Hello, and welcome to our site! We are expats, young professionals, travellers, and curious wanderers driven by a deep purpose. But we are also unsettled, reckless at times, and constantly thirsting for more: more adventures, more memories, and more connections. This post outlines the 10 values and principles that guide our philosophy to mindful travel. Our purpose is to start a conversation on mindful travel solutions that can guide more meaningful and impactful experiences!
1. Take your time
In today’s ‘always-on’ world, taking time to enjoy the moment can be tough to get a handle on. There seems to be so much pressure to always be on-to-the-next scenic point, landmark, monument, food stall. In a social media-driven culture, there is an expectation of documenting every single moment. We are always expected to share our adventures with the world. Slowing down and absorbing every bit of the places we visit leaves a more lasting memory than a whirlwind tour.
Photo: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
2. Learn to view yourself as ‘The Other’
Most of us view the cultural framework we grew up in as ‘normal’, because it’s what everyone around us thinks is normal. Part of the thrill we find in travelling is experiencing new ways of life and challenging our perception of normal. Even more so when we can learn to see the parts of our own culture that others perceive as weird or different. Things that we never even realized (like taking off our shoes when we enter a house!) can behave as the great ‘othering’ equalizer.
3. Ask why and listen carefully
Always asking why when we travel can lead to so many fantastic conversations.
Why are so many Mexican foods corn-based?
How does Switzerland have a reputation as a financial haven?
Why are forests associated with deceased ancestors in Peruvian lore?
This simple question has led us to collect some of our most incredible stories. Closely linked to point 2, we also recognize that taking time to listen carefully to the stories that people have to share and being mindful of our surroundings are also key parts of this process.
4. Say yes
The word ‘yes’ is one of the keys to freedom. We believe that by accepting new experiences, we free ourselves from our own limiting beliefs. Say yes to more opportunities to try something new. Be welcoming of new experiences. By trying new things, not only do we discover our passions, but also our dislikes.
5. Don’t over-plan
Some of the best moments happen when you aren’t looking too hard for them. We think that ‘checklist travel’ is possibly one of the dullest ways to see the world (more on this coming in a later post). Embracing serendipity can be a fantastic way to have a mindful travel experience.. Sometimes, a backpack on your shoulders and an open mind are all that’s needed to experience the best moments in life.
Photo: Nairobi Giraffe Center , Kenya
6. Challenge your point of view
One of the most beautiful parts about experiencing a new country or a new culture is meeting people who challenge our point of view and give us the opportunity to question ourselves. We believe that the excitement of adventuring, in part, is that our social, political, or economic ‘baggage’ mean little to those around us. In turn, being a stranger to those who we meet on the road allows us to question our assumptions.
7. Take only what you need
This applies in two ways. Firstly, don’t pack more than you need to take with you, and don’t burden yourself with material mementos when you are ready to return home. Secondly, don’t accumulate unnecessary objects or souvenirs. In our first few years of living as expats, we felt the need to buy those little things from all of the places we visited – a pair of socks, a keychain, a fridge magnet. We thought we would risk forgetting about those places because we wouldn’t have a physical object to represent that memory. It took us a long time to unlearn this, but our wallet and junk drawer are very glad we finally did.
8. Get out of your comfort zone
This is a challenging, yet critical one. It’s easy to be comfortable, but, at the same time, it’s very hard to grow and change if we are comfortable all the time. Above all, travel forces you out of your comfort zone. But only if you allow it. Travel alone, go somewhere no one you know has ever been, or throw a dart at a map and buy a ticket (à la Yes Theory). While there might be challenging moments, those will be the ones that will make you grow.
9. Don’t take yourself too seriously
Everyone makes mistakes, everyone does stupid things, and if anyone says otherwise, they are either lying to you or to themselves. In fact, travelling comes with the liberating perk of making mistakes that most likely nobody will remember. Mindful travel also reminds us to let experiences happen to us. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others; everything else is not a big deal because we are all human. Enjoy the ride!
10. Enjoy the moment
This point is kind of a culmination of all of the above, but it definitely merits its own mention. When we are in a foreign place or having a new experience, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all. Therefore, forgetting to enjoy these fleeting moments that pass us by can be easy. But we believe that the best thing we can do is stop, relax and remember why we are there in the first place – and most importantly – how cleansing travel can be for our soul.