05 Oct How traveling taught me to listen: {stop. look. listen.}

[caption id="attachment_2175" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Appreciate quite moments in unfamiliar places.[/caption] So you’re sitting in a busy coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon, chatting with a friend who is just across the table from you. Although there are at least 20 other people in this small space all having their own conversations, it is no problem for you to tune out the other conversations around you and engage in your own. Think of all the words, sayings, inflections, laughs, exclamations, et cetera that are happening in this little shop, and yet your brain has no problem focusing on only the words involved in your conversation. When broken down like this, it may seem like some sort of feat that we all do this everyday when really it is like a second nature now. That all changes when you’re tossed into an entirely new culture and language, however… I remember my first few moments in Prague: it was like all of my senses were heightened and sharpened. I could hear everything, smell everything, and see everything so clearly—talk about overwhelming ( in the best way! ). I especially remember my ears being entirely alert because of the new language surrounding me. New sounds, new words, new accents—and although I couldn’t understand any of it yet, I was entirely intrigued and loved listening. Listening: something I came back from Europe much better at. Of course it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, always. It’s especially...

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01 Sep Writing and the Brain: Making the most of your travel journal

[caption id="attachment_2186" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Travel journals are such a great tool! Especially when you get a chance to go look back on them.[/caption] What is it about writing—the physical act of pen to paper—that seems to have this eternal, romanticized life? With technology perpetually on the rise, this seemingly old-fashioned event has yet to decline. Maybe it’s because studies show that physically writing helps with memory by bringing the information you’re working with to the literal forefront of the brain which helps you pay closer attention to what you’re writing. On top of that, listening combined with writing assists the brain in filtering out less relevant information and as you continue to add neurologically stimulating layers (ie. creative writing, storytelling, etc) and interactive ploys, your brain catches on even faster and naturally remembers the “important” stuff. Studies also show that writing, as far as our brains are concerned, might as well be doing—by writing, we can easily trick our brains into “rehearsing” or even experiencing...

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