What’s in Her Bag? Wellness Travel Essentials
by Linden Schaffer, Wellness Travel Expert and Founder of Pravassa
I travel for a living. And while living out of a suitcase can often be challenging, I’ve found that the best way to ground myself is to bring along some of the comforts of home. My wellness travel essentials do double duty to comfort me and keep me healthy while on the road. Here’s what you’ll find if you unpacked my bag.
Fashion with a conscious is JADEtribe’s motto and their natural, organic, ethical textiles follow suit. You can find me wandering the streets of Thailand or Colombia with any one of the messenger bags – large enough to carry my water and camera, but not too big to be uncomfortably heavy. I often get stopped in the street and asked where I purchased the bag, as the feel of the hand-woven fabrics seems local no matter where you are in the world. The fact that JADEtribe employs small women’s co-ops in South East Asia makes me return for a new one every season.
Technology isn’t inherently bad, it’s how you use it that makes all the difference. For me, my meditation practice is more consistent when I’m traveling. Whether I give myself ten or thirty minutes, I’m able to set aside the distractions of daily life when I’m by myself in my hotel room or in a comfortable spot in the garden. Dr. Neale is a Buddhist psychotherapist who teaches an Indo-Tibetan meditation lineage. All four of his albums occupy a prominent place in my iTunes library. My morning mood determines my playlist. Mindfulness, breath work, visualization, or the Lam Rim Prayers help me to start the day centered and aware.
My life changed when I started traveling with my Yoga Tune Up® balls. These grippy, rubbery balls created by Yoga Tune Up® founder, Jill Miller, are the key to my active recovery. From sitting too long on a plane to over using my legs on a strenuous hike, I use the Therapy Ball Plus’ to give myself a welcome stress reliving massage. I roll out any part of my body – spine, sacrum, hamstrings, forearms, feet – that is feeling achy or sore and after a good night’s sleep I’m back to feeling better than normal.
From oily finishes to smelling like chemicals, I’ve tried every bug spray out there as mosquitoes find me no matter where I am. Finally I landed on an herbal insect repellent that not only smells good, but actually works. This Brooklyn based brand uses certified organic ingredients including apple cider vinegar, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemongrass essential oil. The spray smells so good that on hot summer nights it can actually double as your scent.
The first time I tried this healing oil was in a dry mountain atmosphere where no matter how much lotion I was using, my face was left feeling dry. Dr. Alkaitis changed all that! This ‘miracle in a bottle’ is made from virgin cold pressed organic oils including Jojoba, St. John’s Wart, Andean Mountain Rose Hip seed, and with some added natural vitamin E complex. Not only does it nourish dry and damaged skin, but I discovered you can use it as a scalp treatment, to prevent stretch marks, and on your nails. A full sized bottle lives in my medicine cabinet and a travel size lives in my prepacked cosmetic bag.
I have curly hair that I often straighten when at home in my normal routine. That is just not an option when I’m on the road, usually because I’m traveling somewhere hot and humid and straightening curly hair in that weather is a Sisyphean effort. Instead I turn to the 100% vegan Yarok Leave-in Conditioner. This spray is packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential oils that allow my hair to air-dry and not become a frizzy mess. Plus, Yarok donates 3% of its annual profits to protect the South American rainforests; so being socially responsible is an added benefit.
I rub this organic balm everywhere in preparation for take off; upper lip, wrists, temples, and chest all get slathered the moment I take my seat. The blend of peppermint and eucalyptus allows my lungs to open up and breathe, but also it helps to ward off the germs and dehydration that come from recycled airplane air.
This new Brooklyn based natural oil company currently offers 4 blends of essential oils using Jojoba oil as its base. Adding in unique scents such as ginger, atlas cedar, black pepper, clary sage, and amyris, the catchy names such as Turn It On and Afternoon Delite make you smile. When traveling essential oils become my daily scent, the Mighty Real Skin Lust for Life blend has a new home in my travel bag.
I never step foot on a plane without my eye mask. On long haul flights I’m always met with the flight attendants turning on the lights or my seatmate using the reading light at times when all I want is shut-eye. I’ve purchased my fair share of expensive eye masks, but the one that has lasted the longest and blocked the most stimuli is one I acquired from a business class goodie bag on a trip to Europe. Simple, cotton, and with a wide band it stays firmly on my face and allows me to catch some zzz’s.
Years ago I purchased a long plush cashmere scarf to wear during the New York winters. Little did I know that this piece of fabric would serve many purposes on my travels. This scarf has acted as my airplane blanket, a shawl to cover my shoulders at religious ceremonies, and as an actual blanket on cold nights. I was heart broken when it came back from the laundry in Java shrunken to the size of a cloth napkin. Luckily, the company made it again the following winter. Now it’s my most prized travel possession.
What are some of your travel must-haves for staying healthy and well on-the-go?