Tips for A Healthy and Balanced Life on the Road 

A bag of fresh strawberries

Life is all about balance—and life on the road is just the same. After my wife and I decided to spend an extended period of time traveling in our RV, we quickly realized that finding a balance between work and play, healthy eating and treating yourself, all require a bit more forethought now that we are constantly on the move. 

Traveling for these past two years has taught us how to meet in the middle when it comes to: “Well, we are traveling!” versus “We need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” So, we’ve decided to share all the ways we prioritize our health while still enjoying new towns, new foods and tasty after dinner treats to the fullest.

Bailey and Nicole Damberg on a hike

Planning and Prioritizing

One way we create balance in our lifestyle is by planning ahead. There is only so much to see and do in one trip, so we prioritize five things that are on the top of our to-do list. From that list, it’s easy to spread out activities and meals to match our health goals. If we are heading to New York City and have to try a local pasta restaurant, we can pair that activity with miles of walking and exploring during the day, and a nutritious at-home breakfast or lunch.

It's also important to remember that not every day is an exciting exploration. Some days we sit in our car all day driving to a new location. It’s easy for time to fly by and realize that we missed lunch, making it tempting to stock up on our favorite candies and chips at a pit stop to Buccee’s. Planning meals ahead prevents forgetfulness as well as overconsumption. For us, it's usually as easy as packing a sandwich for lunch and making the conscious decision to pair it with just one (instead of multiple) of our favorite Buccee’s snacks. It’s a give and take. We save ourselves the hassle of being disappointed and hungry by mid afternoon and we have a treat to look forward to.

Date Nights

Before we head to a new location, we like to plan one night a week to have a date night. This gives us the opportunity to look forward to a night out. Our date nights usually involve a local activity such as a museum or art installation, along with a meal we don’t have to cook at home. An important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for us means not getting stuck in a mundane loop. Dinner at home every night can get stale and uninspired. A date night out is an opportunity to try new foods and learn about local culture. Then, we can take that inspiration and incorporate it into our at-home cooking, but making a tweak or two to include healthier ingredients. It also just so happens that cooking a meal together that reminds us of a place we’ve visited feels just like a romantic date night—we look at it as a two for one deal!

Bailey Damberg smiling at a restaurant with a pasta dinner

Meal Prep and Farm Fresh Foods

Something we never considered prior to traveling across the country was the variation in grocery stores from place to place. We now actually find exploring different grocery stores an adventure in itself. From Florida’s Publixes to Albertson’s on the west coast, we have created a running tally of our favorite places to shop for food. Each area of the U.S shows their culture through their local grocery store.

Because we genuinely enjoy exploring local grocery stores, we try to spend the first day we get to a new location checking out the different store options and creating our meal plan for the week. It is much easier to create a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner when you have it planned in advance. The pressure of deciding what to eat when we are already hungry has never worked in our favor. When we know the night before what we’ll prepare for breakfast and we already have the ingredients for our balanced dinner, it makes meal times much more enjoyable.

Want to see more of Bailey and Nicole's kitchen?

View the Dutchmen Astoria

Fun Hikes DO Count as Exercise

The most important piece of our healthy-lifestyle-puzzle has been our love for the outdoors. Being in nature is the main reason we decided to start traveling in the first place, as there is nothing like being on a hiking trail, riding bikes through national park carriage roads or kayaking up a river. However, not every day can be full of adventure. We also find joy in the little moments, like going for walks around the campground with our pups by our side. 

Being on the road means we don’t always have access to traditional gyms. We quickly learned that even gym memberships that grant access to multiple locations don’t always cover the full country or our next destination. Enjoying the remote towns of Montana or New Mexico means we need to research ahead of time where we can get our movement in. Whether it’s a steep hike to a glacial peak or paddling a kayak in the cool water of the desert, we find ways to work all parts of our bodies outdoors.

Bailey and Nicole Damberg on a hike in the forest

We learned early on that there is no right way to get outside, it’s just crucial that we do it. Since starting our journey, Bailey has lost more than 100 pounds and attributes this most heavily to the benefits of exploring the outdoors. Plus a meal never tastes as good as it does after a 6 mile hike out in nature! 

At the end of the day, life is all about memories. Sometimes those memories are getting the ice cream two days in a row and appreciating the body you have as it allows you to enjoy all life has to offer. Most of the time, it’s small moments that become big memories—when meals in the camper or walks around the campground feel just as exhilarating in this new life we’ve created on the road.

Fifth Wheels

This camping trailer affectionately nicknamed a “Fiver” is a favorite of many, especially those taking extended trips or traveling full time in their RV. The prominent overhang resting above the tow truck bed is frequently employed as a bedroom suite, or, more recently, a living room or even a kitchen.  

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