The Most Underrated Travel Activity: Doing Nothing

If you look at the Instagram feed of anyone on vacation, it tends to look pretty glamorous.

Visiting Australia’s Fraser Island ✅

Hiking in that beautiful national park ✅

Praying at a holy temple ✅

The image we get is that travel is filled with constant stimulation. Constant experiences. Constant fun. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. But the truth is travel isn’t all exciting. Travel isn’t all glamorous. Travel isn’t always a big adventure.

There are days where you deal with food poisoning.
There are days where you stay shut up in your hostel and just watch Netflix.
There are days where you find a quiet spot in a coffee shop next to an outlet to write blog posts (today — hint, hint).

But by far some of the best days during travel are the unknown and unspoken days where you just do nothing.

Doing nothing is difficult.

But it’s hard to do nothing. We’re constantly reminded of the fun everyone else is having on social media. Look at all the colors! We’re constantly reminded of the plans everyone else has when we hear how busy they are. It’s easy to feel left out. And it’s just as easy to fill your day with something, anything, so you don’t feel left out.

But the even harder thing is something no one really talks about: just being alone with yourself. Are you happy with you? Do you enjoy your own company? It’s hard to just be without anything to distract you from you. That’s why so few people do it. But it is worth it.

Doing nothing is freeing.

Setting aside time to just be present is so valuable.

It allows you to slow down and appreciate where you are and what you have.
It allows you to recoup and recenter.
It helps you to be okay with the quiet moments.
It gives you time to learn that it’s okay not to be okay.

How to do nothing.

Go for a walk…and then just keep walking. Spend the whole day walking around with your eyes up and your mind open. Reflect on what you see. Let your mind wander. Soak in the quietness of that country road or the hecticness of the downtown market.

Stay in a coffee shop…and just look out the window. Savor every sip of that tea. Breathe in the pungent aromas of fresh ground coffee. Observe all the people walking by just beyond the glass window.

Sit by the lake…and just breathe in the fresh air. Watch the birds circle around overhead. Focus on the cool breeze against the back of your neck. Close your eyes as you feel the sun’s warmth. Just sit and be in awe of everything around you and what brought you to this exact moment.

There is beauty in quiet…being alone…reflecting.

Make some plans to do nothing.