Maintaining a Spiritual Practice while traveling as a digital nomad

by | Jan 31, 2024 | 6 comments

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If you were raised by some part of Western modern society, you’ve probably come across “go-getter” articles a lot. What about “how to go about maintaining a spiritual practice”? Probably not quite as often. However, once we start traveling, working from different cultures, and engaging with locals of different mindsets, I’ve found that we often feel a deep, inexplicable inner yearning to pause…and look within. The desire of establishing and maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling emerges.

WELP, and then we pack our bags, jump onto a plane, and forget all about that inner sanctuary of peace, connection, and intuition!

Do I have to seek within? don’t I already seek enough just by traveling?

For years now, I’ve maintained, evolved, lost, changed, abandoned, and reconnected to an otherwise deeply dedicated spiritual practice. I’m not gonna lie – it’s easier to meditate amongst Thai culture than it is in the midst of London. Moreover, if you are on the spiritual path, you likely sense that the place you’re looking for is, in fact, inside yourself.

So how the heck do you go about maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling? Or even better: How could you possibly stay on the path of enlightenment while constantly packing and unpacking suitcases?

And let’s be real: why should you in the first place?

In order to properly answer this question, I’d like to first establish what spirituality is, and what it is not. Following, I will help you see how maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling can enhance your outer journey.

maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling
Yours Truly, under a tree in Kandy, Sri Lanka

What spirituality is, and what it is not

On your travels, heck simply by opening Instagram after reading this post, you’ll inevitably come across inauthentic spirituality. Sadly. Dangerously. So, Imma go on a bit of a rant here: #sorrynotsorry

Follow your heart/your bliss.”

I’m ok that this business failed. It wasn’t meant for me and I know the Universe has a plan for me and I’m accepting the signs it sends me.”

I have to meditate to manifest my dream partner.”

…This is what Woo-Woo Spirituality typically sounds like. And if applied without, or in place of, supported inner healing of the psyche, these practices can tempt you to engage in what’s called spiritual bypassing. Before you can count to 10, you’re playing with fire, and won’t even know you are. Frankly, it gives me the cringe, for two reasons:

  1. It’s inauthentic, misguided, oftentimes poorly studied/substantiated bullshit that gets milked for money.
  2. (and this is far more important in the long run) It’s dangerous. Statements like “follow your bliss” actually encourage the unhealed to remain in victim mindset and continue to give away control over their own lives.

For further reading on this, Dr. Christopher Wallis, one of my spiritual teachers who follows the tradition of nondual Shaiva Tantra, recently published a brilliant book about this topic. In Near Enemies of the Truth, he dives deep into how and why the above statements, alongside others, are dangerous. Inside, he analysis the harm the above “work” can cause. He shares what the actual meaning of each of these statements is, based on non dual Shaiva Tantra and other Asian traditions.

How to you tell woo-woo from true spirituality

Christopher Wallis gives us three simple, yet powerful tools to discern just that.

  1. Run what you receive through your inner filter of truth. Does what you hear sit right with you? If you were to take 5 minutes and get quiet to truly consider what you’re being told, does it resonate? Notice that your ego may want it to resonate. Say this to your ego: “I thank you so much for being here to protect me. I know you’re looking out for me. I’m perfectly safe right now. I’d like just five minutes of quiet time. How about you go on a walk?“. If your inner truth filter doesn’t like what it’s hearing, move on. You’ll know.
  2. Look around. Who are the people this teacher/guru/etc. gathers around? What are their results and their relationship with them? Does the community this teacher gathers seem cult-y to you? Are they being encouraged to think thoroughly for themselves? Is the teacher guiding their students into experimental meditation? Or are they telling them how to think in order to be spiritual? Spirituality is a process of un-doing, not adding to.
  3. Are you told to believe, or to disbelieve? Wallis offers a simple and powerful distinction between religion and spirituality: “Religion teaches us to believe in a particular thing. The path of spirituality asks us to un-believe in the construct our minds have made up in order to return to our essence-nature.” In order words, the true path of spirituality is an act of undoing, releasing, and letting go. A, at times, scary process. And one that certainly should be facilitated by a teacher who’s walked that path before.

Additionally, any authentic coach, therapist, or follower of a spiritual path will help you make sure of one thing. In order to practice the teachings of any spiritual path, you need to first heal the mind. Childhood trauma, PTSD, the mother/father wound, anxiety suffered after an unhealthy work-relationship, cannot be healed through spirituality. Similarly, a business strategy can’t be set forth or put into action on your meditation pillow. If you attempt to do so (if you’re guided to do so), you’re engaging in spiritual bypassing. That is, you’re using spiritual concepts to make yourself feel better. Doing so will result in avoiding dealing with and healing the actual psychological trauma. Or implementing your business plan. Thus, seeking out a professional coach or trained therapist is strongly recommended.

There isn’t one true spirituality

Make no mistake. While you are to beware of the aforementioned dangerous spiritual bullshit, there isn’t just one true path of spirituality either. That would violate the very three steps I laid out above to help you discern between grounded spirituality and woo-woo. However, all paths of spirituality do have a few practices in common. Ultimately, these practices, when advanced, may look different and serve a different goal. That said, the four I’m listing below will help you take the first step. That is to reconnect with yourself, to walk the path back to yourself, and to leave behind a world wherein you define yourself through the traits society has placed on you.

Again: engaging in these practices is powerful, and will help both your spiritual and mental advancement. However, these practices are not a replacement for hiring a coach, therapist, or counselor.

Why spirituality and travel are one

So often, I meet digital nomads or expats that, in one way, shape, or form, are seeking. Now they’re in Portugal. Next month, they’re meditating in Bali. And onwards to the next Ashram, retreat, or conference they go. Just one more country and I’ll have found where I’m meant to be.

I, and really the entire Way of the Founder Blog, suggest that the true journey can take place right here, on this very chair you’re sitting on. The outer journey can both be a facilitator of the inner journey and a result thereof. Whichever it is for you, I hold that you can travel to run away (no judgment, I’ve done this for years myself, and I help many clients to recognize this pattern and shift it) or to seek.

If you travel to seek, the true travel happens in stillness. So, let’s get some spiritual practices going that you can maintain while traveling. Practices that will help you maintain your travels in a grounded and connected way.

I’ll say this. Engaging in the below practices every day will serve you. AND, you’re not any less worthy of being human if you don’t engage in them. Consider the below practices to be an invitation to integrate your inner journey as a digital nomad/expat.

Maintaining your spiritual practice while traveling with Meditation

Wallis will often say “The real journey begins when you close your eyes and dive within.” Seated on your booty, eyes closed, focused only on your breath, noticing what comes through. This is meditation at its core. Above all, it’s a must-have spiritual practice for nomads. Yes, there are many meditation techniques, visualizations, and guides, and they all have a place and a time. And, if you’re just starting out on your inner spiritual journey, or if you usually listen to guided meditations, I invite you to allow yourself to now engage in quiet, wordless meditation.

Personally, I like to listen to frequency music while doing so. Two of my favorites are this music on YouTube and this Playlist on Spotify (I do recommend using the service that you pay a fee for in order to avoid Ads interrupting you). If you can drop into an inner state of peace without anyone’s guidance, meditation becomes a portable sanctuary for you as you travel.

Make no mistake though! This isn’t some cheap ‘travel meditation’ away from your meditation room back home! Meditation, if you allow yourself to surrender to that space of quiet, can help you transport yourself away while on a long-haul flight in the same manner as when you’re sitting in a Temple in Thailand. It’s an inner resource you get to discover and nourish.

Eventually, you’ll want to seek out meditation teachers and guided meditations. But if I had to choose between silent and guided meditation, 10/10 I’d go for silent meditation and make it a daily routine to anchor myself in the present moment, fostering a deeper connection with my inner self.

When, you ask?

Meditate for between 10 and 45 minutes every morning, ideally before or after 30 minutes of movement to help the energy you’re tapping into flow and move through your body.

maintain spiritual practice while traveling

Maintaining your spiritual practice while traveling with Journaling

It might sound simplistic. Journal. Sure, Dina. What else is on your genius mind, huh? Well, a lot actually, because I have not yet sat down to journal today. Especially as we travel, placing ourselves into ever-new environments, journaling becomes a cherished companion on our spiritual journey, capturing the essence of our experiences and reflections.

Not only that but through journaling, we slow our thoughts down to the speed at which we’re writing (and yes, I mean writing by hand, not typing). Through journaling, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to self-reflect on your inner journey: how are you relating to yourself in different cultures? Is there something you find peculiar about your current country, and why? What does this remind you of? Journaling is a crucial conduit for this sort of introspection.

While I encourage you to reflect on your day through journaling, I want to highlight one specific kind of journaling: gratitude journal. Being able to travel is such a privilege, and doing so healthily and happily is not a given. That coffee in front of you, don’t take it for granted. Notice the birds chirping, the sunset’s reflection in the water. In offering yourself this sort of mindful reflection while exploring, gratitude becomes a compass guiding you through the labyrinth of your spiritual journey. By acknowledging the beauty and abundance around you, you cultivate a mindset of appreciation that transcends the challenges of the road.

When, you ask?

I suggest you journal for at least 20 minutes every day. You could do this right after your meditation, or before going to bed. Traveling solo? Bring your journal to dinner. Speaking of maintaining a journal as a digital nomad: I don’t lug around all of my paper journals, no. I actually had a Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite tablet which I loved to journal on. The pen is included in the price, and the writing experience is smooth and immediate, and the tablet is smart enough to not detect your handball. And as the name suggests, it’s light, as well.

That said, clumsy Me just broke the screen of her Galaxy. So she’s about to buy an iPad Air.

maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling
I use my digital ‘Journal’ for anything: journaling, visioning, planning client sessions, reflection on client calls…

Maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling wiht A Course in Miracles

While the previous two practices tend to be done in solitude, the third suggestion should be done in community. And that is to study the wisdom of A Course in Miracles.

I’ve recently become a student of ACIM and must say, it’s a daily practice not simply in reflection, but in letting myself be undone. Integrating an online community study of ACIM has provided a guiding light for me on my own journey of disconnecting myself from internalized beliefs about the material world that have pulled me further away from my essence-nature.

Specifically, I study ACIM with the wonderful Robert and Hollie Holden. Robert has been my mentor for years now, and a coach and guide alike in helping me redefine my relationship to success through his wonderful work around Success Intelligence, ACIM, and Purpose.

In the introduction to A Course in Miracles, it says: The course is mandatory, only when you take it is voluntary. Might as well be while you’re traveling, don’t you think? ACIM offers one lesson a day, and as you move from place to place, delving into the teachings of the Course will allow you to embrace its principles of forgiveness, love, and inner peace.

In my experience, studying ACIM while traveling offers practical lessons that have a way of aligning with daily life in oddly synchronous ways. ACIM transcends geographical boundaries, reminding you to see the world through unconditioned, forgiving eyes.

Where, how, when, you ask?

Studying the course can be daunting, for sure. Typically, teachers offering community around the course, start their course on January 1, as there are 365 lessons in the ACIM workbook. However, Robert and Hollie Holden, who have taught the course to 1000 of students over the years, do still accept students via this link. Once enrolled, simply go to the lesson of today, and allow the flow to guide you. Who knows, perhaps I’ll see you there?

Click here to sign up for Robert and Hollie’s “Everyday Miracles”.

Maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling with Yoga

Yes, yoga. Yes, movement. And yes, you can do this every day, no matter where. Maintaining a regular yoga practice helps you deepen your study of traditional texts, integrate your insights somatically, and develop a wholly new relationship with your body. It also offers access to and participation in the kind of spiritual community that has actually studied the material over the course of years.

Yoga is part of many different ancient Asian traditions, and for good reason. Yoga, if practiced daily, can further your experience of meditation, deepen your intellectual and instinctual understanding of the teachings, and is, in fact, a crucial part of many paths of enlightenment. And, contrary to popular belief, it does build muscle, lots of it. In brief, yoga builds mental, physical, and spiritual stamina.

How, when, where, you ask?

I suggest you do three things: First of all, make some space in your suitcase, and travel with a Yoga mat. Personally, I use this one and love it because it is very light and not slippery at all.

Secondly, you’ll want to sign up for a membership with Glo.com which offers a fantastic library of some of the best yoga teachers out there. They offer a vast library of different sorts of yoga (Vinyasa, Hatha, etc.), and also offer life classes. If you sign up through this link, you get two entire months for free.

And thirdly, enroll in yoga classes locally whenever you can. While there is absolutely no hindrance to doing yoga right next to your bed every morning, you do want to get a teacher to guide you through a routine live, helping you align your body properly, and coming together in community with people on a similar spiritual path as often as possible.

I learned so much from Ashton, my tantric yoga teacher in Ubud, Bali. He co-founded the Alchemy Yoga and Meditation Center in Bali.

Concluding words

As you embark on your nomadic odyssey, remember that your spiritual practice is not confined to a specific location. If you embrace it as such, your outer journey can become a deeply fulfilling spiritual adventure, where every step becomes a sacred dance with the universe. However, you have a choice to make:

Are you traveling to hide, or to seek? By integrating meditation, journaling, A Course in Miracles, and yoga into your travel routine, your outer travels will begin to facilitate a journey of deep, inner seeking.

Carry on Your Way and Read this next:

6 Comments

  1. Simone

    Hey there! What a refreshing take on the importance of maintaining a spiritual practice while traveling. It’s true, amidst the hustle and bustle of exploring new cultures and experiences, that inner sanctuary can easily slip our minds. Your insights really hit home for me, especially about finding that balance between worldly adventures and inner reflection. Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      So happy to hear that this post was valuable for you. I acknowledge your intention to continue to find balance while adventuring. Hope to see you around here again soon!
      love, Dina

      Reply
  2. Monique Viana

    Traveling is wonderful and it can be so exhausting in so many ways, so meditation is very important for me to be fully present and enjoy better my experiences. I’m gonna try to get into the habit of journaling now. Thank you for this amazing post!! I can’t wait for more content on this topic <3

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      You’re so welcome! Do let me know what your experience of journaling intentionally is like. All the best of blessings and loving for your onwards journey! <3

      Reply
  3. Diego Becerra-Paez

    Hey Dina! This hits right at home for me! Your insights on spirituality and travel are spot on with my personal travel inner thoughts. It’s like you’ve uncovered a whole new layer of understanding for me though.

    Your take on distinguishing between genuine spirituality and “Woo-Woo Spirituality” really resonated with me. It’s so important to cut through the noise and focus on what truly matters.

    And those tips for staying grounded while traveling? That was huge for me! it’ so easy sometimes to loose track of your intentions while traveling, so this helps a lot.

    Thanks for sharing!! You’ve inspired me to add a bit more mindfulness to my travels.

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      So glad to hear this was helpful! Here’s to experience the journey around the globe even more deeply. Best of wishes, blessings, and loving for your onward journey through life. Love, Dina

      Reply

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