The first time I heard the word “mindful”, it didn’t go down well with me. It actually irked me because here I was, being told off for being inconsiderate because I was 20 seconds late to my desk after my tea break. Granted, I should not have been late. In my defense, it was a lovely cup of Rooibos.
“Please be mindful next time”. I loathed that word for a long time afterwards.
But then, something happened.
Not the Christian kind that I used to practice in my early teenage years, but the one where you pay attention to your breath, your thoughts and improve your focus.
Since then, I’ve made peace with that word.
Definition of mindfulness according to Merriam-Webster
1: the quality or state of being mindful
2: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also : such a state of awareness
I made positive associations with the state of mindfulness. It’s amazing how life can get less overwhelming in an instant with a simple mindset adjustment.
Mindfulness and slow-travel
Slow-travel is not about travelling with modes of transportation that are slow. For slow-travel, trains as well as planes can be used. It’s not the speed at which you travel. It is mostly about the state of your mind. Slow-travel allows you to focus more on the present moment, and less on distractions and other emotions that could otherwise overwhelm. Mindfulness enriches our travel experiences.
Mindfulness allows us as human beings visiting a foreign country to have less prejudice towards others we may encounter. By being more mindful, we can enjoy another culture, without judgment or our preconceived ideas on how things should be or how people ought to behave.
There are definitely more special discoveries we make as we go off the beaten path or as we allow our senses to guide us, without a map, without a set itinerary. The other day, we were at the park near a famous and historical site. When we were done visiting both the historical site and park, you know what we did?
We found our ‘quiet spot’ in the park, by the pond and watched a young woman feed ducks, pigeons and other birds. It was magical. Here we were, sitting there, with no other plans than to enjoy watching the ducks as they wiggled their bottoms and feasted. When we aren’t pressed for time, when we are not rushing off to the next excursion or guided tour or bus schedule, we have time to relish what nature has for us. And trust me, there are many beautiful discoveries to be made, often in the most serendipitous manner.
There is a lot more to discuss on this topic of mindfulness and also slow travel. This is what I hope comes forth in the articles published on this blog. And hopefully we can share more about the ways to be more mindful through life, every single day.