Stay Healthy on the Road – and Help the Environment While You’re at It!
Many people come and go at the Igloo Backpackers Hostel in Nottingham…….
Backpacking can be the adventure of a lifetime, but falling ill while away from home can be a thoroughly depressing experience which can put a real downer on a trip. Staying healthy and happy while exploring new places is not too difficult, and there are more and more ways you can do it in an eco-friendly way!
Bring Your Own Bottle
Dehydration can be a real drag for a backpacker, so make a daily ritual of drinking enough water. According to the NHS, you should drink at least 1.2 litres of fluid a day. Water contains no calories or sugars, and it is safe to drink from the tap in the UK, so it is the best option for backpackers on a budget. Bring your own reusable bottle to the Igloo Backpackers Hostel and refill it as many times as you like for free! When you are in far-flung exotic locations the tap water may not be suitable to drink, so make sure you check first in every destination you arrive in.
Don’t Forget to Recycle
Make sure you recycle your plastic bottle once it is no longer usable, and the same goes for other items that become redundant, like all types of paper and plastic packaging, and things like batteries too. Whenever possible always recycle your rubbish. The Igloo Backpackers Hostel & Annexe have recycling stations in their kitchens and social areas so please do your bit to help them on their green quest.
Make Junk Food Your Enemy
Junk food from fast food outlets might be convenient and even cheap in some places, but it simply does not provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to stay full of energy and healthy. Add to the fact that the major fast food restaurants like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, and the like create incredible amounts of waste through their use of plastic and cardboard top package food. So avoiding junk food will not only do your body good, but will also do the environment a favour too. Eating local produce from small independent establishments will give you the best chance of eating quality food at a reasonable price.
Volunteer to Eat and Have Fun
If you have the time, why not earn your meals instead of paying for them. The Secret Kitchen Café in Nottingham is a community café that will give you a nice hearty, healthy meal for a donation or if you spend just a couple of hours volunteering there. They source much of their food from supermarkets who throw away perfectly good produce, and invite people in to cook and share their recipes. There are also a number of community centres in Nottingham that offer free activities just as yoga and meditation, so stick your head through a few doors and see what is on offer!
An Eco-Friendly First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, and you are at much more risk of sustaining an injury while on your backpacking adventure than while in the safety of your home. Packing a first-aid kit is essential if you want to be able to treat minor ailments and avoid an unneeded trip to a local doctor or hospital. However, bear in mind that a fully-stocked first aid kit should never be considered a substitute for suitable backpacker medical cover. Where possible, go for the natural remedies over the chemically produced medicines, and purchase from companies who manufacture green alternatives to many everyday medical products. All Terrain is a company who sells a wide range of products like plasters, gauze pads, bandages, insect repellents, and soothing creams which are created using natural ingredients. If you need your first-aid kit in a hurry, try the eco-friendly SmarterBox first-aid kit, which is delivered to your door in a cardboard box which fits through your letterbox!
Use Your Feet to Get Around
While you are backpacking you will have to take buses, trains, and planes to get to your destination, but once there you can explore on foot. When possible, avoid opting for buses or taxi’s to get around, and instead walk or hire a bicycle to explore the regions you visit. In Nottingham, the city centre is very pleasant part of the city to walk around thanks to it being widely pedestrianized. Many of the historic streets no longer allow cars to drive down them. Nottingham City Council also operates a Citycard Cycle scheme which lets you hire a bicycle from major transport hubs like the train and bus station, along with some larger car parks.
While backpacking it is important to keep exercising, and not get into a bad routine of sleeping in, drinking too much alcohol, or spending your days reading books from the comfort of your hostel. You need to get out there an experience what life in a foreign land has to offer! If you have a sport you like doing, whatever it is, then pack some kit with you and try to keep up your passion while away backpacking. It could be a game of squash, jogging around a park, or playing a bit of footy. Regular exercise will go a long way in keeping you healthy and happy, and most outdoor sports are a very eco-friendly way of keeping you in good shape, in contrast to energy-sapping gyms with all their, lighting, heating, and electronic gym equipment.
Be Green, Don’t Turn Green!
All of these tips will go a long way in stopping you from getting sick on your travels, and at the same time you will be doing it in the most eco-friendly way. The right amount of exercise and a nutritious diet go a long way in keeping you fighting fit, just try not to fall of your bicycle or you will be using that first-aid kit of yours before you know it! Once you decide to carry on your travels, remember to turn the lights out when you leave, keep you footprints for the road.
By Melissa Hathaway, July 2013