Living a Sustainable Life, Deliciously

Posted on by Sarah Lafontaine
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Photo courtesy of Catherine Roscoe Barr

With the wealth of information available to us about health and wellness, we know what is good for us mentally, physically and emotionally.  Still, for many people there’s a disconnect between knowing and practising that knowledge. Learning how to rewire your thinking and changing the structure of your brain can help you to get the most out of your life, your travels and interactions with people and nature.

An expert in wellness coaching and fitness training, a travel and food writer, speaker and motivator, Catherine Roscoe Barr has made it her mission to help people learn the steps to living well. We sat down with Catherine to discuss health and wellness on the road.

What 3 words describe how you like to travel?

Open. Well (healthfully). In communion (with other people).

How do you find balance when you’re travelling?

I only discovered in my 30s that I’m an “outgoing introvert”. So, I love interacting with other people but I recognize that I need time to myself, or quiet time. I love to find that balance of getting involved with something and then going off and sitting on a bench watching everything go by and enjoying that “me” time. That’s really important to me.

I never realized it until I watched Susan Cain’s TED Talk called, “The Power of Introverts”. I always thought I was an extrovert and so I would find it weird that I would reach this wall when I was in contact with people. I’m actually an introvert who loves people.

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Catherine & her husband on a California roadtrip – Photo courtesy of Catherine Roscoe Barr

What advice would you give someone wanting to travel but remain healthy?

Have a plan. I was just presenting at a travel writers conference about how to be well when you travel. One of them is to have a plan, a plan to hydrate and to fuel. To always have an empty reusable water bottle so that you fill it up at a water jug or water fountain if the water is safe. Then to have snacks in your bag, something nutrient dense like seeds and dried fruit. If you are near somewhere that you can buy green vegetables, buy them so you can add them to the amazing indulgent food you get to eat.

Try to find out what the locals eat that is healthy and have a few of those meals.

Recognize things you need in terms of interactions with other people and then honour that and make time for that.

Sleep rituals are HUGE. Know what you need. I know that I need a minimum of 75 minutes between finishing something and being in bed ready to sleep, preferably 2 hours so I have time to read. So when people ask “Do you want to go for a cocktail after dinner?” I can say “Nope, I can’t. I have to sleep.” Maybe I’m boring, but I sure feel good the next day.

Movement. Making sure you’re physically active, which can be difficult when you’re on a plane or a bus. One of the main reasons to move is for circulation, physical health and mental health, so even if you’re on a plane or in a bus, you can do little things like shoulder squeezes, squeeze your glutes, and anytime you can get up or move your body in someway, do it so you feel good and feel healthy and just do these small things to elevate your experience so you don’t have to go to the gym for an hour.

How can someone travel responsibly and sustainably?

Well, flying is something that you sometimes can’t avoid, so try and do things that offset that. Just like you would do at home, try and find out who the local producers are in the place you’re going so you can inject your money into the local food community of people who are doing good, conscious things with food.

Try and walk as often as possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator, try and go by foot or by bike instead of using fuel. It’s like Win-Win-Win, you’ll feel better mentally, physically and you’ve offset your carbon footprint.

The activities that you choose – Go hiking instead of 4x4ing. So much is just extending your philosophies of what you do at home to somewhere else. I think that as a traveller, I like to ask people how they do it, and people love to share stuff with you, so just going into the community and asking how you can do better.

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Catherine outside of the Ice Hotel in Quebec City – Photo courtesy of Catherine Roscoe Barr

Where have you travelled that’s had the greatest personal gain?

You know, I’ve been to Jamaica and Italy and Spain and all over the place, and part of my job as a travel writer, or as a traveller and someone who loves adventure, is exploring the province I live in.  The scenery is so amazing and I never get tired of discovering the Okanagan, or a new Gulf island, a new hike in Greater Vancouver. I love travelling around the province I live in, there’s so much to learn and it makes you feel so much more connected to the place that you live.

I especially love places that are dog friendly.

Have you been to one place that has impacted you personally?

I feel like every place I’ve been has impacted me personally. To see how people live and experience other cultures. I’d have to say Wales though. It’s my favourite place on Earth. My mom is Welsh, I have family there, it’s just really a special place to me. It’s just so OLD. Growing up in Canada, we lived in an “old” house which was 15 years old.

My Great-Aunt, who just passed away, lived in a house that was 450 years old! You know, to feel connected to that history and that culture was pretty special.

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Catherine at the start of the Sunshine Coast Trail with Charlie – Photo courtesy of Catherine Roscoe Barr

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! My job is to feel well and help others feel well, and I really do find inspiration in the food I eat, the people I meet, my community, I’m always feeling inspired by stuff and I never know where it’s going to come from.

Next destination?

Scottsdale for my birthday! My husband and I are going to meet our very best friends who live in Toronto there, and we only see a couple times a year, so we’re basically going to go sit by the pool for a week and go hiking and biking and repeat.

Catherine Roscoe Barr, BSc Neuroscience, is a Vancouver-based wellness coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor, older adult specialist, founder of The Life Delicious, and fitness, food and travel writer published in Montecristo, Canadian Living, The Gazette, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, WestJet’s up!, Homes & Living, Lululemon, BC Business, Westworld, Real Weddings and BC Living. Before settling on the West Coast she lived in Sydney, Toronto, Oregon, Montana, and practically everywhere in Alberta. She can be found jogging with her adorable dog, dining with her fabulous husband or voraciously reading anywhere comfy.

Make sure to follow Catherine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Stay up to date on events, tips, retreats and more at The Life Delicious