We all know how stressful the logistics of travel can be. The actual getting from A to B is both the least fun part of travel and generally the least mindful, as we are generally so caught up in our own needs, the urge to rush, and a touch of mob mentality to truly be in the present.
With these few steps, you can easily practice being a more balanced, calm, and mindful traveller:
1. Airport Anxiety
Instead of rushing off the plane, impatiently jostling through customs, tapping your foot anxiously at baggage claim, and trying to get ahead of everyone else in the airport bathroom line, you could instead take a deep breath, put your own needs in perspective of everyone else’s, and allow yourself to be at the back of the line. Accept that it isn’t a contest–that some people really need to be in the front of the line to catch their connection, but that you can afford peace of mind and a few extra minutes. In the end, you’ll probably end up getting your bag and leaving the airport at the same time as everyone else who rushed off the plane before you only to wait at baggage claim.
2. Pay it Forward
We all know that attitude is everything. Instead of indulging your bad mood and your travel stress, you can choose instead to practice compassion. If you take the time to be kind and do nice things for those around you, your happiness will spread quickly. One kind act can create many more, as the people around you pay it forward. In the end you will probably feel more joy than even the people you helped. Take a moment to assist someone with their overhead baggage or to let someone in a hurry have the cab you hailed. Have patience and have compassion for the inexperienced travellers who don’t remove their shoes at security, for those who don’t understand English, and for differently-abled passengers who move more slowly. When you choose to reverse your irritation and transform it into empathy, everyone benefits.
3. Celebrate Small Victories
Travelling is a series of tiny accomplishments: getting to the airport on time, checking into your flight, getting through security, boarding the plane, landing safely, getting off the plane without forgetting anything, getting through customs, reclaiming your luggage… Take a moment to recognize each step and to be grateful for everyone who has helped you accomplish it. Give thanks to all the staff, visible and behind the scenes, who made your journey possible. Be mindful that there is always someone who is having a worse day, who didn’t complete these steps, and who needs your compassion. Most of all, remember to be grateful and mindful of how privileged you are to be able to travel, to be able to board a plane, to be able-bodied, to have the opportunity to see what else is out there. Always remember that every step of travel, no matter how trivial or potentially aggravating, is a gift.