When traveling through new places it is very easy to get caught up in the seeing and doing and forget about the enjoying. It’s important not to miss the “just being” part of travel. I am not saying do AT LEAST one thing a day – I am suggesting doing ONLY one thing a day. Check out a new park or temple and spend time being there. Avoid the temptation to take your 100 photos and move on to the next bigger and better temple. Grab a drink or a journal and spend time in your own thoughts. This won’t be easy at first. Usually, we all travel like the energizer bunny, going non-stop until your batteries die. So, sticking to only one thing might be difficult, but trust me, no matter how simple the activity is there is always more time that can be spent enjoying if you are open to the experience.
Pick a neighborhood to explore, a beach chair in the sand or a bench across from a temple. Walk around, explore the area, pay attention to the details. Admire the imperfections and marvel at the awesomeness of where you are and what you are looking at. Watch the other tourists go by and pay attention to what they look at and how they see the same area. Be inspired by the sounds around you. Challenge yourself to meet a stranger or to meditate for a prolonged amount of time by yourself. Whatever your mind and body are telling you to do that day, do it. When you think you’ve seen it all and walked around and around, sit for a second. Don’t let yourself leave too early. No place will stay the same, there is always a changing factor. Practice recognizing it. Celebrate the changing weather, watch the clouds roll by or sit under an umbrella in the rain. Sitting and being surrounded by the rain can be one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences.
By sticking to one thing a day, you won’t waste energy running around, missing out on precious sleep or feeling rushed to get through a list of to-dos for the day. You have one adventure for that day and your extra time can be spent reflecting on your experience in however you feel most comfortable. I personally like to write and recap most of my thoughts and experiences directly on our blog. My sister is an artist and will bring her drawing book wherever she goes. She will sit for hours reflecting on the details around her by drawing. Others I know like to discuss what they saw. They like to grab a drink and ask the why, how and who of wherever they are. They will even write down the questions and will go home and google the answers. But they enjoy talking with others about the positive or negative experience they had that day. Whether it is writing in a journal, using a video camera to capture the moment or meditating in silence by yourself, spend that day focusing on your one event chosen for the day. The experience will be heightened by the thought you put into the day and will be remembered and appreciated in greater detail for years to come.
Pick an activity, just one and make a day out of it!