Summer: a time for vacations, adventures to exciting locations, and (hopefully) plenty of outdoor activities. While the summer can bring in a refreshing change of pace and scenery, it can also serve as a distraction from your regular routines, some of which may need shaking up. But important ones, such as meditating, may become neglected during the fast-paced summer season. As someone who travels almost half the year for work, I can tell you that my meditation practice is one of the first things that falls aside when I’m on the road—but it shouldn’t be. So this year I’ve been focusing on putting myself first, which includes keeping up with my practice no matter where I am. Here are some helpful tricks I’ve learned to keep myself meditating even while on the road.
Meditation from anywhere
Now, this may sound basic and perhaps even silly, but our routines tend to get neglected when we veer from the daily norms. While traveling, we may tend to develop new routines and scrap what we do while we’re at home in favor of exploring new places and experiences. But we can meditate from anywhere!
I recommend setting aside time in either your mornings or evenings to settle down and go within. Even just a few minutes a day can keep you motivated and encouraged to stay with your practice, despite all the chaos of traveling. Taking this small meditation ritual you have created for yourself on your trip makes it less likely that you’ll drop your practice. By making it a routine, it becomes much more manageable.
When I volunteered to work with penguins in South Africa a couple of months ago, many factors enticed me to forego my meditations. We stayed in a research house without heat, and it was quite cold in the mornings and evenings. We were also incredibly busy. Even in that type of situation, I bundled up, found a nice seat outside that overlooked the water, and watched the penguins go by on their little “penguin highway” each evening. I chose that time each day to meditate, finding peace in the beauty of South Africa. I had to push myself the first couple of days, but after I set the routine, it became easy. In fact, I quickly began looking forward to my special evening time.
It’s even easier, I find, to meditate while visiting a beach. When I travel to any beach-like location for work, I choose to wake up, enjoy the sound of the crashing waves, and express gratitude for the natural sounds of the ocean prior to starting my day. So, when traveling, I encourage you to pick a time that naturally fits into the routine you have set for yourself on your trip and add meditation into your schedule. The more it becomes a part of your routine, the more you’ll be encouraged to keep up with it.
The Expand app has been a lifesaver
In the past, meditating on the road was difficult (to say the least) if you needed recorded guidance or Monroe Sound Science. Portable CD players weren’t easy to carry around, especially in wet or sandy environments. Even in the age of iPhones, you had to pre-plan and put the exercises you wanted on your phone to use while you were away. Thankfully, the Monroe Institute released the Expand app last year, and it has completely changed the game for me. It offers a variety of different types of meditation exercises I can access from anywhere in the world. So, if you’re someone who likes to use Monroe Sound Science and/or other guided meditations, Expand may be the perfect tool to make meditating around the world a breeze. All you need is your phone and headphones, and you’re set to meditate anywhere.
As use of technology increases in our lives, so does our “sense of ease.” The more work we have to put into something, the less we may want to do it. With the world at our fingertips, we don’t have to fight as hard to receive information or accomplish tasks as we did just a few years ago. We can even turn on lights or lock our doors now with the press of a button on our phones or a simple voice command. As everything gets easier, especially on vacation, we may feel more inclined to neglect things that take any effort. But with the ease of having your favorite meditations on your phone and the ability to meditate anywhere, I encourage you to find that sense of ease, joy, and gratitude in your practice, no matter where you are. In fact, I find it even easier to let go of my problems and embrace my practice when I’m not at home, as there are fewer distractions. So, while it may initially seem like more effort, it’s actually even easier to meditate while you’re away.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I hope you’re able to travel this year after all we’ve been through. When you do, try to commit to including meditation in your routine. I bet you’ll find the joy of new experiences while meditating around the world.