Our world is filled with constant noise and chatter, we are always switched on. We are connected ALL.THE.TIME. If we do not take deliberate breaks from these daily stresses our bodies and minds struggle to cope which can bring about mental illness like anxiety and depression.
Travel often becomes an attempt to break away from the daily stresses but while travelling the external noises can still be there. Travelling does come with its own challenges so the noise and stresses may just be in different forms.
Travel experiences are things that you remember for a lifetime. Travel can change opinions and transform perceptions. Being mindful while travelling will go a long way to help you to do this better.
Mindfulness is paying attention to our present-moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. – Diana Winston
Mindfulness means paying attention… on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience. – Jon Kabat Zinn
It is the capacity to not be lost in the past or future but to be present and less reactive.
What does mean to travel mindfully?
When I was young and foolish, I loved those tour itineraries that offered 10 countries in 21 days – ‘come on, let’s cram it all in!’ And I thought that this is how travel was done. I found myself over-thinking, ‘What are we going to do tomorrow?’ ‘Why didn’t we rather do that yesterday?’ ‘Do we have enough time to do everything?’ ‘Am I getting my money’s worth?’ so on and so on.
I used to get stuck in the details and try to do too much in too little time and not ever taking everything in. I often felt overwhelmed on a trip and unfulfilled when a trip was over.
But there is another way… there is a better way!
Many people associate mediation with mindfulness, but it can be as simple as catching yourself when you are sitting at a café in a new city and instead of staring into your phone or being lost in your thoughts from asking yourself random silly questions – just redirect your focus to the here and now, take a proper look around and appreciate the moment. Being present and grateful every day has so many benefits to your general wellbeing and when you apply it while travelling, it will only illuminate your travel experiences even more!
Let us snap out of autopilot and start opening our senses!