One of my favorite memories of traveling happened while I was studying abroad in Switzerland. I took a train to Lugano for the day on my own. In the train station, I picked up a copy of Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll to read on the journey because it was one of the only books they had in English.

I spent the day wandering, stopping at an antique sale and sitting by Lake Lugano to read. What made this simple day so memorable was the joy of living in the moment. I had the chance to explore the city without a checklist and to disconnect from the online world to savor the moments by the water. 

Travel in the age of the internet has changed the way we interact with the world. Our sightseeing lists are developed by peer-to-peer reviews. We search for more spaces to curate the perfect photograph and moments to share online. While we gain more access to information about new places and destinations through the eyes of others online, what we lose is time for introspection along our journeys.

Travel in the age of the internet has changed the way we interact with the world.

Erika Owen, author of The Art of Flaneuring: How to Wander with Intention and Discover a Better Life, is trying to reconnect with the spontaneity in travel by being more mindful. In her book, she focuses on “getting outside and walking—literally, anywhere you can—without a destination in mind.” 

In her book, she urges readers to disconnect from the rush of daily life and focus on the “natural process in becoming a passive element of an environment.” Doing so while traveling will help you notice the smaller details of a city or scene. Through flaneuring, the focus is shifted to giving yourself the chance to wander through whichever route feels right in the moment and to meditatively and slowly explore a destination. 

Our lives are continually filled with notifications and the need to share our best moments online. Travel used to be an experience where you disconnected from the pressures of daily life to explore a destination. Today it is seen as the vehicle to create the perfect moments of #wanderlust, sharing photos posed with a backdrop and aesthetic to match your Instagram feed. Instead of feeling pressure to share during your time away, shift the focus to enjoying the spontaneity in travel.  

Put your phone on airplane mode and take the time during your next trip for introspection. By taking away the stimulus of notifications, you can enjoy the present. Value the moments of silence and deep thinking, and create more memories than Instagram moments.

Create more memories than Instagram moments.

Enjoy walking through a destination and the spontaneity of taking a different route back. Take photos of the moments that you love, not what looks best for the gram. Look up in your photos, not down, and soak in the colors, sounds and energy of a new destination. Focus on making memories of moments that help you learn, grow and reflect where the only “like” that matters is your own.

Have you been more focused on curating moments instead of enjoying them? How can you be more present during your travels this holiday season and beyond? 

Images via Lily Glass Photography,Darling Issue No. 15

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