The world is getting faster and more stressful every day. It’s no coincidence that mental ill health is increasing and that a growing number of people are turning to traditional solutions like mindfulness to manage stress.
Mindfulness travel is about living in the present moment which can be practised through meditation but can be applied to any moment. For me, it’s about learning how to live with the voice in my mind and not allowing it to fill my head with negative thoughts.
It’s amazing what you can see whilst travelling mindfully and it’s scary to think of the details we miss when we’re thinking too much.
Some places lend themselves to mindfulness more than others and there are some places that have instantly given me a sense of perspective and calm.
Here, I’ve compiled my list of perfect places for feeling mindful. Let me know your top locations in the comments below.
The Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.
This place so beautiful, it’s hard not to feel at peace. The temple is shaped like a giant lotus flower, with each petal being clad in glistening marble. As a Bahá’í House of Worship, all religions are welcome to gather and worship. Despite being one of the most visited buildings in the world, the temple remains serene and quiet as silence is strictly enforced inside.
We spent some time at the temple meditating and left feeling extremely calm. Another option for practicing mindfulness is within the superb landscapes surrounding the temple.
I loved standing in the shadow of these towering peaks, feeling small and insignificant. Shrouded in layers of thermal clothing, I sat on our hotel balcony, just awestruck with the size of the mountains. It certainly puts your problems into perspective when the clouds seem close enough to touch.
Our hotel had an outdoor Jacuzzi from we could watch the sun setting and the cabins lighting up in the valley below.
Wat Benjamabophit in Bangkok, Thailand
Also known as the Marble Temple, Wat Menjamabophit is one of Bangkok’s smaller and lesser known temples. As well as being home to practicing monks, the temple is home to over 50 Buddhas which demonstrate the regional variations in Buddha design. I left knowing the different between Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Cambodian Buddha styles.
With mindfulness being a huge part of Buddhism, this is a superb location for engaging with the present moment. Our time in this city sanctuary was very well spent.
National September 11 Memorial, New York City
You have to applaud the designers of this memorial. They have transformed a place that many associate with violence and sadness, into a fitting memorial where a sense of stillness and loss resonates.
The footprints of the World Trade Centre remain here as tranquil water features within a quiet and landscaped area. You can even visit the “Survivor Tree” which was uncovered from the rubble in the month’s following the attack, still alive. The continued life of this tree as a symbol of the city’s resilience.
It felt right to spend time here to contemplate what happened although it was hard to connect the space the with the vivid images of this place inside my memory.
There is also a museum space which explores the events of 9/11 in more detail.
Boca Do Inferno, Cascais, Portugal
Roughly translated to “Hell’s Mouth”, Boca Do Inferno is a coastal area of cliffs and rock formations close to Cascais in Portugal. The dramatic name comes from the relationship between the cliffs and the sea. In choppy waters, tidal waters are forced into caves into the rock creating a thundering noise which has been compared to the opening gates of hell.
The Atlantic was relatively calm during our visit, so we didn’t get to witness this spectacle, in fact we found the place to be very calming. The tide’s constant battle against the cliffs was almost comforting and I loved the idea there wasn’t another human being for thousands of miles when looking out towards the ocean.
Great Wall of China, China
One place where I felt completely mindful was resting along the Great Wall of China. Some stretches of the wall have been restored and made fully accessible for tourists. However other stretches have remained relatively untouched and feel completely isolated. It was our trek through Jinshanling and towards Simatai where I felt truly at peace.
Perched on the top of a hill, it felt as though we were sat on top of the world and the stresses of being at home were (literally) thousands of miles away. It was hard to imagine the wall being defended and protecting China from invasion, thousands of years ago.
I left with a profound feeling that our time on this planet is fleeting and that it should be used wisely.
Let me know where your mindful places are in the comments section below.