Despite my most ardent attempts to slow down, breathe, and appreciate the present moment, I struggle with an innate desire for efficiency. Unless I deliberately set out to do otherwise, I reflexively plan the most direct route from points A to B and begin mapping out my exit strategy and budgeting time for my next three engagements as soon as I enter the first. While traveling with my husband over the weekend, however, I was reminded of a tool that helps set the tone for a more mindful day: the museum stroll.
Whenever we escape town, we try to start the first day away with a visit to a local art museum. We enjoy seeing different perspectives of beauty and how residents of a given area choose to highlight their treasures.
In addition to enjoying the aesthetics of the pieces on display, starting our day with a museum visit has the added benefit of setting the perfect vacation pace. Whether we find ourselves in bustling international capitals or sleepy, remote towns, the deliberate, measured tempo required to observe and appreciate stays with us throughout the rest of the trip's adventures. The museum stroll tunes us into a greater awareness of our surroundings - often causing us to notice a flyer on a lamp post advertising an off-the-beaten-path festival taking place later in the day or prompting us to pop into an unassuming store front that ends up being a hidden gem of a tea shop.
The museum stroll needn't be confined to a vacation - and you don't actually need a museum at all. Next time you find yourself rushing from one commitment to the next, give it a try. Simply slow your pace and proceed with eyes open to your surroundings. See what hidden treasures are embedded in your day to day routine.