The Process of Becoming Mindful Travelers

The Time Has Come!

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Now separating after 4 years of service enlisted in the United States Navy, we greet our much-anticipated trip to Southeast Asia with open arms and an unwavering spirit!

Everyone is on different paths in life, but we are choosing to use this transition period for the next 5 months to travel and experience this great big planet we all live on.

With no job to hold us down…

..no debts…  

..no significant others to support…

We decided

..to rid ourselves of junk…

..buy a plane ticket (and a backpack, of course)…

..and get some stamps in our empty passports!

Why are we choosing to travel in the first place?

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Exposure to a wide variety of different lifestyle options, career paths, and leadership tactics while in the Navy had a tremendous influence on the way we now wish to design our optimal life.

Witnessing individuals slave away at a job they didn’t like just to pay bills was the worst nightmare we could ever imagine. We knew before we even started that we could never end up in the rat race.

That’s where mindful travel entered the picture.

Your environment (work, friends, family, hobbies, etc.) heavily influences your ultimate development. Understanding that, we chose to find a setting that promised to challenge us in all aspects of life.

There’s something about moving locations and embracing uncomfortable situations where you have no choice but to overcome and grow. Your fears and insecurities are addressed and confronted at once, instead of being set aside to ignore. This was a promising allure to live at our edge, so we decided to go all in.

When first researching what we needed to do to make our travel fantasies a reality, we recognized that we needed a couple bucks to make it happen. This started with establishing a budget - at home, and on the road.

Mindful Money Management

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While budgeting may be dull, creating a budget was actually the easy part; adhering to it amidst constant temptation was the real challenge.

Social outings and various forms of entertainment still existed and didn’t disappear just because we decided to start being more frugal.

Hoever…

Conscious and mindful usage of our hard-earned dollars allowed us to invest enough into our travel funds to make this all possible.

When making a purchase, we asked ourselves whether or not it would get us closer to our travel goals. If not, we didn’t buy it. 

Although seemingly harsh, these are the measures we took to make it happen. Forgoing local indulgences in favor of foreign ones was rather easy for us, since we were dedicated to making this trip happen.

The main reason people don’t travel is due to lack of funds - or so they think…

How much money do you really need to travel through Southeast Asia?

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Southeast Asia in particular offers endless beauty and tremendous variety for a relatively inexpensive price tag. This - along with personal interests in Asian cultures - made the region stand out to us, so we started brainstorming the financial logistics.

Many factors need to be taken into consideration to estimate the total cost of travel. Flight dates (with tourism/seasonal information accounted for), passports, visas, gear, and a projected daily budget will get you closer to creating a clear financial picture you can work toward.

With all of these well understood, we figured out a concrete goal we could work for:

$6,000 for a 5 month trip throughout Southeast Asia.

Reaching our target of $6,000 definitely wasn’t easy, but through mindfulness and dedication, we achieved our goal - and we’re prepared to give you some pointers on how you can do it, too!

4 Financial Strategies to Accelerate Your Travel Goals

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This step will vary tremendously among individuals, because we all have different sources of income and lifestyles we need to consider. In whatever realm you are with your finances, you can’t go wrong with these 4 strategies to accelerate your travel goals:

1.) Eliminate excess items

It can be difficult to detach from our possessions, but when preparing to travel long-term, hauling all of our stuff around with us isn’t the most feasible option. Differentiating from items that have a legitimate purpose versus fancy dust-collectors is a personal confrontation.

Once you decide what to keep and what to scrap, the majority of your stuff can either be sold online, donated to charities, or recycled. Our things become burdens if we fail to remain conscious of their uses.

2.) Minimize Your Purchases

This isn’t to say that after all mandatory expenses are paid you cannot reward yourself and indulge, but rather be more mindful of that which you indulge in. Every dollar in the travel fund counts! That $4 coffee you bought is the price of a hostel in Asia. Understanding the value of a dollar in different areas of the world puts things into perspective.

3.) Maximize your investments

This approach will, again, vary among individuals and their accessibility to different investing techniques. A brief summarization of this strategy is to put a lot of work in for something up front, so it continues to pay you down the line. Ideally, you want to make money with little to no effort each day. This is called passive income, and there are numerous methods to achieve this, limited only by your creativity and work ethic. Investing in stocks, bonds, income-generating real-estate, and creating content (e-books, music, video, etc.) are all great places to start.

4.) Take Massive Action

Working your butt off may not be the most appealing option for everyone, but nothing in this world comes without massive action.

Traveling to a faraway land or exotic place doesn’t just happen- you need to work for it.

If you need to, pick up an extra shift at work, another part-time gig, or start a side hustle. With a solid goal in mind, work will feel more rewarding because you know you are soon to taste the fruits of your labor. Travel is an investment in your future and personal development that pays enormous dividends.

Beyond financial limitations, the main thing holding people back from traveling the world revolve around mindset.

How to Shift Your Perspective for Mindful Travel

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Mentally, you may need to make some adjustments before committing to travel.

The world is a great big place, and although you can see photos and videos of anywhere on the globe, you will not fully witness the splendor until you are actually there living it.

Media reports that constantly broadcast negative occurrences internationally don’t exactly get us excited to pack our bags and hit the road; they do quite the contrary.

The truth is that danger exists everywhere, and most people are decent individuals. Apply the universal rule of thumb here and treat others how you’d like to be treated, and that will ensure the majority of your experiences traveling are relatively safe. In short, be mindful of the way you interact with people around you and the planet that we all live on.

After all, taking the plunge into the unknown is definitely a big risk to take, but the greatest risk is not taking any at all.

Mindful Travel Gets Physical

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As the saying goes, health is wealth. Taking care of our bodies physically is important because it allows us to think and move better. Creating this movement in our life manifests energy to keep us going.

Fueling our body with proper nutrients, exercising frequently, and being up to date on our immunizations and vaccines are all preparations we can take to improve our health.

Although backpacking isn’t necessarily a strenuous activity, you do want to be able to take advantage of the activities that are available, from hiking Mt. Fuji to whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon. So, make sure to make your physical health a top priority!

Aside from that, a solid insurance policy is essential to ensure your safety if things go south. Make sure to take your personal considerations into play when choosing travel insurance. Based upon our lifestyle and preferences, we opted for World Nomads. You can click here to check them out and see what they have to offer.

The Mindful Traveler Supports Their Tribe

It can be challenging to leave behind family and friends to satiate our wanderlust, so why not bring them with?

Exploring the world together with your loved ones can only enhance the experience, so it would be great if the whole family could go.

If this isn’t possible, you can still take the trip solo. Although it will slightly alter travel plans, the independent backpacking trek is one performed by many. It’s certain that you’ll find a community of like-minded travelers on the road or in the hostels, so there’s really nothing to worry about.

Your travels will translate an experience for your whole family back home. There is nothing impersonal or selfish about taking a personal journey when you can come back refreshed and embrace the moment in full bliss.

Also, due to the advancement of technology, you’re never more than a phone call or click of a button away from getting into contact with anybody! Even thousands of miles away from one another, you have the possibility of staying connected digitally while traveling.

Mindfull or mindful?

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Although choosing to travel and experience the world is a commendable goal, we must not forget that it will not necessarily fill a void within us, or allow us to reach some kind of spiritual nirvana.

Attempting to escape from our problems never works out as intended, for our burdens are carried along with us. The old adage of“wherever you go, there you are" rings true.

Therefore, travel is not a form of escape from your life back at home. It is merely an opportunity to experience the way our neighbors live and behave on the other side of the earth.

Abandoning the connotation of travel as some sort of spiritual conquest, we loosen ourselves from the grip of enlightened expectation, and thereby free ourselves to experience the moment, fully, for what it is- through mindfulness.

What do we expect to achieve on our travels?

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Personal goals are important to make sure you’re on the right track to success, and they shouldn’t stop just because you’re traveling.  With that being said, some of our objectives during our trip are to:

Develop new models of thinking through overcoming cultural barriers (lifestyle, language, traditions, etc.)

Often times we become locked into a certain way of thinking and doing things, often forgetting that there are other options and ways to go about things. Visiting other countries and interacting with the locals will allow us to gain a more wholesome perspective of the entire human race. With our enhanced perspective, we will be able to communicate with a larger audience.

Challenge personal boundaries

Sporting nothing other than the packs on our back and the shoes on our feet, we are stripped thin of material possessions and essentially left alone with our own thoughts and actions.

Eliminating domestic certainties seems to be the biggest challenge. Outside of the comfort of our own homes and habits, we are challenged to maintain a productive and healthy life while on the go. Exercise, meditation, and reading are some examples of keystone habits that will need to be modified to accommodate a busy travel schedule.

Create informative material for others looking to travel mindfully

We plan to document our entire trip from start to finish, creating educational and inspiring content along the way. We believe that travel is one of the best investments you can make in yourself, and we’re prepared to show you how.

When mindfully engaged in the act of traveling from start to finish, we receive a more wholesome experience of the journey. Taking things in stride as they come and go, while neither reflecting upon the past nor idolizing the future, our minds and bodies can stay anchored in the present moment - the only moment - which is now.

We invite all of you along on our trip, and we will be as active as possible on all of our social media platforms.

Be sure to subscribe to our Instagram and Facebook pages and follow us along on the blog for travel updates!