How I Make Travel More Meaningful

I’ve had many memorable moments traveling the world — but mostly, I went on new adventures a bit blindly. I wasn’t being intentional with my time in exploring a new place.

My goal was to travel once a month in 2017. I also wanted to be more mindful about learning, growing, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. After aligning my travel activities with personal values, going somewhere became more simple and meaningful.


I am a big fan of journaling — I call it introspective self-therapy. Through journaling, I learned a lot about myself because I was forced to examine my daily habits, routines, productivity, and emotions and then write it down, with intentional prompts that encourage growth.

For example — what did I learn each day? What could I improve upon? How am I growing, as a human?

I started making lists of what was important to me — my values, my beliefs, and eventually, my mantras were born.

My ‘life mantras’

  • Embrace a growth mindset.
  • Take responsibility for everything in your life.
  • Build and maintain strong relationships.
  • Be fearless.
  • Be grateful.
  • Be physically healthy, active and strong.
  • Spend money on feeding your soul.
  • Help others.

Once I figured this part out, it was a lot easier to figure out what I wanted out of my travels and as a result, I felt less indecisive about what I want to do.

Not only is it a waste of brain space, it can be paralyzing when you’re alone and don’t have your travel companion to help make the decision for you.

What I enjoy doing


I love walking. I used to run a lot, and after years of pounding the pavement, my foot has finally quit on me. I self-diagnosed my left foot with a mean case of plantar fasciitis, so this year I stopped running and I just walk everywhere.

I load up my phone with audiobooks and podcasts and go. I sometimes use this time to meditate too — walking meditations are challenging, but it can be done.

I use walking as a great way to see a new city. Sometimes I’ll listen to audiobooks about a particular city while I’m walking — it’s my poor man’s version of a walking tour, sort of.

Museums, historic homes, art galleries, the “hot spots” of town.

It’s an educational way to see a city, especially if it has a rich history. It’s also inexpensive.

Music venues

Mostly in intimate settings, like local bars.


The more the merrier. I have a terrible weakness for coffee, lattes, and desserts.

Public transportation

It’s a great and inexpensive way to see the city. My rule is to only take Uber/Lyft if it’s past midnight or if I’m dead tired.

Local supermarket

Spending money on every meal is a waste of money. I usually go to the local supermarket in town and load up on breakfast foods and healthy snacks like yogurt, oatmeal, almonds, bananas, and apples.

Otherwise, I’d be stopping at every single cafe and ordering up some kind pastry.

Movie theaters

I love movies. For Christmas, I was given a MoviePass card, which gives me the power to watch a movie every single day. In the theater! The MoviePass didn’t come in handy when I was overseas because it’s not accepted.

However, I watched movies in some really memorable places, including a tiny theater in New Zealand that only fit 15 people and looked more like a conference room with a big screen than an actual theater. I also watched a movie in Christchurch that was connected to an actual DVD store. It had a porn section and everything!

But the best was in Sydney. The theater was super fancy and didn’t have any actual people working at the concession. All of the popcorn and treats were dispensed from vending machines!

Outdoorsy stuff

The local city park

Depending on the weather, I will always make my way to see some trees, soak up the sun, and go for a long walk and check out the scenery.


Not every city has this, but it’s worth Googling. When I was in Montreal, I found out that there was a decent staircase hike that goes to the top of the city called Plateau Mont Royal.

Local farmers market/fresh food

This is also an awesome way to see what the locals are doing, and eat something good too.

Horseback riding

If the town is mostly scenic with an abundance of nature, I’ll always check to see if there are any tours that offer horseback riding.

I love horses, and I’ve been riding since high school. After years of riding sad, defiant trail horses who don’t listen to your commands, I was finally able to ride a real horse IN Alaska. It was a 2,000-pound behemoth draft horse!