On Instagram, more than 158k users identify themselves as travelers in their profile bios. #Traveler, #travel, #instatravel, #mytravelgram tag 31 million posts, and the number increases in front of your own eyes. For a moment, you may think everyone just travels! Do people really travel more or are we just better exposed to this certain information?
Statistics show that travel and tourism, as an industry, are expanding, steadily contributing to the global economy over the past 10 years. Numbers partly answer the question raised above – people do travel more, however, we also have the advantage of a wider view now to see just how much fun it is. I wonder, what are the reasons that we all travel for? Do you travel to relax, visit, get to know, explore, relate or forget? For some, the answer may be several of these, but for me, personally, travel is a way to disconnect in order to reconnect again. Phone-free traveling is a great means for a mind-cleansing trip and let me tell you why such disconnection is a healthy practice for your mind and body.
Coming back to your NOW
To be fully present sometimes you have to step back. Even though it might seem that the world won’t survive without you, you’ll be forgotten, or mercilessly skipped when missing the daily flow of information, but trust me, YOU WILL NOT. Unless you extend your trip to an amount of time significant enough for the world to shift to the new dimensions (not likely), you’ll be able to catch up on the major events and unreplied emails. Stepping back is essential to obtain a clearer image of where you stand now – with the immense amount of information we constantly receive, the mind is easily overwhelmed and confused! Traveling is the best way to untrap yourself and let your mind breathe. Indulge in this experience fully by keeping with your main world-connector turned off.
Asking “How am I doing?”
Talk to yourself. I really do talk to myself often! I won’t lie and say that I talk to myself on a daily basis… But when I do have such conversations they are usually rushed, decision-focused, somewhere on my way to a meeting or grocery shopping. When you travel, you have a golden opportunity to really listen to yourself, ask some questions, observe your thoughts and emotions. How are you feeling today? What would you like to do next? In our normal noisy world, it is hard to hear your own voice. You have to practice reshifting from doing what others expect of you back towards what really brings you joy and happiness. Our bodies and minds are continually talking to us but we need to be present to listen and/or simply be aware of our own feelings. Here, a phone is a distractor from you and the present moment, interrupting your time of thought with its bells and beeps. Have you noticed how quickly you check your phone when it notifies you? Let it go for a bit, you’ll be surprised how good it feels to forget about the buzzing reality inside your gadget.
Learning to observe
Experiencing the moment will bring your trip to the next level. Only being fully present, you will notice little things that might have normally go unnoticed. Have you observed the blooming trees and longer days yet? Especially while traveling, we chase the spectacular, the impressive, the huge and the unusual. But how much are we missing by not seeing what’s right next to us! Observation is truly a gift that everyone’s been given and most neglect. So instead of being on the phone while catching a bus or waiting for your meal to arrive, look around! Look someone in the eye, look on your left, look for a curly middle sized dog. Open yourself to this very moment.
So what does phone-free traveling look like? Usually, my phone is either on flight mode or has no credits. I consciously choose not to connect to wifi, if one is available. Unless there’s a need for something trip planning related… And for those I know that are wondering how I get around…that’s right, I use paper maps to find my way! The only two devices I always have by my side are my camera and Travis. Travis is a pocket translator and has a SIM card, in case I’d need to ask for help spontaneously. I enjoy the way it opens a conversation with people – when you’re anxious to ask something due to limited language knowledge, Travis provides an opportunity to talk to locals something that I would definitely do less of if I was constantly connecting with my phone instead of those around me! It’s an amazing device for my way of traveling; I feel safer and more culturally involved.
I have to admit, phone-free traveling requires quite some preparation before the trip and it might sometimes make you nervous, thinking of the never-ending steam of “What if…?” BUT! For me it is way more fun; I enjoy the pre-trip planning and the freedom it brings me on the road! Is such traveling for you? Only one way to figure it out… Give it a shot!