What is Mindful Travel?

Sustainable Travel, Eco-Tourism and Mindful Travel

In today's travel climate, we strive to become the best travellers that we can be.  But what does that actually mean?  Let's start by first examining the two most common frameworks that we understand:   Sustainable Travel vs Eco-Tourism, Responsible Travel vs Mindful Travel

Sustainable Travel.  According to Tourism NZ, sustainable travel is defined as 'Tourism New Zealand's purpose is to enrich New Zealand by maximising the contribution of visitors, we deliver this by maximising the impact domestic and international visitors have across the four wellbeings of nature, society, culture and the economy.

Mindful Travel Spinnaker Bay Executive Apartments Queenstown

This is compared to the widely accepted Oxford dictionary definition of Eco-Tourism as 'tourism directed towards exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.' 

Responsible Travel is just that - taking absolute responsibility for your travel footprint and all the little effects it may have.

Mindful travel however describes an actual approach to travel.  One that encourages us to be more connected to our trip, to be more present and open to understanding the communities in which we travel.  it reminds and encourages us to understand and be more mindful of the decisions we make which directly influence the well being of those communities.   it's also about empowering us as individuals to step away from the day to day stresses of modern life and appreciate other local cultures.  It's acknowledging that as humans we need mental breaks too. 

There is a lot to mindful travel.  Mindful.org summarises it like this: “It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through”.  I add to that, that from this enriched experience we learn, adapt and become stronger people.  When we are stronger, we make better decisions, for both ourselves and for the recipient travel destination.  

Part of that mindful mindset is embracing both sustainable travel and eco tourism.  Just being aware is the first step forward!  But here's the thing, if you slow down, and take time to truly immerse yourself in a local cultural experience, then you will have more knowledge than you had when you woke up that morning.  The next question is, what do you do with that knowledge?