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Maybe you woke up this morning dreaming of white sand beaches, giraffes galloping through a Savanah, or the millions of underserved customers in cities across Africa who you are just dying to serve with your business. You open up your laptop and check flights. Then you see that the direct flight from New York to Accra, Ghana is 9 hours and 54 minutes long. Or even worse, if you want to fly from the Silicon Valley to the Silicon Savannah (that’s San Francisco to Nairobi if you are new to this) you are looking at a minimum of 20 hours and 20 minutes. Don’t let these cringe-worthy flight times discourage you from the trip of a lifetime. It is possible to stay healthy, happy and productive while jet setting over the Atlantic.
Cheraé Robinson, the Founder and CEO of Tastemakers Africa, makes the flight from North America to Africa at least 10x per year. Tastemakers Africa is an online platform that connects people to experiences hosted by local insiders in Accra, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. This means that in addition to her transatlantic flights, she’s frequently flying around Africa too.
Here are five tips so that you can travel like Cheraé.
1. Stay hydrated.
Cheraé’s first piece of advice is simple; drink water. “Staying hydrated is a must when you clock nearly 400 or more flight hours a year,” she said. Health and wellness expert Kate Turner, RT, CPT agrees. She advises you to drink a minimum of 3L (~100 oz) of water on flight days. If you find it hard to remember to drink enough water, she has a tip; “Always have a reusable bottle with you when traveling and drink 50 oz before you even get on the flight then work on the other 50 oz while you’re up in the air. The more ounces your water bottle carries the easier this will be, so don’t be afraid to go big!”
2. Get moving.
Cheraé admits that she has not “mastered any consistency with working out while I’m on the road.” That is unless you count the steps she’s getting in exploring a new Tastemakers experience or testing an existing one to make sure that it is still living up to Tastemaker standards. Turner reminds us that we don’t need to wait until we get to our destination to get moving. “When do we ever sit for 12 hours straight? We don’t, so don’t start now! Get up and move while on a long flight (obviously when the seat belt sign is off). Make it a point to get up and walk the length of the aisle 2x per hour,” she said. Moving keeps the blood flowing and helps to prevent unpleasant swollen ankles. For those who pass out for most of the flight at least wear compression socks to keep your blood flowing while sitting. Turner’s current go-to’s are from Sockwell.
3. Nourish your body.
Just because they are serving a mediocre in-flight meal in a cabin of recycled air does not mean that you need to ignore what your body craves. Cheraé keeps her body happy by keeping it moisturized. “Shea butter is great because I can get it locally and it keeps my skin moisturized even when I’m subjected to the harshness of in-flight air,” she said. Right now, her favorite body care products are from Skin Gourmet. “Everything from Skin Gourmet is a MUST. The shea butter, coconut oil, black soap and peppermint body wash and sugar salt scrubs are literally good enough to eat. It’s all sourced and processed in Ghana,” she shared. Turner also recommends that in addition to moisturizers, you stash some healthy snacks in your carry-on. “Nourishing bites” are key to her healthy flight routine. Her favorites are apple & almond butter packets, carrots & hummus, pistachios, and dry roasted edamame. “Luckily we are fortunate enough that most airports have stepped up their health game, so if you didn’t have time to pack a snack ahead of time, look for one of these options at the airport,” she shared.
4. Be prepared.
Nowadays it’s pretty common to have access to WiFi on your flight, but it’s also pretty common for the speeds to be slow and the connection spotty. Cheraé adds, “Productivity can be tough if you look at it in the traditional sense. I’m working in places where internet is not always fast and/or stable, so admin and documentation are usually the first to fall when I’m in one of Tastemakers’ cities.” You can counteract this by preparing some offline work to do on the plane, or even better use the 12+ hours of solo-time to meditate, mentally prepare, and prioritize. Cheraé stresses the importance of “being clear about outcomes and not making that list super long. [This] is a great way to prevent yourself from feeling lost, getting distracted, and managing your budget!” Your flight is a great time to get clarity.
5. Don’t forget why you are traveling.
Cheraé says it best. “West Africa offers a glimpse into the cultures that have shaped the world as we know it. The sounds of its cities have shaped hip hop and Afrobeat, its beautiful beach shores hold the history of modern society, and its young people are the artists and innovators of the future. Visually West Africa is stunning from the aquamarine seascapes of Ivory Coast to the bright Kente of Ghana to the sepia tones of a Senegalese sunset to the deep green hues surrounding the shrines in Yorubaland, there are many gems most of the world has yet to explore. We are at the cusp of an age of African exploration and the best time to visit is before the wave.”
So pack a carry-on of shea and healthy snacks, start sipping that water, pull on your compression socks, and get on your flight to Africa.
January 29, 2019 at 10:08AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs