Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Sam McGrath Cork, Ireland

The Mindful traveler; something that anybody in a different country should strive to be. While abroad, I have made strives to be this kind of traveler and narrow the distance, as Slimbach says, between “us” and them”. In the example he used of the volunteers from college in North Thailand, Slimbach shows how the students/mass tourist were more likely to write about what they learned about or did for the locals. That’s like a tourist only experiencing abroad through their camera lens. What is that actually worth compared to the experience of the country? One should not think about what they have done for the culture but what they did with the culture. A mindful traveler doesn’t step back and watch but, experiences and engages in the culture they are in. A mindful traveler also integrates into that culture, while a mass tourist keeps their native customs with them and doesn’t learn from the different culture. I have found myself integrating into the culture of Ireland through their dialogue. I have been retaining a lot of phrases that I have heard others say, “cheers” has been one of my favorite additions!

A traveler abroad should also make sure not to fall into the category of a carefree drifter, or one who travels for the sake of traveling. These travelers never fully become a part of the culture they reside in and in my opinion wastes a lot of the opportunities they have abroad. They usually travel place to place to witness, like the mass tourist, but not fully engage. Again this is not how the experience should be done. It should be done by going out and doing instead of standing back and witnessing the beauty in front of you. When a traveler just stands back they are not contributing to the global community, they are abstaining from it. A mindful traveler contributes and enlarges the community, adding their experiences from life and combining them with the experiences of those in the community. That’s why I think the definition we came up with in class should be changed. We said that a global community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights. Now back in the Spring I thought this definition was as good as any, but now that I am in a community with a lot of various other communities interacting I see it differently. I think the new definition of a global community should be, a group of people from various smaller communities throughout the globe who interact in an area to gain new experiences. This new definition notes the interaction aspect within the community, which is a huge part of it in my opinion.

As for the interaction of mindful traveling and the global community, I think a person intentionally in the global community needs to be a mindful traveler. To be able to offer the most to those around, a global community needs go-getters and conscience people. A global community would not work well if it was made up of carefree drifters, who don’t have much to offer, or mass tourists, who merely want to record and not experience. I didn’t want to fall into being a carefree drifter or a mass tourist, so I have started participating as much as I can within my college community. I have joined the boxing, soccer, and table tennis clubs as well as many other societies at University College Cork. This will help me in being a mindful traveler because I will not only record my experiences but also contribute and do things with the people in my community.


My picture this week is of a camera taking a picture. A mass tourist or a careless drifter would probably take a lot of pictures and be on their phones to show where they are and what they’re doing. A different country shouldn’t be experienced behind the lens of a camera; in fact this almost ruins the occurrence. The more you put in the more you will get out of traveling and that’s why a traveler needs to go out and do things instead of limiting themselves from behind a camera.


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