How to Incorporate Zen Practices for Effortless Travel
The forlorn travelers
I was standing on the balcony of my hotel that overlooks the majestic Taj Mahal. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was enjoying the stunning view. The vantage point gave me a panoramic view of the monument and the hundreds of people who had gathered around to see it. I scanned the area and noticed that most of the people had a sad, forlorn expression on their face. Most of these people are far from away home, on a vacation and were supposed to have a good time. This wasn't the first time I encountered this phenomenon; from airport lounges to hotel lobbies, it was always divided into people who seemed to be having a ball and those who, well would have been better off at home.
Why the frustration?
There could be multitudes of reason for this, but I guess the primary culprit is that International travel involves trying to keep track of too many things which complicate things. This got me thinking about my Zen practice which I have taken up over the last few months. They say that Zen can be incorporated into every step of your life, from drinking your tea, to reading and even while walking. But for me the best possible activity to incorporate Zen is travel, the two somehow fit into each other really well.
Incorporating Zen into your Travel
Many of Zen practices are built around the concept of clearing the clutter and focusing on the present. Over the years, I have noticed that while traveling, I tend to get lost in the myriad of frustrations from finding the cheapest air ticket, to lodging, sightseeing and what not. After I started my practice a lot of this sort of melted away and I was actually starting to enjoy my travels rather than getting lost in the frustrations.
The major shift in my perception was to go in with least amount of expectations. You would have done a great deal of research about your destination and might have an idea about the place. Let go off that idea, it will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Rather, replace that idea with your curiosity - explore and experience the city as if you would explore a totally alien land. You will end up having a blast. And of course, don't be on your laptop all the time. Look around, smile at the locals. And don't let your thoughts wander about what you'll be doing later. Just be present and you will be surprised at how much needless frustrations you were putting up with before.
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More Travel Tips to Save Your Money
I will also share a few nifty tips which are not anyway related to Zen but helped me out a lot in saving tons of money. Plan your travel at least 2 months prior to your departure. Book your ticket on a Wednesday to be assured that you are bagging a cheap air ticket; this is because airlines publish their fares on Mondays and Tuesdays. And lastly, even if you manage to cheapest air tickets, book an amazing hotel and sightseeing tours, it will be all in vain if you are not having fun!
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