Make the most of your summer getaway 

Summer travel is about more than getting out of the office or keeping the kids occupied. There could be a microscopic reason that time away from home leaves the body and mind refreshed, a reason that has less to do with decompressing from a busy life, and more to do with your microbiome.  

Taking a trip to focus on building a healthy and resilient microbiome will have all the restorative benefits of breaking free of the everyday, plus the added bonus of supporting your body’s internal defense system.   

How can you travel to help support your microbiome?  

Simple! For your next summer trip, reframe what you’d like to get out of the trip with this simple thought exercise: 

You know how they stamp your passport with a special symbol for each country you visit? Think of yourself as the passport and your time spent in nature as the country. During your trip, the microbiome diversity of that place is leaving its “stamp” on your own microbiome. A living stamp that can immediately communicate in a network of health in your body 

Let’s get started on planning your wellness trip!  

Eat Local

If you eat local for your entire trip, each meal exposes you to the local microbiotic community. In a tablespoon of healthy soil, there are more living microbes than there are people who have ever lived!  

Keeping RESTORE handy will help ensure you get the most out of your beautiful fresh meal

Travel with your Pet 

Pets are one of the best sources of microbiome diversity because they bring back some microscopic hitchhikers! Even just owning a household pet has been shown to have health benefits. Taking your pet along on a trip can not only help your health, but it can help theirs as well through exercise and quality time with you!  

Seek out Signs of Healthy Ecosystems 

Hunting out these signs of healthy macrobiomes will put you in physical contact with rich and developed microbiomes, deeply enhancing your outdoor experience! 

Native bees  

Different species of bees pollinate in different ways and thriving ecosystems full of a variety of plants require a variety of pollinating styles. When you hear a buzz, take a look and see if it’s the familiar European honeybee or a native species you might not recognize.  

Dragonflies 

Dragonflies are a sign of nearby clean, fresh water. Even if you see a dragonfly and there’s no water in sight, they are a great bioindicator of a pure source of water feeding the ecosystem.  

Frogs 

Frogs and other amphibious animals are fantastic bioindicators of ecosystem health. Since they spend time equally between watery and dry homes, they can be a great way to tell the health of both biomes. Frogs are often used in field testing to measure toxicity levels in both water and soil environments. Lots of frogs singing could mean lots of healthy and safe places for them to live! 

Ferns  

Ferns are an ancient life form and have lasted for millennia due to their tendency to grow in very specific places, most often in forests with old and developed soil microbiomes. They often play a significant role in soil health due to their ability to rebuild compromised soil. 

Signs of decay 

Healthy ecosystems cycle and recycle life. Without decomposers, nutrients from dead life forms would not return to the soil and the life cycle of the ecosystem simply would not continue. Worms, fungi, and lichens are active decomposers and easily visible anywhere you look, from the ground all the way up to tree branches. 

Look for saplings growing up by a mushroom patch, or a tree with both fungi and a beehive!  

Look for Relationships and Communication 

Mutualism 

All forms of life in an ecosystem depend on communication, just like your own gut microbiome does. Sometimes this communication manifests itself in a relationship where two life forms benefit from each other’s existence, also known as a mutualistic relationship. 

Leafcutter ants, found from South America to southern parts of North America, are famously mutualistic with the plant species they farm to sustain themselves. 

Parasitism 

Though parasites have a negative connotation, here’s a thought challenge: 

Nature always moves toward balance. How would a parasite like a leech or a tick promote balance in their ecosystem? 

Traveling with purpose and prioritizing time surrounded by nature will prove more memorable, more enriching, and more exciting than just schlepping down to the nearest theme park or crowded beach for an excuse to get away.