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eyemindful travel
“Now is now.
Are you going to be
here or not?”
–Ram Dass
We see mindfulness as the practice of being more conscious of the present moment whilst being aware of how your actions impact your surroundings and those around you.
We believe that applying learnings from mindfulness can provide more memorable travel experiences, enhance the relationships with those around us and reduce the negative impact we have on our surroundings.We hope that our mindful travel principles will help you apply these learnings, so you can make the most of every moment you get away.
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  • Travel with
    a beginner’s mind
    When we’re entering a new space, we automatically view it through the lens of our own preconceived ideas and notions. For instance, you might find other cultural traditions ‘strange’ when you’re travelling, but it’s only strange because you’re seeing it from your own cultural perspective. A core part of mindfulness is going through life with a beginner's mind — entering situations without judgement or expectations, but with completely fresh eyes. Doing this while you’re travelling opens our minds to new concepts, allows us to see the destination for what it is, and increases our sense of wonder and curiosity.
  • Remember
    that less is more
    While it can be tempting to pack in as much as possible — whether that be the number of trips you take, or what you get up to whilst you're away — doing so may have a negative effect on your travels and the environment. Instead, consider focusing on quality over quantity. This way, you can spend more time fully immersing yourself in the culture, rather than just skimming the surface. Having more time to do less also means that there’s more room in your itinerary for spontaneity — and that’s often where the magic moments happen. The impromptu conversations, the surprising discoveries you find while you’re lost, or the spur-of-the-moment decision that leads to the best night of your trip. Whilst spending more time exploring a destination — and travelling less often over a year — can considerably reduce the carbon emissions generated from your travels.
  • Practice gratitudeWith the hectic and fast-paced nature of many of our lives, the smaller details of travelling can go unnoticed. The beauty of the area you’re walking through, the food that you’re tasting, or the atmosphere of a city. By taking a moment to reflect and be grateful for each moment you encounter, you may find you end up having a more memorable travel experience. And the practice shouldn't stop at appreciating the moments that are clearly full of beauty. You can find positives in the moments that don't go to plan too. A delayed train could mean more time to observe how the locals go about their lives. A rainy day may encourage you to explore an art gallery or museum you hadn't planned to. Or a botched reservation could lead you to an alternative that's way better than what you had originally planned.
  • Make time
    to reflect
    Another approach for digesting and appreciating each moment of your trip is by taking the time to reflect on what you've encountered throughout the day. This could be in the form of writing or just a thought exercise to yourself when you have a quiet moment. Think about a place, person, or experience that you encountered during your day. Consider how it made you feel, and why it made you feel that way. Were there any similarities or differences to other things you've experienced at home or while travelling in different places? Is there anything you could learn from the moment or take inspiration from? By taking time to reflect, we can build greater awareness, understanding and appreciation for the encounters we have while travelling.
  • Know your purposeMindfulness and being purposeful go hand in hand. You’re purposefully taking control of your attention and being more conscious of the present moment. If we apply this practice to our trips and start travelling with a clear purpose, you may find that you get more out of your travel experiences. For instance, if you plan your trip with the sole purpose of disconnecting from home and switching off from work, you’ll find that each element of your trip will start to serve that purpose. You’ll set greater boundaries with digital communications, you’ll find activities that help you forget about work, and you’ll actively try and be more present throughout the day. Try setting an intention for your trip during your travel planning.
  • Be conscious
    of your
    surroundings
    Part of being mindful involves being aware of your surroundings. A mindful traveller isn’t only aware of how a place is affecting them, but how they are impacting the destination they’re visiting as well. Being conscious of how travel affects local lives and environments means that you’re more likely to make both ethical and sustainable travel decisions. This could include supporting local businesses, disposing of waste appropriately, or learning about and being respectful of cultural traditions. Whilst opting for greener modes of transport will contribute towards protecting the natural beauty that so often we're travelling to experience. Carbon offsetting programmes can be a good way to compensate for the carbon you're generating, but they're not an alternative to prioritising more ethical and sustainable decisions.
We hope you find our mindful travel principles useful as you embark on your next adventure. If you’d like to be kept up-to-date with the latest mindful travel resources we’re working on, follow us on Instagram.
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Illustrations crafted
in collaboration with Georgios Xanthos