Packing your bag. Getting to the airport. Long plane rides. Finding your way in a strange city.
The stresses of traveling are many, and may even drive some people to cancel their trip and stay home. But while these hurdles can be daunting, without them we wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience the beauty of this planet we call home. After all, taking a trip and leaving the familiar behind is a chance to see the world with fresh eyes, get a new perspective, and form lasting connections with people and places we would otherwise never encounter.
No matter how much joy we find in travel, however, it is still important to find time for yourself to counteract the stress. Whether you want to rise early and watch the sunrise, take an afternoon break with a yoga class, or simply find a quiet place to stop and watch the world go by, these quiet moments during your travels can help you feel more at ease. They are an integral aspect of time away from home, in that they help you connect more fully with yourself and the beautiful, fleeting moments of your travels.
Here at Regenerative Travel, we are well aware of the importance of staying mindful and putting yourself first on your travels. Our Regenerative Resorts locations are carefully curated for their restorative benefits, both for you and the environment. But no matter where you’ve booked your stay, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide with tips from travel pros and wellness experts to help you stay mindful while traveling.
Do What Feels Right
Perhaps it’s an obvious sentiment, but doing what feels right for you on your travels can help you enjoy the journey, instead of stressing about your itinerary or minor details.
This concept is particularly strong within the yoga community, as the ancient practice encourages participants to do what feels good for them in the moment, letting everything else fall away as they embrace the present. But the benefits of this kind of mindfulness can also be felt in other aspects of life, both on and off the mat.
Former fashion editor and tv personality Lindsey Calla took this form of self-care to the next level when she quit her successful career to focus on her own wellness. In our article about Why Wellness Expert Lindsey Calla Gave Up the Dream Life to Study Yoga, she offered the following advice to travelers trying to stay mindful: “Syncing up to the rhythms of a place, rather than imposing our own rhythms we’ve brought with us from our crazy home life, is really helpful. Be a participant rather than an onlooker and you’ll feel better in tune with an unfamiliar place.”
It’s this sense of unfamiliarity and strangeness that is both thrilling and terrifying when traveling abroad. But no matter how you feel upon arrival, the important part is that you made the choice to go. In Oracabessa Bay, Jamaica, GoldenEye seamlessly blends the enticing thrill of new experiences while maintaining a sense of comfort and luxury on which guests can rely. From the sensual lagoons to the subtle beauty of the jungle, you can discover a new side of yourself during your immersive stay.
Bio Habitat Hotel in Quindio, Colombia, takes a difference approach. The hotel encourages guests to explore the country on their terms. By using innovative architecture and design, the hotel blends guest “habitats” into the scenery—the end result is a destination you can experience at your own pace, with the promise of a relaxing space to call your own at the end of the day.
Founder of Kita Yoga in Hong Kong, Nikita Ramchandani, followed her instincts and left behind an office job in the finance sector and her life in New York to pursue a more mindful way of living. In our interview with her, Changing Careers and Cities with Yoga Studio Founder Nikita Ramchandani, she ultimately feels that leaving her old life behind has allowed her to live more mindfully.
She said, “My belief is that living well means understanding what makes you feel good, what brings you fulfillment both from a physical and mental standpoint, and implementing small rituals each day to find that feeling.” These rituals can be as small as a morning coffee in your room, or as novel as ordering a pastry in a language you don’t speak. The key is to go at your own pace, and find what feels good so that you can appreciate the time away from home.
Regenerative Resorts location Kasbah Bab Ourika was built around this concept. Perched on a hillside in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the hotel serves as both a desert retreat and a cultural mecca. The mountains that surround Kasbah Bab Ourika provide space for stillness and reflection, while the bombastic city of Marrakesh is only a short drive away. The experience is completely in your hands, so you can do what feels right for you.
Take Care of Yourself
Certainly, finding ways to enjoy the journey and treating yourself to new experiences is one of the more lighthearted aspects of mindfulness. But as enjoyable as these things are, mindfulness and self-care go much deeper than simple flights of fancy.
Mindfulness is also about remembering to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. It’s the acknowledgement that although you might like to do that six-mile hike today, you’re still wiped out from surfing yesterday. It’s the admission that you may need to take things slow, and that’s okay.
Nowhere is life as slow and steady as on the beaches of Tulum, Mexico. Olas Tulum is a private bed and breakfast—a hidden gem not marked on public maps. With only 8 beachside suites, the hotel offers an intimate escape where you can take some time for yourself and recoup from the daily grind.
Aside from taking things slow, one of the easiest ways to take care of yourself during your travels is to nourish your body with foods that will fuel your adventures. Trips abroad are an invitation to indulge—and you should, but within reason. Former physician and chef Annie Fenn explains the importance of eating healthy in her interview Eating Smart: How Chef Annie Fenn Uses Brain Food for Wellness.
“Our food choices should be aligned with our belief systems about how we treat each other and the earth. Inflammatory foods are now shown to contribute to many of the mental health problems that plague us, such as anxiety and depression,” Fenn says. There’s almost no worse place to have to deal with an anxiety flare-up than in the midst of the vacation of a lifetime. Between decadent trifles and vintage wines, be sure to sample local produce and in-season vegetables. Not only will your body thank you, but you can support local farmers and experience the region through taste.
Located on the shores of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, Morgan’s Rock is a Regenerative Resorts hideaway with its own organic farm in the jungle. Featuring a daily breakfast made from ingredients grown on the farm, this eco-luxurious destination supports mental relaxation on its beach and provides all the nutrients you need to embrace the lush jungle surroundings.
While eating right and going easy on your body can help you survive your travels in one piece, there’s no greater influencing factor on mindfulness abroad than tending to your mental health.
For many travelers, yoga, meditation, or quiet reflection allows them to process everything they’re experiencing, without losing touch with the present moment.
We talked to one yoga expert about these benefits in our piece about How Yoga Guru Sjana Elise Uses Her Practice for Mental Health. Sjana Elise Earp is a mindfulness expert, having battled depression herself. As she puts it, “My yoga practice anchors me, allows me to be still, be grateful and overflow with breath and life. It pulls me away from the stressors of life. Here I can truly be present, be fulfilled and feel my purpose.” As an avid traveler herself, Earp hopes to inspire others to follow her lead in using yoga as a mindfulness strategy abroad.
Sometimes, there’s no greater key to mindfulness than unplugging from the world completely. At The Mudhouse in Anamaduwa, Sri Lanka, you can do just that. With no electricity, the rustic but comfortable huts on the property inspire travelers to live fully in the moment, unburdened by modern technology. At night, the property is lit by candlelight and lanterns, inviting you to imagine a simpler way of life.
With these tips in mind, pack your bag, board the plane, and feel confident as you step out into an entirely new place. Embrace the present moment and find joy in the little things, as you remember to tend to your physical and mental health. And above all, explore, experience, and be mindful on the journey.