As a global music executive, I have the thrilling opportunity to travel to some of the most exciting and unusual locations in the world, experiencing new cultures, people and places in every corner of the globe, from the Great Pyramids in Egypt to the El Morro Castle in Puerto Rico to the untouched desert in AlUla, Saudi Arabia and hundreds of places in between.
Touring around the world has changed my life completely. Experiencing the richness of our world, meeting the beautiful and diverse souls that roam this planet and seeing firsthand the incredible power of music and art, brings a different perspective on life and shines a light on how we are all the same all around the world.
With these incredible life lessons and experiences, comes some basic needs of everyday life. While exhilarating, it is not always easy and can sometimes be incredibly grinding and exhausting.
Over the past decade, I’ve traveled to more than 60 countries and toured sometimes for months at a time. Along the way, I’ve learned some tips about staying healthy and mindful on the road, so that I can stay sharp, connected and continue to share the power and beauty of music with millions. Here are the best lessons I’ve learned for global business travel:
1. Sleep is Your Best Friend.
Sleep is hard to come by, no matter what line of work you’re in, so sleep when you can, wherever you can. I bring ear plugs and a scarf in my carry-on, to help me doze off on flights when I’m not working, and I try to fly on nicer airlines whenever possible. When I’ve settled into a hotel, I try to fit in a brisk short walk before bed, which raises oxygen levels in your body and helps for a restful sleep. When you are on the road, you won’t be able to always get a perfect eight hours of sleep. Listen to your body when it craves rest, even if that means just taking a quick nap in between meetings.
2. Make Your Hotel Room Your Home.
I unpack and set up my hotel space as soon as I arrive to my room. Setting up your room, pulling out a few clothes, fixing your desk and toiletries helps you get acquainted with your space – it not only helps you move fast when you are on the go since you know where everything is, but it also helps create space for you to feel more relaxed. Bring something familiar that makes you feel at home such as a candle or essential oil diffuser, making it feel and smell like home will create a more peaceful environment. Avoid the temptation to live out of a suitcase.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
Hydration is the key to health on the road. I always make sure I have plenty of bottled water available. Traveling and changing water can be challenging for your body to acclimate to, so bottled water does make a difference. Hydration is about more than water; I also always carry chapstick and hand lotion, because traveling is so drying on the skin. These are essential additions to my carry-on bag.
4. Bring Your Secret Weapon.
I’ve learned over the years to always travel with my “go everywhere” scarf. This is my all-purpose tool: I use it on the plane if I’m cold, in my hotel room if it’s too bright to sleep, and if you have to unexpectedly head out from the plane to a dinner, the scarf can help dress up your attire. It’s small enough that it doesn’t take up any space, and it’s an absolute life-saver for unexpected situations.
5. Be Mindful.
Being on the road is thrilling, but it is so easy to get caught up in the craziness of your days. Take time to be still, disconnect, and fully absorb and process the moments you experience. Every morning, I take time to stretch when I wake up, and think of a few things I am grateful for. I use this time to focus on how I want to tackle and show up for the day. Breathwork can be done almost anywhere, too: take in a deep breath, hold it and exhale, repeat. It makes a world of a difference for your physical, mental and spiritual health. And when you have the chance, make time for yourself and recharge, whether that’s watching a movie, taking a walk or reading a book.
6. Take Care of Your Body.
If you can, work out! Even if you don’t have a gym, you can find opportunities to exercise. Use hotel furniture (arm dips off of your chair, crunches, pushups, squats, lunges, leg raises, and so on), or put on your shoes and go for a jog. It will relieve stress, boost your mood and prevent illness. It’s also a great way to get to know the city you are in. Even 20 minutes makes a huge difference. And, avoid situations that can make you sick: use hand sanitizer (I make my own using essential oils, which doubles as a stress reliever), avoid sharing glasses and practice good hygiene.
7. Fuel Yourself for Success.
On the road, you may not always have time to sit down for a proper meal, but be prepared: eat small meals throughout the day or carry nuts or granola bars with you. These are easy to pack and carry if a meal plan falls through. Vitamins are key to supplementing an on-the-road diet: it is so hard to eat well rounded meals and get all the nutrition you need while traveling. Take the time to start your day well by having breakfast: waking up a few minutes earlier to make a protein shake which can be mixed in a hotel room and then taken to go can be the difference between a great day and a sluggish one.
8. Stay Connected and Grounded.
Find ways to stay connected to those you care about. On the road, you will be busy, time will be limited, and sadly Internet does not always work well, so come up with a plan before you begin your travels for how you will communicate with your loved ones. Starting a group chat, use a shared iPhone photo album, or making calls with FaceTime can truly make such a difference in making us feel at home and not so far away, and also to bring us back to reality when life on the road gets crazy.
9. Know Your Limits.
Even though I have spent several consecutive months, sometimes five to six months on on the road for years, I have come to realize that there is a specific timeframe when I start to hit my travel limit. Whenever possible, I no longer travel for more than two consecutive weeks before I head home for a while. I have learned that anything longer, I start to see both my health and relationships suffer. Giving yourself time to go home and regroup will help you stay at your best, maintain your health and most importantly, maintain strong relationships – allowing you to go back out, continue doing what you love at 100 percent again!