I recently found a goal sheet of mine from a few years ago right before I went full-time with TVOB and was still working 9-to-5 for another job. My main career goal was to be a full-time blogger and travelling the world for work—I feel beyond grateful that this dream of mine somehow came true and that I get to do this now for a living! One thing I was noticing though here and there last year was that because of the pace of my travel, sometimes I’d get overwhelmed, exhausted and caught up in the work component, despite this being literally a dream come true for me. I feel like travel is exhausting enough as it is for anyone so I don’t feel like I need to beat myself up about these momentary feelings of stress, but it did make me want to take a proactive approach to my next adventures so that I was really taking every trip in in the most mindful, present way possible!
On this last trip to Thailand, I really practiced these 5 mindfulness tricks coming up and it honestly made for a much more rich trip, one where I really feel like I had all my senses firing and very clear memories to come home with. So whether you’re a frequent flier, an anxious traveller or someone who just wants richer travel experiences, here are my tried-and-tested 5 tips for mindful travel!
Keep a gratitude diary
I love Five Minute Journal for on-the-road mindfulness and gratitude. What I especially love about it is that you’re not only jotting down what you’re grateful for on a given day, but also taking stock of amazing things that happened that day, specific ways to make your day better and you can also include a photo so that you have a strong visual connection to the day! I love reviewing my entries on the flight home to remember my amazing trip in such a beautiful, meaningful and positive way.
Bring a travel journal
You can do it on your phone, on your laptop or make like I did and bring an actual notebook. For me, the act of physically writing is very therapeutic so I always opt for a real journal or notebook, but this was my first time bringing a travel journal and it honestly made for such a special experience. Not only did it make me really recall each day in vivid memory and recap it for future reference, but I found that during the trip, I took more stock of each experience, remembering I’d want to jot it down later. It also helped me frame any hiccups along the way and add a fresh perspective to them rather than just letting them bug me (like this most recent time on my birthday I had a bad reaction to my curry and had to spend the night in clutching my tummy, which is kind of funny now that I’ve written it all down).
It can be hard to meditate every day for 15 minutes the way you might when you’re home, but whether you download a meditation for the plane, take the opportunity to meditate when you’re in transit in your destination, a little meditation while relaxing on the beach or even down a wind-down meditation at night to help you sleep, meditation will help you bring your whole nervous system down and relax into the moment. However you can sneak it in, try to get in even a few minutes a day to reset your system! If you need any tips, I have a whole guide here but love Headspace for meditation too!
I’m not talking about the 5-second rule that I talked about here, but about a 5-senses system that helps you reground yourself in moments of overwhelm, anxiety or even if you’re just really trying to imprint a memory. Take into account 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This helps ground you in every moment, whether it’s a good one or one that feels a bit stressful. I personally do it a lot in both instances—in the moments when I’m maybe nearing a low blood sugar attack after hours on the road (happens to me on every trip somehow and always makes me feel panicked) or when I’m trying to remember a particularly beautiful sunset, like the one I took in from our boat gliding along in Thailand.
While this could go the other way as far as loading you up with overwhelm and stress if you’re desperately trying to get a shot for the ‘gram, I’d really encourage you to instead try to engage creatively with wherever you are and capture it with whatever camera you have. Not only does this make you take stock of everything around you, but in capturing different angles, views and details of each spot you’re in, you’re really creating a stronger memory too. The point is to have fun and get creative! Grab a shot of locals laughing in Thailand, of beautiful tile work in Portugal, of a sweeping Tuscan landscape, of the perfect croissant in Paris, etc, etc. The point is to just transcribe your memories in an authentic way visually. I have some tips for shooting in crowded places here (so that you minimize that stress and can get creative easily!), my 8 main tips for mastering travel photography and also my total comprehensive guide here!
What do you guys do to really immerse yourself in your travel experiences? Tell me in the comments below!