Mental Souvenir Visualization

You’ve spent months dreaming of this trip, and now it’s coming to an end. But, if only there you had a way to bottle it up and take it home with you…

Post-meditation glow on the Parisian apartment rooftop!

Post-meditation glow on the Parisian apartment rooftop!

I’ve felt this way many times, probably on every trip I’ve ever gone on! It wasn’t until I went on my dream trip to Paris that I actually did something about it though. With the help of a guided meditation/visualization, I sat on an apartment rooftop overlooking a courtyard with the Eiffel Tower in the distance and mentally absorbed as many details as possible. It was a truly magical experience to feel so connected to Paris and take one last really good look at everything. Also, it feels amazing to realize how abundant you are to create a big trip for yourself and express gratitude for that. Because I locked it in with meditation, even now I can take myself right back to the smells, temperature, images, and energy of that Parisian rooftop anytime I want.

You don’t have to be an experienced meditator or yogi to do this either. As long as you can breathe, you can make a mental souvenir of any and every place you travel. Following are the simple instructions to guide you through the breathing and visualization. You can take as little as five to ten minutes to go through all the steps, or take as long as you’d like.

1. Breathe and Relax
Find an ideal spot that will be memorable and is quiet (or semi-quiet) where you can sit comfortably and be undisturbed. Once you are situated, close your eyes and begin breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth—take long, deep, slow breaths. Begin with getting relaxed by breathing one to two breaths into each body part starting with your feet and working your way up.

2. Abundance and Gratitude
When you feel calm and relaxed, keep the long, deep breaths going and do a short mental recap of all the joy and happiness of your trip. Visualize all the best moments like you’re watching a highlight reel. Feel the abundance you created to make this trip happen for yourself. You did it, you are that powerful! Express gratitude for this abundance and thank the Universe/God/the All That Is for your experience.

3. Focus on Your Senses
Now, open your eyes and keep the breathing cycle going. With the mental clarity you have created, look around at your location slowly breathing in every detail from all of your senses. Feel the temperature and freshness of the air on your skin—is it warm or cool, breezy or still, humid or dry? As you breathe it in, take in any aromas in the air. It may be flowers, nearby food, fresh rain, pine trees, or just general city smells. Whatever it is, identify it and take it in. If there is a breeze, listen to it alongside any other sounds—the ocean or river flowing, music, city noise of people and traffic, or even sirens and airplanes in the distance. All of it is beauty and character that makes this place. Soak it all in. Now move on to your sense of sight, looking around and taking in everything around you. Focus on the details of the buildings and structures, whether it is a hut on the beach or a centuries-old building somewhere in Europe. If there are people walking by, don’t view the busyness as a distraction, take them in too. Look at how colorful they are in contrast with the background, check out their style—maybe they are dressed in a way that symbolizes the culture of wherever you are at. Next, look at any plants, trees, and animals in the landscape. It may be as lush as the jungle in Hawaii or as barren as the Sahara Desert, just breathe in the richness of the colors and your view no matter where you are. Imagine you are seeing this view for the first time with a fresh set of eyes; everything is so bright and beautiful, even the shades of gray and brown. Finally, breathe it all in together with the focus on joining all your senses. Touch, smell, hear, and see the location all at once.

4. Lock in Your Mental Image
Once you feel it all come together, close your eyes again. Focus on seeing the same image but now with your eyes closed. Recount the picture in your mind, from the colors to the buildings and from the feel of the air to the scent of the city. Keep breathing those long, deep breaths and see this mental picture of the location become more vivid and more detailed. You can see it so clearly it’s almost like your eyes are open. Breathe it in, and now thank yourself for this trip and experience one more time. Feel the love, open your eyes, and go on about your day.

Now you can come back to this place anytime. All you have to do is close your eyes, focus on the deep breathing (in through your nose and out through your mouth), and pull in this mental image you created with all of your senses.

I would love to see or hear about the beautiful places you find to do this visualization in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #MindfulTraveler.

Some of my favorite meditation spots I've discovered on my travels...