A week from today I will start the long trek to Australia where I will be for the next two weeks. This will be my third trip to Australia (all three for work), the last trip being nearly seven years ago. I have never been away from my boys for longer than a week at a time and anxiety has kicked in. I think it’s fair to say that “Planner Mode” has been fully activated, list making has hit an all-time high, and I am just a wee bit stressed. I have a to do list for before I leave, a packing list, three grocery lists for the weeks I am gone including dinner and lunch menus for each of the 16 days, a calendar with my location each day because I will not be in the same location for more than a few days at a time, and a calendar of things happening at home including reminders for each day. A lot happens in our household over the course of two weeks, and I am sadly going to miss it all. Letting go of the control will be a challenge, but I know Jason is a superstar which helps me breathe a little easier. He really is amazing.

So why am I going to Australia you ask? Many of my company’s operations are located in Australia, and there is a small team going to conduct workshops at these sites. Business travel sounds so glamorous, right? Wrong. It’s not. You know what is glamorous?  Traveling for vacation. I am going to air my grievances against this trip now so that we can all move on to happier things because I really don’t want to sound like a brat. I do realize how lucky I am for this experience.

Grievances:

  • Two weeks away from my family….missing two weeks of my kids’ lives.
  • Packing….for two weeks. Lugging said suitcase and carry-on bag around eastern Australia for two weeks.
  • My ridiculous nine-hour layover in Dallas before boarding my flight to Sydney
  • Sleeping next to a stranger on a plane
  • Being that person that gets up to pee 12 times on the plane, and the anxiety I have about being that person
  • 17 hour flight from Dallas to Sydney. 17 hours
  • Not being able to bring my protein powder or any Lauren approved snacks through customs in Australia. No out of continent food allowed!
  • Jet lag….which does really weird things to your body and mental state when you flip your body clock. You are awake when you should be sleeping and your body still adjusts temperatures as if you were sleeping so you get these weird fluctuations in the middle of the day. Example of the extreme time difference: When it is 5pm on March 9th in St. Louis, it is 9am on March 10th in Brisbane Australia.
  • The food. I have been underwhelmed by Australian cuisine. I’d like to point out that never once have I seen a Bloomin’ Onion on a menu in Australia and NEVER ask for a Fosters. Fosters practically doesn’t exist in Australia. It is NOT Australian for beer.
  • The Wildlife. Every image you have ever seen of creepy crawly slithering animals that made you say “NOPE”……they all live in Australia.
  • Minimal to no access to a weight room. Minimal ability to run outside when at our operations. Unknown workout schedule.

Positives:

  • I will have no house to clean, no meals to prep, no real obligations except for my own safety and wellbeing for two weeks. It’s a little bit scary but a little bit exciting.
  • It is summer in Australia
  • Tim Tams… they have them in the states now, but trust me they are so much better in Australia
  • The coffee
  • Brisbane
  • Being on the other side of the world
  • The adventure!

While there are a ton of downsides to this trip, I am still really looking forward to it. Regardless of if I will have time to explore, I love traveling. I love being immersed in other cultures. I love seeing new things. I am an explorer at heart. I feel oddly at home being somewhere unfamiliar to me. It makes me feel free, and forces me to really see.

Traveling to Australia is an experience in itself. First, you need a plane big enough to hold  enough fuel to travel 8,578 continuous miles.  The plane I am on from Dallas to Sydney is an A380. It is a multi-leveled aircraft and for anyone into planes it really is nice.  Because I am traveling for work, I am flying Business class. I am not sure I would survive the 17 hour flight any other way. When we leave Dallas, it will be night-time. When we arrive in Sydney it is early morning so it feels right even though you lost an entire day of your life. For this trip, I will be losing March 18th because of time zones and such. I will never get to experience March 18th. Strange, right?

Once in Australia, I will be traveling around to our various sites with some days back in our Brisbane corporate office. Brisbane really is a wonderful city. When visiting our sites, it gets a bit more rustic. I will be staying in accommodations called “man camps”. Sounds questionable, right? Yeah, questionable. I’ve never had to stay in the man camps at our sites before, but it was unavoidable for this trip. I have heard many stories about the man camps, but my personal favorite was one of a guy who couldn’t leave his room for 3 hours because there was a giant adult male kangaroo hanging outside of his room door. Things you don’t think about in Illinois.

The most stressful part of my trip may simply be that I am throwing off my routine, and I have a constant fear of falling off the health bandwagon and resorting to old ways. I saw something on Facebook today that felt spot on to my concern, it said “When you decide to have a cheat meal and all of a sudden it’s three years later.” This is what I fear the most. At home, I have well-defined routines and habits to keep my priorities straight. Food and exercise are basic parts of my day. I’ve taken the guesswork out of my food to keep me from straying and my decision to workout is as basic as brushing my teeth. I just do it because I don’t want to feel bad later (or have bad breath).  When I am in Australia, I will have no consistency day-to-day. No known access to a weight room except for in Brisbane. I have been advised not to go running outside by myself at our sites because of unknown dangers both human and animal. So what is left? My hotel room and my body weight.  This will be a challenge, but I am up for it.

My go to hotel workout will likely be some interval/circuit/tabata/HIIT variation depending on what I am into that day. Below I’ve sketched out a sample 40 minute tabata workout that will likely occur on one or multiple days while I am traveling. For those unfamiliar, tabata is a high intensity interval style of workout with a fairly simple formula of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 rounds (so 4 minute circuits). Tabata workouts tend to be shorter (think more like 20 minutes, which is 5 circuits) because they are meant to be all out effort for the entire workout. I opt for 40-60 minutes of tabata when I am on my own. I really do love tabata. As a point of reference, typically I will burn 19o calories during a 20 minute tabata class, and that is just the calorie burn while in the class, so it’s pretty effective for the time invested (and you don’t have to count reps!!). The image below explains the Tabata structure far better than I can. Image and content credit to Ex Sloth

FullSizeRender

The below Tabata sample workout is done with supersets, but you could do single exercises per circuit instead. I like the superset approach because it breaks up the circuits. 8 rounds of burpees can be kind of awful.

20 sec work, 10 sec rest x 8

Circuit 1: Jumping Jacks (JJ) and Full Burpees

Circuit 2: Mountain Climbers (MC) and Lateral Leaps

Circuit 3: Half Burpees and Push-ups

Circuit 4: High Knees and Butt Kickers

Circuit 5: Plyo Lunges and Plyo Squats

Circuit 6: Hop Scotch and Plank Jacks

Circuit 7: Toe Runs and Squat Thrusts

Circuit 8: Fast Feet and Broad Jumps

Circuit 9: Scissor Squats and Cross Mountain Climbers

Circuit 10: Sprinters Lunge (Right) and Sprinters Lunge (Left)

=40 minutes

By way of example, here is how Circuit 1 would work:

(20 sec of JJ, 10 sec of rest, 20 sec of full burpees, 10 sec of rest) times 4 and then you move on to the next circuit with the exact same formula. It’s super handy to have a fitness timer app on your phone.  Most will just run in the background if you are listening to apple music or rockmyrun and buzz when the work or rest has ended/started. I also want to point out that I am a little unconventional when it comes to exercise names. Sometimes I will call things what I know I will remember them as.  I think I have tried to include fairly common conditioning exercise names in this workout example, but if all else fails just use Pinterest to find yourself a handy image of the exercise. If you aren’t already doing Tabata style workouts, you will love it. I promise. I feel compelled to say things like stay hydrated and don’t do anything uncomfortable for your body. Basically, don’t be an idiot and drink water.

My goal is to not simply survive the next few weeks, but to really thrive. I will be forced outside of my comfort zone. I will be tired. I will be challenged to work outside of my routine. I will miss my family, BUT I will have two solid weeks to focus solely on myself which hasn’t happened in many many many years. I hope I come back with a fresh perspective ready to take on the next challenge with the confidence gained from knowing I can not and will not give-up.

Next Time: I’m in Australia!