One of the most powerful things you can do when you’re traveling is to let go and passionately wander.
We generally think of mindfulness as counteracting our wandering mind, and it does, but it can be larger than that. It can include the practice of just noticing one thing after another as we let ourselves out to play.
Mindful Travel Challenge: Take time to Have No Plan
We’ve all gone for a stroll or taken our dog for a walk. To turn a walk into aimless wandering involves mainly a slight shift in attitude. You commit to having the loosest possible plan. The highest and most enjoyable form of wandering is also as free as possible from time constraints.
At first, your mind may begin to seize on plans and looming problems to be solved. You may think if you don’t mentally address them, they won’t be taken care of, or if you think about them enough, you can make them go away. Instead, just as in a regular meditation session you would come back to your breath or the feeling of your backside on a chair or cushion, here you come back to whatever next catches your eye or ear or nose.
But what about planes, trains, and automobiles, you may ask? You can’t exactly be aimless when you’re making you way through an airport, navigating a freeway exit, or searching yet again for a place for your daughter to pee. Too true. You can’t be “aimless” for every part of your journey, but you can roll with the punches and bounce with the ups and downs. The key is to expect and accept the inevitable stress, and remind yourself that you are not, in fact, in a rush. You will get there when you get there.
One of the keys to wandering is to be driven by unending curiosity. Since you don’t have a plan, it’s the questions that emerge from your mind that drive you onward: “What’s that? Where does that lead? What’s that in the window?”
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