Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Meghan Thorogood Florence, Italy

According to Slimbach, “to be a mindful traveler is to approach our field settings with a level of sensitivity and curiosity that raises our conscious awareness of how we affect the social and natural environments we enter and act upon” (Slimbach 74). However, the most interesting part of Slimbach definition of a mindful traveler is how he discusses a mindful traveler’s intent. To him, being a mindful traveler means not being on autopilot just going through the motions. There needs to be intention behind a person’s actions as they travel. A mindful traveler thinks about how they are affecting their surroundings while in their host country. While a carefree traveler just simply goes with the flow and does as they please.

 

When discussing different types of travelers, we have to keep in mind how they are affecting and contributing to our global community. As a class, we defined global community as people from all around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights. In regards to this definition, I feel as though both mindful and carefree travelers have an impact on our global community. With mindful travelers, they are more conscious of the why, how and with what affect they do what they do aspect of traveling. They go into their travels having different intentions than that of a carefree traveler. However, just because a carefree travel is not as mindful, does not mean they still can’t make a positive impact on their environment and ultimately their global community.

 

Some aspects of mindful traveling are key characteristics of intentional participants in the global community. With that being said, I plan to incorporate some aspects of mindful traveling into my own travels. I have become a bit more cautious of my surroundings since I have come abroad. Being carefree is part of my personality that will never go away, however by trying to incorporate aspects of mindful traveling, I am getting the best of both worlds. I plan to incorporate ‘mindful travel’ as I live and travel abroad by being up to date. A few ways I do this is by checking the International SOS app to make sure it is safe to travel, researching cultural norms in my desired destination, and have a goal on how my travels can make a positive impact. On the other hand, I think it is important to be a little carefree as you travel. Always thinking about your impact on the global community before yourself can be tiring. Personally, I have been trying to immerse myself in my new community and make my actions have meaning to them. However, I have also been trying to do things for me because this is a once in a lifetime experience and I do not want it to pass by and say “Wow, I wish I did…”. Therefore, I think every traveler is different and needs to find their own healthy balance between mindfulness and being carefree.

 

For those of you who don’t know what kind of traveler you are, think of this. “‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.’ Travel is school for life, one that generates fresh insights and unforgettable memories” (Slimbach 75). So, what do you want your story to be?

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I choose this picture because I think it best describes me as both a mindful and carefree traveler. Last weekend I went on a trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg. This picture was taken in front of the gazebo used in The Sound of Music, in Salzburg, Austria. Before departing for this trip, I researched the countries I was going to and was aware of their current events. However, I was not suppose to go on this trip. My original plans were cancelled last minute and I decided to go on this trip less than twenty-four hours before it departed. However, I still made it to my destination and was a happy as I could be. To me, this picture ultimately represents how I am a little bit of both a mindful traveler and a carefree traveler.

 

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

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