Tips on surviving lockdown for the Mindful Traveller…

It’s fair to say that the year 2020 has been a tough one so far. March 2020 saw our movement restricted more than ever before and most people spending more time in their home countries than they probably have in decades.

Personally, I’ve spent more time in England than I have in a decade and feel like I spent the last 4 months living in a strange limbo land. Since March I’ve been experiencing feelings usually reserved for that bizarre week between Christmas and the new year where nothing is open, you have no idea what day it is and you spend the days in pyjamas, drinking mimosas for breakfast.

I’m lucky enough to travel quite a lot as my job is flexible, and these past few months have definitely had me feeling like a bird with clipped wings. For those seasoned travellers among us whose main occupation is travelling and, when not travelling, planning your next trip… I feel your pain.

These measures are obviously important, and even life-saving, but my heart goes out to all those people who spent the past year saving up for a trip of a lifetime that never went ahead. To the travellers who had just started their trips to the other side of the World, were ready to spend months or years exploring another way of life, only to find themselves suddenly trapped in a foreign country without a job and unsure of how to get home. Or, to those who were roughly and instantly sent home with no way of knowing if their trip would resume or whether that dream has now expired, along with their visa.

Every scenario is different and we have all experienced this global lockdown is our own unique way. For now, there’s nothing we can do – a solution is out of our hands. All we can do is stay positive, mindful and safe and plan for our future travels.

With travel seemingly now back on the horizon, at least within our own countries, and with some extra time on our hands of late, we thought we’d share some tips for getting through the lockdown and travel ban, as a mindful traveller!

Stay Mindful. Be Present

The first of tips on surviving lockdown for the Mindful Traveller, as always, our first go-to is mindfulness. The concept of mindfulness is a simple one, in theory, but harder to put into practice – especially during these unprecedented times!

Mindfulness is a Psychological term to explain the practice where “one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”

This technique is especially handy now when there is so much to think and worry about. The temptation is to sit and fret about the future and what could go wrong is sometimes strong, and focusing too much on the ‘ifs and buts’ can make it all seem overwhelming.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment out to try and relax. Sit somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Go for a walk and put your favourite song on (I recommend ‘Call me Al’ by Paul Simon – Always works for me.) Call a friend.- maybe they’re suffering too! Anything that focuses your mind and distracts you from the sense of impending doom that you may be feeling.

We all have these days and it’s perfectly normal to feel this way. There are things that we are currently unable to control in our lives and that loss of control can make you feel useless and it’s overwhelming! Remember, it’s ok not to be ok.

I find it handy to stay busy and to distract myself as a way of focusing my mind on the tasks at hand rather than allowing my mind to wander to scary thoughts of the future. We, The Mindful Travel Co., have been keeping busy over lockdown by giving our website a make-over which we’ll be releasing soon – watch this space!

By staying in the present, you don’t allow your mind to wander to the things that you may be missing out on and you’ll find that using this time productively gives you the sense of purpose that you might be missing.

Seek Inspiration. Plan for the future.

Many of us have some unexpected extra time on our hands and it’s so important to use this time wisely. No one wants to look back on this rare opportunity and realise that it was wasted.

Social media is my current saviour. During times like this it can help you feel less alone and there’s no travel envy at the moment! Don’t get me wrong, social media can be an evil source and it’s important to restrict your time on it and to realise that a lot of what you see is purely for social media and isn’t real life!

It’s easy to compare your life to those that are seemingly perfect but, no life is perfect, even if it appears to be on Facebook or Instagram.

Instead, find some accounts that inspire you and that speak to your passions. Travel, spirituality, sustainability, nature, wildlife… @themindfultravelco have recently been on a virtual road trip around Australia and then New Zealand, ticking off another fabulous destination every day. It not only inspires us to stay motivated but we also hope that it inspires others!

You can also check out our favourite eco-friendly accounts on Instagram to see who we’re following.

Use social media and this spare time constructively; learn a new hobby or skill, get fit at home or plan your trip of a lifetime for when all this is over. It can be difficult to stay positive when you can’t book a flight or any solid plans for the future. However, even if it’s just a loose plan then it may make you feel better, having something to look forward to is so important and especially so now.

We’ve all been sitting still for months now and, whether you’ve managed to save up for your dream trip or not, there is always time to dream. Where would you go if money was no object, what would you do? This is the time to dream big and, when this is all over, go chase those dreams with a new motivation!

Explore your own Backyard. Domestic Travel.

People are always telling me to go ‘Explore your own back yard.’ After travelling around Asia, America, Australia and New Zealand for the last 8 years I have met so many people who had seen more of my own country than I had.

I know this is pretty normal but it made me feel like I was missing out on some really cool stuff that was only a few hours away by car. I was sick of hearing how awesome Edinburgh was or being asked how the stones of Stonehenge had got there and having to say that I had never been. So, last year I made a pact with myself that I would explore more of the UK.

I planned trips to Stonehenge, Edinburgh and rural Scotland. I travelled around Ireland by bus and drove from London to Scotland via the Cotswolds, the Peak District and the Lake District. These are all stunning places that were on my doorstep that I had never been to!

Don’t get me wrong, I also went to Australia and New Zealand last year but the time spent exploring my own country made for one of the best years I have ever had. I saw my country through the eyes of a tourist and I enjoyed what I saw.

Now that international travel is paused, this is the perfect time for us all to be exploring our own backyards! Support your local businesses and your country’s economy and plan a trip somewhere you have always wanted to go, or somewhere nearby that you’ve never got around to exploring!

Hire a boat, do a city tour of a city you think you know, visit the big tourist attraction that you always try to avoid. Head to your local cafe and chat to your locals, if you don’t already. Learn about your town, your culture – pay it the attention you always pay when you’re on holiday.

This is obviously going to be more fun if you live somewhere exotic but everywhere has something to offer. You probably wonder why there are tourists in your home town and now is the time to find out! Go be a tourist in your own back yard and have something to boast about next time you’re away from home.

Mindful Travel. Starting Afresh.

Now that we are all on the move again, even if it is only moving down the road, how can we do it better than before? It’s my hope that we all learn something from this pandemic and that we all emerge with a new purpose and appreciation for our World.

I’m sure we’ve all learnt a lot about ourselves and about the people we want to be during the pandemic and it will soon be time to put this new you into action.

Even if you’re only managing to finally go punting down the river, like all the tourists do, do it mindfully. And remember, ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints’!

5 Tips on surviving lockdown for the Mindful Traveller:

  1. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Appreciate where you are.
  2. Let your brain catch up with your body. Notice the smells and sounds around you. Take it all in.
  3. Savour the moment. Pay attention to the person talking to you. Ask questions. Look up and see what’s happening around you. Not just for Instagram but for your own memories.
  4. Turn off your phone or laptop and pay attention to something real. Mother nature is all around us bursting with colour. The culture around you is fascinating. Sit in a cafe or a park and people-watch. Learn something.
  5. Travel with mindfulness every step of the way and make memories that will last a lifetime. The body can only be in one place at a time but our mind can take us back to anywhere at any time.

Questions?

Do you have any tips on surviving lockdown for the Mindful Traveller? We’d love to hear from you and what you’ve done during lockdown!

You can also contact us via one of our many forms of communication and we’ll get back to you with a personal response.

CONTACT US

Planning a Trip?

Now is a great time to get planning and we are excited to start a conversation about your next adventure.

Get in touch if you have any questions at all or you can check out our Insta feed for some epic virtual road trip inspiration.

@themindfultravelco