2015 was a year of great changes for me: in the span of just a few short months, I lost a family member as well as my long-term relationship, amongst other things. Traveling became something that I both dreaded to do by myself and needed to do all at the same time, and I fortunately came to the simple realization that what I needed above all was to change how I traveled. So I swapped my backpack for a bicycle and everything suddenly clicked into place.
In many if not all aspects of my life, I have always aimed to live as sustainably as possible. But airplane and bus travel do leave a massive footprint behind, so it has always been difficult for me to make the best decision in regards to my transportation.
That is, until now: the only print I leave behind is the trail of my wheels and the laughter of the kids who can’t quite comprehend why my bicycle looks like a donkey. I am now both energy and money efficient and I am exercising while I travel – it’s the best of all worlds! But sustainability has taken on a new meaning since I started pedalling all on my own: in order for this to be a successful lifestyle change, I have to sustain my own health and wellbeing first and foremost. And I have found meditation to be a great tool to achieve that.
Adopting a wholesome plant-based diet is one way I have used to sustain my health and mind naturally for years. And meditation, just like eating a vegan diet and doing yoga, is a self-sustaining activity that creates vibrancy and ease from within my body. I do believe that health starts from the inside out and the combination of eating healthy and taking a few minutes (usually twenty) to gather myself every morning before I hit the road is both empowering and healing: it’s a stress reliever, it helps me be at peace with myself, quiets my inner chatterbox, makes me feel more balanced and more connected to nature and to others. I have found that the combination of Vipassana meditation, yoga and bicycle touring have helped me reach a more meaningful and mindful travel experience, one that goes above and beyond materiality and one that I know will stay with me long after (and if…) this is all over.
Meditation is a powerful tool that can help us all live a simpler and more natural lifestyle, eliminating the need for modern sought-after external means for acquiring temporary peace and happiness – such as an expensive day at the spa. And you don’t need to be traveling on a bicycle to reap all of the benefits from meditation 😉
One thing I have found really helpful to get me started meditating is Headspace, a guided meditation app that walks you through meditation techniques in a fun and helpful way, starting with 10 free 10 minute lessons and increasing the time up to 15, then 20 minutes if you so decide to subscribe, which I promptly did even before my 10 day trial was over. It is that good. And now I can’t start my day without spending 20 minutes alone with Andy! The app is well designed and super interactive. It’s had a huge international success and is really changing the way people are seeing meditation. It’s like the new cool kid around the block, a little. And the videos are just adorable.
Do you meditate already? Would you give it a try?