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Sensual traveling: How to Fully Indulge in a New Place

Sensual traveling: How to Fully Indulge in a New Place

Holidays are something we long for, save tons of money for, and prepare for long in advance. We’ve always been told that, in order to get the most out of our travels, we need to read up on the culture and places to visit so that we really know where to go.

Maybe you prepare your holidays by making a schedule of which museum you want to see when, where you want to eat, and what night activities you will squeeze in. Or maybe you join a guided tour and stop by the top-ranked places of the country you are visiting, typically one after another in a rather tight time-schedule. Just take your snapshots and keep going!

I want to invite you to do the total opposite. Just go out and get lost. Leave your brain at home; follow your senses. Most of us knowledge-workers are already quite out of touch with our bodies, and if at a time of rest and relaxation such as our holidays, we still can’t let go of our intellect and throw in our body and soul, we are missing out on the fun.

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You can’t plan for that gorgeous afternoon in Italy where you just linger on the square of a small town, bask in the sun, sip an espresso that sets you on fire, and just watch the people pass by.

I want to give you a scandalous, sensual invitation: Don’t prepare for your holidays. Just walk out of your hotel and surrender to your senses. Just wander around. Sit on a bench in the shade if you feel like it. If you pass by a restaurant that smells good, go and try it out. Take the metro and get off at a random stop. Indulge, for indulgence is the oil that smooths your senses.

Let’s break it down into our five wonderful, glorious senses and see how you can really feel the place where you are traveling to.

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1. Sight

What brings you most joy when you travel to, say, France: taking the ubiquitous snapshot of you pushing against the Eiffel tower or taking in the lovely sight of people carrying baguettes from the bakery. Take the road less traveled and explore the countryside. Find that place where all is quiet and you can see soft fields until the horizon. Watch the ocean and the waves coming and going. Or watch people, vibrant, colorful people that are making their way home in that exotic place they belong to.

2. Hearing

Take those earbuds out of your ears, switch off your volume, and listen to your holiday place. Is it a hustle-bustle, busy city in which people shout at each other in their foreign language? If you pay full attention, can you make sense of what they say? Can you learn a new language by feeling it?

What is the local music of the place that you are exploring? Can you walk into a pub at night and hear a local band play? Can you maybe even join a jam session in the street or on the beach? You don’t need to be able to play an instrument; as long as you can clap your hands, you can make music!

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3. Touch

Get back to the roots, get back to mother nature, and simply reach out your hands to feel the earth, the trees, the fabrics, the grains, and everything you can lay your hands on. If you are traveling with a partner, take the time to hold him/her close and feel that spark of love when you touch him/her before pointing at a beautiful sight in the distance.

Experience a local tradition: go to a local massage parlor, swim in the lake or river, and try out the bathing/sauna culture (if there is any) where you are going.

4. Taste

It’s not a bad habit to eat your way through a country. Try out whatever smells good to you, and buy random food from street vendors. Pay attention to the locals – where do they seem to hang out for dinner, what are they buying from the grocery store? Traveling to a far place to find yourself landing into the local Subway or McDonald’s is just sad. Use the opportunity to discover the specialties of the region. If possible, go tasting wine/beer/liquor and learn about the local brewing history.

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5. Smell

Follow your nose while you wander around a foreign city, and don’t be afraid to see what your gut tells you about these smells. Take deep breaths and pay true attention to what smells and information linger in the air. Can you distinguish the local spices? Can you smell the sea, even though you might be 20 minutes away from the beach?

Eat slowly and take enough time to admire your lovely exotic new foods, to smell them, and to be grateful for having this experience. Bring your senses together into your travel experience and truly have the location you are visiting sink into every single pore of your body.

If you ask me, sensual is the new slow travel. Enjoy!

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Eva Lantsoght

Eva is a university professor and a professional structural engineer. She writes about achieving excellence and success in life on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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