For many of us, international travel has become a homogenized, sterile experience and, for the host country, a consumptive, offensive one. We need a new model for travel — a model that allows for discovery and mutual interaction with others at a heartful level. This new model of travel could be called, “Mindful Travel.”
Mindful travel is about being alive in the moment — being wide-awake — being present to what life puts in our path. It does not involve elaborate itineraries, lists of tourist sites, high-rise hotels or pre-fabricated tours. When we become a mindful traveler, we invite events and experiences to appear at their own time and in their own way. We enjoy making plans but we are always open to new opportunities. We allow for surprises and new friends.
When we are mindful, we are aware of choices and opportunities as they present themselves. We open up to new experiences and to doing old things in new ways.
This is the essence of mindful travel — observation and participation. Mindful travel is spontaneous. Because the journey is one of unfolding moment by moment, we remain fully present and come to see more clearly. This can lead to an acute observation of both ourselves and others. We see with new eyes and learn to appreciate both others and ourselves in a fresh way. We experience each new world as if for the first time.
Mindful travelers thrive on what is happening in the moment and choose actions within that context. Synchronicity occurs, and we encounter the right person and new experiences we might never have had. Mindful travel encourages us to question assumptions that can be obstacles to mindful travel. Some more common assumptions are.
How are we affecting the people around us and the environment?
How can we use travel to positively impact the world?
(adapted from www.peacefulworldtravel.org)