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Stop Being A Dumbass Tourist And Become A Mindful Traveler: Here's Why To Slow Down On Your Next Trip

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This week’s piece is a 5-min read.

6:45 am.

A Sunday morning in late August.

We reached the peak of Philopappos Hill in Athens, Greece.

It was a 5.5-hour drive from Thessaloniki in the middle of the night.

Freaking exhausting.

I almost fell asleep at the wheel couple of times, but we had to keep going to arrive on time for the sunrise.

As I laid on a rock at the top of the hill, my body, mind, and soul started calming down.

Watching The Sunrise In Athens (Photo by my friend)

This is THE moment I’m describing.

I don’t think I had ever been in that tranquil state of mind before that moment.

I experienced that present moment at the maximum capacity. Looking at the sun coming up from behind the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis was deeply spiritual.

I couldn’t hear any urban sounds, only the beautiful music of nature. The silent music of nature.

For those 20 minutes or so, time completely stopped for me. I fell into what I call “deep time.”

I experienced the ultimate form of mindful travel.

In the afternoon, we walked through Monastiraki, one of the busiest tourist sights of Athens.

Lots of people everywhere. Tourists. Walking, shopping, and constantly being on their phones.

I was wondering: do these people ever experience that “deep time” as they travel?

Don’t Be The Automated Tourist

Traveling became the same form of “tool” to support our dopamine hit, just as anything else.

We bomb our Instagram with shitloads of Stories from our trips.

No matter where we go, we still cannot get rid of our phones, social media, and all those digital addictions.

Although we are at an exciting location, we are never fully there.

Checking off sights, museums, popular restaurants, and bars we found at the top of a TripAdvisor list.

Tourists Take The Cliché Photos At The Tower Of Pisa (Source: Shutterstock)

Tourists Take The Cliché Photos At The Tower Of Pisa (Source: Shutterstock)

We trigger an “autopilot” mode and thus become tourists rather than travelers.

And then, we come home, look at the thousand photos we took, and start longing back there.

Because even if we had lived those moments and have them in our memories, they would have never been fully carved in our minds and soul.

FOMO Poisons Our Travels. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Things Slowly On Your Trips.

“I have to see every significant sight. I don’t know if I’ll ever be back.”

I’ve heard this more often than I should have.

I meet so many people who are still afraid to confront the hard fact that they will die one day.

Except when it comes to traveling. Then a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) feeling kicks in.

Well, unless your destination is a top sight that might be ruined in a few years, you are wrong.

In the past, I felt a bit embarrassed about my traveling style.

I felt I didn’t make the most out of my time during a trip.

Although I prefer to see the beautiful sights of a city, I never aim to check off everything from Lonely Planet’s “Top 20 Places You Should Visit With A Million Other Dumbass Tourists” list.

I always preferred to take things slowly.

Roaming around abandoned and quiet districts of the city.

Sit in a café or restaurant for hours. Watch the locals as they do their daily business. Listen to their chit-chat. Hear the sounds of the streets. Smell the surroundings.

But as my self-reflection grew, I realized I should embrace this traveling style. It’s the one true to myself.

I realized that slowing down, taking my own time, and embracing “deep time” together help me to experience such transcendental moments nothing else can give me.

This is mindful travel. A form of meditation.

Something that helps you gain new perspectives, learn about fascinating cultures, and see the world those dumbass tourists will never do.

The Next Time You Travel, Take That Chill Pill - But Not The One You Buy From That Local Stranger

If you currently have no booked travel, it’s time to change that.

Life is too short to procrastinate on exploring the world due to our careers and other dumb excuses.

So go and book a flight ticket somewhere. Book an Airbnb.

Instead of checking off all the mainstream touristic attractions, embrace yourself to get lost in the city.

Walk for hours, talk to locals, and learn a few words of their language.

Allow yourself to sit in a LOCAL café or restaurant for hours to observe the surroundings.

In our fast-paced daily life, this experience will load you with more energy than what the Rolling Stones seniors get from a backpack of cocaine.

Don’t be afraid to miss the most popular places. And don’t be afraid to visit spots and districts that tourists wouldn’t usually check out.

(Unless it’s the perfect spot for a potential murder crime)

Because the most incredible wisdom, connections, and profound experiences aren’t made on a Hop On Hop Off bus.

Máté - The Mindful Guerilla

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