8 Ways to Practice Mindfulness During Your Solo Travels

A woman with a hat stands above a view of hills and water

The modern world is a complex place.

It’s filled with pitfalls, wonder, hardships, and stunning beauty; often juxtaposed right next to one another. 

We have incredible technologies that can help us with even the most menial tasks, transport that can zip us across the face of the earth in a matter of hours, and plenty of technological distractions to keep us occupied and separate from it all. 

Getting subdued by work, stressing about the social aspects of life, over-thinking trivial matters and not being truly present for the important moments are all things that are far too common in our modern world. 

This is where mindfulness comes into play.      

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, or being mindful, is all about being present and aware of the current moment in which you are existing. 

Now that may sound trivial, but there is a lot more to it. Being mindful requires you to savor the present and be aware of the things happening around you; not fretting over possible future anxieties, thinking about work or scrolling through your phone. 

Disconnecting from technology and taking a moment to enjoy the exact spot in the universe where you find yourself can have huge benefits in your day-to-day life, and it often requires you to be conscious and aware of your surroundings. 

Being a mindful traveler 

Bringing mindfulness into all elements of your life can be trickier than simply ‘being mindful’ for one moment. 

It takes practice and a little bit of dedication to carry this through into your everyday life; but once you get there the ripples will reach every corner of your existence, helping you to: 

  • Defeat fatigue
  • Combat anxiety
  • Build better relationships with the people and the world around you.  

Truly experiencing mindful travel can be the difference between a great trip and a genuinely life-altering experience. If you’re going to mindfully experience a trip then you need to leave your world behind and live within every single second; forget about your socials, your work, and your everyday stresses. 

This is the moment where you can get to know your true self, enjoy to your time on this earth, and extract the maximum possible amount from your self-discovery trips. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can increase your mindfulness on your next adventure. 

Take your time and don’t rush

If you’ve traveled before, you’ll know that a huge part of your trip will be taken up by, well, traveling. 

Whether you’re looking to explore a new destination by train, plane, or tuk tuks, setting out on a road trip adventure, or looking to experience your first time on a cruise ship; there are plenty of ways to get around and the chances are you’ll use a fair few different modes of transport on your travels. 

Unfortunately for some, travel can sometimes equal stress.  

The key is to take your time between destinations. Give yourself enough time to enjoy a place and move on when you’re ready. Try to be flexible and don’t think about the next destination, enjoy where you are right now! 

For solo travelers in particular, not having to appease a group can remove plenty of the anxiety and stress from moving between point A and point B. 

It’s also worth making the journey part of the adventure, instead of something you just have to endure before you arrive. Take your time and make the most of what you are doing; enjoy the ride.

Switch off your devices

This one is simple for some, and not so much for others. If you’ve ever been to some of the more popular spots in places like Bali, you’ll understand how important mindfulness is. 

People are so keen to get their content that they absolutely forget to be present. Instead of lining up for 40 minutes to spend a couple of seconds on a swing in the shallow waters for the perfect sunset insta shot, leave your phone in your accommodation, sit on the beach and truly enjoy the sunset. 

Feel the sun's rays on your skin, breathe the sea air and run your fingers through the sand; you’ll receive way more gratification from this moment than you could imagine, and the chances are this will be one of the moments you remember for the rest of your life.

Besides, you’ll have ample opportunity to take as many photos as you want on your travels, try to savor some moments in your own company.

Head out into nature

One thing that can really aid you in the journey to mindfulness is simply being in nature. 

Going for a hike in a new destination, walking the coast to find a deserted beach, exploring mountain paths or searching for stunning wildlife, can be amongst the most effective ways we can ground ourselves.

We spend so much of our lives away from nature surrounded by man-made structures; so taking a moment to see and feel the natural world around you will do wonders for your psyche.  

Studies have proven the link between our mental wellbeing and spending time in nature, so surround yourself with the natural world, take a deep breath and see what is around you. 

Keep a journal

One great way to connect with your present and have clarity on your time is to keep a journal. As you travel and remain as mindful as possible, you’ll start to experience so much that it becomes difficult to retain everything.

Enter your new journal

The smaller moments of your day can have just as much impact as the larger ones, and being able to reflect on all of your experiences will help you to have a stronger connection with your trip as a whole. Sitting, reflecting and writing at the end of a busy day can help you to feel gratitude, and let you feel the emotions and experiences of your day to their fullest extent.  

Try new things as much as possible 

This may sound silly, but it’s true; the more you move around and the more you change location, the more mundane your days spent traveling can become. 

You get into a routine of going from airport, to taxi, to hostel, to tourist hotspot; rinse and repeat. 

This is where mindfulness can have a major impact on your trip, breaking routine and paying attention to your surroundings are crucial factors in being mindful, and trying as many new things as possible will only make this easier. 

Learn to cook a foreign cuisine, go on an adventure tour, immerse yourself in the history of a new area; try to interact with your surroundings in as many ways as possible. You’ll reap the rewards and become a more rounded person, as well as meeting amazing people; something that can be crucial for a solo traveler. 

Follow your curiosity 

This may sound like a cheesy cliche, but letting your curiosity guide you can be a great way to properly experience things to their fullest extent. It goes hand in hand with trying new things and can lead to fresh adventure.

Don’t just go with the crowds of tourists and the ‘top 10 destinations to visit’ in an area; break new ground, visit new places, go where your curiosity takes you. 

Venture off the beaten track (as safely as you can of course) and you’ll find things that you can easily interact with, experiences will present themselves to you; all you have to do is be present enough to accept them. 

Travel light

Being burdened with multiple bags that are too heavy and jammed with stuff that you don’t really need, can be a big source of anxiety. Leaving bags behind becomes a possibility, needlessly carrying clothes for months on end that you don’t need is a pointless task, and keeping all of your things clean will become a real chore. 

Instead, favor comfortable clothing that is light and packs well. Don’t bring multiple outfits and accessories, you likely won’t be needing them; leave your non-essential electronics at home. 

Mindfulness teaches us to reduce our interaction with material objects that don’t bring meaning; freeing ourselves from the material gives us a better chance of being able to live in the moment. 

Plus, material items are heavy, and heavy bags are no fun. Try bringing one bag, comfortable clothes, basic toiletries, 1 pair of shoes, lightweight travel essentials (such as The Frequent Flyer - Travel Bundle), and anything else you need for a proper adventure. 

Let the bad stuff go

As we have already discussed, travel isn't all fun adventures and gorgeous sunsets every day; just like the real world, traveling has major ups and major downs.

The important thing here is to embrace both ends of the spectrum fully. Low points are, unfortunately, unavoidable. 

Sometimes you might be lonely, or home-sick, sometimes things will go wrong, like flights getting canceled or being missed; you might be forced to sleep in a cramped space on an overnight coach, or not be able to shower for a few days.

Don’t hide from these experiences, embrace them and feel them to their fullest extent; it’s often the case that the worst days will stick in your mind just as clearly as the best days, and that’s fine. You may well find yourself laughing about the so called ‘bad days’. 

Don’t hold on to the negative moments, learn from them and let them go; it’s time to look for the next experience ahead. 

Become a mindful traveler

Mindfulness is one of the most important things you can take on your next big adventure. 

It will allow you to experience the world through a new lens, taking in the present, getting to know people in a new way and experiencing new, deeper things thanks to your newfound receptiveness. 

Practicing these methods will allow you to extract more enjoyment from the trip as a whole, and appreciate every element of your travels. Bearing these tips in mind whilst you plan your next trips to take by yourself will ensure an incredible experience, and hopefully you’ll be able to apply mindfulness throughout the rest of your life as well. 


Today's post is a guest post from Gemma Hart. 

Gemma Hart works remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating many moons ago, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in productivity and education. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaHartTweets

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