6 Hacks to Live in the Moment While Traveling
Many times people talk about the importance of gathering experiences as opposed to material things. Traveling is one of the ultimate ways to collect those. New adventures breathe fresh life into your soul--and many times--beckons you to pause and reflect on yourself, and how to perceive the world around you.
But sometimes being in the moment and present while you’re exploring the globe isn’t as easy as it sounds. The idea of creating memories can create a kind of pressure that may ‘cheapen’ the adventure in some ways. Add in the constant need and pull to share these experiences on social media, and you find yourself in a crowd of individuals looking at life through the lens of a smart phone.
That isn’t it though.
Robert Kaplan said it best in a 2012 issue of The Atlantic: “Travel is like a good, challenging book: it demands present-ness – the ability to live completely in the moment, absorbed in the words or vision of reality before you.”
So the next time you’re globetrotting, give these six different travel hacks a try.
1. Save some of those social media posts for later
Of course it’s okay to post your favorite photo of the day to Instagram or check into an amazing venue on Facebook. In today’s connected society it’s a great way to share an amazing experience with those close to you, or connect with people with the same interests you’ve never met before.
It can be a very powerful tool that leads to new adventures...but it is also a slippery slope.
Next time you are on an adventure, put the phone or camera down for a minute and listen intently. Whether you are hearing conversation at a hostel or to the waves at the ocean, just listen.
Try to resist taking a picture of that beautiful plate of food or sunset and let your taste buds or eyes savor it. Most likely, those will be the most vivid memories of all.
Bonus Hack: Try snapping a photo the moment you arrive at new destinations and then put your phone aside for the rest of the time. You will get the benefits of capturing photos while still enjoying the moment.
2. Take a moment to just sit and be
Travel and be overstimulating and sometimes you need to just sit and be.
Take at least five minutes in every new place you go to just stop and take in your surroundings. This mental exercise of etching a place in your memory has a way of connecting you with where you’re visiting.
You’ll begin to notice the vividness of color in a small ceramic pot, or the flowing skirt of the woman buying apples at a fruit stand.
Being in a destination and simply observing allows you to get to know the culture in a very real and unique way – and it doesn’t require you to do anything.
After all, you traveled a long ways to see this new place. Really see it.
3. Have a plan for your destination but be flexible
It’s always good to have an itinerary for your next vacation but being too rigid with your schedule can sometimes limit the experiences you have.
For example, maybe your several day road trip on Route 66 will take you through a town having a festival and you kind of want to check it out – but you planned to be in Flagstaff by dinner time.
Be late. It’s okay. Have that experience, see the local band and meet someone new. Keeping some flexibility in your itinerary could lead to some of the most memorable moments of the trip.
4. Strike up a meaningful conversation with a stranger
When you’re out on the town don’t be afraid to try and talk with someone you don’t know. Meeting amazing individuals from all over the globe is possibly one of the most rewarding parts of traveling. You learn new perspectives and customs that aren’t your own, and in turn, you grow as a person. Getting to know a stranger bridges gaps and fights old prejudices.
It opens your eyes to the truth that humans from all corners of the world are fundamentally the same – and that is something sorely needed today.
Bonus Hack: Read up on the culture & language of the country you are visiting beforehand. You will likely learn some information that will open up doors to conversation and who knows what else.
5. Be open
The willingness to be open also allows you to be more aware of your surroundings. You are naturally more approachable--and if you believe at all in karma and the magnetism of charisma--you’ll know that these types of people attract positive energy and people to them.
So smile and welcome whatever the universe throws your way. Be open to new ideas and perspectives, and don’t let old habits shut down your ability to grow.
The truly beautiful thing about living in the moment while you’re on the road is how that openness will continue to expand if you let it.
6. Always ask yourself ‘the question’
That being said, your openness may also lead you to opportunities that scare you.
Fortunately, this challenge is simple to deal with. When faced with fear on the road, always ask yourself the question: “If I don’t do this, will I ever wonder ‘what if?’"
As a rule of thumb, if the answer to that question is yes, then do it – whatever ‘it’ is. You’ll end up traveling without a single regret.
If you follow these 6 tips, you will likely have a richer and more memorable trip. When feeling overwhelmed by the power of travel, remember to just be.
Let the moment flow over and around you and you will find yourself exactly where you wanted to be.