Making A Mindful Journey: A Guide To Making The Most Of Road Trips
Around the world, the classic family road trip remains a firm favourite. Whilst 10% more Australians now choose to fly rather than drive on holiday, over 70% still hit the road. Like any form of holiday a road trip can be done on a budget with style or it can spiral out of control and cost the Earth. Similarly, a road trip can be an amazing, enlightening and enjoyable experience. How can a little preparation and mindfulness help to keep things cheap and calm?
Getting the food and drink right
Preparation is everything to relieve stress and save money. A wide range of snacks such as granola, trail mix, bounce balls and yoghurt can be made from scratch at home for a significant saving over store bought alternatives. Even potato chips can be replaced by thinly slicing root vegetables, brushing them with oil and then roasting until crisp. A dusting of onion or garlic salt can enhance their flavour even further. Service station drinks cost significantly more than those from the supermarket or that you can make at home. In fact, any food or drink bought along the way will come with a surcharge due to their convenience. Save yourself the hassle, money and step away from the system, bring your own. A top of the range cooler can keep the ice inside frozen for up to ten days, more than enough time to keep drinks, snacks, or even whole meals cold for a road trip. Coolers can be expensive so it is important to get the right one for your needs.
Remember the journey, not the destination
Much of the stress associated with a road trip comes from the need to get somewhere. Traffic jams, maps, GPS and deadlines all turn up the stress levels to eleven. In this modern age of smart connectivity, there is no need to have an actual destination in mind. By making the journey more important you can change plans later. A morning spent exploring back roads, small towns, unknown historical monuments, or simply enjoying the countryside is a morning well spent. 5 minutes on your phone whilst you enjoy an afternoon snack can tell you where you are, what is near you, and allow you to book an Airbnb or motel. If you don’t have a destination you can’t get lost. If you don’t get lost then there is less stress.
Be mindful, be thankful, live in the moment
A road trip is a chance to practice mindfulness in the real world. Even if you do simply follow your nose there is a chance you will hit traffic. A traffic jam is either an opportunity to get stressed and bothered or it allows you to pay more attention to your surroundings. In a jam you can take a breath, focus on feeling the air coming in and out, you can truly see everything around you, and take pause to appreciate it all. Every part of a journey is filled with opportunities to truly see what you normally rush past. Count every colour that you see, witness nature ignoring humanity and simply enjoy it.
A mindful journey is a happy journey. It is in your power to decide how your next road trip will progress. If you have spent your planning time booking a strict itinerary then you may be setting yourself up to fail. If, instead, you plan your snacks, drinks and even a few emergency meals and let the road decide where you go, then you will succeed. Don’t let the stress of your journey consume you, instead savor every moment and truly feel nature all around.