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Traveling Mindfully

Traveling Mindfully

Travel professionals hear it all the time: the trip was amazing because of the people. Enjoying the company and culture of local people becomes the most lingering and powerful memory of a trip. Here is how to be the person whom the locals in your destination are uplifted by, and then pass that goodwill along to future travelers.

Pack for a purpose - when traveling in emerging nations, there will be opportunities to help local people just by giving some gently used items of your own, or taking inexpensive school supplies or other needed items along with you. Africa and Asia Answers can help you with suggestions on what to take. One of our favorite connections is a street kids home in Nairobi, Kenya. Travelers can leave clothing, books, etc with the front desk of their hotel, and the donation will be collected by a volunteer. Now you have room in your case for souvenirs! Ask one of our Destination Specialists for more information.

Put your phone down - except for taking photos and mapping, device time can wait. People watching in foreign countries is entertainment in itself. Exchanging a smile with the person sitting next to you can lead to a conversation that teaches, inspires or amuses, or even an invitation. If the thought of not going on your phone causes anxiety, start with small increments and build from there.

Breathe - if something unexpected happens, don’t take it out on the local people. Many things are lost in translation so if your restaurant order isn’t quite right, or you show up after the train departed, take a deep breath and deal with it respectfully and calmly. In many cultures, becoming visibly angry with someone causes shame and loss of face.

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