Mindful travel musings in Malta

Often I just want to run away from a computer, overwhelmed by eight hours or more in front of one for work.

Other times, when without apparatus to scribble down my thoughts, I long for anything that will enable me to record ideas.

Writing is an outlet and my love, and I never feel more inspired than when I’m travelling. If I’m constantly thinking and on sensory alert, am I being mindful on the road?

Despite the media craziness and the threats that would have us believe we are barely safe to leave our or homes, I am at peace when I’m exploring somewhere new.

It might sound odd that I suggest travel is the best opportunity to actually practice mindfulness – on the road we’re always looking around, getting involved with the senses and quite possibly on a device like a laptop or phone. The mind can be busy.

However, I think we can experience mindfulness in an almost pure form while travelling and feeling new things; experiences, sights, sounds, smells and tastes. I feel blessed to be able to see the beauty in things too, without judgement. Difference is interesting, often charming.

I suppose awareness is the trick. And then, life is definitely beautiful.

I’m currently on a crowded bus in Malta that’s ferrying customers of all ages along the Sliema strip towards the capital Valletta, and then out towards where we are based in il Żurrieq. I struggle to maintain balance, holding on for dear life up the front of the bus and scrambling to tap my thoughts down into my iPhone’s Notes app. It’s around 7pm and this particular August day’s sunset has begun it’s decent across the harbour. All I can think is:

How enchanting, I wish I could share this with my loved ones [who I wish could be here as I know they’d appreciate it].

It’s at this point it occurred to me – after Cooper and I spent hours today creating travel content (videos and photography) we are proud of – that while the likes of us are sometimes frowned upon for the time we spend staring at a screen, we might be the mindful ones.

Other digital nomads understand where we’re coming from, and if you don’t, consider for a moment that we are not just playing around on our phones and being entirely anti-social; we are consciously paying attention for the beautiful moments. We are capturing them in the best way we know how: those landscapes, experiences, history, stories, that we can share to be inspiring, helpful, entertaining or informative (perhaps all of the above).

That’s what most travel bloggers intend. We are consciously seeking the photo, video, words that might inform and educate your next decision or judgement on any given destination.

In this way, those of us being conscious about creating and capturing are being mindful. And trust me, we are grateful for these moments because we are aware of just how precious they are.

We are also mindful to put the devices down and enjoy too. There’s nothing that irritates me more than people wandering mindlessly about, noses in phones, not realising they are holding up a huge crowd behind them or missing out on something their friend is saying to them.

But, sometimes when inspiration strikes, you need to take advantage of a 40 minute bus ride and get those words onto paper (or into a phone, whatever is handy).

Next time you find yourself confused or irritated at someone with a camera who looks like they’re trying to capture ‘just another shot for Instagram’, have a little faith that maybe they are not just another selfie-obsessed tourist; maybe, just maybe, they’re on a mission to inspire, educate and inform, like we are.

Or perhaps they’re chasing a dog, as we do too (caught this little guy on camera this afternoon). But that story for another time.

What do you think about this and how do you practice mindfulness on the road? Would love to know, drop me a line in the comments.

via GIPHY

Guide to beaches and scuba diving in Santorini

We’re excited to be heading to Santorini, Greece, in May – our second attempt after being delayed from going last year (although we did embark on another adventure instead); so, when Alice Ross pitched this piece on beaches and scuba diving in Santorini, of course we said yes!

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Recreational scuba diving was restricted in Greece for a long time. The government did it to prevent antiquities smugglers – diving was allowed to only some people who were given special authorisation by the authorities determined to protect the country’s marine life and remains of archaeological importance.

Fortunately, in 2004, authorities lifted the restrictions and anyone who wants to scuba dive just about anywhere in the country is allowed to do it for recreation.

Since then, Greece has quickly become one of the most visited scuba diving sites in the world. With more than 4,000 islands and 12,000 miles of coastline, the Greek seas offer an ideal place for scuba diving.

One of the best places to do scuba diving is in Santorini. The marine life that you can find the coast of Santorini is arguably well-known. The island’s waters, molded by a volcanic eruption that took place in the 16th century, are rich with mineral, supporting a solid range of coral and creatures.

These great volcanic eruptions have formed wonderful underwater backdrop giving scuba divers ceaseless options for wall dives and unending stops all over the volcanic islets and the caldera.

Aside from the beautiful underwater world Santorini offers, the water visibility all over the island is good! The water temperature is approximately 22°C, so make sure to wear some nice wetsuit. Diving in the vicinity of the caldera is also possible; however, the southern side of the island is the one that offers a variety of delightful caves which you are able to explore with the help of a master diver who is familiar with the site.

If you are interested in visiting Santorini for diving, this list of four beaches where you can scuba dive is worth checking out.

Perissa Beach is a very famous beach resort that should be top of your list.

It’s an organised, developed beach with a plenty of comfortable beach chairs, umbrellas, as well as other amenities, such as lifeguards, playground, and of course a shower. It’s worth mentioning that it was awarded Blue Flag award for being organised and clean.

When you reach the end of the beach is where you will find the diving spot. There are also two diving centres you can check out on this beach. Aside from that, however, you are able to pick from different water sports like windsurfing jet skiing, kayaking, and parasailing. Lastly, a wonderful water park with pools offers and water slides that cater to anyone of any age.

Perivolos Beach is a long, black sand beach with beautiful deep blue waters which is connected to and Agios Georgios Beach and Perissa Beach.

It’s another well-organised beach with sunbeds, lifeguards, umbrellas, taverns, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, bars, showers, a playground, and public toilets.

There are many beach bars playing club the latest music, DJ guest during the weekend, volleyball tournaments, and exciting events on special occasion. But of course, this is also a nice place to go if you are looking for some underwater (or even over the surface) adventures!

Agios Georgios is located less than one kilometre from Perivolos Beach. It’s a big, sandy organised beach.

It’s more peaceful than its neighbouring beaches, and the water is shallower.

Some small taverns offer delicious lunch. Umbrellas and sun beds can be rented if you want to relax at the beach, and there are a lot of opportunities for water sports like scuba diving.

Divers can explore the beauty of Santorini’s marine life under the supervision of master divers who prioritise safety. The locations for dives might be very local in the bay and all over the neighbouring headland cliffs or a little further afield, depending on water visibility and conditions.

Ammoudi Bay Beach is accessible by walking or riding ride down the 214 steps from the castle of Oia.

Amoudi Bay is well-known for its traditional Greek inns with fresh seafood and the astounding romantic sunsets. Once was Santorini’s commercial port, Amoudi Bay has now become a tourist spot. There might not be sunbathing comforts at this beach unlike the other ones mentioned above, but the diving scene here is impeccable. Diving here is something you wouldn’t definitely find anywhere else in the world.

You see, Santorini isn’t only about sunsets, beautiful landscapes, and majestic geometric houses in the villages.

If you take your time to explore deeper, you will have the chance to experience an amazing adventure in Santorini. If you have not experienced diving before but you’re interested, you don’t have anything to be worried about as most dive shops in Santorini offer a non-certified scuba diving course where you’ll have to engage in a brief scuba diving introductory lesson before diving down to a depth of maximum 6 to 7 feet.

For more like this, take a look at fortravelista.com.

 

Featured image by THINK Global School

To Tuscany – Travel Live Learn won!

Do you know why it is worth entering yourself in competitions? Because sometimes you can win!

Last week I received an email to say that a travel live learn blog post on healthy holidays that I’d entered into a competition To Tuscany was running had been declared the best that they saw. Yay!

Earlier in the year, To Tuscany invited content creators to share tips on how to make a holiday healthy and happy in mind, body and spirit.

We believe we shared some pretty helpful advice and are so grateful the judges thought so too.

In April we’re flying into Pisa and will enjoy a week’s stay in the Tuscan villa La Stalla Montebuoni. We’ll visit historic Florence, where around 600 years ago political, cultural and economic forces collided, sparking the Renaissance. This period is regarded as the bridge between the middle ages and modern history, and importantly, provoked new ways of thinking, with an emphasis on art, education and the pursuit of happiness. Sounds right up my alley!

We look forward to exploring surrounding medieval towns including Siena, and of course sampling local wine and cheese.

Can. Not. Wait!

 

Susan Gardner, well-being judge, gave the following comment on the entry:

The winner has a lovely easy style which has an appealing look about it and the language used is friendly and supportive. Overall, it provides a useful guide as per the specifications of the contest, with many helpful recommendations from their personal experience which could be potentially attractive to many of the readers whether they are unfamiliar with the concept of a wellbeing/Yoga get-away/retreat or are regular attendees.

It offers a well understood range of practical tips, which I consider to be very helpful to use as a checklist of priorities and how to maximise the time whilst away. It’s realistic and relevant with a generous range of activities being suggested as something worth researching and exploring. There is a good balance of images which help to deliver the message along with useful links to further reach a wider audience.”

 

View the blog: 11 happy and healthy holiday ideas

Thanks again to the judges for choosing us.

We believe in everything we produce on this site and are passionate about sharing ideas on wellbeing, creative living and travel. Keep an eye out for our vlogs and blogs covering the region this Easter!