The Mindful Travelor

Just thinking out aloud again, writing personal observations combined with one or two famous quotes and a change in thinking that has been embraced by many. Its based on a simple observation how SOME people seem to be ticking of their bucket list of “must see” travel destinations before they ….

‘kick the bucket’

… some travellors seem to have raced around the entire globe

‘in 90 days ‘

while actually not taking the time to really experience being there.

This is combined with another observation where a travellor does not seem to be travelling,

it almost seems that some people have left their physical bodies in the bus, plane or train and projected their conscious self into the future already hovering above the ancient Roman arena, The Bloody Tower of London or are jet sking or windsurfing along that tropical Carribean coast line.

They do not seem to understand or appreciate the very wise words of…

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.

I think he is telling us that instead of transporting ourselves several hours ahead of time thinking about everything we plan to do when we get there that we should come out of that mental state of thinking and return to the present moment at hand, the present moment in the journey to our destination. Although we are in motion, moving forward we should try to stand still in the moment that is currently taken place before us.

Yes its based on the philosophy of ‘Mindfulness’ that encourages us to live in the ‘now’ moment observing, savouring and fully engaging in every positive experience that is crossing our paths.

Yes our vacation actually starts right from the moment we leave our home.

We need to sit back, kick back with our feet up and enjoy the ride.

Take the time to enjoy the scenary passing by, if its a night flight or journey and we are really tired then show gratitude even if it is only to ourselves for the opportunity to be able to sleep. If we can’t sleep then lets try and connect with our fellow passengers on board, spouse, siblings, our children, best friend or even that complete stranger sitting next to us. So many interesting and intriguing conversations have developed from such spontaneous interaction with each party sharing their own personal unique life story and experiences. These conversations have sometimes lead to the development of long lasting friendships, friendships that were established hours before  the plane landed at the airport or the train or bus arrived at the station or bus terminal.

And when we do finally arrive at our destination do we take the time to savour that specific moment. We are at the ‘starting block’ of the ‘destination’ part of our journey, with several days or weeks to look forward to. Its a wonderful moment to take in literally trying to make time stand still to breath in this particular moment in time while you  feel and acknowlegde every positive vibe flowing through your body.

Wow didn’t that feel good? I almost felt as if I was there with you!

Admittedly it can be very difficult to fully relax when if this will be our first and last visit to this particular “Port of Call” We may have a huge list of  places to visit and things to do in a very limited time scale.

We have one of three choices;

Stick to the plan, do not get side tracked, do not slow down or rest up, there is no time, we must be determined to keep to the timetable. We have to get the maximum value of money spent and time sacrificed in relation to the number of monuments, landmarks, breathtaking scenaries and action packed activities that will take place and that will all be perfectly recorded, stored and shared on our Instagram accounts.

But don’t worry because when we get back home we will have a whole year to relax, view and savour the moments on our smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Or maybe we are a simply a inbetweener. (I know I just made that word up) We want to see some of the local attractions and landmarks but we have very limited interest, enthusiame and involvement because all we really want to do is ‘crash out’ …….. while every now and then making some strenuous physical effort to get out of our deck chair or crawl out from under our parasol, staggering to the pool or to the sea  to experience some form of partial or complete submergance in a cool transparent liquid substance known as ‘water’

Its either that or we just wanted to go for a pea. We could have stayed in our own country or county and just booked into Sunparks. However Sunparks backgrounds just don’t “cut it” on our  Instagram accounts, thats just “not done”

Or we can choose to ignore a large part of our “to visit” and “to do” list and just “visit” and “do” what my so called mindful method of travelling involves. When we visit or do something we open our heart and minds fully to that place or experience being fully present.

When we are standing in that Roman Arena or Aztec Temple or Egyptian Pyramid we close our eyes (figureratively speaking) traveling back in time ( yes now we can leave the present for a moment) and imagine ourself actually being there surrounded by spectators that are cheering on the gladiators, we imagine the smell of fear of the prisoners and can feel the suspense in the air. Or maybe we imagine the hustle and bussle of an ancient market packed with produce, livestock and ornaments spread out on tables and stalls before us.

We slowly climb that one cliff at sunset and embrace the panoramic master piece being painted across the horizon in front of us.

We strip naked and dive into that one laggoon despite the fact that there are several more unique laggoons and waterfalls to see further up the trail that we will never get to see because we could not resist the first one we encountered . But we simply don’t care because we have this one laggoon all for ourself at this moment in time, today, now.

Or we take the time to observe, approach and intermingle with the ‘local’ even that Taxi driver thats taking us to the beach. We ask questions and then we listen, really listen to his story, experiences and his life. When we ask for directions we not only try to remember his or her directions but we observe and appreciate the time and effort they are making for us. If we buy souvenirs we try to make an effort to by from the real ‘locals’ even when some of the things they have to offer ‘were made in China’ realising that we are supporting the local economy this way and supporting someone who chooses to work honestly rather than choosing to steal from tourist.

The fact is, the vast majority of us will never get to travel and experience even one tenth of this planets natural wonders and beauties and I question even those that did if they were really had enough time to fully be present preserving those moments in their heart and mind, instead of just on their smartphones or cameras.

However I do recognise and acknowlegde that everyone is different. For some thousands of brief moments stored electronically in the cloud or hard drives means more to them than a hundred moments ingrained in there long term memory that can be fully relived and revisited any time the close their eyes.

Which leads me to the following;

“Each to their own”

“If thats what makes you happy then continue doing that way”

And in fact ‘who am I’ to question your way of doing things?

And admittedly this alternative slower pace of travelling means one will see even less of this beautiful planet.

But I will purposely choose this method of travelling because,

according to the Minimalistic lifestyle,

Less is more!!

Back in Jamaica first Impressions

Back in Jamaica visiting my parents my first impressions.

Dirt cheap rally driving route taxis, very expensive charter taxis driving at slightly slower speeds, hotel receptionist without internet access because their owners don’t trust them, clear salt sea water fish infested white sand beaches, plastic bottles, tourist, churches, poor Jamaicans street sellers trying to sell cheap souvenirs, rich foreign owned gift shops employing equally poor Jamaicans selling expensive beach towels, the Knutsford Express Coach service, amazing scenary, Chinese supermakets, more churches, sun sinking into the sea sceneries, potholes, Kingdom Halls of Jehovahs Witnesses, mansions, brick build huts, cochroaches, brightly coloured drinking bars, sunshine, goats, every possible model of Toyoto, Church of Pentecost, Palm trees, cheap Chinese clothes and household store, sunrises, mosquitos, Seven day adventis church, wasps, super luxery 4 x 4 jeeps, old bangers, gorgeous woman biting on the tongues so that they don’t show any type of emotion and avoiding any type of eye contact as they walk slowly past you, Top of the range Honda darkened glass SUV, the night echos of reggae music blasting thru the rural valley countryside with just three people actually attending the party in the local bar, very big loud loudspeakers, very very big loud speakers, the senior citizen rastaman, school uniform dressed children, bread fruit, the machete carrying freelance agricultural labourer, half built concrete mansions with flat concrete iron rod sticking out roofs, coconuts, roof top standing black plastiek round 100 gallon water tanks, loose dogs, petty crime, beggars, serious murderous crime, wind mills, more churches, tourist, beautiful beaches, more potholes, poverty, riches, quiteness, the ghettos, completely iron fenced off remote controlled gated villas with matching German shepherd gaurd dogs, noise, potwa, singing, friendly people, sunshine, yes lots and lots of clear blue sky sunshine.