It seems like such a paradox, wanting to feel grounded while traveling. In the midst of heightened movement and exciting newness, there’s something in us that at some point wants to feel grounded. For some this is a matter of connecting with themselves or connecting with a sense of familiarity amidst the unfamiliar. To want this doesn’t mean we don’t love traveling. It’s simply a desire to enjoy traveling with those wonderful, good feelings of self-security and familiarity. Whether you’ve felt it before or not, here are some creative ways to feel grounded while traveling, and to feel good, wherever you are.
Focus to Feel Grounded while Traveling
When traveling, there’s so many things we are visually taking in and at a heightened sense of awareness. We’re practically looking for more to see, learn, experience, so it makes sense that it can feel overwhelming sometimes. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to pick one thing that you find beautiful and interesting in that moment and focus on it. Keep it simple and pick something close-by, but just one thing out of everything around you, and keep your eyes and attention on it by having a dialogue with it in your mind.
Let’s say it’s one of the small hand-painted tiles in the cobblestone ground of the Jewish Quarter in Toledo, Spain. Stand out of the way of traffic and people so you can look down at that tile. Comment to yourself in your mind about its color, the richness of the indigo blue, the gentle fade of the gold, and its setting in rough stones edged with moss. Observe the symbol on it and other things that come to your mind.
It’s really simple, but it’s meant to help us slow down and give our attention to just one thing. This helps us relax and be fully present with our new surroundings.
Create a Quiet Space to Feel Grounded while Traveling
This one can be tricky depending on where you are of course. Yet even when enjoying a stay in the countryside, you may find you have to purposefully seek out quietness. Taking time to be quiet is healthy for everyone, whether you’re traveling or not. Maybe for you it encourages disconnecting from electronics or getting outside in nature.
When traveling with groups and others, this can be especially needed as part of taking some time for yourself. But don’t underestimate the joy of also being quiet with another. It’s one of the things that we enjoy when traveling as a couple – that we can be together and quiet, without feeling the need to have something to say to each other all the time. Just enjoying each other’s presence and the quietness together, is such a relaxing treat.
Now, we are talking here about getting creative with how we get grounded while traveling. There’s not just one way to it and it’s not a formula, but a matter of being aware, and taking care, of what you feel and what you need at the time. Maybe you don’t need to disconnect from technology, so put on the headphones with soothing sounds, like trickling water or whatever helps you create an environment that is more quiet than what’s going on around you or than what you’ve just come from. That also brings up the good point that quietness doesn’t have to mean absolute silence.
What’s really funny is that this part of traveling, the noise-level aspect, teaches a lot about a culture. Being in Spain, we know that it can tend to be really loud and a Spaniard’s idea of what is quiet may not be as quiet as some of us like. After all, statistics show that the noise pollution in Madrid and Barcelona, supersede those that are considered healthy by world standards. More often than not, the sounds are a great part of travel as well, so still listen to all you can; just balance it out with some quietness for yourself when you need it.
Get Friendly with Animals to Feel Grounded while Traveling
This is one that can be overlooked, yet think about it…there’s nothing like the sweetness of an animal to help us get grounded, wherever we are. Well, there are some limits. You don’t want to get friendly with a bull in rural Spain. But we trust you can use common sense with this one.
Our favorite is enjoying the pets that we see while traveling. Dogs are our favorites, but Amalia has even developed an affinity for cats since traveling more. And Eric…well, he’s always loved cats. Stopping to ask someone if you can pet their furry friend is also a great way to meet others while traveling. But for getting grounded, just that touch of the soft fur and looking into those cute, sweet eyes really does something for the soul. At least we feel it does.
More and more hotels are welcoming pets as well. One of our favorite places to enjoy a drink in a gorgeous courtyard or the warmth of a marble fireplace in winter, is the Art Boutique Hotel Chamarel in our Spain home base of Denia. They have three lovely female cats, or gatas. If you like they’ll come up and say hello, perhaps cuddling up against your leg, or just roaming about. If you have a pet of your own, even a dog, the hotel is open to having them. Just ask when you make your reservation. And yes, the cats get along with other animals just fine, as well as most humans.
Animals, especially pets such as dogs and cats, are known to increase a human’s happiness and feelings of love. Let’s not also forget about horses. Studies have shown them to have energetic affect on people that actually heals. No wonder the activity of horseback riding is so popular on many trips and in conjunction with traveling. Consider horseback riding at the next place you’re visiting or at least visit a ranch to get some face-time with these amazing creatures.
Arrange Meditative Practices to Feel Grounded while Traveling
Whether you can plan it ahead of time or last minute, seek out practices that can encourage you to get grounded while traveling. This can be a yoga class, a monastery to visit, or a meditation class in the area you’re visiting. To find where these places are, you can of course search on the web, but don’t forget to ask your hotel, a local tourism department, or area forums about resources for these kind of activities.
Meditation in general is key to getting grounded, wherever we are. A big thing for us, is that meditation is not only being still and quiet. It can also be ‘moving meditations’ and involve soothing music and/or a guide who leads you on a guided meditation. Eric’s favorite way to meditate is to go running. He loves running, at home and when traveling, and he feels it’s so meditative for him. It makes sense, since running and other cardiovascular exercises, kick in great endorphins for a healthy high.
Let’s remember too that traveling itself can be very grounding. What is that saying…sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.
How do You Feel Grounded while Traveling?
We’d love to hear from you about how you feel grounded while traveling. Share with us your stories or perhaps recommend a place and activity that has helped you feel grounded while traveling. Thanks for reading!