mindful travel

What does traveling mean to you? Is it just about booking a week or two at an all inclusive resort and eating your face off for the entire time that you are there?

If that is true for you then I would consider that to be a vacation and not really traveling per se.

And yes I have done that before I started to think about the impact that may have been having.

Think about it. You are at a resort where you are isolated from the local culture and where the people who work there earn less per year than you paid for your vacation.

I also find it interesting when people complain about their hotel room when they go to an all inclusive resort. Think about it. You are in paradise where everything is provided for you and yet you are still complaining. Maybe it is you that is the problem.

It makes me think that they are just doing it all wrong.

You need to Change The Code. That is change your programming and the way you think about everything. This should include how you choose to travel and explore this amazing world

For me that better way  is through mindful travel.

What Is Mindful Travel?

Mindfulness is:

a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

You want to remain to be respectful of the places and the people that you’re visiting in order to lessen the impact you have on the location you are visiting.

In short you are in the moment. You are accepting of all experiences. You are aware of every decision you make and how it is relating to and impacting those around you.

Eco travel and eco tourism would fall into the category of mindful and conscious travel as it is travel tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.

I people watcher. A cultural anthropologist. A writer. A world traveler. A dad. A teacher. A dreamer. A happiness-finder and outdoor adventurer and I think I am a respectful human being. And I am a mindful. And mindful travel has changed the way I live my life.

To Hell With Materialism

In the Western world we are told that we have to achieve a certain level of “success”. We are told that we have to spend all of our earnings on material things and “keep up with the Joneses.

What if all of that is a lie?

I have made a vow to abandon the idea that things and people are judged by materialism. I began to see the world in a whole new light and not clouded by a materialistic philosophy. There are billions of people in the world who have next to nothing. They live on a few dollars per day. When I travel I need to keep this in mind. It puts things in perspective when I am not traveling.

Tips to Help Embrace Mindful Travel

Here are some ideas and tips for mindful and conscious travel that you can also bring into your daily life when not traveling. I know that these mindfulness tips and ideas have made a huge impact on me and how I live my life.

Pack LESS

My goodness you do not need a giant pack or 2 suitcases when you hit the road on a trip. I am off to Nicaragua in January 2017  for 6 weeks and I am doing it with a 30 liter backpack.

Realize that it is entirely possible to travel the world on a tight budget. Hell I think this makes things more fun.

Trust me that having less stuff to drag around will make your trip so much more enjoyable.

Live Like A Local

Be mindful of local customs and etiquette even if they seem strange to you at first. This is their country and their home. Please respect that.

If you have chosen to be a more mindful traveler then hopefully you see the value in living like a local as much as possible. Eat the local street food. I hear many people are scared of these things. Herein lies the heartbeat of a nation. Tortillas, burritos, enchiladas. It’s all the same thing: tortillas in various form. All greasy and delicious. All local and all better than the fancy steakhouses lit up brightly for the tourists too scared to venture onto the side street.

And while your at it make local friends. They will show you a different way of life. A different culture, activities and perspective on the world. I get the inside scoop which is better than getting the biased version you would see from a media outlet! If you don’t do this, then you are not really traveling. Because the people of a nation are its life. Learn from them.

Also IF you want to buy things please buy goods from local people that are locally made and not big organizations.

Embrace Everything When You Travel

I try every food, talk to every person and embrace my amazing travel opportunity. I don’t take it for granted. I don’t say ‘I hate this place’ or ‘If only the had…’. Drink it all in. Learn about the people, the culture, the history. Why are things the way they are in this amazing place? This means that I will not judge anything I see. It is what it is.

Be Adventuresome

Always be ready for anything: climbing ancient ruins, jumping and swimming in new hidden natural pools, free diving, snorkeling turtle pathways, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, island hopping, kayaking, scuba diving, beach combing, camping, boating, biking and so much more. Get off the beaten path and do it ALL.

Be Thankful For Every Moment

Every day the sun is shining, hell even when it’s not, I am thankful for the clouds and rain. Every day a new adventure awaits: a new country, new people, new places, new food, new random conditions. I don’t sit around on technology all day. I don’t lay around drink all day or mope about missing home. I get off my ass, go on an adventure and take every last drop in.

You need to do this at home as well if you really want to Change The Code of your life. In short Do More.

Love The Freedom That Mindful Travel Allows You

There is a beauty in leaving home, in being away, in another land. It is the beauty of independence, self-regulation and right choices. The freedom to think and believe and do and achieve, whatever you want, without being herded and molded and restricted. That is so liberating. I feel this freedom. The world is your playground! It empowers the mind, body and soul. I will never forget the time that I actually lived  how I wanted.

There is also a beauty in coming home but only if you live your life on your terms.

Stay positive

Through all the trials and tribulations, which there will be, you have to keep your head up. Things are not always going to go according to plan. Hell maybe that is a good thing. Your flight is delayed? Strike up a conversation. Weather not cooperating? Take the time to relax or do something different. Such is true for life in general as well. You have to roll with it and look for the hidden opportunities when a stumbling block appears.

Always Be Learning

I choose mindful travel in order to gain the necessary life lessons that I am supposed to learn that day. Every good, every bad. Every challenge, every palm leaf, bike ride, atoll trek, bead of sweat, cockroaches, lizards and spiders.Every beach cabana, coconut, remote island, sun ray, rain drop, grain of sand, sunrise, sunset, new friendship and old memory. It all happens for a reason. Every day is a life lesson.

Summary

Mindful travel can make you a better person both on the road and when you are back home. It is all about making conscious decisions. It is about thinking about the impact you have on your surroundings. It is about questioning everything you thought you have been told and changing the way you choose to live.

By saying NO to mindLESS materialism, shopping locally, reducing the impact you have on the environment, supporting local conservationist groups, and being adventuresome in your own region you are changing your life and the way you live it.

Do you have an interest in mindful travel and eco tourism? Why is it important to you?

Please be sure to comment and please share this post.

“Change The Code. Change Your Life”

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