Staying mentally sane while travelling. How to sort your thoughts and process all experiences.

When you travel you have a lot to deal with. Physically, but also mentally. And if you travel for a longer amount of time this even increases. And if you are a person like me, that just can’t stop and rest, both things get really overwhelming after a time. So now I want to share some habits and practices to help me stay sane and not turning crazy while travelling.

And you can or maybe should adopt some of those excersices to your normal life.

Daily journaling

That one is probably the best practice to declutter your mind a bit, save moments and thoughts and just have a conversation with yourself.

I personally tried to write into my journal every morning before breakfast. But what should you write down? Literally everything what’s on your mind or what moves you at the moment. I always just took my thoughts, spit in on paper and freed my head a bit. Start writing and you will see that you will automatically continue and contiue to write without a big effort.

Mostly I just started with the things that happened the day before. What I experienced, what I felt and thought about the things that happened. It’s a beautiful way to save those memories and if you are travelling alone, to share them with someone or something. Also if you are always on the go and you do a lot of stuff, you tend to forget things or don’t appreciate them as much as they deserve it anymore. So if you have a quite moment you can read through your journal and experience those great moments again and remeber those things way better.

Gratitude Diary

I always traveled with two little books. My daily journal as mentioned before and my gratitude diary. What is that you might ask.

It’s a little notebook, in which you list things you are grateful and thankful for. I did this just after the journaling in the morning. Some like it before going to bed or when they rise.

The cause of this diary is to appreciate life and all the things around you more. It makes you happier, more thoughtful and you will appreciate every little thing. So just write 3 to 5 things, moments, people or feelings down into your diary, you are truly grateful for.

Those can be the simplest things like:

  • the new day
  • the sun shine
  • sunrise and set
  • clouds in the sky
  • a good breakfast
  • your parents
  • the possibilities you have

Just try to find things you have or experience, but that are super normal for you and you take it for granted. Write them down, give them some appreciation and really feel the gratitude while doing this.

Meditation

Don’t get scared or confused about this point. Some might noticed that meditation is getting more and more attention than years before. And it’s not just something spiritual or religious. It’s an amazing tool to clear your busy monkey mind.

You don’t need to be a monk, a buddhist or a saint to meditate. It’s is just an excercise for your mind. Like you would walk into the gym to train your chest, you go into meditation to train your mind. It will make you calmer, gives you clarity and makes you less worried.

There are a lots of ways to meditate and lots of personal preferences. But in my opinion the easiest way to start is just to sit down in a quite place, close your eyes and listen to your breath. And believe me, that is damn hard in the beginning. You don’t have to sit cross legged, you can lay down or simply sit in a chair. Just sit upright if you sit. Then if your eyes are closed, listen to your breath and pay attention how you inhale and exhale. Do nothing else. Just in and out. In and out. In and out. You can also start to count your breathes. 1 in, 2 out, 3 in, 4 out and so on until 10 and start all over again. There will be thoughts that are popping into your mind and distract you and that is totally normal. Just realize that and come back to your breath.

It’s hard, but worth it. Stick to it and you will get better and the process will become easier for you.

A thing which helped me a lot are guided meditations. I visited some in Ubud, Bali and it blew me away. But you can also use apps for your phone for this. Headspace is great to start, but will cost something later. I normally use Insight Timer.

I will dive deeper into this topic in the future.

Having a mission.

Some people who travel for a longer time loose track of reality and just chill into each day, loose focus and kinda forgot themselfs. And I think that is because they don’t have a real goal anymore. Nothing to get up and do.

My mission on my travels was always Photography. Through that I was able to have a creative output, to have a goal each day and to sit down and something rewarding and something productive. I went to different spots for photos and then sit down and edited them. I love caputring moments, nature and the beauty of this planet. And to be honest that kept me in a really good state of mind and kept me always going, because I was always excited to take new photos of new places.

Do something that means a lot to you. Take photos, write a diary or a blog. Try different foods or learn to cook different styles. Just don’t loose yourself on your travels.

Stay fit and do some sport

Go for a run, do some pushups, yoga or try something new like surfing or climbing. Just move yourself and don’t loose the focus on your body and health, just because you are travelling. Also sport produces dopamin and puhses your mood when you feel down. You always feel better after a good session of excersice. Also it flushes your mind.

Netflix, watch a movie, read a book

After a long time of travelling and always on the road or partying or going out you will feel the urge for something like this. But you may think you are on vacation, you should do something and go out at night. 

But if you give yourself some time then and just watch some netflix on or tonights, you realize how much you needed this and you relax finally a bit.

Thanks for reading.

By NICK JOHNSON

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