The value of mindful escape

Allowing ourselves to stop, breathe and recharge doesn't always come easy. For me, that chance was unexpected but very much welcomed this week.

I was lucky enough to travel to outback Australia for work during the week. Our destination: the Central Western Queensland town of Winton.

Now I claim to have "gone west" before - read: away from the cities and coastline - but I admit a dedicated trip to the iconic outback had not been high on my travel list just yet.

Dirt roads and sunsets that last for hours - my visit to Winton in regional Australia.

But not only did I come back feeling refreshed, I returned home inspired by yet another amazing part of Australia's landscape, and most of all, the people who live there.

Getting out of your usual routine can do wonders. Going somewhere you wouldn't normally can really be the escape you need from what seems like an endless to-do list.

It's no secret I am striving to live more mindfully, particularly around the way I consume and the footprint I'll leave behind. I'm an aspiring minimalist (it's a work in progress!) and I carefully consider my choices.

Flocks of birds above Winton.

This definitely translates to an appreciation of what the world - and even your own doorstep - has to offer. It may be the natural landscape, it may be the kindness of strangers. Stop to take it in and you may be surprised.

In a world where we're regularly experiencing strange weather patterns, our climate scientists are increasingly frustrated, and it seems things continue to change for the worse, escaping our daily worlds and embracing a different one can also bring a bit of hope.

A long-lasting outback sunset from the heights of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs exhibit.

There is so much to be grateful for; there is still so much natural beauty in this world. The more of us who embrace this, who take the time to stop and be mindful, the more likely we are to see change in the way we need it most.

So get out there! I'd love to hear if you've had an inspiring escape somewhere. Was it something you expected?

-  Ash

P.s. Travelling doesn't change my approach to waste - I brought my steel drink bottle, my reusable coffee cup, a drawstring bag and small containers for snacks. These don't take up much room in your luggage and they can make a real difference.

By the second day, the owner of the motel (who also tended the bar) recited "no straw" when I asked for my drink! Small change can make an impression.


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