Andy's Travel Tips
On The Plane
If you’re anything like most people, when you reach your destination you’re going to be very relieved to be getting off the plane. Regardless of how comfortable the journey has been, or your relief at having arrived safely, you’re going to be excited about moving on to the next part of your journey. It can be easy to get caught up in a feeling of impatience as everyone jostles for position, trying to be the first to get off the plane. In these types of situations it’s very easy to think that other people are getting in your way. Of course, we often forget that we’re probably just as much in their way as they are in ours. In fact, they’re probably thinking exactly the same thing as us. Simply remembering this alone can help take the sting out of the situation. However, you might also want to try just quietly sitting back down into your seat... Of course, if people are trying to get past, then let them past. But in reality, how much time are you actually going to make up by joining in the rush? You’re still going to have to go through customs, passport control, wait for your luggage… We’re probably talking about seconds here. So sit back down in your chair, close your eyes, and allow everything to go on around you. Remind yourself what it feels like to be present, calm and ready to continue with the next stage of your journey.
On Your Arrival
Have you ever noticed how it can feel a little bit overwhelming arriving at a new destination? It might be that you have lots of plans – things to do, people to see, places to go... Perhaps you’re sticking to a particular time schedule, or maybe there are just simply too many things to take it. Amazingly, when we arrive in a new place we’re often so lost in our thoughts that we miss out on everything that is going on around us. So next time you arrive at your destination, just take a moment or two to look around, and really appreciate where you are. It sounds so easy, so obvious, but often we’re so caught up in thinking that we don’t really see things properly. We miss the moment, the here and now. An easy way to prevent this from happening is to work through your five physical senses each time you arrive at a new place:
1. Start off with the eyes. When you’re in your cab, bus or whatever form of transport you might be taking, make sure you wind down the window and take a good look around. Look at the colours, shapes and sizes of everything around you.
2. Tune in to all the different sounds around you. It might be a television or the sound of a dog barking; it can be anything at all.
3. Next, focus on your sense of smell. Very often when we go away there will be all sorts of different smells to experience. Sometimes they’re nice; sometimes they’re not so nice (!) Either way, there is something about recognising and acknowledging these things which helps the mind to become more present.
4. Bring your attention to the sense of touch. Perhaps it’s a comfortable and smooth journey, or maybe it’s very bumpy and uncomfortable? Take the time to notice.
In doing this, you will be bringing a greater sense of calm to the mind, allowing you to be more present. It is from this space that you are able to see and appreciate a place for what it really is.
Waiting for your Bags
Do you ever get that sinking feeling whilst waiting for your baggage? The worry that it might never show up, that perhaps somewhere along the way it went missing or got lost? Very often this feeling is accompanied by a sense of impatience as you stare hopelessly at the conveyor belt waiting for your luggage to do the rounds. Instead of seeing this as wasted time, next time you find yourself in this situation, try and take this as an opportunity to bring about a greater sense of calm within yourself. As you’re standing at the conveyor belt, try and bring your attention to the physical sensations of the body, and take the following steps:
1. Take about 30 seconds to work your way down the body from the head to the toes, noticing any tensions in the body. You may find your shoulders dropping, and your back straightening a bit. Simply noticing the tensions in your body will allow them gradually unwind.
2. Ty and get a sense of your underlying mood in that moment. It’s typical to experience a sense of impatience in these types of situations. However, if you notice that impatience arising in the mind and in the body then what usually happens is that it starts to dissolve, leaving you with a much greater sense of calm.
3. Try noticing how you feel on both a physical and emotion level. Are your thoughts racing ahead to where you need to be? Or perhaps they’re drifting back to things you should or shouldn’t have done before coming away…
By bringing your attention and focus to the mind and body in these moments you will find yourself starting the next leg of your journey with a much greater sense of calm and clarity.
Keep reading the Headspace Blog for more articles from Headspace Founder Andy Puddicombe.