Watching the waves crash on the beach as a storm brews.
Sipping espresso and frittering the morning in my host family’s sun-dappled backyard, caught too deep in conversation to notice time slipping by.
Lying in a hammock in the jungle and slowly swaying side to side, listening to the symphony of birds chirping, streams gurgling and the wind dancing through the trees.
When I piece together my favorite travel memories, I’m surprised at how little doing there is. The memories of rushing from sight to sight and filling my days with activities seem to get lost in transit. What remains are the times when I was acutely aware of where I was, when I took the time to notice the rhythms of daily life I usually take for granted, when I reveled in the feeling of the sand between my toes or the air against my skin.
It’s an intense mindfulness that makes me feel more alive than anything. This is one of the main reasons why I travel.
At home it’s too easy to give into routine, to bounce from work to home and back again without really taking any of it in. It’s easy to get distracted by planning for the future and analyzing the past, immersing ourselves in a digital world because we feel like there’s nothing worth noticing around us.
But once you throw yourself somewhere new, your eyes open wide. Everything is fascinating, and if you don’t take the time to notice it now, you may never be able to again.
Don’t treat your travels like your morning commute. Be present. Soak it up. Let the memories you create imprint your heart so deeply, you’ll carry them to the grave.
Leave your technology behind, at least for a day. Watch the scenery lazily unfold from the window of your car, bus or train. Take photos with your mind; it’s the only way to capture all the scents and sounds, the way your heart starts to race, the urgency of knowing that your time there is fleeting. Forget, for a second, the importance of knowing what’s happening anywhere else in the world. Forget that the rest of the world exists. Let here and now be good enough.
Leave your worries at home. This one’s a little tricky, I know, but you owe yourself the effort. Shift your focus to the conversation you’re having, the meal you’re enjoying. Remind yourself regularly what your favorite thing is about now. We spend too much of our lives ignoring our present feelings, but how can you truly be happy if you don’t take the time to feel it fully?
Don’t travel just to disconnect from your daily life, from work and home and all your stress. Travel to connect with others, with the Earth, with yourself. Don’t travel for the bragging rights or for the photos. Travel for the moments that will become your fondest memories. Travel to be there, wherever there is. Travel because every place is worth experiencing to its deepest extent.
Do you agree with this post? Share with us why you travel!