Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fitness Travel Tips


Wherever you are traveling, being fit and healthy will help you with everyday activities. It is so so important to maintain a healthy
 body while traveling... and I will tell you why...

1) Unfamiliar Foods. This can make or break a trip. Having a healthier immune system will help your body fight off unwanted ingredients that my not necessarily agree with your body.

2) Poor Transport. Sitting on a train for 9 hours in India is not like sitting on a 9 hour train in Canada. The conditions may be uncomfortable and awkward for our bodies. So having stronger muscles and more flexibility within your muscles will aid you along this dreary experience. 

3) Backpacking. You think backpacking is easy? Not when you have 20lbs lugged onto your back and you've been walking for 30km. Training your muscles ahead of time for heavy lifting while walking will ease you into the process.

LOOKING at BACKPACKING... A few things you need to know before you get on that first plane.

Backpacking has its own set of requirements. You need strength, a good back, and some measure of hardiness since you'll probably have to walk either long distances or a certain amount of time.

So before you leave, concentrate on training both for strength and cardiovascular health.

1. Research your destination
How fit do you need to be? Are you climbing mountains or lounging on a tropical beach? Is there good public transportation from A to B or will you have to carry your pack for miles? Are you away for a month or a year.

2. How fit are you?
If you're already super-fit, chances are you'll have a bit of leeway before you have to work at it. But if you're puffing by the time you go up a flight of steps, climbing Kili your first week away might not be wise.

3. Start ahead of time.
Don't wait until you've got your plane tickets in hand - start now! Unless you're a regular at the gym, you'll need a few months to get into optimum shape for the road.


Most people who backpack carry somewhere between one-sixth and one-third of their own body weight on their backs. Regardless of how much stuff you decide to carry, you'll have a much more comfortable hike if you increase your physical fitness before you ever set out.

Backpacking requires two types of fitness -- cardiovascular and muscular. Cardiovascular fitness is built through aerobic exercise, and muscular fitness is built through weight training. Some people choose to improve their fitness by walking on a treadmill or around town with a weighted backpack on their backs. But you can also prepare for a backpacking trip with more traditional exercise.


  • Walk walk walk! The more walking to you do prior to your trip, the better. Start small, then work up to one of the biggest treks of your trip. 

  • Work on your muscular strength, a lot coming from your legs and back. Walking with a big backpack is tough, make sure you have the muscles to support the rest of your body. (lifting heavier weights at the gym will help
  • Fill your backpack with 15-20 kg of books, rocks or clothes, and carry it around with you until it feels 'normal'. You should be able to lift it on your own, get it on your back, and carry it for a few kilometers without fainting.

  • Really work on that aerobic exercise! You'll be happy when you're running to catch the last train of the day and your lungs don't collapse. Train by running at a constant pace, fast enough where your heart rate is at its 80% maximum.

  • Join a yoga class. (especially if you're like me and plan to do yoga while traveling) It'll strengthen you and make you more flexible for those nights on the beach or on hard bamboo beds.

  • Exercise in similar conditions as your trip. If you're headed for the mountains, practice on hills if you can. (for me, I've been putting the treadmill on the highest inclination to practice those mountainous treks of the Himalayas)
Whatever you do among your trip and before; stay healthy and have fun! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

How to Wear an Indian Sari

While in India, I (Marsha) plan to dress respectively and conservatively. One way to do this is to dress as the locals to (when in Rome). So I have researched the best way to dress in a Sari, one of the more common outfits for the women of India. It looks simple but can be complicated if one doesn't know anything about them. H
ere are the steps to 
wearing a Sari. 

Step 1: First, there are 2 components to the Indian Sari which and these must be chosen carefully to compliment the look (prior to wearing 
the sari). 

1) Petticoat - a waist to floor garment, tie this ti
ghtly at the waist with the loose string. Try choosing a colour that will match the sari colour. 
2) Blouse - this is also tight fitting and should also be a similar colour to the sari (matching accordingly). This can be short sleeved or sleeveless, and this blouse will end just below the bust.

Step 2:
So you can start by tucking the sari (plain/upper end) into the petticoat. Try to position it so its slightly right to your bellybutton. Make sure that the lower end of t
he sari should be touchi
ng the floor, and that the whole length of the sari comes on the left-hand side. Now wrap the sari around yourself once, with the sari now coming back in the front, on your right side.

Step 3
Make about 5 to 7 pleats of equal width of 5 inches, starting at the tucked-in end. Gather the pleat
s together, neatly, ensuring that the lower edge of the pleats are even and just off the ground and that the pleats fall straight and evenly. A safety pin may be used to stop the pleats
 from scattering.

Step 4

Neatly tuck the pleats into the petticoat, at the waist, slightly to the left of your belly button
, so they are open to your left. 

Step 5

Drape the remaining fabric around yourself once more left to right, and bring it round your hips to the front, holding the top edge of the sari.

Step 6
Slightly raise the remaining portion of the Sari on your back, bringing it up under the right arm and over the left shoulder so that the end of the Sari falls to about the level of your knees.

The end portion is then draped from the left shoulder and around. This is called the Pallav or the Pallu. To prevent it slipping off your shoulder, fasten the Pallu at the shoulder to the blouse with a small safety pin.

Now all I have to do is remember this... I will be sure to upload pictures of my first attempts at this. ENJOY :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Female Fashion... do's and don'ts for INDIA

What is acceptable for a woman to wear when traveling/backpacking in India? 

Traditional Indian clothing for women are the sari or the salwar kameez and also Ghaghra Cholis (Lehengas).
A sari is a strip of unstitched cloth, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. The most common style is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff.
The salwar kameez is another form of popular dress for females. It consists of loose trousers (the salwar) topped by a long loose shirt (the kameez). 

Looking at Journy Woman's travel information on what to wear in India, she had a few posts from previous female traveler's and their advice. 

Remember this hint. Skirts are so much easier than pants if you have to use squatting Indian toilets! 
Megan, Vancouver, USA

Buy a 'Salwar Kameez'. It's a dress-with-pants-and-shawl type of thing, worn by Muslim women, but also by Hindu women. The shawl can be draped around you shoulders and across your chest, saves you some stares, or used as a headdress if you go into temples or mosques. As almost all women in India wear either a Saree or a Salwar Kameez you will be regarded well as you are dressing appropriately. Wearing jeans and a shirt is okay for travelling, but only for that. You can buy a Salwar almost anywhere but the best way to have one that suits you is to buy some cloth at a store and then go to a tailor and have it made for you. 
Bloem, Huizen, Netherlands

Wear black because no matter how posh your accommodation, you will get covered in dust. Wearing black requires fewer trips to the laundromat. I'd recommend a long skirt ...ankle or calf length in a cool fabric with a loose fitting long-sleeved top... that seems to please everyone. Not very exciting but certainly handy. I also found a long piece of dark viscose fabric very helpful - this was wound around my head and shoulders. Even where it's not necessary to do this for cultural reasons, it really is one of the best ways of keeping the sun off. 
Katelyn, Auckland, New Zealand

Be culturally correct and know what you're wearing. Many western women wear sari petticoats and blouses without the sari. This is the equivalent to walking on the street with your underwear on and is considered in very poor taste.
Anita, Toronto, Canada

I went bike riding in India recently. I packed some loose fitting (mens actually!) zip off trousers. When zipped off, they came to about my knees. While bike riding, I got a bit warm so I risked taking the bottom part off and revealing my knees. BAD MOVE. We were riding through rural villages that don't get to see white folk too often (about 2 or 3 times a year I was told) let alone white female knees. I had cars driving really close to me, almost knocking me off, just to cop an eyeful of my lily white legs!!! I found it better to be a little warm than risk being knocked over! I found as soon as I had them full length again, they left me alone.
Annie, Adelaide, Australia

Monday, September 7, 2009

Destination: INDIA

Well, we have done it, bought the tickets for our 78 day India Adventure! Sept 29 - Dec 16, 2009. We are planning to see a majority of this intriguing country with memories to last a lifetime.

So far we've gotten our shots & recommended medicine.
Thanks to MD Travel Health, and our doctors, we were ready for anything!


Recommended for all travelers to the states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the northeast

Hepatitis A

Recommended for all travelers


Recommended for all travelers


One-time booster recommended for any adult traveler who completed the childhood series but never had polio vaccine as an adult

Yellow fever

Required for all travelers arriving from or transiting through a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas. Not recommended otherwise.

Japanese encephalitis

For travelers who may spend a month or more in rural areas and for short-term travelers who may spend substantial time outdoors in rural areas, especially after dusk

Hepatitis B

Recommended for all travelers


For travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, or at high risk for animal bites, or involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given


Revaccination recommended every 10 years

Next thing on the list is insurance. We are planning on getting the whole package; medical, travel etc. Its around $350 with our travel agent, but will be worth it if tough times arise. Since we both haven't been to India yet, we think its better to be safe then sorry!

A great way to see what kind of insurance you need is getting a quote. I recommend RBC for Canadians.

We also still need to get our Canadian India Visa.

An Exciting Start!!