What is mindful travel?
Well, to start with, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being completely present in the moment and aware of where we are and what’s going on. It has its origins in Buddhist meditation practices but is ever growing in popularity around the world as people search for ways to live consciously, reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.
While everyone has the basic ability to be mindful, it’s a state that is much easier to access when you practice on a daily basis. Some people do this through meditation; others take pauses in their daily life or merge mindfulness into sport, like yoga or running. Many others see mindfulness as a way of living: bringing awareness and caring into everything they do 🙏
So that brings us to mindful travel. Mindful travel involves being fully present for the experiences you’re enjoying in a new place. By applying mindfulness practice and devoting your full attention to each moment of your trip as it happens, you make your vacation an even more positive experience. And who doesn’t want that?
At TWISPER, the social network with only positive recommendations, we’re always looking for ways to make our travel experiences even more positive. So we’ve put together a list of ideas of ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your next trip 🧳
Mindful eating is a philosophy in its own right. It involves being present for every bite of your meal. If that makes delicious food even tastier, sign us up!
Practicing mindfulness in what and how you eat when you travel can also mean making sure your food choices are respectful of your mind, your body and the earth around you. Sometimes that means giving in to your cravings and indulging in whatever food you feel like! But often it means buying and eating sustainable, organic, locally sourced foods that are good for you and for the world 🌍
Whether this is something you practice with all your meals, or something you’re interested in implementing bit by bit, it’s a positive step towards mindfulness. Even if your next trip isn’t to a farm where you can indulge in home-grown delights, you can make mindful decisions and choices when it comes to food.
Sustainable and ethical markets and restaurants are more and more available these days and can be found in most major cities. One of our favorite places for a mindful meal in Paris is Septime. The restaurant sources 99% of its produce from France and invests in local and urban farms around the capital. Most of the menu is veggie-based: any meat is free-range and seafood is sourced from small-scale fishermen who practice sustainable fishing techniques. Make sure to book in advance, it’s award-winning for a reason!
Getting good sleep is so underrated. When you’re traveling, you need to feel that your accommodation is really somewhere you want to go back to at the end of the day. A home away from home where you can relax and breathe after all your sightseeing and activities 😴
For some people, that means a luxury hotel. A big, comfortable bed with fluffy pillows and maybe even a spa for a well-deserved massage. Then again, for others, escaping into nature is the best way to be truly present in the moment.
Sometimes you don’t need to compromise. At Finn Lough Luxury Hideaway, for example, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Their unique bubble domes are hidden in a private forest in Northern Ireland 🌲
180-degree transparent walls allow you to escape the noise of the world outside while still feeling immersed in the beautiful natural landscapes around you. At night, if the skies are clear, you can stargaze to your heart’s content. Cozy beds and a roll-top bath put the finishing comforting touches on this mindful experience 💫
Many people choose to merge their mindfulness practice with exercise. Whether this means yoga, running or rock climbing for you, being active is so important in keeping your mind present. Plus, being outside and breathing in the fresh local air is a fantastic way to connect with a place 🏄
Whatever exercise gives you that endorphin high is great for mindfulness. Keep it simple and run a few laps around a local park, find a nearby hiking route to lose yourself in nature, or grab your swimsuit and head to a lake for some wild swimming.
Or go all out and plan your trip around an activity. Immersive experiences like the surf and yoga retreat at Soul & Surf Portugal are incredible ways to practice mindfulness. Expert instructors guide you in yoga classes and surfing lessons, you’re fed delicious home-cooked meals and, best of all, you stay in a beautiful farmhouse in the gorgeous Algarve countryside. Sounds pretty perfect to us 🧘
Taking the time to discover something new is another way to practice mindful travel. If you’re visiting a place for the first time, you’re already surrounded by new sights, new culture and maybe a new language. But challenging yourself to learn a new skill takes this mindfulness practice one step further.
Maybe you go all out and do a full-on mindfulness retreat or a beginner’s yoga course. Or perhaps you want to integrate your mindfulness challenge into experiencing more of the local culture.
We love doing cooking classes when we travel. Firstly, you meet great people, learn a new skill and eat mouth-watering food at the same time. But there’s something in the act of cooking and using your hands to create something that really allows you to be present in the moment 👩🍳
When doing cooking classes with Nonna Ciana, you also know that the ingredients you’re using are fresh, seasonal and locally sourced. So not only is it a new experience challenging you to be mindful, it’s also sustainable and respectful of the local area. Plus it’s in stunning Tuscany 🇮🇹 It’s an all-round win!
Yes, we know, you’re not going to forget to breathe. But as anyone who’s ever done a yoga class will know, it’s harder than it seems to really breathe well. It takes practice.
If the new experience you’re trying on your trip is yoga – perfect. You’ll be learning something different and taking that time to breathe.
And if not, no worries. Just make sure to take a moment each day to close your eyes, breathe in really deep through your nose and out really deep through your mouth. Make a noise if you want. Growl in public. It’s fine. No one knows you here, you’re on vacation!
You know when you wake up in a bad mood, and then end up having a bad day? The same applies to your travels, and it’s all about mindset.
Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, and how can you do that when your mind’s in another place?
If you go on holiday stressing about work, thinking about the jobs you need to do at home, worried about an argument you had with a friend, those thoughts are going to affect your mood while you travel. And that’s no way to enjoy your trip.
So to practice mindful travel, you’ve got to be in the moment. Disconnect from your work emails; be grateful for the experiences you’re enjoying; find joy in the simple things. Think positively, and the rest will follow ✨
With that in mind…
…if you’ll pardon the pun, we hope we’ve given you some interesting ideas to help you plan your next mindful travel experience.
Want to start planning your trip with a positive mindset? Download TWISPER to discover new positive experiences and share your favorite places to eat, sleep and drink around the world 😊