How to Be Mindful While Traveling

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes my trips turn into a blur. My itinerary dominates the vacation and I start worrying more about where I need to be next and not where I am. One cure for this type of vacation overload is to be mindful during your trip.

What is mindfulness anyway?
There are varying definitions of mindfulness, but I like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

(If your interested in learning more, I highly recommend reading How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness. It’s an amazing life-changing book.)

So what does it mean to be mindful while on vacation?

As much as people love travel, it can also be stressful, testing our own beliefs and comfort levels at every step. Travel is about experiencing something new, in a way it is a practice in letting go of what you believe to be true, of what you have come to know and opening up to a new reality. The next time you are feeling a resistance to something when you are traveling, see if you can let go of the resistance. Treat it as an opportunity to be nonjudgemental, to simply observe.

Being mindful on vacation means taking the time to notice what is going on around you. Instead of trying to see 20 things in one day choose one and really, truly experience it. Be purposeful in how you are spending your time. An easy way to do this is to focus on the senses. Spend time noticing what you hear, feel, smell, see and touch. ‘Memorize’ moments by truly witnessing them.

Ten ideas for how to be mindful while you travel

  1. Go on a treasure hunt of the senses – take a journal with you for a day and try to list 5 things you notice for each of the senses (think the smell of flowers, or the sounds of the street performers, how the street feels beneath your feet or how the flavors of something you eat sit on your tongue).
  2. People watch – sit outside at your favorite cafe and watch the people pass by – remember to work on being nonjudgemental – just notice.
  3. Listen to the language – a great way to be mindful is to simply listen to a language you don’t understand. Without meaning, all you can do is notice. Listen to intonations and the rhythm of the words.
  4. Be inquisitive – if something interests you, throw away the plans and explore it. Your interests will lead you toward mindfulness naturally.
  5. Sound-watch – okay, made up word I know, but this is just like people watching. Sit somewhere and close your eyes and listen. Really hear your surroundings.
  6. Notice a color – pick a color for the day and look for it while you are out sightseeing. Even better, take a picture and create a color collage of your day.
  7. What is different? – Take an inventory of what around you is different from your hometown. If you notice yourself judging this, gently remind yourself to simply witness.
  8. Taste test – pick local foods you have never tried before and use it as a chance to really taste your food.
  9. Look down, look up, look left, look right – every once in awhile when you are walking somewhere during your trip stop and look up, down, left and right – do this often
  10. Make a memory – take a moment and memorize your surroundings and how you feel at that moment. The best way I’ve found to do this is just to say to myself I want to remember X, Y, Z (e.g. I want to remember what it feels like to be standing in the middle of this town square in France, the chatter of the crowd and the smell of the soup served at the restaurant nearby)

Have you found ways to be mindful while traveling? Please share!

Favorite Places: Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Click here to get the Favorite Places e-book (it’s free!) and instant inspiration for your next vacation.

Today’s favorite place is from Aggy of www.DreamExploreWander.com

Aggy’s Favorite Place: Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Photo by Regina http://regina-tiatira.blogspt.fr

Photo by Regina http://regina-tiatira.blogspt.fr

Why She Loves Yogyakarta

“My hometown is a beautiful place and should not be missed by travellers coming to Indonesia. It’s a vibrant and lively city with friendly locals who will happily show you the city’s rich traditions and cultures. The food is excellent and you can almost find anything from Western food to local food, all will make your mouth water and come back for more.”

Aggy’s Favorite Things to Do and See in Yogyakarta

About Aggy 

aggyI’m a traveller, wanderer and a big foodie. I’ve lived in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Salatiga, Leeds, Sheffield, Nantes and now Bucharest. Originally from Indonesia, I’ve been traveling since I was a kid and loved it never since. Still many more countries to discover for me!

http://www.DreamExploreWander.com
@DewTraveller



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The Favorite Places e-book

For more vacation ideas and travel inspiration get the free Favorite Places e-book now.  If you are a blogger who would like to be featured in an upcoming edition of the series simply tell me about your favorite place.


Shop History: A Historic Shop Crawl in London:

I was so excited when I  received an invitation to enter the VisitBritain Shop Blogger Competition – any excuse to write about this amazing city is one I will quickly take.  To enter the competition you  have to blog about  your perfect shopping trip to the city of London. As I thought about what my dream shopping trip to London would be, I realized that one of the things I love about London is that it is so rich in history.


Why not combine shopping with tourism? A little research later & I was sure of it, my ideal shopping trip to London would involve visiting as many historic shops as I could.

I hope you enjoy this itinerary filled with amazing curiosities in stores that are much older than you and I are.

A Historic Shop Crawl in London Itinerary*

*To make it onto this list all stores had to be at least 100 years old


View Historic London Shopping Crawl in a larger map

Harrods Department Store


87-135 Brompton Rd
Knightsbridge, London SW1X 0NA, United Kingdom
20 7730 1234

We’ll start off with probably the most famous of all department stores – Harrods.  This historic department store is visited by over 15 million customers every year.  With seven floors and more than a million square feet of floor space, you might want to give yourself a full day to shop here – after all, this is Europe’s largest department store.  The original store was opened in 1849 by Charles Henry Harrod.  The original building was destroyed in a fire in 1883, but it was rebuilt in 1898 with the inclusion of Britain’s first moving staircase.

Arthur Beale
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photo credit: S Martin via photopin cc

194 Shaftesbury Avenue
High Holburn, London WC2H 8JP, United Kingdom
020 7836 9034

Looking for buoys, boat hooks or ropes?  Arthur Beale is the place for you.  Miles from sea, this yachting shop has been meeting sailor’s needs for over 100 years. Not a boatsman? Don’t let that deter you, a little window shopping never hurt anyone, neither does a little seafaring. 

D.R. Harris & Co Ltd
photo credit: chozoh via photopin cc

photo credit: chozoh

London SW1A 1HB, United Kingdom
020 7930 3915

D.R. Harris is a pharmacy that has been welcoming customers for over 200 years. Today you can shop for soaps, colognes, shaving products and aromatherapy oils in a beautiful nostalgic setting that brings history to life.  Most products here are still made using traditional methods, hand-made and packed on their own premises.  That alone is worth the trip.

Twinings Tea Shop
photo credit: Wyrmworld via photopin cc

photo credit: Wyrmworld

216 Strand
London WC2R 1AP, United Kingdom
020 7353 3511

For the true history buff, Twinings Tea Shop is a gem.  It is the oldest company in London that has done business continuously at the same site by the same family who started it.  Thomas Twining began his business in 1706.  Prior to that, it had been a coffee house called Tom’s.  The shop is small, but don’t let that fool you, it has an amazing selection of teas.

Hatchard’s Booksellers
photo credit: Swiv via photopin cc

photo credit: Swiv

187 Piccadilly
London, Greater London W1J 9LE, United Kingdom
020 7439 9921

If you know me at all, you know that I would not be able to end this itinerary without including a bookstore.  I love bookstores and I love old bookstores even more.  Hatchard’s Booksellers is the oldes bookstore in London.  Just imagine all the visitors who have walked through it’s doors and all the books they read.  Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron were known customers.  It is just what a bookstore should be, 6 floors of small rooms filled with over 100,000 titles. Harrods might warrent a day, but I think Hatchard’s deserves a week of your time.

L Cornellissen & Son
photo credit: Feltbug via photopin cc

photo credit: Feltbug

105A Great Russell Street
London, Greater London WC1B, United Kingdom
020 7636 1045

Ever wanted to feel like an artist in Victorian England? Visit L. Cornelissens and you’ll do just that plus find fantastic art materials to boot.  This art store has been in business since 1855 and sells a wide range of painting and drawing materials. I’m particularly smitten with their jars of powdered paint. 

James Smith & Sons
photo credit: sharonlangridge via photopin cc

photo credit: sharonlangridge

Hazelwood House
53 New Oxford Street, London, Greater London WC1A 1BL, United Kingdom
020 7836 4731

One word – umbrellas.  Who hasn’t walked down the street muttering under their breath about the state of their $5 cheapie umbrella? Time for an upgrade?  This is your place. James Smith & Sons was funded in 1830 and is still a family business today.  The shop itself is an amazing example of Victorian craftmanship.  It has remained virtually unaltered in 140 years. 


Berry Bros & Rudd
photo credit: martyn jenkins via photopin cc

photo credit: martyn jenkins

3 Saint James’s Street
London SW1A 1EG, United Kingdom
0800 280 2440

Established in 1698 Berry Bros & Rudd is London’s oldest wine merchant. It was opened by the widow Bourne at it’s current location on St. Jame’s Street that year. Today, a large selection of wine and spirits fill the shop. The cozy back parlor and high paneled walls make it the perfect setting for wine shopping.  Reminders of history are abundent including old wine making equipment.

Old Spitalfields Market
photo credit: JasonParis via photopin cc

photo credit: JasonParis cc

16 Horner Square
Spitalfields, London E1 6EW, United Kingdom
020 7375 2963

Old Spitalfields Market Hall was built in 1876, just think of all the shopping that has taken place here.   The market was renovated recently and manages to retain some of it’s historical charm while offering a modern shopping experience. Interestingly enough, this area served as a Roman cemetery in 300 AD.  The market has survived two wars and has gone on to become one of the most popular markets in London. Well worth a visit.

W. Martyn
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photo credit: markhillary


135 Muswell Hill Broadway
Muswell Hill, London N10 3RS, United Kingdom
020 8883 5642

W. Martyn is a quaint old shop that specializes in tea and coffee. If you take a look at the picture on their website you can see that not a lot has changed since the 1930′s. To me that is a very good thing. Looking through their amazing selection of teas, coffees, jams, pickles and other delicacies is a great way to spend the afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed your trip through shopping history in London. What are your favorite historic London spots to visit?

Oh, and while you are at it, a few more if London’s oldest to visit:
London’s oldest tree
London’s oldest barber shop
London’s oldest pubs
London’s oldest restaurant
London’s oldest street sign

Free e-book! 25 bloggers share their favorite travel destinations

freeinspirationI’m so very excited to share with you Trip Logic’s very first e-book: Favorite Places. Even better, it’s free (yes completely free – not even an email sign up needed to get it).

25 bloggers kindly told me all about their favorite place to travel and shared photos and insider tips on what to do there once you go.  It is truly great travel inspiration and should kick-start some serious travel dreaming for anyone who reads it.
ebookexampleClick here to download the Favorite Places e-book and please share if you like it!
A huge thanks to the amazing contributors to this series.  Please visit their sites and show them some love!
Aggy from Dream Explore Wander
Julie McNamee from Quirky Travel
Andrea MacEachern from Another Day of Grace
Darlene Jones from Em and Yves
Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse
Juliann from Browsing the Atlas
Nicole Jewell from Pass the Ham
Natalie Sayin from Turkish Travel Blog
The Vacation Wanderer
Cynthia Simpson from HapiDayz
Rachel Ilan from Rachel Ilan Design
Andrea Travillian from Take a Smart Step
Dawn Chitwood from Asheville Marketing Solutions
Darcey Wunker from Adventures in India
Valerie Miller
Stacey G. from Glued to My Crafts
Dhie Rey from Island Girl Traveller
Cacinda “Cindy” Maloney from Points and Travel
Justine Williams from The Dancing Traveller
Jamee Doherty from Fly the Coop
Mariana Calleja from Travel Thirst
Holiday Addict
Ariane Colenbrander from ariane c design
Lesli Peterson from Expedition Mom
Pola Henderson from Jetting Around

For information on contributing to the next e-book in the series click here.

Get Thee to A Sugar Shack: Places to Visit During Maple Sugar Season

Maybe I read too many Little House on the Prairie books when I was young  (remember the maple syrup covered snow Laura’s grandmother made) but the  idea of visiting a maple sugar farm has always been high on my to-do list. I dig the rustic settings, the old fashioned techniques used, and the sweet amber syrup that nature gifts us.

Photo Credit: Sterling College http://www.flickr.com/photos/sterlingcollege/6829934432/

Photo Credit: Sterling College http://www.flickr.com/photos/sterlingcollege/6829934432/

A Few Fun Facts About Maple Syrup
  • The Maple harvest season begins in late February and ends in late March or early April depending on the location.

  • A maple farm is called a sugarbush or a sugar wood.

  • Maples are usually tapped beginning at 30 to 40 years of age and can continue to be tapped until they are over 100 years old.

  • Canada produces over 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup. 91% of that is produced in Quebec.

Sugar Shacks and Maple Farms You Can Visit

Sugar houses are great places to visit. You can tour sugar houses, learn  how to tap trees, buy pure maple syrup and even eat a hardy sugar house  breakfast. I’ve handpicked a few awesome sugar houses & farms but be sure to  check with local maple associations in New England, the Midwest, and   Canada if you are looking for one in a specific area.

Photo credit: Érablière Charbonneau

Photo credit: Érablière Charbonneau

Érablière Charbonneau in Mont Saint-Grégoire Canada

Érablière Charbonneau is a family business started in 2004 by the Charbonneau family.  Visitors can dine in the sugar shack, take horse-drawn carriage rides, visit a petting farm, go on an aerial canopy tour and more.  

I’m a bit smitten with their beautiful dining area and their menu which includes such goodies as maple sausages, pea soup, sugar pie and crepes with maple coulis.  


southfaceSouth Face Maple Farm  in Ashfield MA

According to yelp users, South Face is one maple farm you don’t want to miss.  A scenic drive over country roads will bring you to this classic New England maple farm.  The sugarhouse itself is around 50 years old but built out of 19th century barn wood.  Visitors can get their fill of pancakes at the farm restaurant or view the boiling operation from a few feet away.   

Insider tip: the least busy times to visit are Saturdays and the first and last weekend they are open.

Photo Credit: Krystine Lovett

Photo Credit: Krystine Lovett

Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, Vermont

If you want to be wowed by the Vermont countryside while learning how maple syrup is made, Sugarbush Farm is the place for you.  The farm is situated on a hillside in central Vermont and covers 550 beautiful acres. 

Guest can sample four grades of Pure Vermont maple syrup, learn about the difference in the grades, sample 14 cheeses (they make cheese here too), visit the sugarhouse and so much more.  There is even a farm chapel available for weddings and personal quiet time.

Photo Credit:  Elizabeth Thomsen

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thomsen

Gould’s Sugar House – Shelburne, Massachusetts

You have to respect a business that has been producing something for six generations and this is just that type of business. Gould’s is known for wonderful pancakes and it’s log-cabin like charm.  And the home-made pickles…don’t ask, just try.  They even have maple soft serve.

One thing to note, be prepared for a wait, this is one popular restaurant, but that will just give you more time to soak in the ambiance!

Photo Credit: Sarah Severson http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahseverson/5585663450/

Photo Credit: Sarah Severson http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahseverson/5585663450/

Sucrerie De La Montagne in Quebec, Canada

This is one of the few sugar shacks that is open year round and where you can spend the night and after watching some of the videos on their site I am totally sold. Sucrerie De La Montagne looks lively, fun, and cozy.  

Activities include riding in a horse drawn sleigh, visiting the sugar shack and fieldstone bakery, dining on an all you can eat sugaring off feast, maple taffy on snow tasting and shopping at the general store.

What are your favorite sugar shacks to visit?