Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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Things I Learned in Utah
It felt so, so good to take a night off from the gym tonight. My body needed the rest and it was amazing to just come home when my workday was over. I’m sure my mind and body will be thanking me soon enough (you’re welcome).
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while: Things I Learned in Utah. If you recall, I traveled to the lovely state about a month ago for a few photo shoots for work. And I loved it there. The mountains, the fresh air—although it was nearly impossible to run in that air—the nice people. It was all wonderful. But being there also taught me a lot about life.
Utah in general has a very pure feel to it. In the Salt Lake City area, the majority of the population is Mormon and a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). I’m not one to claim that their strong religious upbringing is the sole reason that the people there are so “pure” seeming, but I do think it definitely plays a part.
For one, Mormons don’t drink, do drugs or engage in other “promiscuous” activity. That lifestyle isn’t for me, but these people all do just fine without these things.
Anyway. Onto what I learned…
- Your body is a gift. The six young women I was with for the photo shoot—sisters between the ages of 16 and 31—all had so much respect for their bodies. One of them, who is on a very popular TV show that requires her to bare quite a bit of skin, talked to me about how she respects her body because it is capable of doing so much. As a dancer, she is required to do some pretty crazy things, like twisting, turning and bending in ways the body probably isn’t meant to go. Instead of getting frustrated when her body doesn’t do the right thing, she appreciates what it can do instead.
- Love your family. This is a no-brainer, right? While I was interviewing the girls, the laughed, cuddled, passed their babies around the room and smiled as they reminisced about stories from when they were all growing up together. I asked if they ever fight—they don’t. I ask how much they support each other—they always do, as much and as often as possible. The girls told me that, although they’ve had many friends of their own over the years, their family members are the ones who will always stick around. Be grateful for them and don’t take advantage of their “free love.”
- Embrace your talents and passions, even if they’re not what people expect from you. Though they come from a family of born-and-bred dancers, one of the sisters has branched out to become a makeup artist and another is set to become a chef and restaurateur. Unconventional career choices based on their lineage, but both girls are passionate about those parts of their lives. So they’re going to make it happen. Boo yeah!
- Be nice! People in Utah are SO. DANG. NICE. Seriously. Everyone was helpful. Everyone made me feel like a part of their family. I was traveling alone and yet I never once felt alone. Smiling can’t hurt you, so throw one on and hope for the best.
- Pull yourself together. Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, how you look matters. How you present yourself to people matters. The first day I spent with the sisters was at the photo shoot, so they were done up with exquisite hair, makeup and costuming. Before we reconvened for the second day—interview day—I told them to come casual. But when we all met at the studio, they were pulled together, looking chic in blazers, dresses, fitted cardigans and rip-free jeans. They take pride in their appearance and you’ve gotta respect that.
- Um…if you plan to over-hydrate on the plane, get an aisle seat. I climbed over my seatmate a lot because I was so set on not getting dehydrated during the long flight. Oops.
- You won’t die if you miss a workout. I swear by doing something active every single day of the week. Even if it’s just going for a walk or doing some ab work in my living room. It makes me feel good. But when I was busy traveling, I missed a day. Turns out, my body wasn’t all that mad at me. And I’m still alive!
Not only was my time out west great for my career, it was also eye-opening. I may not be a future Mormon, but I respect the healthy, pure lifestyle they introduced me to during my short time in Utah.
TELL ME: What have you learned on your travels? Any great life lessons?