Flying around, hopping from hotel to hotel, eating foreign foods and jumping right into cultural experiences. Travel is a highlight of summer, but the thrill of new experiences and sharp shift away from our usual routines can overpower our ability to be grounded in the moment. We’re exploring five mini but meaningful travel rituals from globetrotting yogi and Free People contributor, Elizabeth Rowan.
At this moment, I’m not on a mountain top looking serene in a leotard as you might; rather, I’m currently wearing a t-shirt and a mala (no pants, ya feel me) in my apartment that looks like an explosion. I’m off to lead a yoga retreat to Peru shortly; still have laundry to do; Too Much Sh*t to haul on planes, trains and automobiles to create a sacred space for my yogis next week (see also: spiritual accessories that aren’t actually a necessity but I’m gonna try). An intention of living out of a backpack for ten days (don’t quote me). I hope there’s a passport in there somewhere. Dishes in the sink even though I had take-out last night after teaching yoga, and potential Things To Do everywhere I look. Hustle. Excitability. Muchness.
However. There’s also a sweet pup still asleep and keeping my bed warm. A fresh pot of coffee. A candle lit from this morning’s meditation. A loved-in, lived-in space. A love note from my man tucked secretly inside my bag. Indications of upcoming adventure and opportunity hidden in the preparation. Optimism. Heart. Joyful anticipation of adventures to come and memories too precious to photograph. Perspective. So much perspective!
Travel affords us incredible opportunity to explore, connect, expand, open our hearts and minds alike. I’m off to the airport shortly, but not without sharing my favorite ways to stay mindful, present and well in travel. Take a read — and I’d love to hear yours!
Ground Yourself — Literally
Travel of any sort can leave us feeling uprooted and unsteady in the absence of routine, home and predictably; and the root chakra definitely takes the brunt, declaring its presence via digestive issues, homesickness, a feeling of being way up in the ether. As plans allow, get up close and personal with Mother Earth before, during and after travel. Go outside, walk, sit under a tree, lose the shoes, lay on the earth. Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and envision yourself sourcing grounding energies both from within and from the earth. Repeat as often as needed.
Maximize Idle Time
Often the getting there, whether road trips, flights, delays, so on, holds a lot of downtime for self-care, even more so when we’re not plugged in. While the thought of a jam-packed airport gate on a recurring delay sounds anything but nurturing, reframe the agony into pure potentiality. Next time you’re en route, pack some herbal teas to sip and soothe your nervous system. If fresh fruit is available, add some to your water bottle. Go all in on skin treatments to infuse yourself, especially if flying (I’m forever applying eye cream and rosewater mist in-flight). If self care is an indulgent read, favorite playlist on repeat, podcast you’ve already started three times, or simply people watching, give yourself permission to mindfully indulge, relax and care for yourself.
Walking, jogging, yoga, jumping jacks — physical activity of any sort is key during travel and once you’ve arrived. Airplane galley yoga? Done it! Gas station jumping jacks? That too! Hotel bed restorative yoga? Imminent! Moving gives us an energy infusion, ups circulation, fights fatigue and jet lag, sometimes even makes fitness friends. Bonus: it helps us stay connected with our body while so much else is in flux.
Airplane Mode as a State of Mind
Wherever you go, there you are, so be there! Travel keeps us acutely present with senses at volume 10, very little routine or control, and often has us less plugged in than at home. Flirt with the freedom of being — geographically, at least — unreachable, with heightened senses, with spontaneity, with saying YES. If you don’t regularly meditate, experiment with sitting in stillness, eyes closed, for just a few minutes a day. Take note of observations within as well as where you’re exploring, maybe even jot them in a journal as a soulful souvenir.
Pack an Altar
Whether or not you have an altar at home, gathering a few significant objects such as crystals, notes, photos, seashells, maybe even a tea light candle or sage can help keep us grounded, connected, steady and present while away. Allow this space in travel to be sacred, and a visual reminder of your home, heart, and the expansion to be found in seeing the world.