Explore / Green Living / Mental Health / Mindfulness

Mindful Travel (part 2)

the practical side of things!

Yesterday I introduced the resources I had come across surrounding mindfulness and mindful tourism, but mostly in conceptual terms.  (I would suggest reading that post first)  Today I want to share some of the practical tips, ideas and knowledge I have assembled to help bring mindfulness into my travel and daily life 🙂

(as with yesterday’s post, many of these resources initially came through links assembled by HimalayanConnection)

Let’s take a closer look at the right hand list up there, the one by Fred Perrotta.

  1. Do one thing at a time.
    single task, don’t multi-task
    During the van ride, I won’t be doing anything else. Not reading or listening to music (maybe sleeping though) … but mostly just experiencing the landscape, or enjoying time with my travel partner.
  2. Do it slowly and deliberately.
    I personally have a bad habit of losing things.  Apparently slowing down and being more deliberate with even the most mundane of tasks will help me forget less and lose fewer things.
  3. Do less.
    Vermont has many quaint towns and many lovely farms, do we need to see them ALL?
    Last year we drove all over the state, this year we plan to focus in and around one area.
    Instead of rushing through many destinations, we plan to focus on just a few – spending entire days in small details and unusual vantages.
  4. Put space between things.
    My parents are the type to map out every minute of the day when traveling (they just happen to be traveling right now as well, and sent me a daily itinerary in pdf format!) but I find that type of overplanning  stressful and aggravating.  I don’t plan to plan much at all 😉 aside from a few vague intentions, leaving us plenty of flexibility to adapt.
  5. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing.
    In a world where my attention is constantly demanded and bombarded, “free”  time is increasingly scarce.  Vermont’s stunning landscape is a perfect backdrop to reclaiming the small spaces in my day.
  6. Stop worrying about the future – focus on the moment.
    Instead of always living in anticipation or trepidation of the future, I hope to use this trip as a lesson in treasuring each moment.  The future will still be there, and I think I will get more out of the present.
  7. When you’re talking to someone, BE present.
    People have much more to teach us about a place and culture than a museum or architecture does.
    Take advantage of the learning opportunity.

    I’m not exactly a people person, it can take me a while to get comfortable so I have a tendency to avoid or zone out from long conversations with new people.  I also want to be present for the learning opportunity that is traveling with my partner himself, he’s a fascinating individual and experienced traveler.
  8. Eat slowly and savour your food.
    Learn about local culture by what they cook and how they cook it, learn from the act of  gathering to share a meal.  Savour the local flavours, the company.  In Vermont we’ll be eating a combination of camp meals (those certainly take time!) and local restaurants.  I’m looking forwards to savouring the autumn flavours.
  9. Live slowly and savour your life.
    Move slowly. Appreciate everything.
    Take the attitude from #8 and apply it to life.  I don’t plan to rush through Vermont, I’m going to soak it in and make vivid memories to enjoy.
  10. Make cooking and cleaning become meditation.Living in the van, this is a principle I should probably work harder on.  Because it’s such a small space we really have to keep it tidy, plus the daily conversions of curtains & bedding, or things like the sometimes laborious process of cooking on a camp stove or dishes by the roadside.  If I can learn to use these moments as an opportunity to practice mindfulness the might become less tedious.
  11. Keep practicing!

How to practice?  For that I turned to another excellent article: Mindfulness for Beginners – ElephantJournal
The following is a direct excerpt, the tips are not travel-specific, they are great for everyday life!

Like pretty much everything in life, mindfulness takes practice.
How do we get started? How do we develop dedication and discipline?
Here are a few suggested practices for beginners.

    Mindful sitting

I recommend beginning with at least five minutes of formal seated meditation each day. Early in the morning works best for me, but it could just as well be in the afternoon or evening. Find the time that best suits you. There are plenty of free resources out there on beginning a meditation practice.

    Mindful eating

This practice can be done anytime you sit down to eat a meal.

Hover you palms over the plate or bowl of food. Think about where it came from. How it was planted, cultivated, transported, purchased, prepared and served onto your plate. Feel gratitude for the fact that you have something so delicious and nutritious to eat.

Place your palms together and take a breath, smelling the delicious aroma of what you are about to eat. Take small bites, taking the time to chew mindfully. Eat in super slow motion.  Mindful eating gets easier with time. Try to start with one meal a day and work your way up.

    Mindful walking

Turn off your phone, unplug your headphones and walk deliberately, focusing on the soles of your feet. Look around at the scenery. Pay close attention to your surroundings.

Use your breath as an anchor; whenever your mind wanders to the past or future, bring it back to the present by feeling the sensation of breathing. You can also do this practice while driving, biking, running or any other form of transportation.

    Mindful speech

Notice what you are saying. What words are you using? What is the tone of your voice? Why are you saying what you are saying? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Is it mean-spirited? Could it go unsaid?

Bringing greater awareness to our voice and verbal communication is essential. Try going one full day without saying anything—good or bad—about anyone who is not in your physical presence. It’s hard. You might not be able to do it on the first try. This practice makes us much more aware of our tendency to talk about others behind their backs.

The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be with us in every moment. The potential to be present and fully experiencing what we are experiencing—life—is always here.

Some practical travel-specific tips for ethical travel:

  • be aware of where your money is going
    patronize locally-owned businesses
    keep cash within local economy
  • remember the economic realities of where you visit
    don’t begrudge a few extra cents on attractions or food
    bargain fairly, with respect for the seller
  • learn and respect traditions & taboos of your host locale
  • curb your anger, cultivate a sense of humour!
  • learn to listen
  • learn to speak
  • learn to ask for help
  • leave preconceptions at home

AND, cause I can’t possibly fit it all in one post…
some final resources I would suggest reading:

Traveler Mindset For Adventure
23 Mindful Traveling Tips
How to Pack Mindfully
The Conscious Traveler – Models to Live and Travel By
How to Bring  More Mindfulness into Your Life
All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes

In researching, continuing to learn and grow as an exploring individual, I’ve compiled today’s and yesterday’s resources while trip planning for Vermont but I plan to revisit these ideas regularly whenever I travel and incorporate all of the ideas, reflections and practical outcomes into my daily life 🙂


2 thoughts on “Mindful Travel (part 2)

  1. Pingback: DAY 1 {#roadtrip #vt} | outlaw@home

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