{WELL ON THE ROAD} Lena Franklin

Photo: Renee Choi for Pravassa©

Photo: Renee Choi for Pravassa©

Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist & Meditation Instructor

Most recently in: Thailand and Cambodia. I could go on and on about SE Asia, it's an intoxicating mix of spiritual power and natural beauty. 

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: You’ll always find organic dried fruit and raw almonds in my carry on. First of all, I’m a savory and sweet kind of gal. But this combo also gives me the protein and fiber I need to stay energized and nourished while flying.

Tell us your in-flight ritual:  I use my flight-time for spiritual practice. It’s fun to think about flying as a built-in time for your own inner meditation retreat without iPhone interruptions! After settling into my seat, I begin applying my favorite essential oils. Lemongrass oil refreshes my mind and releases any negative energies and Frankincense keeps my immune system up and spiritual intentions alive. Then, during flight I usually set aside periods of time for mindfulness meditation practice (attending to my breath, thoughts, body sensations and emotional currents) and loving kindness meditation (sending loving kindness to myself, all those traveling beings on the plane and in our world!). And plenty of water!

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived?  The best tip I have is to force your sleep schedule to align with whatever time zone you’re in, and asap. Getting your body on schedule allows you to avoid long term jet lag. Your brain’s melatonin will adjust more quickly…allowing for more enjoyment as you’re diving into new experiences. I also make sure to ingest plenty of fresh greens to replenish my mind and body by seeking out salads, smoothies and sautéed greens. I drink plenty of water, avoid large amounts of alcohol and find time for meditation in the mornings.

Describe your workout on the road style: As a former college athlete I've had to shift from a hard-hitting workout regimen to the softer side of movement. I’ve learned how to listen to what my body needs to stay fit and strong. My vinyasa yoga practice keeps me lean and toned while on the road. I’ll either find a corner in my hotel room or practice outdoors. I also find that good old fashioned crunches, push-ups and squats are fabulous portable workout practices that keep me in-shape on the road. And, I LOVE to walk! Walking through a new city without a particular destination or purpose gets my blood flowing while my keeping my inner wanderluster happy.

How do you keep sickness at bay? Sleep! While traveling, I get on the cosmic cycles of sun and moon ~ rising with the sun and winding down when the sun sets. Making sleep a priority is a non-negotiable for me to keep sickness at bay. I also eat plenty of citrus while on the road to ensure I’m getting enough vitamin C.

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item when traveling? There’s something soul nourishing about soup. Each country seems to have a soup specialty that embodies historic contexts and yummy ingredients from that part of the world. I gravitate towards ordering soup whether I’m savoring a bowl of pho in Vietnam, miso in Japan or spicy chicken soup in Mexico.

What do you do to stay grounded? Meditation in nature, wherever I am in the world, keeps me grounded and centered. My practice is a non-negotiable just like brushing my teeth or showering. Meditating in nature allows me to connect more deeply to myself and the culture that surrounds me. I love to practice sensory-based meditations while I travel. For example, I might sit in a park, the woods or on the beach and listen to the soundscape around me ~ birds singing, trees rustling, motorbikes whizzing, families conversing in their native tongue. Awakening our senses to the present moment experience allows us to grow roots of mindful awareness, inviting us feel grounded as a small but integral part of the world.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? Text or email keeps me directly connected with loved ones. But my tribe also knows that I document my journey via Instagram so they love to follow me on there for cultural captures along the way!

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Lena works one-on-one with clients, provides mindfulness corporate trainings, and teaches workshops. She is leading her 3rd Pravassa wellness vacation this year to Vietnam. Follow all of Lena's journeys on Instagram.