It's fairly easy to attribute positive and negative feelings to memories and experiences that, in the end, take away from where you are in the present moment. Cultivating mindfulness, or living and experiencing life in the present, not only stimulates creativity in the mind and reduces stress levels, but happens to be one of the best techniques to use to enhance travel.
A Change in Perspective
Things that make you stop and say, "This is what life is all about," are not solely limited to your surroundings but flourish innately inside of you, and mindfulness is what can help channel the way you see things. Take photography, for example, where many sit behind the lens waiting--and hoping--for everything to come together in order to capture the "perfect shot." This is a hobby for some and a souvenir-maker for others, yet is quite useful to facilitate the practice of mindfulness while traveling as it heightens one's awareness of sight. Waiting for the "right moment" can lead to another missed opportunity, whereas seeing all things, good or bad, as events and experiences happening in the now can bring one to appreciate every moment that's given.
Have you got a friend or partner that doesn't share the same wanderlust feelings as you do? Don't miss out on the experience because you think you'll be lonely: change your chip because sometimes two isn't always better than one. Traveling solo happens to be an excellent way to absorb everything going on around you. For instance, instead of paying attention to a conversation with another person, you'll be noticing new things and channeling your own energy and focus into your exploration of a place or state of mind.
Natural to You, Tech-nically Speaking
In today's tech-filled world, it's easy to lose yourself in mindless distraction. This is not to say that technology is detrimental to the development of mindfulness (it happens to be one of the most searched topics on Google!), rather that it's important not to "overdose" on the incorporation on tech in your life. Constantly checking social media, linking, syncing and connecting can lead to burnout and a loss of time in the here and now. When visiting a new place, close the Wikipedia tabs and give it a go the “old-fashioned” way: begin to experience the destination like the locals. Ask questions, build connections, but most importantly, listen and see where your mind goes and what you begin to think about.
It's natural to let the mind wander off and escape, but part of experiencing the beauty of each moment is actually living in it by staying present.
By honing in on your own thought processes you become more mindful of the culture, its history, and the environment around you, which in turn can invigorate the mind and unlock other opportunities for your future self, and even a career. If you find that your mind is over-analytical, put it to use and inspire awareness of nature in others through mindfulness with something like a GIS degree, combining your love for technology and your unique perspective and passion for geography.
Mindfulness can be applied to anything, anywhere, at any time.
Creating a richer travel experience is something that will benefit you as an individual as well as the community that you travel to and become part of, so it's important to take in the local sights, sounds, smells and surroundings. It's easy to get caught up in the routines of daily life, but as the saying goes, "Life catches up with you." Be in the moment and savor the experience: this is the present, the gift of time granted to you right here, right now.