in Canggu, a town South West on the island, brimming with organic cafes, surf shops, juice bars and yoga studios galore. Every day was a struggle to decide where to eat, because you’re just so spoilt for choice. From day one I made the decision to eat vegetarian wherever possible, simply because it is so easy as there is so much choice if you are a vegetarian or even vegan. There are so many vegetarian and vegan restaurants here; you could turn the most carnivorous of meat eaters veggie. In traditional Balinese cooking, eggs, chicken and fish are commonly used in a lot of local dishes, however the majority are Hindu, so beef is not as popular. The food here is delicious as the island has so many natural and fresh resources like ginger, garlic, thyme and turmeric. A favourite staple of mine is the coconut, which grows here and can be found in so many dishes and used in such a variety of ways, from curries to smoothies and in clever vegan alternatives.
You would have a job to find processed food in Canggu, most cafés are now Australian owned or influenced and have a clean and healthy approach to eating. Your average breakfast menu includes colourful smoothie bowls, decorated acai bowls, smashed avo with eggs on sourdough, English breakfast with added greens and of course a cold pressed juice or organic coffee. If there was one thing I wish I could take home with me it would have to be the coffee in Bali, not one of the many cafes I visited disappointed me. Never too bitter, never too weak, never too hot or too cold. One thing is sure, the Balinese people have learnt from the Australians how to make the perfect flat white, or maybe it is the other way around? I forgot to ask.
Being one of the best places on the planet to practice Yoga, I couldn’t wait to get into a full week of testing my limits and trying the various types of yoga. The cost of a class here ranges from around £6-8 for a drop in, or you can pick up a week’s pass for a little less. I dropped into Serenity’s Eco House yoga for my first couple of days; whilst the guys surfed I picked an early morning Mysore class, a practice I had never done before. I found it challenging in many ways, with poses I have never attempted before, but with 3 instructors to individually help you into poses, there is plenty of encouragement. For people that shun yoga and think it’s easy, I would challenge them to complete a Mysore class here, especially in this tropical climate. All I can say is, I’m glad I practiced my headstands and keep your sweat towel close by!
I went for a second day of Mysore at Serenity and also a Surfer’s yoga practice later in the week, which was half Vinyassa half Hatha, more commonly practiced in the West. If you want an authentic yoga surrounding, with all the yogic terms, all green, all veggie and eco friendly, this is the place for you to visit. They have several open-air attic style studios, with communal areas to chill after your practice and their Alkaline café is exactly that. Detox heaven. They even have a ‘Gong’ meditation if you want to experience something a little different.
You can easily become acclimatised to the pace of life in Canggu, starting each day with a choice between a run on the beach, some yoga or an early surf to start your day. Nipping around on a hired scooter is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get around. The roads are narrow and in some places cobbled making them a little scary at peak times, but what I love about it is its authenticity. You won’t find tall buildings or even road signs, there don’t seem to be any driving rules either, but people just get on with it. You just beep to let someone know you’re there, and that’s pretty much it!
If there was one thing I was a little disappointed in it would have to be the amount of rain we had during our stay. Maybe I am naïve in thinking a tropical country couldn’t see that much constant rain in such a short time, but I was blown away to see the field opposite our hotel turn into a lake in just one day. Nevertheless, there is still plenty to do if you don’t mind exploring in the wet. The best thing you will spend money on is a rain mack, for about £3 it will save your holiday. Don’t get me wrong the rain is pleasantly warm and actually enjoyable, one evening I was doing a HIIT workout on the roof of the hotel and it started raining torrentially. But it didn’t bother me because I was already dripping with sweat – it was like having a shower at the same time!
Things to do when it rains in Bali are also some of the most enjoyable, like going to get a massage. We went to a spa called Therapy Canggu for an amazing back massage when it didn’t look as though the rain would ever stop, but by the time we came out it had. You can visit one of the many temples, such as Tannah Lot, the floating temple. Or spend a lazy afternoon chilling in one of the many awesome cafes, drinking organic coffee and browsing surf photography collections.
As far as gyms go in the area, there are two Cross Fit gyms in the Canggu; S2S Cross Fit and Wanderlust Cross Fit. If you’re new to Cross Fit then S2S offer a free intro class, which is good for beginners. Firstly you work on technique for one movement, after a quick warm up we learnt the ‘kipping’ technique which helps you with movements such as ‘toes to bar’ and pull ups. You then move onto the WOD (work out of the day), which was 12 minutes of continuous ‘wall balls”. If you dropped the ball, missed the marker, or stopped to rest you had to complete 10 toes to bar, the next time you had to do 10 burpees. It was a pretty horrendous workout and after so much bar work warming up, my upper body was shot, so I quite literally refused to drop the ball! Eight minutes into non-stop wall balls, I dropped the ball for the first time to complete my first set of toes to bar. After 12 minutes had past I had completed a total of 210 wall balls. I was finished; even though I won the WOD it wasn’t worth being able to not walk for two days after, I couldn’t even bring myself to practice any yoga.
The Wanderlust Cross Fit is well worth a visit too, it’s much bigger and they also have a decent timetable of Cross Fit classes if you too want to push yourself to the max. Or not. You might be a normal person who likes to have the full use of their limbs whilst on holiday.
There’s something so easy about life in Bali, the service is amazing everywhere you go, the locals are so inviting and there’s a cool mix of people on holiday from families learning to surf to backpackers and yogis. One thing is for sure – if you love to be outside, you will love Bali. I’ve been lucky enough to see some amazing places in the last couple of years with my job, but I must say that Bali has fast become a favourite and somewhere I already can’t wait to come back to and keep exploring.
I have left Bali with glowing sun kissed skin and more importantly the clearest skin I have had in years. As someone who suffers with dry irritated skin, in general and from flying so frequently, the humidity has breathed new life into my skin. Alongside eating exceptionally cleanly all week and getting plenty of nutrients from fresh whole foods, I don’t think I have ever returned from holiday feeling and looking better than before I left.
I only live in hope that Bali doesn’t change too much between now and my next visits. Even in their wettest of months it was surprisingly busy; so I can only imagine how over crowded the roads must become and how much competition there would be for a spot on the beach or waves in the summer. Not to mention the many new buildings that were popping up all over the place. I know Canggu is already a popular place for tourists and I’m sure it’s a good thing for their economy and the people of Bali more importantly, but I just hope it doesn’t lose it’s soul somewhere along the way trying to make everyone else happy.
I fly into San Diego on a 747 Jumbo Jet, which is by far the biggest aircraft that comes into this tiny airport. The locals all know when it’s coming in, mostly because of the roar of its four engines and also because it barely misses one of the public car parks as it makes its entry onto the just-about-long-enough runway, with enough time to stop. Let’s just say it makes for an interesting view if you are lucky enough to sit in a window seat, or even better, the flight deck for landing.
San Diego has to be (so far) my most favourite city in the states to visit. I have tactically learned to deal with the jet lag here, knowing I will always wake up early with the eight hour time difference, I always have a plan to go to the earliest yoga class I can find. Yoga One in downtown have a 6.30 sunrise classes most days which is perfect for this. I have been several times over the period of a year, the teachers are always so friendly and amazingly, remember me each time.
When seeking a more intense workout I will always plan a visit to the Conference Centre stairs along the port. The Conference Centre stairs are a really popular workout spot for just about anybody who wants a challenge, totaling 100 steps, each one loved and probably a little hated by many fitness enthusiasts like myself. You can make up your own workout, alternating step patterns, adding squat jumps, push ups, whatever you like, however crazy, you can create a really diverse and intense workout. Often I see PTs holding boot camps with large groups, it does get quite busy at peak times though and competition for right of way can be fierce! Having said that, if the jet lag has taken it out of you, just walking up and down can also create a really beneficial low impact workout. The great thing about this spot is the view of the both the Port and the City, it’s a nice atmosphere training alongside other’s outside and it’s essentially a free gym!
San Diego is steeped in outdoor activities from paddle boarding and surfing to running and cycling in Balboa Park or hiking in Palm Canyon. Why not cross the bridge to Coronado island with your bike by Ferry and cruise around the picturesque streets lined full of perfect displays of the ‘American Dream’ lifestyle? The houses are unbelievable! Whatever you decide to do, personally there is not a trip long enough to fit it all in, I still have a long list of new things to try here which never seems to shorten.
It’s well known that Californian’s eat well and look after themselves, I guess when you live in a place that’s hot most of the year, it’s always bikini season! Being in America, you can literally find any cuisine you can think of, but of course being a stone’s throw from LA the home of ‘clean eating’ healthy food is easily accessible. I’ve just about tried nearly every organic, super food, vegetarian, vegan food joint I can find and I have made a short list of places I love the most!
Undoubtedly my favourite cafe is; Cafe Gratitude a plant based (all vegan!) restaurant situated in the beautiful area of Little Italy. Their Breakfast is an absolute must, boasting a lengthy menu of goodies from buckwheat pancakes with cashew cream, chia seed pudding with fresh fruit, organic coffees, cold pressed juices and awesome power smoothies and of course wellness shots!
Sol Cal Cafe is another great place for breakfast close to the Gaslamp Quarter. Here you can grab yourself some smashed avocado with eggs on toast, or the best Acai bowl in the city. You also get a free organic coffee with every breakfast, what more could you want?
One of my favourite places to get a fresh juice or smoothie is Juice Crafters, you can find a couple of these dotted around the city, and there’s also one on Coronado Island. It ticks a lot of boxes; all vegan, organic, non gmo and locally sourced. If you’re looking for something filling you should try one of their chickpea wraps or one of my favourites, the Acai protein bowl loaded with walnuts, strawberries and almond butter.
Why not try California’s healthy version of fast food? Tender Greens is a chain with a “fast food” style approach to dining with the outcome of nothing but delicious goodness. From giant salads topped with tender steak, to warming soups and tasty vegan dishes, there’s something to please everyone. Plus the staff are always super friendly!
I literally could go on and on about how cool this city is and how easy it is to be healthy in San Diego, coming here for me now has become somewhat of a ritual, sometimes I feel like it’s my second home – or at least I wish it was! Besides the lack of sleep which comes (to me) with traveling west, overcoming that I generally arrive home feeling happy and healthy. I put this down to the amount of time I get to spend outside exercising and how easy it is to find great, healthy food. Also the lovely, friendly people of San Diego might have a little something to do with that too.
If you too have been to San Diego or live there and there’s something I should check out please do let me know, I’m always looking for fun and new things to try. If you want any more information on the places or activities I’ve mentioned please do let me know if you are planning a visit!
Making your health a priority when you are travelling can be hard, so I thought I would share with you a few rules I try to stick to, either when I am working as crew or flying as a passenger.
Most importantly – H20.
Normal humidity levels are around 40-70% but cabin levels drop to 20% – sometimes lower on long haul flights. So the air around us is incredibly dry, causing a dry throat, itchy eyes and generally feeling lousy from dehydration. I try to drink as much water as possible before the flight and constantly sip on water throughout. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will both contribute to loss of hydration. As a passenger it’s easy to fall asleep for a few hours and wake up feeling dehydrated so keep a bottle with you. I try to drink more than the recommended daily allowance, depending on the flight time. Always make sure you pick up your own large bottle or two once you pass security, don’t rely on crew to keep you supplied. Book an isle seat!
Don’t fly hungry.
When I go to work, I never know when my next meal is coming. Weather the flight’s delayed or the service takes forever, you end up making bad decisions when you are stupidly hungry. This is the hardest part for me personally, it’s easy to just eat what’s in front you, rather than wait and find yourself something healthy that you won’t regret eating in the heat of hunger. I usually have something high in protein like a protein shake, some eggs from home or a banana for an energy boost just before I fly to help stop me from getting hungry prematurely.
Choose your drinks wisely.
In general I don’t drink carbonated drinks. Especially when I fly. At altitude gases expand, including the gas inside of you, ever wondered why you’re super bloated after a flight? That’s why – the bubbles in fizzy drinks expand in your stomach with the changing pressure. So I try to help my body out a little bit by avoiding these altogether. I mostly stick to water or fruit juice if I need a little sugar hit, but I try to keep this to a minimum. Avoid drinking any hot drinks, as there can be large amounts of bacteria found in the aircraft’s pipes and storage tanks, which can potentially make you sick.
Always pack your gym gear.
Even if you aren’t scheduled to stay in your destination, you never know where you can get stuck or how long for. I never fly without at least a pair of trainers and some basic kit in my suitcase, at least this way if you do make an unplanned stopover you won’t miss a workout.
Take your own supplies.
It amazes me the amount of people who travel without any food with them whatsoever, especially when flying long haul, putting complete control into an airline and its crew as to what and when you are going to eat. Even more so when travelling with children, special dietary requirements or a medical condition, like diabetes. I never go anywhere without a couple of snacks with me. If I am super prepared then I will have my own meal with me. But generally I will always have some fruit and a couple of energy bars with me. Most countries it is safe to bring in energy bars or breakfast type bars, but be careful when bringing in fruit into some countries and always check first to avoid hefty fines.
6. Avoid the hot meals.
You lose between 15-30% of your taste sensitivity when at 40,000 feet so hot meals especially tend to be over salted and full of sodium to make up for it. If you don’t bring your own food, go for other options like salads or fruit if it is available. I noticed a huge difference in myself when I first started the job, eating the hot meals affected my skin and made me feel sluggish. I avoid eating the hot meals at all cost.
Recognising hunger as boredom or thirst.
This applies more to crew than passengers, we can find ourselves with up to 4 hours with nothing to do and not really anyone to talk to on an aircraft full of 400 sleeping people. Like many people I am the kind of person who looks in the fridge if I am bored at home, it’s the same for me at work if there are no tasks to do.
So it’s at this time you have to find ways to keep yourself busy; read a book, or magazine – my go to is Women’s Health to keep me focused, play a game, talk to anyone who is awake and will listen to you. If you’re travelling as a passenger it’s not so bad if you have a TV screen in front of you, but if you find yourself to be the only one awake in your cabin, why not go and talk to your crew member and keep them company? Chances are they have done the trip before and could have some good recommendations or if it’s somewhere you already know; share your own knowledge with them too.
Drinking enough water is also a good way of limiting your mindless snacking as it keeps you full, and chances are if you do think you are hungry it might be that you are actually thirsty, so try drinking 500ml of water first, and wait 10 minutes before reaching for those crisps.
Boost your Immune System.
The first week I worked as crew my immune system had the biggest shock and I became sick with the worst flu I can remember having. It took me a while to recover, being constantly exposed to recycled cabin air and potentially thousands of harmful germs, it was important for my immune system to build up or else flying wouldn’t have been a career option for me.
Don’t get my wrong; I much prefer to eat well and gather nutrients that way, but sometimes you can find little to no nutritious food on board an aircraft. So I like to take an effervescent vitamin C capsule, dissolvable in water, on the days that I fly. It might all be in my head, but I really feel like these help prevent me from getting sick.
Before the start of the year I had never been to Capetown, but it had been on my hit list since I can even remember. I have now been three times and with every visit I fall a little more in love with the place, it’s beautiful beaches and dramatic views of Table Mountain are what dreams are made of. Not forgetting how cool the South African laid back culture is and the hot – but not too hot climate.
My most recent trip really did make me think twice about residing here and not coming home! I normally rest by the pool on our first day as it’s a long night flight from Heathrow, it’s a one night stop over so generally I go out for dinner and get up early the next day to run before it gets too hot. The run from Bantry Bay to Seapoint is a good one to do, as you can stay alongside the beach so the views are amazing. It’s not the longest of runs but I like to alternate running on the beach with running and sprinting on the promenade, it’s hard work but so good for your legs if you want to add that extra burn.
I had been feeling pretty run down all week with a virus so hadn’t been able to work out in the week before my trip, so I used my time here to catch up with some exercise I’d missed out on. I spent a couple of hours by the pool before grabbing a smoothie from one of my favourite smoothie bars ‘Osumo’ I really struggle to choose from the menu here as they have so many great options! From green juices to fully loaded protein shakes, all with dairy free options. If you’re feeling hungry I would definitely recommend you stop for lunch, you can try a ‘Pop eye Salad’ one of my favourites, packed with avocado, spinach and marinated chicken. Or even grab a classic – peanut butter on fresh whole meal toast for brecky! This time I went for ‘the gym junkie’ a peanut butter hemp protein smoothie, as I’d given up chocolate for lent all of the cacao options were out – but wow it didn’t disappoint, so rich and creamy you can’t believe something that tastes so good is also so good for you.
After a walk along the beach with my smoothie I went and changed into my runners and headed back out. This time I took a new route, towards Camp’s Bay. It was mostly uphill, but the further you run the more of the beautiful coastline you reveal, and more importantly Table Mountain makes an appearance along with some glistening white sandy beaches. Intrigued and determined to find the entrance to one of the beaches I continued to run until I found the steps that lead down to Clifton Beach. This beach is a little piece of heaven! Perfectly white sand and crystal clear water, it surprisingly wasn’t that busy either! Just a few people walking their dogs, a couple of surfers and some people playing volley ball. I didn’t want to leave! Especially when I realised I now had a stair challenge to complete, in my haste to get to the beach I hadn’t realised just how many flights of stairs I had descended! Oh how my legs burned! Luckily once I reached the top it was mostly flat and downhill to get home.
I slept for 11 hours that night, which is rare for me! In the morning I headed down for a walk along the promenade towards Seapoint. The good thing about being here is you can mix up your routine so much. So I started off with a little jog to warm up, I then moved onto the sand to do a circuit, squats, lunges, burpees and sit ups. I then ran a little further, to an outdoor gym.. Yep an outdoor gym! Free for anyone to use, so there literally is no excuse for anyone here in Capetown!
Afterwards I met up with some of my crew and went for breakfast. I had seen a new place had opened that I wanted to try, and managed to persuade my friends to try it too. Sheckter’s Raw is the newest and coolest cafe in Bantry Bay to eat right now. Not to mention super healthy! If I could write my own menu, this would be it. Anyone that knows me knows I love coffee, rich strong bodied coffee! Having previously lived in Australia where you are spoilt with good quality coffee I am now also a bit of a coffee snob, so to say I loved the coffee here is really something. It’s organic too and you have dairy free options like almond milk. I ordered a flat white, cashew smoothie and avocado on rye toast. The menu here is simple and modest, what is on offer is in season and ingredients are bought locally. The food here is nothing but beautiful and healthy, my friend ordered the quinoa and kale salad with green pesto, and I have never seen anything so pretty and edible in my life! The place is just downright cool, offering freshly pressed juices, raw pizza and chia desserts to go. We didn’t want to leave, breakfast turned into lunch, we could have stayed there all day, wanting to try everything. I already can’t wait to be back.
I must confess before I came to Capetown I was a little worried that it might not be the healthiest destination for me. Mostly because a lot of other crew who come like to make the most of how cheap is it to drink here, and will go out drinking into the hours of the early morning. Don’t get me wrong once in a while I think that’s ok, I’m no tee-total myself, but choose to drink with my friends and family, not whilst away with work. However so far every time I’ve been here I actually find it hard to not not be healthy! In fact it’s easier to consume healthier food here than it is at home for me, because there are just so many fresh and healthy choices. I love to exercise outside in the sun wherever possible, so I need little motivation when I am here to keep fit and don’t want to spoil that feeling with a hangover.
It would seem that I am easily pleased, give me some sand, sea and good smoothie and I want for nothing more. I felt sad to leave but if I’m lucky I’ll get the trip again soon.
Our fleet doesn’t normally cover this route, so I was pretty excited to see MIA on my roster! This was not my first visit to Miami though, in fact it was two years ago I had a very exciting holiday during Springbreak for the Miami Music Conference week, admittedly that was not a trip to boast about health and mindful consuming, quite the opposite! However this recent trip with work did not involve any pool parties or music festivals; it was more a “how much I can squeeze into 24 hours ” kind of trip.
The flight was a busy day flight so by the time we arrived to the hotel I was quite tired but having gained five hours I didn’t want to waste the rest of the day and find myself awake at 3am with nothing to do… So I hit Dadeland Mall for some shopping. I joined some of my colleagues for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I was surprised to find a few healthier options. Obviously being the States the chicken and avocado salad I ordered could have fed a small horse, but it was fresh and pretty delicious.
So by now I should know that any plan of mine to help me sleep does always tend have the opposite affect. I was awake at 4.30am, it could have been worse. I used this time to pack my bag ready incase of a prompt departure later, and check out the hotel gym facilities. I was happy to find the gym was 24-Hours, so went down to work out. The gym overlooked the outdoor pool; it was nice to watch the sun rise whilst doing a HIIT workout. I felt ready to take on the day.
Conveniently the hotel had bikes that my colleagues and I could use, I thought it would be a great way to get out and see the city, the weather was amazing and I wanted to revisit South Beach! Although we were staying the other side of town, it looked possible to make it if we caught the train into Central first. Arriving with the bikes into Government Central we were told to catch a bus across from the mainland to South Beach, this didn’t seem to be a problem until every bus that turned up only had one of its bike racks working; we needed two. Having waited for what felt like hours for a bus that could take us all, we finally were crossing the bridge over to South Beach!
After nearly two hours of trains and buses we hopped off at Lincoln Road, we were starving and I was ready for some breakfast having been awake for 8 hours already. Lincoln Road is the place to be if you’re hungry though, anything you could wish for is here, from Italian and Mexican to frozen yogurt. Restaurants stretch out into the sunlit street with big umbrellas and infectious music, sure to get you in a good mood. We chose “Havana 1957” a Cuban restaurant offering up a selection of omelets for breakfast and Cuban steak ciabatas. I had a balanced breakfast – a delicious egg white spinach omelet, a side of whole meal toast with honey and a cappuccino to keep me going. It was so lovely to sit outside, soak up the sun and enjoy the colourful vibes of one of my favourite cities.
Keen to actually do some cycling instead of taking our large accessories for a walk we made the home straight to South Beach! – Lincoln Road itself is pedestrianised so we had to walk them just a little further. But once we were there it was well worth the trek! You can cycle for miles alongside the beach, the vibe here is so amazing, it seems as though everyone is out running, cycling, or walking their dogs, making the most of the sunshine. If I had more time here I would have bought a coconut from one of the fresh fruit stalls and I could have sat for hours people watching, just absorbing the atmosphere and good energy.
Realising we were running short of time, we made our way back to the main streets and hopped onto the 120 which took us directly back to the Metro, and on to our hotel. In hindsight the bikes were a hindrance with what little time we had, although a lovely idea, but next time I will definitely be taking just my running shoes to South Beach!
My advise to anyone visiting Miami would be to purchase an “all day travel card” this gets you around on all public transport, and its only $5, it was a total life saver for us!
Safe to say we were all pretty tired but it felt good to fit so much in and make the most of being somewhere different. I walked into my hotel room just as my wake up call was ringing, signaling one hour before pick up… Good job I already had my bags packed in my state of insomnia earlier! A shower, one large coffee and I was ready for the 9 hour flight home…
A couple of weeks ago I flew to Washington, luckily for me my flight was scheduled the week after the huge snow storm which brought the City and its Airport to a halt.
Bearing in mind that I’m not the biggest fan of the cold and it being my first visit to Washington, I wanted to find something I could do beforehand that wouldn’t be affected by the snow! I did a little research and found a hot yoga studio within walking distance of my hotel, called Tyson’s Hot Yoga, on Tyson’s Corner.
At home I practice yoga in my own time and try to attend a Vinyasa class a week dependent on my schedule, but I had never tried hot yoga, or “Bikram” yoga as it’s also called, so this was a new experience for me.
Having never been to the studio before I was surprised to be greeted by my first name by a young lady wearing nothing but a towel. The place had a real organic and communal feel about it, straight away you can’t help but feel accepted and relaxed, exactly what I needed after the long flight the night before. The class I attended only had four other pupils; a mixed bunch who all made me feel very welcome after the teacher introduced me and told them I had come from a very far away land, which made me chuckle.
Classically the studio for Bikram is heated to a sticky 40degrees, consisting of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises, the class was 90 minutes long. I thoroughly enjoyed the practice, feeling every part of my body had been given a good work out and stretch. Although personally for me the class did not consist of any really hard poses, I did feel the extra benefit from the heat combined with the duration of each pose. I left feeling supple and cleansed, mostly because the amount of water you sweat out is incredible and very satisfying. I would absolutely recommend a Bikram class to anyone, even if you don’t practice any other form of yoga, it warms you to your core and you feel it for hours after; even stepping back out into a city covered in snow.
Beware though, you will feel very dehydrated and hungry very soon after so its really important to drink water throughout the practice and plenty after. I managed to find a Le Pain Quotidien in Tyson’s Shopping Mall, where I treated myself to a late breakfast of Coconut Chia Seed pudding, fresh berries and a giant Chai latte before hitting the shops for some retail therapy!
On returning back to the hotel I picked up a salad to-go and some fruit to snack on before our pick up later that evening. Unfortunately I struggled to get any sleep before my flight home, it’s times like this I wish I was a good sleeper, but at least I knew I had done everything possible to give myself the best chance of feeling good for my flight home. In hindsight I did think to myself, how nice to have been one of many crew who had their return flight in the previous weeks disrupted by the snow…
In 2014 my career as a flight attendant began. Having always been a keen advocate for fitness and a health conscious consumer, I wanted to make my journey around the world a healthy one too. So to keep myself motivated I thought I would share my experiences, and maybe inspire a few more people lucky enough to be in the same position to do the same.
I want to look at things a little differently. Most hotels airline crew stay in have a gym, albeit a basic one; legally they have to. But how many people land from a 13-hour flight and want to hit the box room gym with no view, and one archaic treadmill? That pokey little gym might be enough for some people, but I know I would go crazy limiting my fitness cravings to just what the hotel provides with no other alternatives.
Plane food and the unnaturally low air humidity you are exposed to in the cabin environment whilst flying is enough to make you feel rubbish, throw in no sleep and a new time zone, it’s no wonder crew constantly complain of “long term fatigue” and piling on the weight. Even without rigorous exercise, proper nutrition is enough to keep you looking and feeling good if you’ve got no time or energy to work out.
Lucky for me I enjoy a variety of exercise and food, I’m not a vegan, vegetarian, yoga queen or BFF fitness model. I don’t claim to be a Nutritionist or Personal Trainer, but I do know what works for me. I’m not ever going to say that it’s easy and that having insomnia and sweet cravings at 4am doesn’t effect me but I will try my best to enjoy my travelling and not let the cabin crew lifestyle rule my own lifestyle. I’m looking at the bigger picture; I’m here for the long haul.