Paying attention to the present

We all have busy lives, rushing through our days looking after our homes and families and trying keep a balance. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present, being aware of your own thoughts and the world around us. This approach has been proven to improve our mental wellbeing and combat depression.

Mindful or ‘slow’ travel is used to describe highly-immersive travel experiences – it is pretty much the opposite of city hopping and squeezing all the sights into a really short space of time. It involves traveling at a slower pace, ditching the itinerary and really submerging yourself in local life.

Holidays, more often than not, are supposed to be a time of relaxation. With the regular hustle and bustle of everyday life, holidaymakers need this relaxation time now more than ever.

Here are a few ways to fully immerse yourself on holiday this year and experience a more ‘mindful’ trip and truly get away from it all.

Be happy in the moment

It is easy enough to get caught up in the moment and whip out your phone and start capturing photos and videos. Don’t do this. Put down your phone and think about the experience whilst you are in it – don’t just visit a place so that you can say you have been. Go because you are genuinely interested in what that particular place has to offer.

City breaks are genuinely a very rushed experience that people try and cram thousands of years of history into a mere three days. So, stay a bit longer, maybe even spend a week, cruising around the city rather than rushing or cherry pick the attractions that appeal to you the most.

If you don’t have a plan for one day then don’t worry. Develop a sense of happiness for going with the flow, you might stumble upon something that your research would not have shown you. If time allows, give yourself a few unplanned days to just wonder about the city or town and experience the local culture more freely.

Immerse yourself in a book

Read a novel about your destination rather than your average travel guide. This can enhance your wanderlust for that particular location and open up a new way of viewing that place, encouraging you to explore that little bit more.

Reading a novel or anything where a story is set in a specific place can enhance your desire to travel more. It can also help to generate a greater understanding of the culture of the place a little better. You can visit all of the places that your favourite characters are set.

Live like a local

See what makes the destination unique by talking to the people you meet as you arrive and walk around your chosen destination, find out their favourite places to eat and relax. They know the destination better than you, it is their home, so take their advice and go with it. Plus, they tend to know where the best food spots are.

Avoid tourist spots

This can be in relation to regularly frequented destinations, avoid the popular cities, or better yet go somewhere entirely different. The world is full of beautiful destinations that don’t get nearly half as much credit as they should. Slow holidays are all about exploring, so take a risk and change up your usual holiday destination and choose somewhere that only a slow traveller would love to explore.

Take a train

Train journeys, for the most part, can be a very calming and tranquil experience where there are few things to do other than enjoy the stunning views as they pass you by. You can enhance this experience by travelling across a new country and taking in some incredible scenery whilst relaxing and listening to your favourite playlist.

Bring it all home

The concept of slow travel does not have to be limited to countries that you visit. You can apply everything that you have learned to your hometown. The best way to do this is to think of yourself as a tourist within your own city, remind yourself why you moved to that city in the first place, fall in love with it all over again and go and find some hidden gems that only slow travellers can find. We often don’t visit the tourist spots in our home town – and you could be missing out.

Once you have given slow travel a go you might find it is the only way that you wish to travel in the future. It is a very adaptable method of travelling that everyone should experience at least once in their life to help them fully immerse in the country that they have found themselves visiting