March 29, 2018

Whether it’s camping, jetting off to a foreign land, or settling in for a cozy staycation, a trip is your chance to escape the daily grind and focus on you. As you put up that OOO message or slide your phone into Do Not Disturb mode, you might think to yourself, “Finally! More time to focus on who I’m striving to be.”

Maybe you imagine fearlessly navigating off the beaten path while befriending locals, or finding inspiration for new perspectives on life. Or, you’re just excited about a chance to mentally refresh. Studies show that travel can enhance our creativity, make us more open to things outside our comfort zone, and reduce stress, according to PsychCentral.

But even on vacations, we tend to get caught up in other things and forget our time-off goals. Or, we don’t know how to create the trip we envision. If we’re not intentional with our time spent away, we often come back to our desk feeling maybe a little sunburnt, but otherwise no different.

Even on vacations, we tend to get caught up in other things and forget our time-off goals.

We’ve personally felt the struggle of wanting more out of our adventure time but not knowing how to achieve it. A few years ago, the two of us traveled to Southeast Asia on a celebratory graduation trip. We wanted to use the vacation to kick start a better version of ourselves—but we weren’t intentional enough with our limited time away. We didn’t take time to ask ourselves, “What are my goals while I’m away? What mental practices will I instill each day to keep me on track?”

That trip—and frustration—inspired us to create a mindful travel journal, one that could help us and others get the most benefits out of a trip. We created the BVOY Travel Journal as a way to guide people’s thoughts and intentions on their journey.

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Although a trip won’t transform you completely and immediately, we believe that it can be a powerful catalyst for living the life you envision.

Here are five tips you can use for the next time you’re on vacation—whether it’s a weekend getaway or even a short visit to a new nearby town.

1. Set One Vacation Goal

Before you hit the road (or skies, or couch for a decadent day) ask yourself: What is one thing you can develop on your adventure?

Maybe you want to be open to new social interactions with others. Once you have your goal, think of specific things you can do on your trip to reach it. One idea: You could try chatting with store cashiers about the local restaurant scene.

Continue to revisit your goal to ensure you stay committed to it. Then, reflect on things you’re learning about yourself along the way. Maybe you learned that people are more open when you start the conversation with a question.

The key in setting a goal and tackling it is to embrace the journey and take chances! There’s no harm in trying even if it doesn’t work out the way you intended—that’s all part of the adventure.

2. Get in a Positive Morning Headspace

Start each day by thinking about what brings you joy. What are you looking forward to and what do you want to feel as you go through the day?

By starting your day on the right foot, it’ll keep you open to unexpected opportunities and optimistic as you try things. Maybe you’re excited about visiting a market and you imagine yourself asking the owner about her business. Imagining things going right can help you feel more positive about the upcoming experience.

3. Set Your Mindset For the Day

We can’t control everything in life. As much as we set goals and plan, there are many external factors that are simply out of our hands—especially when we’re exploring somewhere new. What we can control is our attitude.

Maximize each day by setting a new mindset in the morning. Maybe your mindset for the day is, “Show compassion to other people.” Find a mindset that can make it easier to roll with whatever the day may bring.

4. Reflect on What You Learned

After a day’s journey, take time to reflect on what you learned from the day. This will ensure you keep growing intentionally during your vacation.

Remember to be kind to yourself during your reflection. Balance your thoughts between what you did do well along with what you did not do well. Maybe you learned that being compassionate isn’t an easy practice, but you can keep trying by being generous through your actions.

5. Make Time For Gratitude

Sometimes, it feels like “goals” are just reminders that we currently aren’t enough. It’s important to keep improving, but it’s also just as important to recognize what you already have and how far you’ve already come. You are already enough.

While you travel, reflect on what you’re grateful for—whether it’s your ability to travel, the way you organized the trip around all the best breakfast spots, your stellar travel buddy—and remind yourself that you already have so much going for you.

We hope you feel inspired on your next adventure—and make sure to bring your intentions and purpose along for the ride.

Read next: Your Next Great Trip Is a Microadventure