Hectic is the first word that comes to mind to describe my 2019 in travel. Not that I did a lot of traveling. It was just that the trips I had felt rushed and somewhat lacking in depth of experiences. Travel has always been a constant source of happiness for me. And last year's travels were no exceptions. Except that that they were not as fulfilling as I thought they would be. I think I got carried away by the excitement and trying to jampack as many activities as I can in every place that I visit. In the end, I felt like I missed out on a lot of good things I used to enjoy. So this year's travel goal is to do it more mindfully.
1. Take the road less traveled
I still want to visit my dream destinations, which also happen to be among the most touristy places in the world. But this year, I want to choose the roads less traveled. Be one less person putting a strain on places dealing with overtourism right now by exploring alternative destinations.
2. Take your time pace
I will choose to set a "take your time pace". To consciously make an effort to slow down, especially when I feel myself getting caught in the excitement of wanting to do as many things as I can. It is about immersing myself into every moment instead of ticking off a long list of things to see and do.
3. Trim down activities
This year will also be about cutting down on activities and making more time for meaningful experiences. And to do that, I have to leave some room for the unexpected. Something that I would not be able to do if I try to stick to a jampacked schedule. It is about allowing myself moments of people watching while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea in an outdoor cafe and meandering or sitting down in a park reconnecting with nature among many other things. I realized that there are so many possibilities when you leave some things unplanned.
4. Take time to disconnect
I may have to carry my smartphone with me for practical reasons and also in case of an emergency. But this year will be more about taking the time to disconnect for longer periods. I want to see more of the world and less of whatever distractions my smartphone and the internet has in store for me when I travel.
5. Reflect and practice gratitude
Rushing through places and activities hindered me from reflecting on the experiences and learnings I got. It is like missing out on the important things thus not having much to reflect on. I think it is also tied with gratitude. Taking the time to pause and reflect on an experience or a moment makes it easier to see just how much is there to be grateful for.
Mindfulness is not easy and to do that while traveling can be a challenge. But I imagine that doing less will give me more in terms of life lessons and experiences I can gain while on the road.