There’s a reason why the term ‘mindful’ is thrown in as many headlines as the Kardashian clan these days. Defined by meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh as “the practice of being fully present and alive, body and mind united”, mindfulness is all about gaining awareness in the present moment; whether it be on the small scale like noticing your breath, or on the larger scale like forging your life’s direction.
Being mindful comes in many shapes and forms, but ultimately, it comes down to noticing and appreciating the moment and the natural world around you. This, of course, is key in travelling well.
Why travel mindfully?
Beyond gaining the enviable Instagram snaps, travel is an investment in yourself and your future. Taking a break from your daily life and exploring somewhere new provides the space and time to rest and reboot, and check in with what’s really important to us. Being fully present and immersing yourself in your surroundings is key in this process of self-growth.
So although we don’t subscribe to the stressful ‘new year, new you’ approach to resolutions, we’ve definitely decided to be more mindful travellers this year, and we think you should too. Make these simple changes to immerse yourself fully in all of your 2017 travel experiences.
Here’s how you can make the most of every trip you take this year…
1. Train it
Cheaper and more environmentally friendly, opting to travel by train rather than by plane has a tonne of benefits. Scenic train journeys will give you the chance to get a feel for a location’s landscape even before you arrive at your destination, something that is impossible to do from 30,000 feet above ground. We believe in starting as you mean to go on, and train travel means you can kick off your mindful travels from the get-go.
2. Shop local
Bid adieu to the big outlets for a while and make a concerted effort to support community businesses on your travels. Beyond the warm and fuzzy feeling you’ll gain from boosting the local economy, making the decision to only purchase items that are in line with your values and that you truly desire means you’ll come away from holiday shopping positive, rather than stressed. Hitting up the local markets and independent boutiques while you’re away also opens your mind to new people, cultures and experiences, and we can guarantee you’ll pick up some classic travel tales along the way, too.
3. Discover the destination on your doorstep
Almost all of us are guilty of ignoring the beautiful and iconic spots in our hometowns. This year, we recommend actually doing and seeing all the activities and sights that you’ve been meaning to in your local stomping ground. Whether it’s visiting the art galleries or finally taking that hop-on, hop-off tour bus that you’re always recommending to visitors, this year take the time to truly explore the places that we so often take for granted.
4. Once a month go somewhere you’ve never been before
Visiting somewhere new can be as simple as checking out that new cafe down the road
This resolution is less ambitious than it sounds, we promise. Whether it’s a trip to a different country or simply trying out the new restaurant down the street, science tells us that new experiences change the way our brain thinks and is key for growth and development.
The Guidebook tip: Jot down the new things you’d like to do as they come to you. Review your list at the beginning of each month to see what is achievable and when you can pencil this new adventure in. Even if it’s a simple note in your phone, jotting down your ‘somewhere new’ ideas makes this process easily achievable.
5. At the end of each day, jot down three things that you are grateful for
For those looking for a simple way to be more mindful in your day-to-day life, a gratitude journal is just the ticket. Gratitude journals are the ideal travel companion for the busy tourist, with lists providing a summary of the day’s adventures for your memory bank without the pressure and commitment of writing lengthy journal entries each day. Recent research even suggests that writing in a gratitude journal just three times per week may have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling every day. Winning!
How do you stay mindful on your travels?