20 Jun 5 Simple Ways to Travel Mindfully
-Janice Tang, Hong Kong
Buy experience, not things.
We have heard this phrase many times from our close friends and have seen it plastered all over the media. They all revolve around creating stories and memories from experience as they are far more meaningful than any branded items. For those who have travelled extensively understands the truth. Travelling creates beautiful and authentic memories that last a lifetime. It cultivates a sense of happiness that is both simple and genuine. The key to fully embracing experience is through mindfulness.
Here are 5 simple ways to travel mindfully.
- Disconnect online and connect offline.
Social media is the classic platform for people to showcase their travel adventure. Nowadays, people do it so excessively that the entire travel is well-documented in snap stories, Facebook live videos, and Instagram posts. I get it. You want to share your happy moments with your friends and family and let others virtually travel with you.
Stop and live in the moment. You are not travelling if you are living each moment through your phone screen. Put your phone on flight mode and get the real experience.
- Leave your camera and get lost in your own wander.
It’s great to capture key moments with beloved ones at every famous site so you can fully mark your presence. I used to be the annoying one trying to take x number of pictures from different angles, testing out different postures in the hopes to perfect every photo. As I have grown, I slowly understand why it’s important to live in the moment. I experience so much more when I am present without any distractions. I simply let my mind do its wander and get lost in the city.
- Support local businesses and interact with the locals.
The majority of my travel have been solo and I absolutely love the time being on my own and learning the culture, language, people, and lifestyle of each city. My favourite hobby is to visit nearby fresh markets and strike a conversation with them. Body language and hand gestures usually do the trick quite well. Local owners are friendly, genuine and willing to help out. It’s also the best way to get amazing recommendations to some of the finest local restaurants. Not to mention, it’s a great way to support local businesses and share a token of love and appreciation.
Body language and hand gestures usually do the trick quite well. Local owners are friendly, genuine and willing to help out. It’s also the best way to get amazing recommendations to some of the finest local restaurants. Not to mention, it’s a great way to support local businesses and share a token of love and appreciation.
- Be ethical and eco-friendly.
It’s convenient to buy bottled water whenever you travel because it’s quick and easy. However, remember that you are only increasing footprints and trash in every city you visit. Stop the bad habits and take extra 5 minutes to boil water and bring your own water bottle whenever you go.
Say no to animal cruelty. Taking pictures with endangered animals, like elephants, and tigers, are NOT cool. You are only contributing money to unethical businesses that are mistreating animals. Wildlife is supposed to be free in the mother-nature. So think twice before you mindlessly follow the herd.
- Forget about trip advisor. Let the locals be your advisor.
Yes, you have a long list of landmarks to visit. Yes, it’s important to visit the signature sites to tell others you have been there. Yes, these are all typical things that people do whenever they travel.
Be different and make your own itinerary. Locals take pride in their own city so they are more than happy to tell you all the hidden gems.