Traveling is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. It takes you to new places, allows you to try out new things, take you outside of your comfort zone, and enriches your life by providing you with a broader perspective. Digital nomads and location independent workers have known this for a while, but the recent travel restrictions made it even more clear that traveling is a privilege that we shouldn’t take for granted.
What Is Mindful Travel
Mindful travel involves being completely present for the experiences you’re having in a new place, without distracting yourself with thoughts about what might be happening or where you’re going next, and without running into that feeling of FOMO that might push you to constantly look for the next destination.
It’s a well-known fact that current generations tend to value experiences over things. We ourselves have seen more and more remote workers embracing the minimalist lifestyle and the “less is more” philosophy. Once it became clear that acquiring more and more things did not make people happier, young people decided instead to acquire experiences. But too often in the case of digital nomads, acquire experiences equals traveling incessantly from one place to the other, rarely stopping anywhere for more than 2 weeks. Which, as some would argue, is a form of empty consumerism, ultimately driven by dissatisfaction and not leading to happiness.
The Future Of Travel Is Mindful Travel
When the world went into lockdown, many travelers found themselves grounded and were forced to stop. For many digital nomads and location independent workers, this meant giving up traveling after years of constant moving around from one country to the other. After the initial shock, many of them have started to realize this travel ban might have not been all bad. For a start, it gave them more perspective by forcing them to take a more mindful approach.
Travel will still be a part of mindful lives, but it will be slower, more thoughtful, and more fully lived. If we want to break the cycle of consumerism, then mindful travel is the future.
1. Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture
2. Pause Once In A While
3. Go For Quiet Walks
4. Try Something New
5. Eat More Mindfully
6. Disconnect From Devices
7. Carry A Sketch Journal
8. Be Grateful
9. Pack Light
Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture
One of the best ways to get to feel a place is to expose yourself to local culture.
Why not try to immerse yourself in the local food scene? Try out a local dish, a city or region is known for, or soak in an unforgettable culinary experience by eating at a known local restaurant.
Taking the off-beaten path allows you to find lots of hidden gems along the way. Why not engage with a little chat with locals to find out what they want to do?
Do not be afraid to be creative, too! Take a cooking class, join a local tour, join a local gathering, or whatever floats your boat. When you come back, you could have more enriching experiences in your travels.
Pause Once In A While
For you to become a more mindful traveler, you need to know when to slow down.
Don’t multi-task or rush in finishing one task to the next. If you’re on vacation, try to travel at a pace that allows you to breathe and lets you know where you are.
Take your time savoring the sights and smells of the place that you’re visiting. That way, you’ll remember all the little details once you get home.
Have plenty of extra time in your itinerary as well so that you can fully enjoy the experience, without hopping from one place to another. That’s because rushing makes it difficult for you to focus on the whole experience.
Go For Quiet Walks
Going for quiet walks allow you to stay mindful. You can do this by taking silent strolls with every destination, whether you’re alone or with a group. That way, you’ll be able to soak in the sensory depth of your experience.
It also allows you to become much more comfortable with silence, allowing you to discover new things and savor a new environment.
Try Something New
Traveling allows you to experience the richness of what life has to offer and appreciate the world and all its wonders.
When you just stay in your comfort zone when traveling, you might leave a place with a lot of what-ifs instead of unforgettable memories of a lifetime.
So, try bringing yourself out of your comfort zone and be receptive to new experiences. That way, you’re able to experience life to the full.
This can be as simple as learning a few local phrases or trying an exotic local cuisine.
Eat More Mindfully
Getting to taste the local cuisines is one of the greatest joys when traveling. But oftentimes, we get to rush when eating.
Take a more mindful approach by paying more attention to what is on your plate and what you are eating. When you take every bite, try to distinguish every individual ingredient from what you are eating.
Breathe slowly, chew carefully, and try to become more aware. Savoring your meal this way allows you to notice the different textures and flavors, and you will appreciate what you are eating even more.
Disconnect From Devices
When traveling, no matter how tempted you are to snap a shot and post an image on social media, or check your emails and respond right away, keep your devices off or on silent mode while you’re on the road.
Considering how demanding the digital world is, sometimes it can distract you from the beautiful reality that is right in front of you.
It can be challenging to enjoy the present moment and enjoy everything if you’re distracted by your smartphone and other electronic devices that also demand your attention.
However, we’re not saying that you completely abandon these devices and technology to be completely mindful. It’s just that when we use them too much, sometimes it takes away the element of surprise in traveling.
It would be better to look up what to do or see. After all, traveling is all about enjoying life’s little pleasures and learning to be spontaneous if the situation calls for it.
Carry A Sketch Journal
Even if you don’t sketch well or you don’t consider yourself as an artist, doing little doodles and sketches in your journal allows you to pay attention to intricate details that you have otherwise overlooked.
Sketching has a more different approach when it comes to thinking and recording your experiences while you’re on the road.
Injecting a sense of gratitude in your trip lets you add a level of appreciation to your journey. This allows you to enhance your travel experience even more.
Remind yourself that you have an opportunity of a lifetime, and not all people may have a chance to experience this.
So, make sure that you acknowledge this fact and learn to be thankful for every experience, as well as every encounter you have in your trip.
Finally, the last tip on this list is learning to pack light.
When planning or leaving for a trip, always adopt the mindset of learning to pack light, as this lets you have a more mindful and purposeful trip in the end.
One way to do that is to invest in sturdy carry-on size luggage. Not only you’ll have less load to carry, but you’ll also feel a lot lighter, both physically and mentally.
Hopefully, by following the mindfulness tips listed above when the world will reopen, you can have a more meaningful travel experience as a whole. Coliving spaces like Sun and Co. exist to support slow and mindful travel and encourage deeper connections with the people you meet, the place you visit, and with yourself throughout your trip.