Travel blogger Barbara DeLollis is a worldwide jet-setter, but she balances work and play with adult gymnastics.
On Saturday mornings at 9 a.m., Barbara DeLollis could literally be anywhere. But the journalist-turned-business-travel-expert and social media maven, who launched her blog, Travel Update with Barb DeLollis, in May, is usually practicing a hobby many adults may wish they hadn’t grown out of—gymnastics.
“I would drool over the equipment [during her child’s classes] and sneak a little dip on the balance beam. I had been shooed out of another gym for doing that,” she laughs, admitting that her passion for aerials, back-bends, and dismounts was rekindled after taking her child to a class seven years ago. Her interests engaged, and she bugged the director to give her the chance to create a routine. They eventually started an adult class through the University of Maryland’s Gymkana troupe.
“[As a kid] I was upside down all the time. Lots of cartwheels, headstands,” she explains, admitting that she jumped at the chance to get back on the mat. As an adult, she had stayed in shape at the gym and with yoga, Pilates, and Zumba, but this level of fitness required rocketing endurance and a redefined skill set.
“I’ve accomplished so much on the trampoline and on the floor,” she says, citing her recently perfected back walkover. “In yoga, I could do a backbend, but I hadn’t been able to kick my legs over. It’s this beautiful moment where you step away from your fear, you listen to an instruction, and then your body follows.”
An adventurous soul, DeLollis has skydived yet struggled mentally with the vault. “Something I love about this class: It’s all about overcoming mental blocks,” she says. “I have almost none, except for the vault…. But little by little you make progress.”
She glows the entire time she talks about gymnastics, explaining that it has symbolized the changes, improvements, and risks in her lifestyle. “When I’m 85 and I fall, I’m going to get up and go like this,” she says, coming up from the motion of a tumble to take a bow.
After an 11-year stint as USA Today’s business travel expert and her past post as marketing director for ReviewPro, she launched Travel Update with Barb DeLollis as an outlet for her worldview. “You get this momentum and you have no choice: You have to go for it,” she says about her risks and adventures. “Your arms are up past your ears, your eyes are at the ceiling, and you have no choice. You’re going for it. And it’s a beautiful thing.”