A week ago I returned home from driving approximately 6100 miles from Virginia to the Southwest and many places in between. I have traveled in the past with friends but this was a solo adventure. In fact, I do this Sacred Pilgrimage once a year. It is my traveling Spirit Quest. I have traveled frequently in my adult life and a major part of my motivation is because I often have Wanderlust! I truly must have some gypsy blood in my lineage for I know if I do not travel I would suffer tremendously.
Mindfulness , to me, is the principle of aligning one’s focused attention to experiencing what is occurring only in the present moment. My annual pilgrimage has afforded me more than just a few opportunities to go with the flow, honor my free spirit that is so much a part of me, to accept the unfolding of each journey regardless of my pre-arranged plans, to allow new experiences to further open my heart and mind, and to embrace connections with the land and its inhabitants of places I travel. I have become a mindful traveler and traveling alone helps facilitate that desire and need within my gypsy soul.
The first day of my adventure I always hit the road beaming with excitement and I can drive long distances easily because I am so psyched to be traveling! On this journey my first destination was Hot Springs, Arkansas, a mere 13.5 hour drive. I love this town with its mineral hot springs bathhouses lining Main Street, a gorgeous National Park filled with wise trees and walking trails, and a park located in the middle of town that has steaming, healing thermal waters pouring over beautiful plants and huge rocks. I always put my legs, feet, hands, and arms in that almost boiling water!
I stayed in Hot Springs two days which allowed me to mingle with the locals, connect with the Nature Spirits and natural beauty of the area, enjoy long, leisurely walking meditations, and to practice compassionate non-judgments toward those whose paths crossed mine as we engaged in heartfelt conversations and eye contact. I never know a stranger, and in my intention of mindful traveling I get the pleasure of engaging both with like-hearted kindred spirits as well as very conservative beings very different from who I am. Because I am in no hurry on my adventures, I have the choice which I fully embrace, to be still and simply observe the people and environment around me. It is such a peaceful, Zen way to travel!
My deep connection to nature and my love of humanity may not fit everyone’s idea of travel, but then again it might just interest some in trying a different mode of adventures, the Mindful Travel Experience. I have come up with some suggestions , if this appeals to you:
-Create a travel itinerary but be willing to divert from an agenda by adjusting to situations and changes that present themselves. Just chill out.
-Pack minimally. Consider leaving anything at home that you can not bear to part with should items get lost, misplaced, or damaged.
-Talk with people you meet with interest and compassion. Make connections with locals in the place you find yourself. When you open up and take the time to really listen to a stranger you may find out about that secret waterfall, a serene river, or a great hole in the wall restaurant.
-Journal about your experiences and things people say to you. You will then be able to reflect later on Divine Awakenings that occur.
-Travel with an attitude of gratitude instead of an agenda of controlling that things must go a certain way.
– Accept and fit in with the locals without a need to show off your wisdom, great mind, or a need to exert your opinion about how things should be in the town or even in the country.
-Unplug as much as you can from the internet except when posting those glorious pictures . I love to include my friends on social media who travel with me across all adventures!
Mindful Traveling is such a sense of freedom and exhalation from the pressures of daily routines and responsibilities! Let me know how you love it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s