A little book but BIG on mindful travel tips to enhance any journey, holiday or visit. Written by Tiddy Rowan it really is pint-sized and small enough to fit into your pocket or bag.
The author uses many quotes from the writing from authors such as Mark Twain, Douglas Adams, Jack Kerouac, Gustavo Flaubert to name but a few so you can see the extent of the research that has gone into creating this book.
“The traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see” (G.K. Chesterton)
One of my favourite little sections in this book is titled HEARING, and it begins like this:
“Bells, unfamiliar sirens, chatter, kitchen clatter, the cadence of voices speaking in a different language, different birdsong, music, all added to our rounded experience of travel”.
I remember reading this on one of my many trips to Kathmandu a couple of years back and it somehow made me open my ears as well as my eyes on visiting the famous “monkey temple”, Swayambhu”, each morning. In fact I sat down in some shade for a while and closed my eyes; the occasional bell, some large with a single clang, some small and sounding a constant stream of ting-a-ling, the creaking of the prayer wheels being spun by hand around the stupa, a sudden flapping of pigeon wings as a feeding flock is disturbed, children laughing, the hum of traffic down below ……. I can hear them even now ….. but on each visit now I was detaching from the past and the future, I was in the here and now listening mindfully.
Here’s another one on TASTE:
“Give your taste buds a holiday too, experiment with local foods and flavours. Have papaya and lime for breakfast, an enchilada or fish kebab from a street vendor for lunch. Try things you have never tasted before, especially whatever is fresh and available locally, new herbs, new spices, edible flowers …. after all, you have the time to slow down and savour the food, the company, and the surrounding landscape or activities.”
Local taste is ALWAYS a significant part of our own travel, especially in the different regions and districts of France; escargots and coq au vin with a good glass of Pommard in Burgundy, Boeuf Camargue in the Rhône with a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape, oysters with a Picpoul de Pinet in the Languedoc. A mouthful of mindfulness.
The most poignant piece of advice from this brilliant little book is this: “when engaged on a journey, detach both from the immediate past (departure) and the envisaged future (arrival) to engage with the present, the here and now”. It’s a brilliant little book, I carry it on all of our travels for the daily inspiration it gives me, whatever page it falls open at.