Backpacking and Fitness (Or Lack Of)


When you’re strapped to your backpack and stumbling your way around the globe, your weight fluctuates more than a D-list celebrity’s. It all depends on the country you’re in, and their culture.

Countries where I lost weight:

Cuba, Vietnam

Countries where I gained weight:

Fuckin’ everywhere else. America, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji were the worst culprits.

Boozing is a big factor, obviously. In America, I was hammered nightly, cradling cans of PBR as we sat around the campfire, or clutching Grenades in New Orleans. I got pretty plump without realising. There’s a charming photo of me sat on a horse in Monument Valley, trying to look like John Wayne – I’ve even nailed the beer gut.

It’s not hard to slim down in Cuba, as the national food is essentially dough with a bit of ketchup sprayed on, and it’s not particularly tempting to gorge yourself. The food was phenomenal in Vietnam, but portions are small and you will lose weight just from sweating. Every. Second.

If you’re into fitness, it can be hard to keep in shape on the road. You can find gyms here and there, but there will be stretches where you’re forced to get creative. Obviously you can go running, but you’ll probably be too drunk/hungover/culture shocked/hot/cold/lost to do that. I met a German guy on my travels who had it pretty worked out. He used the following routine:

Plank, press ups, star jumps, squats, tricep dips, sit ups, jumping squats- do these solidly for 1 minute each, and repeat as many times as necessary until you’re fucked.

I did it a few times in Cuba, and you can definitely feel it. You might not see any improvements in your physique, but it’ll definitely keep the dreaded backpacker beer gut at bay. That said, you might prefer to just let it all hang out. You are on holiday, after all.

That’s cool, man. You do you.

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