Discovering life beyond the barbell / by Dana McMahan

A whole new world

I fell in love with travel a little over 10 years ago. It was quite by accident. A once-in-a-lifetime 25-day backpacking trip through Europe with my husband before we started acting like grownups had the opposite result. It lit the fire for a love and a life that revolves around planning the next (and next and next) trip. Ten years after that first trip I tattooed a map of the world on my back.

I fell in love with lifting and, I guess I’ll call it adventure athletics, by accident too — just trying to shed the few pounds that food writing had contributed to my frame. Things turned out funny, as they tend to do in life, and though I lost my beloved powerlifting, I’m finding new adventures and new sports, and I’m finding new ways to explore the world.

Muay Thai (kickboxing) lesson at Sor Vorapin Gym #1 in Bangkok

I took a Muay Thai (kickboxing) lesson at Sor Vorapin Gym #1 in Bangkok back when I’d only just begun to work out.

I’ve gotten to know the world through its foods for years. Now I’m adding sports to that. I would normally schedule a cooking class and/or a market tour on my first trip to a new country. But when my husband and I go to Vietnam this fall, while I’m sure we’ll dig in to stupendously good food, the Big Event will be rock climbing in Ha Long bay.

I’m headed to Paris in a few weeks with girlfriends, each of us into a different style of fitness, and we’re all going to try a variety of workouts while we’re there — maybe rollerblading, maybe yoga on the Seine. And today, two different people from two different countries separately wrote me to tell me about rock climbing outside of Paris. How’s that for a sign that I should go climbing there?

Our first choice for where to travel next year is Patagonia, for, you guessed it, climbing. And on the Great 40th Birthday Round the World Trip in 2014, I want to try out everything from horseback riding in Mongolia to surfing in Bali. I wouldn’t have chosen for things to happen the way they did. But because of the direction my life has taken I will see and experience things around the globe I’d never have dreamed of.


In which I talk about my mad love for travel

Dana McMahan – I travel, I eat, I write. And I lift things up and put them down. from t-mac on Vimeo.

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