Even though travelling nowadays means using apps on your phone all the time, I think practising silence a couple of times in a day to reflect, introspect can really help growth. Listen more. Read. I usually am reading 4-5 books at one time. All of the different subjects keep me curious. Awareness with all senses involved is sort of meditation. I remember a day before going to Pondicherry, my smartphone stopped working. I transferred my sim card to a 90's Nokia phone which only allowed a text message. Initially, I was a bit worried about not having all my contacts. emails handy, but I have to say after the 3-day trip I felt cleansed. I realised that the very important calls could still be made, and I was letting go of all the extra digital information that subconsciously I was always taking in, thus cluttering my mind. This constant need to check my phone went after a day which let me enjoy the present moment so much more. I actually documented all my notes in a journal rather than an app.
Sitting in a cafe once in San Francisco I met up with someone who was curious to know what I was drawing in my journal. I told him I was an artist who was travelling solo. We got talking, never really exchanged any personal information. I realised while talking to him I was being who I wanted to be. It put me in a position with no baggage to behave like a certain someone. I realised I was being more of a person who I aspired to be that the person who I thought I was. This exercise made me realise that I could be whoever I wanted to be with the change in perception. I was saying and doing things that I wanted to do and a sudden shift in confidence was apparent which is motivating for oneself to be more of that. When one is with a familiar set of people, subconsciously we have similar actions and reactions, leading to similar results and self-image. In a new surrounding, meeting someone new who knows nothing about me, gave me a chance to be an improved version of myself. That shift only came because of this encounter. Usually, with a friend, I would not introduce myself as an artist but a consultant which is my day job. But I felt more confident of calling myself an artist with more possibility of acceptance in some way. This was a conscious moment for me as I realised I resonate more with the new self than the old one. Hence a great exercise to know yourself.
I usually plan about 50% of my travels and always leave room for things that I might want to do impromptu. A road trip to LA from SF and a train journey from Paris to Brussels were some of the recent spontaneous things I did while travelling. It increases self-confidence and trust in oneself and life that one has surprises waiting without any fears of going wrong as well as having an explorer's attitude that if plan A doesn't work, one has a plan B while having the attitude of moving with the flow. I think this attitude is true to everything in life and not just travelling. Travelling becomes a teacher and an exam as well, but trusting life and moving forward is a skill that one can have anywhere and it has helped me as a person reducing anxiety and fear.
In summers I usually wear linens and cotton and avoid all kind of synthetic materials. Usually a comfortable pair of slippers( Birkenstocks) as handy. For winters, my layered big jacket with some shawls and uggs. I try to pack light and avoid over accessorising. Key is being comfortable and confident in your skin without having the trouble to follow a fashion trend. I see that how we dress, the colours, materials have a direct effect on how we feel, hence dressing for the weather and for the activities helps us focus on the experience. An explorers attitude has a lot to do with the attire/ the uniform of the explorer!
Stretch, breathe and smile!
Key Take Away
Connect - Disconnect, Attach - detach, escape - immerse, Be mindful and mindless, Belong and Be a Nomad!
Words and photos by Sayali Goyal.