Tips to Become a Mindful Traveler
I traveled to Queensland, New Zealand during New Year’s Eve. I am a sucker for fireworks and happened to mention that in conversation to my host during my stay. Some of my fondest memories meeting locals happened that night because I took the time to talk with my wonderful Airbnb host. Chatting up locals where you are staying not only gives you sense of what life is like in your new surroundings, but they can also guide you to activities and sights that might not be found in travel books or online.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
When we stay in our comfort zone, we are more likely to miss the little things. This doesn’t mean you have to go diving with sharks if you’re not super adventerous. You could try a new food, rent a scooter for the day, or go on a star tour at night. Taking a small step outside of our designated comfort zone keeps us more alert and more likely to capitalize on the overall experience.
Be the Early Bird
I’m very much an early riser when I travel. It gives me a chance to view a new environment without the stuffiness of tourists. I love walking around and imagining what life is like living in that particular city as locals grab their morning coffee before heading off to work. It is also easier to spot the coffee shops and other spots locals prefer over tourists early in the morning.
The biggest thing one can do is put the phone down. So many of us end up on autopilot mode and don’t even realize how many times the phone is in front of our noses. Try to disengage from the phone and camera as much as you can. You’ll be able to soak up the surroundings better. Plus, you will come off as more approachable for others to strike up a conversation with.
If you have a hard time putting the camera down, consider using companies such as Flytographer, which links you to local photographers in different countries. Knowing you have guaranteed nice photos may help you be more relaxed about viewing your surroundings through your eyes and not the cameras.
Write It Down
When you are documenting your travels, try to journal. I always keep a little notebook on me to document my daily travels. I write about the good, the bad, the mundane. . everything. When the stress of traveling starts to rise, getting it out on paper helps dissolve it. Plus, who knows, someone else may be able to learn from your experiences if you choose to share down the road.