My 80/20 Takeaways from a Trip to D.C.

By Sara McGlothlin

Sometimes I struggle with the intention behind these travel posts. In our current content environment, I realize people don’t read articles or posts as they did in the past. I remember when blogging became a thing, and I would spend an hour over my lunch break reading my favorite healthy living blogs. I thought it was so fun to get a sneak peak into the lives of these women I started to look up to. The term “influencer” didn’t exist back then, and you could tell these women were offering a glimpse into their wellness tips and tricks because they were passionate about helping people. The same may be true, but now sharing has become increasingly conditional – on influencing, sponsorships, getting likes, getting attention. Since Instagram came on the scene, people don’t share for the fun of it anymore. I almost want to shout from the rooftops: make blogging great again! I miss it.

I recently had a conversation with Tina of Carrots ‘n’ Cake for the Healthified Podcast, and I told her how much her blog meant to me when I was going through a challenging time in my twenties. There were no strings attached to the content she shared; it was as if her passion for sharing was motivation enough. She didn’t know how much she was helping me, yet there I was, hundreds of miles away, getting inspired from behind my computer screen.

That is what I tell myself every time I publish a post. Whether it is a more educational post, or a travel post like the one below, I never know how the information may land. In essence, perhaps the fact that I am doing something because it aligns with me – that I am doing something purely out of passion for something I love – is inspiration in and of itself. This world needs more people in alignment doing what they love.

Why the topic of travel? There was a time in my life when I was afraid to break out of my routine. My rigidity with “healthy habits” was a safety blanket to shield me from uncertain situations. A therapist would have a hay day with that one (and in fact mine has), and I have since uncovered all of the layers underneath that statement. There is a big part of me that still thrives in structure, but I have softened the walls I used to put up around me. In fact, my three month backpacking trip through Europe completely tore them down. The pandemic reminded me of the comfort of routine and feeling rooted, and with pregnancy and early motherhood on top of that, I nestled deeper into my introverted ways. But I have started to re-emerge, and I am so proud of myself for being able to navigate experiences away from home for a couple of different reasons:

  1. I no longer get anxious about traveling, and if I do, I shift the sensation from anxiety to excitement, realizing that the former can be interpreted for the latter. Additionally, studies show that adventure and play actually lessens anxiety, not the other way around.
  2. My healthy habits travel with me for the most part. I live by the 80/20 lifestyle, and even if I slip up (i.e. I drink one too many cocktails or eat something indulgent), I respond with self-compassion rather than my former tendency to beat myself up.

It may sound extreme, but I often have to remind myself of the “death bed reflection” exercise when I find myself too afraid to have a new experience. In other words, if I was laying on my death bed, looking back over my life, what would I regret? What would I be most proud of? Worrying falls in the former category for me. Worrying pretty much sums up how I have felt about my health and wellness, to the detriment of allowing myself pleasure in doing different things. It doesn’t mean the worrying doesn’t surface from time to time, but I notice it without judgement and let it go. From that space of letting go, I am able to make a choice about how I want a situation to unfold (or not unfold).

What does this all have to do with a 24-hour trip to D.C. to see Seal in concert? I guess what I am trying to say is that there was a time I would have deprived myself of this experience because I would have been too afraid to pop out of my routine; too worried about how leaving home would derail my “diet” or fitness regime. That is not healthy. Realizing that those feelings are present but so much more muted than in the past signals growth. That is Healthified.

Here are my 80/20 takeaways from the trip:

  1. We took the train mid-day on a Wednesday. I packed a healthy lunch, and as soon as I settled in to eat it, my husband returns from the diner car with cocktails. Both can exist in a balanced lifestyle.

2. The only snacks I needed to pack were a couple of Gratisfied Almond Butter Bars and Oat Bars. I used to need #allthesnacks when I traveled, so it is so nice to know that is not true anymore (no more food anxiety!).

3. With every glass of wine I ordered before the concert, I paired it with a soda water. And when it came time to order round two, I ordered another soda water instead. This tip helped with pacing.

4. I always eat a light dinner before a concert, otherwise I will be ready for bed. Protein plus greens always does the trick.

5. We were both hungry after the show and split a burger at a nearby restaurant. The sweet potato fries also came in clutch. Not a green in sight, and that is OK.

6. I love looking for juice bars when I travel. A nutrient dense smoothie in the morning brings me back to life. Google “healthy juice bar near me,” or “acai bowl near me” and something is likely to come up. Toastique was a three minute walk from our hotel. I modified their “Green Machine Smoothie,” substituting blueberries for the mango + pineapple to decrease the sugar content and make it more blood sugar balancing. It was perfection.