How to have a traveller’s mindset

Iguacu Foz in Brazil

Ways of experiencing the magic of travelling wherever you are


1. Get lost

“ to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.”
– Rebecca Solnit

Part of the joy of travelling is the unfamiliarity of our surroundings. We need maps, apps, stops to ask for direction to find the way. At home we often go from A to B using the same route. We’re distracted with thoughts, with being late, with what’s coming next and we rarely really look around us. Try taking a different route on day, try going to a wholly unfamiliar part of your hometown, country. Try to purposely get your self lost, just for the sake of it, then enjoy the wandering that results. And actually talk to people to get yourself un-lost. You’d be surprised what comes out of that.

2. Cultivate solitude

“It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by whom we are with, we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others…Being closely observed by a companion can inhibit us from observing others; we become taken up with adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, we have to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.”
– Alain de Botton

Alone is often where the magic happens. A zone where we’re more open to meeting people’s eyes, to starting conversations with strangers, to taking a completely different route just because you see something that intrigues you in the distance. Julia Cameron advocates Artist’s Dates – a once-a-week, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. They are more about mischief than mastery, ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” – and then allow yourself to try it.


3. Keep your adventure bag ready

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
― Jawaharlal Nehru

Adventures seem to be more possible when we’re travelling. Everything is filled with this sense of possibility, this mystery attached to not knowing what is around the corner. When the possibility for exploration, experience comes to us, we’re quick to take it up because we’re keen to make the most of things. After all, we’re travelled all the way there and it would be a pity not to. What if we realise that this exact ideology applies to our lives every day? I love to have my adventure bag ready. For me that includes a sleeping bag, climbing shoes, snorkel, trekking shoes. For someone else that could be a camera, notebook, picnic blanket, map, a guidebook of their own city, a weekend bag of clothes. Give yourself the tools for spontaneity so that when it hits, you can easily follow it down the adventure rabbit hole.


4. Simplify life

“He who would travel happily must travel light.”
– Antoine de St. Exupery

Travelling, especially backpacking means we have limited possessions. A fraction of our usual wardrobe, just the essentials. We literally pack a bag that facilitates living fully. At home we have extra clothes we need to go through to choose our outfit, extra things to find a place for, clean, interact with rather than enjoy life. Strict minimalism might not be for everyone but we could all benefit from at least some more of it in our lives.


5. Change it up

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.”
– Seneca

Travelling brings with it many unexpected interactions, places, moments that we often overlook the possibility for in everyday life. Try cultivating a little more randomness, dare to do things differently. Talk to a stranger, walk or take the bus rather than the car, visit your grandma in your lunch break, go swimming first thing in the morning, help someone carry their shopping bags home, wear something wholly random just because you feel like it. Do things differently just for the sake of breaking yourself out of the blinkers which we tend to live with at home.


Iguacu Foz Photo by Michael Pace.