She’s back by popular demand! We’re so happy to see the return of positively glowing Hanna Sillitoe, founder of Beyond Fit as a guest blogger on Vitalicious. Today she shares with us the ways in which travel can be good for you…
I endlessly crave adventure. Seeing different parts of the world, connecting with new people in unexplored places is something I absolutely love to do.
If I’m lacking inspiration or feeling uncertain about important decisions, I find taking myself out of my comfort zone and diving into unfamiliar surroundings can do wonders for my mind, body and soul. Being somewhere different gives me a new perspective, it inspires me and I love that feeling.
Whilst airline travel was once the preserve of the elite, budget flights have made it so simple to hop around the world. I don’t say it flippantly, my airline ticket is genuinely often cheaper than the train ride to the airport! I don’t come from a privileged background, I haven’t got endless funds to lounge around in five star luxury for weeks at a time, but with a little careful planning and the benefits of sky scanner and Airbnb, the world suddenly becomes so much more accessible.
The past month has been a little crazy in my life for lots of good and some quite tough reasons. I don’t cope well with grey. My physical and mental wellbeing is very much affected by the weather. My skin craves sunshine and vitamin D. We’ve become frightened of the sun, yet hospitals use synthetic UVB rays to treat a variety of health complaints.
Furthermore, research studies on the cells of the immune system show that when vitamin D (more specifically, calcitriol) is present, it blocks the features of the adaptive immune system that would lead to autoimmunity. Studies indicate that when calcitriol is absent, the cells of the immune system are more likely to attack the healthy cells of the body (autoimmunity). Medical science is also acknowledging a link between poor vitamin D status and an increased risk of chronic inflammatory illnesses. *
Sunshine is not just about looking good or getting a tan, gradual, gentle exposure to the suns rays can be hugely beneficial on a number of levels, especially for those of us with compromised immune systems. On a superficial level, there’s also something wonderful about waking up to blue skies and dining al fresco in a summer dress late in the evening.
Our fear of the sun can be matched with our fear of talking to strangers. I live in a friendly little country village where people walking past still say good morning, but it would nevertheless feel odd to plonk myself down at a picnic table in the pub beer garden and strike up a conversation with the person next to me. I like connecting with other human beings, I have friends who do it brilliantly and as a consequence have built a little family of friends around the world. I think we sometimes forget that people are just people. We’re so busy worrying about what others will think if we talk to them, compliment them or ask them something, our fears stop us connecting.
Thailand is a great place to conquer that anxiety. Everyone is so friendly, it becomes normal to join people at a table for lunch or chat away to strangers in a beach bar. I met my French friend Bastien whilst traveling through Bangkok and this month he was kind enough to invite me to his home in Chamalières.
A ninety minute Ryanair flight from London and there I was in France, surrounded by volcanic mountains, pristine lakes and cobbled spa towns. We spent the weekend hiking up hills and kayaking down fast flowing rivers. The symbolism of battling rapids, avoiding rocks submerged just beneath the current and occasionally falling out of the canoe but jumping back in and paddling on with determination seemed very apt.
I built upon my GCSE French. I now know the words for duck, dragon fly and heron and I can perfectly state ‘I’m English and don’t speak much French’! We drooled over macaroons and French patisseries as we wandered the streets of the old town. Bastien taught me the different between profiteroles and choux a la creme. Did you know genuine profiteroles aren’t stuffed with whipped cream, but ice cream? If there’s cream inside that pastry, you’re eating a choux a la creme.
I told Bastien my mission upon returning to the UK was to create a clean version of this delightful French delicacy. I always thought choux pastry was tough to master, but for me these turned out beautifully on the first time attempt! Officially ‘choux a la cashew creme’, they’re gluten free, dairy free and absolutely divine.
From simply taking a long weekend out of my comfort zone I’ve seen an incredibly beautiful part of the world, progressed beyond basic French language and been inspired to master clean choux pastry! It may not sound like much but these little things help us grow, shine and inspire.
We spend much of our lives living in fear. Anticipation of outcomes, and other peoples reactions. A steady 9-5 is our security blanket. Familiar places and people reassure us. Never fear venturing into the unknown. Making life changes, taking last minute adventures. Standing on the edge of mountains, battling fast flowing rivers, starting conversations with fellow human beings. On the other side of fear is progress and a place where strangers become friends.
Hold tight for the profiterole recipe, which is coming up this week. In the mean time, you can connect with Hanna below:
* October 2013 study – Vitamin D in systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23238772