I’ve always preferred traversing natural surfaces. Growing up in New England, I developed my cross country running chops actually running across the country surrounding my house. My favorite endurance events were those involving trees and trails to the point that I might still be doing them if they were exclusively nature-based. Even today, I cherish my hikes through the Malibu hills and rather begrudgingly go for neighborhood walks only because the sidewalk is so convenient. Walking on flat, linear, manmade surfaces is certainly fine, especially if I’ve got my wife or dog or a friend?or I’m exploring a new city?but naturally deposited ground full of dips and peaks and studded with random deformations is ideal.
And there’s growing evidence that it’s better for you, too.
When most people think about the perfect Primal vacation, they’re thinking about camping, rock climbing, surfing, trekking, scaling mountains, fording rivers, and generally being out in nature. There’s some truth to that. Natural beauty abounds all over this world, and most folks following the Primal Blueprint have a deep-seated appreciation for the natural world. However, being Primal is about far more than just diet, exercise, and being outside. Those may get most people through the door, but the movement has grown and my thinking has evolved to encompass a wider range of qualities and sensibilities. As Primal travelers, you are exceptionally thoughtful. You value experiences over things, and the things you choose tend to enhance life experience, not replace it. Your vacations should be no different.
So these are my top tips for engineering the perfect Primal vacation. Coincidentally, they’re great tips for anyone looking to have a memorable, transformative experience in a new place.
No longer the sole province of the hemp-swathed sprouting enthusiast, meditation’s popularity has exploded across our collective faces. Tech companies have embraced mindfulness meditation as the ultimate productivity. Google has “mindful lunches,” complete with prayer bells and hour-long vows of silence. And as legitimate meditation researchers uncover more benefits to our brains, our bodies, and our psyches, diehard rationalists have been forced to accept the scientific merits of mindfulness.
My explanation for why interest in meditation has grown is that it’s a replacement for the nature in which we no longer reside. For hundreds of thousands of years, we spent our days in natural settings where much of the mind chatter stops and we exist in the present moment. The falling leaves sparkling overhead with sunlight. The herky-jerk scamper of a startled lizard just off the trail. The erratic brilliant butterfly fluttering through the scene that you can’t help but stop to watch. That was life for most of human history. It wasn’t special. It was home. It’s what we knew.
It happens to the best of us. You start sneaking a few more bites of bread when out to dinner and trying your buddy’s delicious-looking pizza. Your workouts trickle to once a week, sometimes none. You walk less, couch more. And then one day, you realize you’ve gone off the wagon. You’ve gained belly fat. You’re getting winded going up the stairs. Your once-pleasurable hikes have become grueling affairs that you dread and end up avoiding. Your fridge is full of takeout boxes and you realize you haven’t cooked in two weeks. You need to restart your Primal lifestyle, and fast.
How do you do it?
Turns out there are more than a few ways that you probably haven’t considered. Let’s explore them:
I’ve always loved to camp. From my early days as a kid growing up in Maine (where it seemed like everyone camped), to my death-defying adventures with Outward Bound in the wilds of New England as a teen, to my current setup running a business in the Malibu hills, I’ve been a camper. Even when I’d dedicated my life to endurance training and had little time for anything else, I always made it a point to get away to the woods with the family for a few nights whenever I could. The reasoning was basic: it was relaxing, enjoyable, decompressing, and just plain fun. And that’s why most people camp. It just feels right, doesn’t it?
Way back in 2008, I revealed the foundation underpinning the Primal Blueprint: the 10 Primal Laws. These behaviors and environmental influences comprised the daily lives of our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years and continue to shape our collective genomes today. Even if you haven’t read the book, definitive guide, or seen the laws before, they should look pretty familiar. Most everything I write about on this blog and in my books uses them as touchstone. Much changes, but everything stays the same: