Ritual & Rhythm: On the Road

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

This is the season when many of us are embarking on holidays or short trips to see family and friends. Some of this travel will involve young children. I wrote about how difficult it was for me to get ready for this present trip (I am currently writing from Amsterdam).

Many of the challenges of maintaining a rhythm of daily self-care come while we are on trips. 

For instance, I thought ahead about the things I would need on this work related trip that involves three countries and many unknown factors about housing, food, and privacy levels. I planned for the things that would help give me mental health and well being: yoga travel mat, candles, music, herbal tea, journal/sketchbook, essential oils and carrier oil. 

When I arrived at my first stop, I realized straight away that some of these things were going to be hard to do. For instance, two of the rooms I stayed in have a No Candle Burning rule. One place had a bath, the other two did not. Two places were too small for me to do my regular stretches (remember, I'm in Europe). One stop had a gentleman that can't abide scents of any sort. 

You get it, right? After my initial frustration, I began problem solving and tried to rework my moves. Sometimes this involved seeing things differently. I was walking more, so I worked on deep breathing. When it rained and I couldn't walk, I would stand in front of the open window. I placed Lavender oil on cotton and shoved it in my pillowcase, and since I couldn't bathe, I dropped some Lavender into my shower where the scent could get mixed in with the steam. The candle was the hardest, as anyone who knows me will tell you, but I carried it with me and lit it at dinner instead of having it in my room.

What are some ways that you can overcome your challenges? 

Be creative. Be determined. Take care. 


Caren McLellan Gazley is a soul care specialist and human rights activist whose work has led her to places like Mauritania and Albania. Still and L.A. girl at heart, Caren has deep wisdom drawing from her rich personal experiences about caring for yourself in the midst of parenting, partnerships, community and passionate work. She is the author of Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care.