What better then starting a month, creating this piece from the waiting area of India’s third largest airport! Well, not that I traveled to the airport to pen this article, but as they say…destiny!
This piece, my friends is about being a “Mindful Traveler” and how being one goes a long way in helping you discover yourself and empowers you to stay away from classical nonsense that the world keeps on throwing at you!
Irrespective of your age, location or the choice of your transport, travelers can always be fundamentally classified into two types: Type I who are the Reluctant Travelers and Type II- who are the ones’ who live off the vibrant energy that travel brings along with it!- well I call them Travel Babies!
The Reluctant Travelers have it written all over their face and their despise towards traveling oozes out through their unmistakable rude body language! Interestingly, this phenomenon is not one off and is an ongoing adventure and can offer experiences ranging from humor at one end to rage and violence i(in cases of extreme discomfort and mental delusion!)
These travelers are often seen arguing with the the counter staff, haggling over that odd dollar to be paid for excess baggage, the ones’ who will cut across and look at you- as if you had just committed one of cardinal sins- by being ahead; if this does not ring a bell, then yes, bringing it a little closer to you, the traveler who kept nudging that elbow into your abdomen and kept struggling and arguing with the cabin crew over the freebies and about the aircraft seat, the air conditioning, trying to push in that odd sized bag into the overhead bin!… well…I almost summed up all the hints that I could have provided for now!- hope it did bring something to your active self!
On the other hand, the Travel Babies- they seem to be floating like butterflies, no worry about their luggage (which is either completely absent or limited-organised and managed with minimal or no effort!) with a smile almost stuck on their face (even if the flight is delayed!). You can find them busy checking the stores, indulging into some new experiences, even on the flight, reading that odd monthly in-flight magazine like a newly found scientific break through!– well they are so much engrossed into their own world and into themselves- they hardly ever (unless they have company which belongs to Type I) get time to notice defects, shortcomings and irregularities and absolutely have no space to crib and whine over that odd cup of coffee that went wrong or the burger which did not taste as great as you thought it would! They are mostly busy consuming the totality of the experience- the experience of travel and everything that it brings along with it!
This fundamental difference between the two broad categories goes on to determine their approach and take on everything else as well! Yes- travel is but a real life metaphor that plays out in front of us for a short duration- but it also provides a definite crisp window into the way these people on a broader canvas manage themselves and their lives!
To put things in context, life is nothing but travel- few of us have it done in a directed-purpose driven way and then we have a few of us who like to float and surf through what comes our way. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with either of thee approaches, the challenge lies in the mindset that one carries irrespective of the approach taken to travel!
A journey, undertaken with a conscious effort to remain in the moment- is the essence of being a traveler whom we can call as “The Mindful Traveler”. Do not mistaken, these are not vagabonds, or happy-go-lucky hippies on the move, on the contrary these are seasoned travelers who know exactly what to carry- where,when,why and how of everything that goes with their itenary! If you have been lucky to see the movie “Up in the Air” there is a similar anecdote in the script (which refers to “What’s in your bag”….something around those lines!)
The secret to our lives, my friend, lies somewhere within the paragraphs above and as I always say; I will not try and put things and suggest what is right to not so right- I leave that for you and your experiences to decide! We seriously live in an era where one person’s nectar often turns out to be yet another’s poison!
As in travel- so in life- as long as you agree to carry with you a baggage that is coherent and in agreement with your journey and pursuits– the experience is bound to be rewarding and self propelling, the moment you add to your baggage – values, things, people, experiences that are incoherent and divergent- you tend to experience the burden of your baggage and your travel tales soon start to change into travel woes! Instead of experiencing life, your life ends up coming an experience of a kind for yourself! This is the moment where you then no longer cease to be a mindful traveler- who can be in the moment and experience rather you switch to become the Reluctant Traveler- who ends up soaking in every aspect of travel (and life) as an effort and this begins the downward spiral and gradual denudation of growth or enrichment of your life experiences!
The secret to a meaningful travel (and life) is enshrined in the premise that your are ready to accept what you are being served – each moment unto the next and as you move ahead- you ensure you are giving your best each time- it is not about winning or loosing- it is rather of being there in the moment to experience and enrich yourself and subsequently share with everyone around you with the learnings and secrets that your experience has got you- either being a winner or loosing at that odd time or at times just being an engrossed spectator! Whatever you do, what matters and the only thing that matters is being there in the moment completely and having a crisp moment to moment awareness!
Another simple fact remains, how we travel or rather how we prepare to travel also speaks a lot about how we plan our lives around and what we seek from our lives- but this in itself is a very broad topic as it banks of multiple cultural sensibilities and will vary society to society- but irrespective of what is argued in favor or against of this facet, the truth will always remain- If you know how to travel smartly )less baggage, less selfies, less social media posts, and less grumpiness – you are more likely to experience wholesome travel and extrapolate these aspects to your life and you will be surprised to see how much more you can seek and offer as you begin to enjoy the journey of your life holding the Mindset of a Mindful Traveler”
I will leave you with these thoughts for now, until next time…ciao…happy journey!