Travel Log 6 “The Mindful Traveler” By Andrew Rivera Barcelona, Spain

In Becoming World Wise Slimbach mentions three travelers, ‘the mindful traveler,’ ‘carefree drifter,’ and the ‘mass tourist.’ Between these three people he talks about what distinguishes them all. The ‘mindful traveler’ is said to have interest, and is seeking a new environment to raise their own self-awareness and become part of a new environment. I definitely see myself having a little bit of ‘mindful traveler’ in me since I have never been to Europe, everything is so new to me. I am mindful of all of the new surroundings that I will encounter and new environments that I will be placed in. What the ‘mindful traveler’ contains is exactly what the ‘carefree drifter’ and the ‘mass tourist’ are lacking. The ‘mass tourist’ just goes to see the most popular places in every city, and doesn’t explore the hidden gems that could be right in front of your eyes. The ‘carefree drifter’ lacks appreciation. When the drifter goes to different places it doesn’t realize the magnitude of what they are doing. How amazing is it that some of us have the opportunity to travel Europe for four months out of the year? The ‘carefree drifter’ just goes with the flow never stopping to see how beautiful life really is.

Personally I feel is if all of the study abroad students have a little of each traveler in them, and I am a prime example. I can see ‘mass tourist’ in me because when traveling to a new place we always go to the historical monuments that everyone knows about. And sometimes in a weekend it is all that you can do. But when you do get the time to explore the less traveled path it is really amazing to experience. ‘Carefree drifter’ can also be a part of me because when planning weekend trips to another country I am always up for suggestions. From Greece to Ireland, nothing is off limits and that can be a ‘carefree drifter.’

All of these concepts about traveling all connect back to the classes definition of “Global Community.” The definition that we came up with was, “all people around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights.” At the end of the day we are all humans, we all make mistakes, we all have good and bad days, and we are all living on the same planet we call home. Us study abroad students are seeing parts of the world we would never get to see back home and it is making us more familiar with the people, places, cultures, food, and so much more. Seeing how people live in Spain can change how we look at things back in the states, living in Australia and adapting to their lifestyle is making us more globally competent. I don’t think I would change the class definition of global community. I believe that it covers all aspects of what it means to be human and living on earth.

Mindful traveling is important because you want to get a better sense of what it means to be in a new place and become a part of that community for whatever amount of time. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some of the tendencies of ‘carefree drifter’ and ‘mass tourist.’ I think that not only do the study abroad students have characteristics of all three travelers, but everyone who travels does. I think that currently I have a ‘mindful traveler’ in me because I am living in the moment, as Slimbach mentions in the Buddhist traditions. I think that I can incorporate more of how I affect the social and natural environments that I enter.

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I chose this picture because it describes mindful traveling very well. Over the weekend me and some friends took a trip to Italy. Starting Thursday night, we took a flight to Rome. Friday we explored all that we could of Rome, and early Saturday morning we had a train to catch to Florence. When we got to Florence we then took ourselves to the hills of Tuscany on a Vespa (scooter) tour. One of the best experiences of my life was that day and am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. My emotions were running through the roof, my thoughts were running a million miles an hour, and my behavior was happy for the next 5 days. If you have the chance I suggest doing a scooter tour too.

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