Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Jill Belrant; Perugia, Italy

When studying abroad you start to get involved in your new daily routines and plan your trips for upcoming weekends, you can tend to lose sight of the three different types of travelers. In Slimbach’s reading he discuses the “mindful traveler”, “carefree drifter”, “mass tourist”. He describes how to be a mindful traveler; he breaks it into five different ideas, economic mindfulness, cultural mindfulness, social mindfulness, ecological mindfulness, and spiritual mindfulness. He does not encourage the other two types of travelers. I want to become a mindful traveler, but it seems like it cannot just happen over night. I think to be a mindful traveler you have to start to connect more with the people than just a typical tourist passing through a city. It is about connecting on a deeper level, which makes you more aware when traveling. I find that living abroad is certainly different then if one was just traveling abroad. I feel that because we are living in a different country, it is allowing me to connect with the locals and get involved in the community. I think it is going to help me to become a mindful traveler.

Over the past weekend I stayed in Perugia and went to a farm that was thirty minutes away from the city center. I was able to be apart of helping this family harvest grape so they can make wine. It was such an amazing experience to see a plethora of grape vines. We filled buckets and barrels up with grapes. We were working right along side of the farm owners and their family. I felt as if I was part of their family because they treat us so well, after the harvest they made a home cooked meal, which was four courses and treated us. I finally felt apart of Perugia’s community for the first time. The wine is sold around town, and now I can feel apart of this tradition. Even though what I did is very small, the family was very appreciative and it felt good to help out this family. I got to taste the natural grapes, then grape juice, and then the wine. Thus far, this is my favorite day in Perugia. In Slimbach book I read “Small acts, conducted in hope and with a certain mindfulness of our effect on a structurally unequal worlds, can quietly help to usher in a brighter future” (Slimbach, 94). I feel that I am on the path to becoming a mindful traveler but as of now don’t think of the higher purposes all the time, but now I am more attentive of that.

As a class we said, “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 having read into a mindful traveler, I think that we missed a lot of details in this definition. I think a global community needs to encompass more of a personal connection then just saying “human rights”. Slimbach writes that “Everything may appear much more complex and less cut-and-dried than before. This is, after all, the genius of education travel” (Slimbach, 94). Educational travel should be apart of the global community definition. I think this because when you are apart of a global community, you need to be more aware of how other people are so different, yet similar. To learn more about one another in a deeper way could be on the path towards the right direction.

As I move forward on my journey, I will remember that a mindful traveler “aims to be sensible, sensitive, sophisticated, and sustainable” (Slimbach 81). The picture I choose says “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal” I think this connects back to what I was saying in the beginning that it is easy to get into a daily routine but if you do that you loose so much more, because you are not experiencing the world.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Jill Belrant; Perugia, Italy

  1. Jill, I love the quote you chose because I totally agree. In my blog post I also talked about how one day when I changed my daily routine of how I walk to class, I discovered the cutest spice shop with the nicest owner who I was able to speak spanish with and really make a friend out of. It made me feel so apart of the Barcelona lifestyle and I really loved it. That goes to show how much changing one routine can make a big difference.

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  2. Jill,
    That’s awesome that you were able to go to a local farm and help harvest grapes. I’m in the same boat with you in that I wouldn’t call myself a complete mindful traveler, although I’m on my way to becoming one by being more attentive of Slimbach’s ideas. Trying to find things like going to farms to help families seems like a great way to begin your journey to becoming a mindful traveler! I too think the quote you chose is great. One of my favorite restaurants here in Barcelona has that quote hung up on the wall and every time I’m there it catches my attention.

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