If you want to bring awareness and presence into your travels, it often means that you’ve got to be prepared. There is nothing worse than wanting to take space to truly experience a place or situation, but not being able to because nothing was planned. This isn’t about planning every last detail, but if you’re looking to embark on a mindful travel experience, you have to get clear about how you’ll make that happen. If you’re ready to create that kind of adventure, keep reading to find out more.
Get Clear About Your Intentions
First, you’re going to need to sit down and decide what’s important to you: where you want to go, what you want to see, and how you’ll bring mind, body, and soul practices into your days.
You might even want to get clear about logistical aspects, like determining your budget and when you want to go.
Determining your priorities and intentions should also include figuring out the inner transformations you’re looking to bring into the experience. Do you want to use the trip to practice mindfulness as you connect with others or are you looking to cultivate more compassion or patience? Would you like to use this trip to explore your limiting beliefs about race or relationships or maybe find a deeper way to connect with your partner as you travel together?
If you’re not sure how to figure this part out, a travel coach can be a handy sidekick for this type of inner exploration.
By doing this, you set your inner compass in the appropriate direction to truly create a mindful travel experience.
If you’ll be traveling with a group, make sure that everyone does this. It can be so helpful to know your travel mates’ expectations, priorities, budgets, desired level of planning, and the directions of any inner shifts they may be looking to work on. Knowing this stuff can be helpful to mindfully collaborate on creating the experience you all seek. Setting this base helps you unite as a group and support each other throughout the transformations you’re looking to have.
Make a Plan
After you’ve figured out your intentions, it can be a good idea to make a plan. We all have different levels of comfort and excitement when it comes to trip planning. Some people need every detail to be planned, while others love a good unplanned expedition. If you’re looking to create a mindful travel experience, start by reflecting on this idea for yourself.
Then, consider the details: Where will you go? What do want to do while you’re there? How long will you travel for? Is there a specific route or itinerary you want to follow? Don’t just consider stops along the beaten path. Take your reflections one step further. Consider what destinations, sights, or stops are always mentioned in this region and decide whether stopping there will truly bring you joy. Consider if these places are affected by overtourism or what impact your visit can have on the land, culture, people, and even on your own self.
You picked this area of the world, and surely have some things in mind that you definitely want to do. Get clear about the “must-see” locations for your trip. Add any stops your travel companions are keen to explore too.
Getting clear about the stops that are most important to you and your group will help make sure the list isn’t too long or unrealistic. A key element of mindful travel is moving slowly and leaving plenty of space for unplanned activities. During these times, each traveler can connect with themself, see what they feel most attracted to doing at that moment.
In those unplanned instances, if the urge to just wander around is strong, then go explore by foot. If you feel called to sit, journal, and sip some local tea, then grab your pen and notebook and enjoy!
Travel is a time and space for worldly explorations, but if mindfulness is part of the adventure, make sure not to overpack your itinerary with constant movement. You’ll regret the hecticness, as you won’t have a second to stop and appreciate the experience you’re living.
Pack Without Stress
You know where you’re going, so you know exactly what you need to pack. Make a list and check it twice, but once it’s all in your suitcase, release the obsession about potentially forgetting anything.
We all do this for the first few hours of our departure. We sit on the plane or in the car stressed about forgetting something. Your mind rambles: “Did I pack my hat and sunscreen? I thought I put my sunglasses here. Maybe I put them next to those comfy sandals… Oh wait, I hope I didn’t forget to pack those. Did I lock the front door?“
And on and on the mind goes.
This is the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Let go of the obsession with what might happen. Be present. Trust that you’ve done a good job packing and let the constant thoughts of forgotten sunscreen go. Thinking about it constantly won’t make the sunscreen appear, it’ll just stress you out.
Unless you are traveling to the moon, you can buy almost anything you might have forgotten there.
As an additional packing tip for any mindful travel: bring less. You don’t need all that clothes and gear. Use this adventure as an opportunity to disconnect from needing so many things. We need much less stuff than we think we do to truly be happy.
Use this trip to test that. The lighter you pack, the lighter you’ll feel as you wander through the foreign landscape you’re exploring.
Take In Every Moment of the Experience
You’ve gone on this adventure to have fun, transform, and experience life. Now that you’re there, do that. Use all your mindfulness training to truly experience every moment of the trip.
Detach from stressful stuff going on back home, mental chatter about what might happen once you’re back, or endless lists of shoulds.
Take in each moment fully by bringing awareness to the inner and outer stuff going on. By inner stuff, I mean listening to the thoughts and feelings bouncing around you. Reflect on beliefs, habits, and notice when the inner critic appears. As you notice things arise, let go of anything that isn’t bringing extra beauty into these moments.
Also, take in all stuff happening outside you. Use your senses to truly experience every sound, sight, taste, smell, and feeling. Be present with each moment bringing all of yourself to the situation. Don’t let your mind drift off to other places as you indulge in an exotic feast. Be intimately present with each smell the dish emits, the tastes of each bit, the colors, textures, and sensations of the food and even the feelings appearing within as you take in the tasty treat.
Make the Adventure Transformative
Whenever the mood strikes, ditch the plan, the beaten path, and any expectations to follow your heart. To truly make this an adventure that will transform your mind, body, and soul, you need to be willing to leap out of your comfort zone, into wild unexpected territories.
This might mean trying odd dishes or unconventional experiences or it might mean finding stillness to be with your thoughts, your mood, and hang out on your own.
During travel, we’re already outside of our daily grind, so it’s much easier to be bold and try new things.
Allow yourself the time to explore the exotic lands, and also the stuff going on inside you. Listen to your intuition and go where it leads you. Trust your instinct. Don’t be afraid of discovering new things.
Or better yet, notice fear if it appears, and pack it along for the ride. Don’t let the fear stop you, but instead notice it, breathe, and keep moving forward.
If you’re ready to create a travel adventure that’ll truly help you transform, click here to download Create Transformative Travel Days, a workbook that’ll guide you through the journey.