In this day and age, traveling has become just another means for taking perfect Instagram pictures. People travel not because they want to see something new but because they want to be seen in a new environment.
Before social media became so popular, though, people traveled for their own pleasure. The moments they experienced and captured were theirs alone, serving as cherished memories and not tools for gathering likes.
With that in mind, if you like traveling, and you want to find a way to appreciate all the new things you see, here are a few tips that should help you experience your trips to the fullest.
1. Put technology away
First things first, leave technology at home. If you use your phone for taking pictures or listening to music, use it without Internet access. Consider investing in a digital camera; the battery lasts longer, and the photos are often of better quality.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t think about documenting your experience or texting your friends. You can do all that when you get home.
2. Travel with a purpose
Don’t travel just for the sake of traveling. You cannot truly appreciate what you see if you don’t actually want to see it.
So, before you decide on the destination, think about the purpose of your trip. Why do you want to go there, what is it that you want to see or do?
Take the time to set some goals, no matter how small, and work on achieving them during your trip.
3. Engage with the locals
With a map or two and a guide book, you can easily see whatever you want without talking to a single person. However, that’s not a way to be mindful. You need to talk to people, learn about their culture, their life.
Put down your guide book and ask locals for recommendations. Just say “hello,” and see where it takes you. After all, everybody has a story to tell, and you never know whose story could inspire you.
4. Take it slow
Traveling can become hectic when there are so many things you want to see but not enough time to see them all. Often you end up rushing from one site to another just so you can say that you’ve seen it. However, by doing so, you deny yourself the one chance you have to savor and process each experience.
You know what they say – less is more. So allow some breathing room in your plans. Don’t stress about not being able to see everything in one trip.
5. Go at your own pace
To be able to appreciate a new environment, you should explore it at your own pace. This is especially true if you’re exploring nature, as nature can affect different people in different ways. A seemingly simple landscape can leave you in awe while somebody else might not look twice at it. For this reason, you want to be able to take your time appreciating the things that interest you.
One of the best ways to do that is by going on a road trip. Many places are perfect for road tripping, like New Zealand for instance, with its unique wildlife and gorgeous nature. If you do find yourself there, find a cheap car rental, and tailor the journey to your own needs.
6. Enjoy the food
Being mindful is not just about what you see but also about what you do. Tasting local food, for instance, is one of the biggest pleasures of traveling. It’s one of the best ways to get an insight into the culture of the country you’re visiting.
Don’t rush through your meals. Try to enjoy every bite, no matter what you’re eating.
7. Observe the world around you
Once you’re done sightseeing for the day, find a place to sit, and just observe. It can be a peaceful park, a lively café, or a sunny beach, as long as it makes you feel comfortable.
Watch the people around you, observe what they do, and try to feel the atmosphere of the city. Imagine their lives, and try to imagine yours in that place. After all, you are an outsider, and your view from the outside can offer you a unique perspective on people, their history, traditions, and connection to the place.
8. Be grateful
We are often told to be grateful. Even though it is applicable in everyday life, it’s especially important when it comes to traveling.
A good way to practice gratefulness is to bring a journal with you and write down everything that amused you, inspired you, and amazed you during the trip. After all, traveling is a luxury; not everybody has the chance to travel.
If you can say that you have the time and the means to see the world around you, you can rest assured that you have plenty of reasons to be grateful.
You may not always get a chance to visit the same place twice, which is why you should do your best to make each experience count. Focus on the present moment, be engaged in the life around you, and memorize the small details. Through such mindfulness, your trips will become much more meaningful.