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being present

Soaking Up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment
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Soaking Up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment

This past weekend I took a mini-vacation to Newport Beach (about an hour and a half from where I am in LA) and it was much, much needed. It was nice to be so close to home, yet far enough away to feel like I get to explore somewhere new.

Over Thanksgiving just a few days ago, my family and I were talking about how people don’t take the time to be fully present in the experiences they’re in. All too often we see the person in front of us at a concert who won’t put their phone down and just listen. Just take in the moment that they’re in. Taking this little “staycation” was a little reminder to soak up my experiences, even if I’m close to home.

Soaking up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment

It doesn’t have to be an international vacation to make you stop and notice how great life is. Soak up your friends, the laughter, the music, the sunshine, whatever it is just soak it up.

Here are 5 ways you can stay in the moment and take time to be grateful for this life we have.

  1. Plan ahead. I thought about this and it could go either way. Maybe staying spontaneous makes you feel more free, but my thought is that if you plan ahead you won’t have a need to be on your phone. Let’s face it, we use our phones for everything. We Yelp the best nearby restaurants, we Waze our routes, we Google what to do, etc. Planning ahead could keep your phone in your pocket a little longer.
  2. Put your phone away. You probably saw this one coming. I’m a fan of capturing the moment don’t get me wrong! But snap a picture at the beginning of dinner (or at the end) or get a quick photo of that beautiful sunset and then just take time to actually enjoy it. Just like the concert thing I mentioned above, we get so concerned with showing everyone that we’re watching an amazing sunset, before we know it the sun has set and we can’t recall any of the details.
  3. Inhale positivity, exhale negativity. Focus on the present instead of worrying about the future. Have you ever been somewhere trying to relax and you keep thinking about your to-do list? Or stressing over something that doesn’t matter? I do that a lot. When I’m trying to be in the moment, I have to just take a deep breathe and not care. If it won’t matter in the next 5 years, don’t spend 5 minutes of your life thinking about it.
  4. I know I said plan ahead…but to a certain extent. I’ve found one of the best ways to truly be in the moment and soak up my travel experience is to get lost with the people I’m with doing something really fun and having a great time. Just like when you get lost creating something you love, or how I get lost writing something I get into that flow state and lose track of time. You can still plan ahead what you’ll do but no one needs an itinerary.
  5. Be open to exploration. Not only within the environment you’re in depending where you’ve traveled to, but be open to discovering a side of yourself you didn’t know existed or to doing something you didn’t think you’d want to do. Don’t force anything, but if you have the urge to do zip-lining and it’s available, why not! There’s nothing that forces you into the moment than doing something that scares you just a little.
  6. Okay here’s a bonus one: stop and take it in. An exercise I’ve done for writing in the past is to take a walk up the street and write down every single sound you hear. What’s crazy is you don’t realize all the individual sounds until you list them. The birds chirping, your shoes on the pavement, the leaves in the trees, cars driving down the street, dogs barking in the distance, you get the idea! Try doing this mentally on your next trip. Just stop and list everything you see and hear. It might sound weird but this truly gets you in the moment and I guarantee you’ll be able to go back to that moment in your mind because you were so present and mindful.

What do you find are the best ways to stay present? Tell me in the comments below!

Sam Chat: What Hawaii Taught Me About Being Present
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Sam Chat: What Hawaii Taught Me About Being Present (Beyond Putting Your Cell Phone Down)

You know that feeling when you’ve been traveling all day and you finally get to where you’re going? When you finally see that beautiful water and put your feet in the sand that feels like butter and then…everyone takes out their phone. I’m 100% guilty of it too. This past trip I went on with my family though, I took a step back and realized just what Hawaii taught me about being present. But this isn’t just your typical post about turning your phone off. There were a  lot of takeaways about being present that I didn’t think about before.

#picoritdidnthappen

Being away from the stresses of daily life, it was a little bit easier to breathe it all in. It was nice to pause and not have to worry about anything really. It also made it easier to step back and think about things. We are so used to taking out our phones and documenting every second in our day to day lives. This was no exception, especially in a gorgeous place like Hawaii. The thing is, I don’t think most of us in the millennial generation are taking photos necessarily for the memories. Sure, it’s nice to have them and show a few friends. But for the most part, we take photos because we’re thinking ahead about what we want to post on social media. That’s kind of sad. We take a beautiful hike where the view is just breathtaking, but we don’t stop to think about the moment. Or the history behind the environment. Or how we’ll never be in this same place with family again. All we do is scramble to take a few boomerangs, and then re-take some photos with a different pose, and then we leave. #picoritdidnthappen is the double-edged sword millennials have with wanting to show the world what we’re up to and yet when we’re always thinking ahead, we’re NEVER in the present.

Millennials and Being Present

Something that made me realize this pattern us millennials have is in part thanks to my parents. They aren’t thinking ahead about what photo to post on social media. (Mom if you’re reading this, super proud of you learning Instagram though). They take pictures because they really want to look back and remember and cherish everything. That’s kind of the ultimate goal, right?

As I would do my morning pages every day, I was writing about trying to be more present and then I would write down everything that was worrying me, or looming above my head, or stressing me out. I thought, well this is good because I write it all down and let it all go. And then it hit me. Again…worrying about the future isn’t really being present! Worrying about things I can’t control won’t do me any good. And so being present extends so much farther than putting your phone down and smiling at the beautiful view in front of you. It’s also about learning that the NOW, the present day or moment, is the only one that matters.

Being Present in the “Now”

We hear about needing to be “present” all the time, but it’s actually a hard concept. Can you sit there for 1 minute and think about nothing but the present moment? It’s almost impossible. Our minds venture to something in the past or present. But I started to think that if we can focus on being present just a tiny bit more, we might have a happier and more peaceful state of mind, and furthermore, we can show our spark to the world when we’re in those present and open moments. More than anything, I was reminded that it’s important to be present in life so that you can be real with yourself and your dreams. Tune into your most authentic self and share your spark with the world! Go after what you really want and don’t be afraid to share your most natural, REAL, uninhibited, un-retouched, beautiful spark of self to the world!

What are a few ways you can practice being present in your daily routine? I know for me that’s taking time in the morning for me, to write and just simply be without my phone which I love doing. It’s freeing. And to also stop worrying about the future, it ain’t up to me! Scroll to the bottom to comment below!

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