The importance of traveling ‘consciously’
What does it mean to travel consciously? Well, for one, it means to be aware of your local surroundings. To travel consciously is to remain present in the present moment. It means to learn and respect local culture and tradition. It also extends to awareness of the environment and how we sometimes take it for granted.
I have never felt true presence as I have when traveling. Watching sunsets and sunrises in beautiful and new settings has always brought me back to my self and made me grateful for the chances to experience nature in a way I never have before. Traveling taught me how to be aware and live in the moment. The power of being present is unlike any other sensation. Take a moment in your travels to enjoy the beauty around you and forget what your future plans are. Focus on where you are in the present moment.
Being an ex-pat living in Thailand I often get asked questions about the local culture and customs, particularly with regard to behaviour and what is appropriate and what is not. To travel consciously is to be aware of local culture and to adapt to respect the country that you are visiting. For example, in Thailand it is considered disrespectful to show the bottom of your feet (ie. Have them resting on a table or even worse on the headrest of someone else’s chair on the bus!!). Some customs that are considered normal in your home country may not translate over to the country you are visiting. Be aware and when in doubt, ask!
To travel consciously means to be aware of the environment. One of the biggest problems that Thailand currently faces is the mass consumption of plastic products, for example, plastic bags and straws, most of which end up in the ocean or sitting in a landfill. Say no to plastic when you can and know that you are doing your part to help the environment.
Finally, always remember that this is your individual journey. Take time to yourself when you can to reflect on the experiences you have gained. Be appreciative of the opportunity you have been given to see something new. Never forget why you are here.