Road Warriors: Surviving the Road with Jacqueline Villamil
The aerial tour takes place within 100 hectares of lush tropical jungle licensed to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.The cable tram spans 1.2 kilometers of the forest canopy in a trip that lasts 20 minutes to reach the top of Cerro Pelado. From here you walk along a small path that leads to the observation tower and wind up to the 10th floor on a spiral ramp. The car travels no faster than 1 meter per second, allowing you to more fully take in the sights and sounds of the trip. You can see howler monkeys, sloths and toucans among many other kinds of fauna.
Surviving The Road
by Jacqueline Villamil, Partner
Life on the road is an appealing and enriching adventure. We get the opportunity travel to places we probably would have never visited on our own, we experience different brands and markets, we meet new and exciting people, we are constantly learning, and quite possibly the best of all – we never have to clean our own room. But if you are like me, the glamour of living in a hotel room loses its charm pretty quickly if I am not conscientious of setting up some sort of a routine as soon as I check-in to the hotel.
Even as a partner of SSP, I still go out on taskforce assignments from time to time. Not only do I love the learning aspect of working for a new hotel team, but it also helps me stay connected with the life and challenges our consultants face when they live on the road. As a fellow road warrior, I can relate to being away from home for an extended period of time, not sleeping in my own bed, and eating food that is not as healthy and nutritious as a home cooked meal.
Over the years, I have created my own “survival guide” with a few tricks that make clocking the miles less stressful. I have done a 3 weeks assignment, but I have also done an entire year in Panama opening a small boutique hotel for one of our US Based customers! One of the biggest challenges there was finding healthy food as the country’s cuisine consists of mainly rice, beans, meat and much of it is fried… but I managed… I applied initiative #2 and I was able to stick to my eating habits, even as a vegetarian.
These 4 small initiatives have helped me stay mentally, physically and emotionally strong to be able to give my best to each assignment.
Road Warrior “Survival Guide”
1.Make it feel like home.
I bring a photo my husband (soon I will have a dog, so I am sure I will add this to my repertoire) and I put it on my nightstand. I also bring a small diffuser and a couple of essential oils to relax in the evening when I am back in my room, or in the morning as I am getting ready. There is nothing more soothing than the sweet scent of lavender to help me fall asleep.
2. Eat clean.
I ask for a refrigerator to be placed in my room and I go to the nearest market as soon as I get to the hotel. I stock up on fruits, cheese, avocado, veggies that can be eaten raw, hummus, gluten free bread or crackers, green juice, granola, coconut milk and lots of water. Instead of going out to dinner I usually get some soup from room service and I complement my meal with a small snack. I usually have breakfast in my room, a little bit of cereal, fruit and a nice cup of tea. Most hotels nowadays have coffee makers in the rooms or available with a quick call to the concierge; but if the hotel does not, I also found a small hot pot that travels with me so I can have tea or coffee in the morning without having to call room service or leave my room. I allow myself to splurge a little bit on weekends while I explore the area and try some of the local eateries… of course always staying within my per diem.
3. Hit the pavement.
Three or four times a week, I get up an hour earlier and go walk or run in the area. Not only does it jumpstart my day with lots of energy, but it is a great way to get to know the neighborhood, check out the competition, and learn what businesses the hotel has nearby. I have also purchased temporary memberships to yoga studios, various types of fitness classes, taken dance lessons, and once when I was in a very long assignment, I even hired a personal trainer twice a week. Recently I also discovered Class Pass, which allows you access to multiple gyms and fitness studios whether you are traveling or mixing it up at home.
4. Be a tourist.
Each weekend I am not headed home, I set out to discover at least one new place the area has to offer. Every place, no matter how small, has a local culture – whether it’s a historical site in Washington DC, the coolest roof top restaurant in Los Angeles, or the Rainforest Park in Gainesville, Florida. Getting out of the hotel and exploring makes me feels like I’m on a mini vacation so I am re-energized by the time Monday rolls around.
Life on the road can be fun, exciting, and productive, all while remaining healthy… it just takes a little planning and making sure you stick to a routine. Enjoy the ride.