3 Tips for Mindful Travel from Muni’s Jen Horn

These days, it’s easy to get caught up in life’s demands and the distractions brought on by technology and social media that we fail to slow down and think about the small but important things. MUNI is here to change that. This growing community of creatives advocates mindful living, wherein people are more conscious about the daily decisions they make and how these impact the world in the long run. At the helm of this initiative is Jen Horn, also known as Nomad Manager.

Although Jen believes that her brainchild wasn’t inspired by a single event alone, there’s no denying that travel played an important role in it. During the recent Belle de Jour Rendezvous, she shared how she’d experienced an existential crisis a few years ago that led to her decision to load her backpack and take off for a two-and-a-half-months-long solo trip around Asia. All that traveling exposed her to new experiences and gave her time to think about what it was that she really wanted to do. Her return to the Philippines saw her working to turn MUNI from an idea into reality.

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We’ve already given you reasons to travel more and ways to save up for it. Now, Jen weighs in on the subject with her tips on how you can travel more mindfully. Read on for easy, practical advice from this seasoned wanderer.

1. Leave no trace.

It may be human nature to want to leave a mark in the world, but there are better—not to mention legal—ways to do that other than littering and vandalizing. “The world is not an ashtray,” Jen reminded us. “Cigarette butts are the single most collected item in coastal cleanups.” Ensure that other travelers will be able to enjoy the place as much as you did in the years to come by respecting its original state. As the popular saying goes, “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.”

 

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2. Be a good guest.

When you’re on a high from being in that foreign city you’ve always dreamed of, it’s easy to lose your inhibitions and want to live it up YOLO style. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re a guest in someone else’s home. What’s normal to you may be a no-no to them. “Be sensitive to local customs and traditions,” Jen advised, “Don’t be intrusive.” This isn’t just limited to humans but also applies to animals, such as when you go diving. Show everyone and everything the same respect that you’d want to be given in your own home.

 

3. Do more than take Instagrammables.

Sure, we’d all love to have gorgeous photos to show off to our friends and to serve as keepsakes of our awesome vacation. However, there are even better souvenirs that you can bring home, and those are your memories. Jen said, “Immerse yourself in the places. Get to know the people.” Take a breather from your camera to experience the moment with all your senses. When you stop worrying over taking that perfect shot, you make way for discoveries that’ll give your trip so much more dimension. Then you’ll be able to look back and tell stories, not just show places.

 

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