I am sure that your first thought upon hearing mindful + travel joined together is that its about being hyper-conscious and conscientious about each and every little detail of everything you’re doing when you’re on vacation or out there one the road. But that is not what I mean.
I believe that travelling is not just about capturing the perfect Instagram picture, or sharing our every moment on Facebook. Before social media we travelled differently. Of course we had our cameras and captured moments, but these moments were for ourselves, they were treasured memories not staged photographs to please our followers and gain more likes.
These days it is hard to escape the feeling that everyone is travelling and perhaps we are missing out. And that maybe travel has become more shallow than before. Is travelling really only about becoming famous on social media? Or making your Facebook friends jealous? Now more than ever, we need to take time to think about how we can be a mindful traveller, an admirer of earth. How can we get back to a more simple way of travel, like we enjoyed before Instagram and social media changed the way we travelled?
1. Take Your Time
Don’t rush. If everything you do and everywhere you go is rushed because you’re in a new place and want to see everything, chances are you won’t actually see anything. Take a deep breath and think about what you actually want to get out of the experience.
Do you want to see everything as fast as you can? Or do you want to have real and meaningful experiences in this new place, build relationships with people, and create memories?
Take three conscious breaths and stop dead in your tracks long enough to notice where you actually are. Take your time to prioritize your own awareness and realize the significance of each place.
2.Feel Each Step
Your body always exists in the present moment, whereas your brain can travel far from where you are. If you’re walking, notice each foot as it touches the ground, lifts and swings.
Notice the feel of the air on your skin. No need to make a big deal of it. Just enjoy the sensuality of being in your body. This awareness will help you remember how you actually felt as you travelled through a distant land, a new place, and a new culture.
3.Savour Each Moment
Eating? Taste your food. Hiking? Breathe in the fresh mountain air. Talking with a local? Really listen to them and remember what they say. Looking at beautiful sites, landscapes, and world wonders? Don’t think of it as only something to capture for Instagram or to share on Facebook. Immerse yourself in the moment, and remember it.
Don’t forget why you travel. To experience something new! The ability to go to a new place and remove yourself from your own cultural upbringing and constraints is a perfect way to practice acute awareness. Notice the subtle differences and embrace them.
5. Relax and Rest
Put away those devices for awhile and have some time that is not governed by schedules, deadlines, and the latest news and information. Drink in something that is timeless and simply cannot be captured on a screen.
“One of the most powerful things you can do when you’re travelling is to let go and passionately wander. “