Most of us travel to purposefully take ourselves out of our comfort zone and experience a life suddenly full of new experiences, people and cultures. We do it to build memories to last a lifetime and to fall back on when life begins to feel mundane and dull. In short, travelling by its very nature is moving through the world, often parts of it we’ll never get the chance to see again. So why is it so easy to get distracted by our phones? Why is it we find ourselves in beautiful, vibrant parts of the world getting distracted by emails and social media? It sounds like madness, and of course it is. What could be more engaging than where you are, if where you are is somewhere you’ve never experienced, and paid a lot of money to get to.
The problem of course is ourselves, or our minds to be more precise. Our usual thought processes and bad habits don’t just dissolve as soon as we step on a plane. But being aware of how our minds can wander, and making ourselves more present and aware of the moment is easily achieved through mindfulness. So how do we drag ourselves away from distractions and back into the present moment? Here are three simple ways to bring mindfulness into your travel experience. Follow them and fully appreciate everything you’re experiencing with a clear, calm mind.
- Take the time to meditate every morning. Taking just 10 minutes to sit quietly and clear your mind can pay dividends later in the day. If you’ve started the day right and meditated for just a few minutes, you will find distracted thoughts easier to control and you’ll start the day with a calmer, clearer headed mindset. There are numerous apps you can use to learn this valuable skill and, once you have it down, it can come in very useful on noisy crowded train journeys for example, and other travel moments that can test your patience.
- Pack lightly and only bring items you can bear to lose. This is a well worn piece of travel advice in general but is also a very easy way to help minimise stress. Spending less time worrying about how you’re going to fit everything in your bag means more time enjoying where you actually are. Stressing out about baggage weight limits and fees only creates anxiety, and it’s so easily avoided if you just decide to bring less. The packing experience itself can be a lesson in mindfulness – take the time to really think about each item you’re putting into your bag. And if you can’t bear to lose it, leave it at home – the time and energy you’ll expend worrying about losing any precious items just isn’t worth it.
- Put down your phone. Or better still, turn it off completely. This is by far the most effective way to ensure you don’t miss a thing when you travel. Our phones are the number one source of our anxieties and stresses. So make a vow to only look at your phone when you really need to, to check the status of your flight for example or make an important call. Better still, just switch it off for an afternoon and be out of bounds on your adventure. Taking less notice of Instagram and more notice of the world is a practice we could all benefit from.