Traveling is a very exciting and sometimes intoxicating thing to do. Often times we are distracted by a myriad of things and not focused on the purpose of travel: THE EXPERIENCE.
Whether you’re relaxing on a beach in Miami or exploring famous landmarks in Paris one should strive to immerse themselves in what they are experiencing. So, what does that mean? It’s very simple and it boils down to being fully conscious of why and what you are doing at that moment. For example, if you are reading a book. Are you thinking about tasks on your to-do list or are you really reading and absorbing the content?
I am not saying that being present is easy. It’s not! We all have a lot going on children, work, school etc. however, vacation should be an escape from all those things so why not treat it as such?
So here are a few ways to stay present while traveling:
Disconnect from social media. Social media is a great way to keep family and friends updated on the exciting things in your life but is there a need to post at every stop on your journey? When you land at your destination there is really no need to immediately post on social media that you are in “Funtown” and how it’s going to be an epic trip. This is a great opportunity to be present and recognize that you have arrived and to start your trip by observing the culture, the people and things around you. I can’t count how many amazing pieces of art I’ve walked by without seeing because I was too busy on social media walking through the airport. I can see the pictures of Kevin’s new hardwood floors or read Monica’s rant about politics later. When traveling from the airport to your hotel is a good opportunity to scout out the place and maybe see a landmark or a hip artsy neighborhood to visit that wasn’t initially on your planned itinerary. There will be plenty of time at the end of your day to post your photos, update your Facebook status and send emails.
Taking too many photos. Don’t get me wrong I love taking photos. Really cool urban shots, art, landscapes, architecture you name it. And obviously I have to take pictures for The Zeg however, I try not to let it take away from my experience. We can get so consumed with taking excessive pictures of places and things and be oblivious to the world around us. I was in Rome a few years back and I went to the Colosseum and I took pictures outside and inside, at different levels and angles, then replaying the images in the camera to make sure the photos were good and then suddenly I realized I wasn’t being present. I began to recognize that hundreds of years ago gladiators would fight to the death and thousands of spectators would sit where I’m standing cheering for their favorite warrior. I was walking where Romans walked so many years ago. It was a profound feeling which made my experience that much better. I am in no way saying that you shouldn’t take pictures when you travel, just also make time to take in all that you are seeing and doing. I’ve witnessed so many people walk up to something of significance proceed to take a picture of said thing and then quickly move on to something else. Do you want your vacation to be a series of selfies and photos? We are the sum of our experiences.
And, yes it is okay to disconnect for a few days and focus on the task at hand which is to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
Leaving it all at home– If you are really looking to be completely present while traveling you have to detach from home. That means turning your phone off, not reading emails and news. It’s very easy to fall into the mind space of worries at home, the “fires” at work and the tragedies around the world. And, yes it is okay to disconnect for a few days and focus on the task at hand which is to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Even if you are with other people on your trip it is a great way to connect with them on a deeper level. So, until Elon Musk has created a way for humans be in two places at once then you need to decide which place you want to be and just Breathe. Be here right now.
Let’s experience this world differently.
“Travel for an experience be present for the Journey” -The Zeg