Traveler's Test

How to travel mindfully (or why traveling is not supposed to be comfortable)

How to travel mindfully (or why traveling is not supposed to be comfortable)

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The challenge: Slow down, relax, go offline, get lost!

When was the last time you took time off work and went away without a plan or a fixed schedule? 

You’re flying towards your next destination, rushing from the airport to the hotel room in your desire to get away from the dull everyday life haunting you back home. While you check your email, facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the weather forecast (hoping for sun) every 5 minutes, you better ask yourself what on earth you are doing.

Do you truly want to travel, or you just want to arrive? I bet you prefer to get there as soon as possible. Throw down your bags, put that swimsuit on and chill for a week along the pool. There’s nothing wrong. But that’s not traveling, it’s vacationing.

Inspired by Dan Kieran’s “The Idle Traveller – The Art of Slow Travel” I started asking myself where the good old traveling went? Dan is an interesting English travel writer and humorist. Afraid of flying, Dan is looking for alternative ways to travel. Always taking the long way, he tries to show us his philosophy of slow traveling developed over the past 20 years.

Dan compares his way of traveling to the art of taking a toddler for a walk.

There are no errands to run, no to-do list to check. Eventually, you realize you’re helpless in front of that little girl. Trying to rush her or guide her the right way is pointless. You let her wander around the park. Once you shake off the anger of slowing down, your mind will empty and new fresh ideas will float to the surface. The idle traveler is like that girl – walking around the world, following her curiosity, in search of meaning and direction. Her road is curvy, unpaved, and full of sidetracks…

What’s your primary reason to travel? Mine is to get to know myself better.

Pascal once said that all human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room. The trouble starts the minute you walk out the front door.

Actually, the word travel comes from the French word for work, or to worktravail. Travail originates from the Latin word – tripalis or tripalium – three spares (stakes) used for torture. This made me think. Travel is not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be a torture. It’s not meant to be convenient, you shouldn’t feel comfortable, cozy, or at home. You shouldn’t bring all your necessities. Next time try to travel light. Pack like a minimalist. Do you need all 10 dresses and 6 pairs of shoes? I dоn’t think so.

Be mindful about every step along the way. On the train, don’t play with your phone or tablet. Look around! Marvel at the sights or have a conversation with a complete stranger. Travel takes place as much in your mind, as outside of it. Try to acknowledge the little things.

Run away from must-sees and must-dos. Drop the conventional travel guides and try to be your own guide. Open your heart, lose your head. Do what you desire and don’t worry about being in control of everything. Try not to plan ahead and think about tomorrow. Focus on the right now! Seize the day and the world around you!

Reach out of your comfort zone, go offline, put yourself to the challenge and dare! Dare to explore, dare to dream, dare to live, but really live. Go out, get lost and find yourself!