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.