Three Ways Traveling Has Made Me More Mindful

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Well Well Well a new site bringing wellness and travel together fueled by EVEN® Hotels. All opinions are my own.}

When I was little, going on a trip on an airplane was a magical thing. It meant that we were on a journey to someplace special. Sometimes I would get dressed up in my nicest dress – nothing too frilly but maybe just a little bit of crinoline. And the airplane did take me to dreamy places like Disney World, California, Greece, Italy and Hong Kong. I was lucky and I treasured every opportunity that we had to explore a new place.

airplane at gate

As I grew older, my relationship to travel changed. Travel became just a means of transportation – between home and school and then, between home and my work clients. The magic diminished quite a bit and was replaced by a lot of frustration and impatience – countless delays, cancelled flights, forced road trips, lost luggage, traffic jams. It just didn’t feel as fun anymore, but I was willing to endure it in order to get to my end destination.

In the last year or two, I stopped and noticed that actually, there was something that I could gain from these travel-related experiences other than just elevated blood pressure. It was a chance for me to practice being more mindful.

Mindful Travel Tips

Be More Flexible
Let’s face it. It’s pretty rare that your travel plans go off without a hitch, right? Undoubtedly, something goes wrong and you either have to take another plane or train. I realized that I could either get really mad and upset at the gate agent, who is also dealing with hundreds of other frustrated and angry people and who really doesn’t have much control over the situation, or I could save myself a lot of angst, accept the situation and take the next train or plane. Traveling has taught me to let go of my strict schedule and to be more flexible. I’m more mindful of the present rather than the future I’m rushing to travel to or experience.

Play airport

Be More Patient
There’s also a lot of waiting around when you travel, whether it’s waiting for transportation, waiting to get to your destination, or waiting in line for a museum or a restaurant. The slower pace and afternoon siesta in some countries would drive me bonkers because didn’t they know that I had places to go and things to see? I used to want to fast forward through those experiences and just.get.there. But I realized that waiting is also part of the experience. It means that I can look around and see what’s on the journey to the destination, slow down and appreciate the present moment.

Time to Explore
For the longest time, traveling felt like an exercise in checking things off my sightseeing or to-experience list. I’d plot out the most efficient schedule so that we could hit everything within our allotted time in a place. We’d arrive at said museum or historical monument, see it but not really see it.

Now, one of the things that my husband and I like to do most when we travel is to explore. We often do this by staying put in one spot, taking an early morning run as well as by walking instead of taking a car or public transportation. Exploring a city on foot allows you to discover the nooks and crannies and the local life that often isn’t written about in the latest guidebook as well as people watch. It lets you really see the city and have a more authentic experience.

NYC from airplane

The funny thing is that I find that oftentimes, I’m much more mindful when I travel compared to when I’m home. Now, I’m working to take these lessons and apply it to my every day life too.

For more healthy travel and wellness tips, be sure to check out Well Well Well. It’s a great source for healthier, happier travel and for new ways to help wellness minded travelers keep active, rest easy, eat well and accomplish more while they travel.

What lessons have you learned from traveling?

{This post is sponsored by Well Well Well, a new site brining wellness and travel together fueled by EVEN® Hotels. All opinions are my own.}

 

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Comments

  1. says

    As a lover of food one of my favorite things to do when I travel is explore grocery stores. I don’t care if that makes me a nerd or insane but it’s one of my things.

    I’ve been to grocery stores from Jamaica to Mexico to Morocco and loved every single second. You really get a chance to soak up local culture when you go to a grocery store.
    Melissa Burton recently posted..ResurfacingMy Profile

  2. says

    Oh travel headaches! I can usually roll with things but my husband want to be there yesterday. I think I need to show him this post! The best vacations have always been the ones where I’ve been able to walk, run, cycle the city to really see it. In the meantime it’s a great stress buster. Great tips Christine!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Would You Rather Running Style SurveyMy Profile

  3. says

    Absolutely yes! I agree 100% but oh it’s soooo hard to be patient and stay in the moment when you’re plans go astray…especially when you have two little ones in tow. I do, however, absolutely love exploring a new place on foot. Running through a new city or town has to be one of my most favorite things to do.
    Thank you for writing this. I’m going to revisit right before I leave for Spain!
    Allie recently posted..The RundownMy Profile

  4. says

    After getting delayed countless times, missing connections, and even being put up in sketchy roach motels, I came to the same conclusion as you. Getting angry won’t get me to my destination any faster! I love to run when I travel and like Melissa, I love to check out local grocery stores. I like to stock up on local sweets. When I’m on a business trip, I love to shop for my girls. I always try to find a unique shirt or dress for them.

  5. says

    A long time ago I developed a… well, it’s not a mantra (you’ll see why) but more of a slogan to adopt while travelling ( I don’t do business travel anymore):”I’M ON VACATION!” It’s usually said through gritted teeth or like Richard Dreyfuss in What About Bob? but it can still remind me that my purpose in that time and place is to relax and leave stress behind. We have many travel goals as a family and I hope the experiences teach the benefits of diversity in life experience and flexibility to my kids.
    Axel (@ Iron Rogue) recently posted..The First Monday of 2014My Profile

  6. says

    This is so timely to me, because we’re about to embark on our first vacation as a family of four! It’s also my first time on a plane in three years and I lost my rhythm a bit. We can do this. Together. And practicing travel mindfulness is possible and a friggin’ great idea.
    Tamara recently posted..When Will My Life Begin?My Profile

  7. says

    You are so right about these lessons from traveling! I think that maybe it helps that, unless we’re traveling for business, we tend to be more relaxed in vacation mode, so being patient and flexible comes a bit more naturally then than in real life. Mindful is what it takes in real life!
    misszippy recently posted..The things I’ll do for runningMy Profile

  8. says

    I’m always so grateful to have the opportunity to travel, even if it is for work. It is a privilege to be able to broaden your horizons. Getting frustrated with delays etc does nothing to help the situation and only ruins your experience and the experience of those around you. Easier said then done at times though.
    Jess recently posted..Happy New Year!My Profile

  9. says

    These are such important lessons for travel and, as you point out, to be implemented at home, as well. All true — totally going to think about this some more! Try to be more flexible, patient, and free on a regular basis!
    Dare You To recently posted..Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals!My Profile

  10. says

    I wouldn’t have thought to put it that way but yes, me too! Especially traveling with children. I find I am much more likely to dream up fun ways to keep them entertained while waiting in line or sitting in a toy-less hotel room or sitting on a plane than I am the rest of the time. So funny how that works.
    Tricia recently posted..Normal lifeMy Profile

  11. says

    Running is one of my favorite ways to explore a new city. You’re right: it allows you to see and feel things you would never be exposed to on a bus or in the back of a cab. I’ve found that it’s easier to be more in the moment when I’m out of my home environment, too.
    Shana Norris recently posted..Pint-Size PB&J MuffinsMy Profile

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