10 Wellbeing tips for travelling – With Love from the East Coast of Australia
Not long ago, I wrote about my learning from travelling to Thailand for yoga. This time, I’m journeying up the East coast of Australia, but the learning is just as abundant. Travel, for me, is about growth and expansion and to help me learn how to keep my wellbeing in check, especially emotionally. The very reason I travel is to broaden my experience and learn about myself, more than anything. So, on this beautiful sunny, Summer’s day in Australia (Merry Christmas by the way!) I thought I’d share some of my insights from along the way to help you have insight into how to keep yourself well whilst you travel too – or even just at home…
1. Finding space can be creative
I crave movement. When I’m in London, I love the buzz and I constantly love new experiences. But, I realise as I am travelling, that’s probably because I have some space to digest them as I move through the excitement. Here, travelling in hostels, on buses, on trips, and when you’re with other people, you are constantly ‘on’. It’s hard to find space. Now, as much as I crave movement and adventure, I also crave stillness. Finding the balance can be difficult when travelling, but what I have found is that you need to be creative: popping your headphones in, listening to music and journaling can really help you keep centred! Give it a go…
2. You have to find joy in the journey
Another thing I observed on this trip is that with the constant moving around, you’re always venturing to the next destination. I’ve realised that my tendency in life is to think ‘I’ll relax when I get there.’ A bit like ‘I’ll be happy when I’ve achieved X, Y, Z,’ this is never true. You get ‘there’ and you go and explore. You get there any you’re almost immediately moving on to the ‘next thing’. But, if I spent my entire 5 weeks looking forward to the ‘next thing’, I’d never enjoy the moment I’m in. So, you really do have to find the joy in the journey. This is so important. I am trying to stay present by being mindful of what i enjoy in every second. Being grateful, and appreciating what is in front of me is crucial in enjoying travelling from one place to another – embracing the whole journey, not just the bits in between!
3. There’s a lesson in everything
Absolutely everything seems to have some learning. That’s the beauty of this. Journaling can help develop insights that you just never saw before. Every day is filled with some sort of challenge, but for me that’s not a negative – it’s a positive; our challenges are sent to help us grow. My favourite place to be on the trip so far was being lost in Melbourne city. I loved being somewhere I didn’t know and embracing the uncertainty. There was a certain sense of freedom. If I was lost in London, I’d probably be stressing because of time constraints, but I’ve learned to just go with the flow and see where I end up.
4. It’s all about your thought process
Not long ago, I’d have been constantly stuck in thought if something happened that I even remotely perceived to be ‘bad’. As I flow through my journey, I observe the thoughts that come up with happiness and excitement at the new insights I have into my thoughts and patterns. One of our hostel mates literally spent 2 hours packing and repacking her bags at 1am one night, and instead of getting angry like the other roomies, I just observed with deep compassion that she must be so stuck in thought for so many hours about her bag not being organised. The same happened to me, later. For example, I was travelling at Christmas, which I had set myself up with huge expectations for. The reason being is that it is also my birthday on Christmas Day, so, because I only get one day a year to celebrate, I felt in my thinking that I was OWED a great day! It’s my day, right? Wrong – it’s everyone’s day! In reality, I set my expectations for this day SO high that I never manage to achieve them. Number one, everyone else is busy, number 2, the world doesn’t revolve around me, and number 3, you can’t plan for everything! So, when I didn’t get late check out on my birthday, as I had been told I could, it was THE END OF THE WORLD! For all of about an hour, I was stuck in thought about how my Birthday was ruined. Oh my, how disastrous – late check out had such an ability to affect my joy! In reality, can late check out (or its absence) really affect my innate joyfulness? Absolutely not! So, I realise not only that my thoughts are what create my experience moment to moment, but that also, when I set high expectations, nothing will live up… Which leads me to my next point…
5. Expectations can go out the window!
Yep, I fully expected to L O V E Byron Bay and hate Melbourne. Wow, was I wrong?! I almost couldn’t wait to get out of Byron (though I did have a week there, in fairness), and I didn’t want to leave Melbourne. I misjudged it. My expectations are simply thought-based, and in reality, thought can be so unhelpful. I’m learning on this journey to drop my thought about the future (and the past) and live in the present (I meant, it’s Christmas, after all, so we all love the present!)
6. Moving on is okay
I knew I was never a fan of letting go but, when you’re constantly moving, it becomes something you have to get accustomed to pretty regularly; in fact, constantly. For the first few days, I’d miss the places I’d been to and hate my new location, until I realised this was my pattern: that I found it hard to move on. Once I understood this, I let go of that story. Now, I’m embracing the journey of moving on. Even when I left Melbourne, which I loved and felt I hadn’t had enough time there, I rationalised that a) it wasn’t a permanent leaving – I could come back whenever I wanted, and b) that there might be a place I loved even more around the corner. Nothing is forever, and change leads to greater things!
7. There is beauty everywhere – notice it
Literally everywhere is beautiful. It’s just that half the time, when you are journeying from one place to another, you forget to notice. When you have nothing to do but simply get one place to another, you start to notice how amazing the world is! Embrace your journey, even when you are time pressured.
8. Travel can feel lonely, but it’s inside of you
Ok, so this one was a biggie for me! Firstly, I again set up expectations that I’d meet loads of people travelling. You see the dream advertised of all these beautiful hostels with lots of groups mingling together. In reality, I’m a 30 year old introverted wellbeing enthusiast, who does not enjoy drinking alcohol, doing drugs or partying all night, every night. So, in the first few hostels, my expectations of connecting to people slowly diminished – especially at the Arts Factory in Byron! I began to feel lonely, until I realised that this was ALL my thinking again. My pattern, being an only child, is to believe that I am always alone, because this is the story I created from childhood. Oh, it’s believable! So, whilst I didn’t really connect with people intoxicating themselves, that was absolutely ok! What it did teach me was that I only felt alone in my thoughts; it wasn’t really the external that made me feel lonely. Not everyone was intoxicated, there were people journaling alone, like I was, and I just had to seek them out. But also, I celebrated the realisation that actually – amongst all the chaos – I actually WANTED to be by myself journaling, because that was my own space in the hectic pace of things. Loneliness was reframed to the reality of it being a choice to indulge in some space to be independent and creative.
9. Follow what you love and it’ll lead you not only to people you connect with, but also to yourself.
As well as being happy alone, I also found insight that to actually make connections, you just have to follow your own truth. When I arrived in Byron, I realised quickly that I wasn’t really your stereotypical traveller to Arts Factory, but I soon realised that was OK. I’m stereotyping here; there isn’t really that much of an obvious divide, but in my head there was. Anyway, I soon found myself at the local yoga studio – Byron Yoga Centre – just down the road, where students were leading classes for $5. Not only was it an absolute bargain, but I soon felt totally reconnected to myself, never mind anyone else. From feeling alone, I immediately felt centred and back to my independent self. As well as this, I identified with people in the room and felt connected to them. This brought the realisation that you connect with people that reflect yourself back to you. I was looking for myself in others, and simply not recognising it in anyone until I did something I loved. When I connected with what I loved, I found myself.
10. Feel the fear and do it anyway
Lastly, I mentioned that I travel for growth. Therefore, I have to challenge myself – though I also realise that I take this too far sometimes. Now, the kind of fear that I’m talking about isn’t the kind I found myself experiencing in the first week of my trip, when the hostel I was in had a fire and I dived off the top bunk like a failed Super Woman to screams of ‘GET OUT, FIRE!’, spraining my ankle in the process. Though, I’ll admit, that was also a challenge in Sydney. The challenges I mean are the fun ones. I fear the ocean at times, so, what better way to attempt growth than to book myself into a surfing lesson? And, guess what, the night before I was thinking ‘oh, Nicole, why have you done this? You’ll get eaten by a shark, or the wave will carry you off!’ – I was so stuck in thoughts, but I ventured out and stayed positive. It was A M A Z I N G! I loved it. Whilst we were surfing, we saw dolphins too, and if I hadn’t faced my fears, I wouldn’t have got to experience such joy. So, seriously, face your fear and unsuppress yourself!
The great thing is, that I wouldn’t have all of this insight without the space I created to journal along my way. The space I took for myself, for my own wellbeing. So, my number one piece of advice for you to keep your wellbeing sane whilst journeying the world, is to be introspective and take some time for yourself to try and understand where your thoughts are coming from, and practice gratitude and finding connection to yourself. Happy travels!
Nicole Barton – Wellbeing Writer
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