As an out-of-province student, I’ve had my fair share of traveling during these last two years at UBC. With reading week around the corner, and thus, hopefully some time for you to take a step back from school work and go on a trip somewhere, I’m here to share with you some techniques I use to get me into the right mindset when I’m about to set out for another journey. Whether I am simply heading back home or traveling to a new city, the past couple of years have taught me how to be a mindful traveler.
I am no stranger to feeling anxious about traveling. Traveling can be a stressful thing. Right before a trip, a myriad of questions swirl through my mind: Have I packed everything? Will I get through security easily? What if I miss my flight? What if something goes completely wrong? One step into the airport and travellers often feel as if they’ve been swept up into a flurry of impatience, anxiety, and perpetually feeling rushed. We become so preoccupied with getting where we need to go, we lose sight of where we are; airports function as means to the end and our eyes are set solely on the end goal: our destination. When moments of anxiety come rushing (no pun intended!) in, take a moment to catch your breath and notice where you are.
You may very well have forgotten something and, chances are, things will not go exactly as planned during your travels, but instead of feeling exasperated by circumstance, consider taking a couple of seconds to pause where you are, perhaps accepting your frustration, but – and this is key – letting it go. Doing so will help you attain the mental clarity you need to shift your attitude, taking you into the rest of your travels, mindfully. Although problems may arise, you can determine how you choose to respond to them. Any mishap can be perceived as a learning experience, any moment of misadventure as a chance to simply reroute your plan.
Learning to be a mindful traveler from the minute you step into an airport will transform your experience, even after you step off the plane at your destination. My most memorable journeys are those that have become impressed into my bones not by having followed my original plans, but by having opened myself up to embracing where I stood. The sounds, tastes, and feelings I experienced when I approached traveling with a healthy mindset became all the more vibrant. Don’t be afraid to take this moment to soak in the environment around you, acknowledge the exhaustion you may feel from having been on a plane for 7 hours or the butterflies fluttering in your belly because you’re about set out for unchartered waters. Listen to the sounds around you, maybe taste something new, or feel the sand between your toes, if your reading week consists of a vacation to a sunny destination. Even if you end up staying in Vancouver during reading week, take some time for yourself: maybe explore the city, walk down to the beach, or even feel the rain against your skin. Whatever you do and wherever you are, notice where you are in the moment when you are there. I guarantee these moments will become some of your most memorable.
Post Written by Taylor. L.