How to enjoy our travelling with mindfulness?

With the loosening of restrictions for quarantine, many people in Hong Kong packed their bags and went to travel in recent one month.  It is common to hear people saying, “I will definitely be revengeful in buying and eating in my coming trip!”  With tight restrictions for quarantine for almost three years, people are eager to travel and engage in revenge tourism.  People who immediately bought airplane tickets and travelled to abroad thought that they needed to strive hard in order to enjoy their travelling experiences.  It is because they were starved for travelling for so long.  The question is, if they tried so hard to attain enjoyment by striving to buy more and eat more, could they really enjoy the experiences?

It is common for travellers to encounter a variety of troubles in their journey, such as delay of flights, or suspension of services of sightseeing spots, etc.  The more one is intended to achieve high level of satisfaction and enjoyment in the trip, the more frustrated and disappointed one may experience given these unexpected troubles in their journey.  On the contrary, if one is intended to stay in the present moment and let go of any rigid expectations on their trips, these troubles may not influence their mood so much.  Therefore, it is important for travellers to have a beginner’s mind before and during travelling.  If we plan our journey with the intention to enjoy every moment and not to expect the trip to be perfect, we can welcome any obstacles in the trip as part of our experiences.  In fact, we may also be able to pick up the positive aspects of a seemingly negative situations.  For instance, we may go to enjoy a massage in the airport if our flight delayed.  This may prevent our back hurting in our coming long flight.  During our trip, we may also enjoy our journey with a beginner’s mind by being curious of what we are going to encounter.  Therefore, it may also be good to set aside some time slots for free exploration and slow activities without prior planning.

For those who intended to engage in revenge buying and eating during their trip, it is common for them to strive too much and cannot relax themselves for the whole trip.  They may be busy with going to different shops in different areas within a short period of time.  In this way, it is impossible for them to enjoy the present moment and take a look at the areas they are visiting.  They may miss a lot of interesting cultural aspects or stunning sceneries along their way to these shops.  If we want to travel mindfully, we may try to take a non-striving attitude.  That is, we intend not to strive for buying or eating too much.  It may be better for us to focus on the quality of the things and food we consume, instead of the quantity. 

With the use of social media, tourists nowadays are busy with taking photos to upload to the internet for sharing in order to get the “likes” and approval they need.  It is so common for people to keep taking photos in the sightseeing spots or taking photos of their food in the restaurant.  This action is not totally problematic as sharing with friends about their trips in the social media is a way for people to connect with others.  However, if people are too obsessed with taking photos, they may miss the whole purpose of enjoying the scenery or the food.  Therefore, it is more beneficial for people to let go of the intention to take photos only for the sharing in the social media.  They may engage in photography while travelling with mindfulness in their mind.  For instance, when they are enjoying the sunset in the mountain area of the country, they can slow down their pace and observe the sunset and the mountain area with openness and without intention or thoughts that hinder our awareness of our direct experience.  With this beginner’s mind and non-striving attitude, one can take photos that truly reflect the scenery as well as the individual expression one’s mood and experience.

With our long wait for travelling, it is beyond dispute that we need to get the most of our trips.  The paradox is, the more we strive to maximize our satisfaction, the less likely that we are able to enjoy every present moment of our trips.  Let’s enjoy the travelling together in the coming months.

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