I've had travel on the brain lately since I recently booked a trip to Los Angeles, and I've been thinking about how travel is a great way to explore the world, see new things, and gain new perspectives. But travel isn't only about going to far-off lands and venturing to new cities. A well traveled life isn't just about boarding a plane and taking a vacation. It's also about making the most of the travel we do on a daily basis. Most of us travel every single day — driving to work or school, visiting friends, running errands, walking the dog. Every time we travel (no matter how routine the travel is!) we have a chance to explore. Through exploration we not only discover new things around us, but we discover new things within ourselves.
We become so accustomed to the route that we forget to really notice it. We forget to be present. But there's a lot to be gained from making the road you travel every day a well traveled one. If you're present while traveling — even if you're just traveling to the store to pick up some milk — you'll uncover hidden magic in the mundane, you'll cultivate a deeper sense of mindfulness, you'll discover little insights about yourself, and you'll be able to take notice of the positive more easily.
Of course, it's much easier to discover new things when you're in a new place. New things capture our attention so well. But creating a well traveled road on a path you venture down every day is much more difficult. Whether your travels lead you across the globe or just across town, here are some tips for how to make the journey worthwhile.
NOTICE THE LITTLE THINGS.
You've certainly heard the phrase "stop and smell the roses" before, but have you really done it. In order to smell the roses, you first have to notice them. As we travel through out daily routines, we don't often pay attention to what's all around us. We believe we've seen it all before and don't make much of an effort to look around. But things are always, always changing and there are so many little things that can spark inspiration along the road (no matter how frequenly you travel it!). Just yesterday, I spotted a tiny toy dinosaur on the steps leading up to my apartment. It was such a small little thing, but it made me wonder about where it had come from, which led me to contemplate the people who live in my building, which led me to thinking about interesting it is to live among so many different people. The littlest things can spark fascinating thoughts.
FIND UNEXPECTED BEAUTY.
No matter where you travel, there is beauty. I can be found everywhere, even in the most unexpected places. The trick to finding it? Look. Usually we're so busy trying to get from here to there that we don't pay attention to little bits of beauty all around us. When driving to work, pay attention to the trees and the way their leaves change. While walking the dog, take note of the way s/he interacts with the world. Beauty can be found in more than just things. The more you notice beautiful things as you travel through your day, the brighter your day will become. When you see beauty in the world (however small!), you're reminded that the world is a beautiful place, a place you have an opportunity to be fully present it. Spotting beauty encourages you not only to stay in the moment but also to really appreciate it.
PICK A SENSE + FOCUS ON IT.
The five senses are some of the best tools for staying present, and they can be particularly useful for creating a road well traveled. Next time you travel, choose a sense (sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell) and pay close attention to it as you're on the road. (If you're driving, sight or sound probably works best.) For example, if you're walking to a friend's house, decide to focus on everything you can hear along the way. Listen to the birds, the car horns, the wind, the sound of your own breath. Drawing your attention to one specific sense is an amazing way not only to keep yourself focused on the present, but it's also a great way to discover new things or things that have always been there but that you've never stopped to notice before.
DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
If you can take a different road to get from where you are to where you want be, that can be a great way to make your travels more interesting. Even if it's longer, a detour can lead you to new inspiration. If there's only one road to take, you switch up the way you travel. Take the bus instead of driving. If it's not far, walk instead of driving. If transportation options are limited, consider these ideas for varying routine trips: listen to new music (maybe a genre you've never listened to) or an audiobook, travel with someone (if you're usually alone) or alone (if you're usually with someone), or make little stops along the way. Doing something different is not only good for new discoveries, but it's also a great way to reflect on the way you always travel and take note of what you do and don't prefer. Knowing your preferences is vital for creating a road well traveled.
Whether you're traveling near or far, the act of moving from one place to another is brimming with possibilities for exploration and inspiration. Below are two awesome giveaways that might make your travels even more enlivening. Read on to find out how you can enter to win!