is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.


This week I released the hand-crafted TAO OF TRAVEL bangles, created in collaboration with my legendary friend Brock Fitzgerald. But you might not really know what I mean by TAO OF TRAVEL.

Essentially, it means travelling mindfully, as a way to discover more about yourself and the world.

It means engaging in slow travel, having no set agenda and spending more time in destinations to truly connect with the people who live there, to learn more about their way of life and to impart some of your own knowledge onto them. Which includes letting go of the need to control, unclenching our fists from around our expectations, and embracing the uncertainty that every moment holds when we travel.

It means treading lightly across the globe, being conscious of what you consume while you’re on the move – both in terms of food (local, organic and sustainable is the ideal) and of the treasures you collect. Purchasing pieces that are made locally and by hand can help keep the communities you come into contact with financially viable, and can also empower local craftsmen to keep their beautiful traditions alive.

TAO OF TRAVEL means staying present while you’re moving across the earth and enjoying the moment. It means being at peace with – as twee at it may sound – the journey as well as the destination, putting one foot in front of the other and truly engaging with your environment rather than rushing around like a spinning top, trying to see everything and ending up not really seeing anything. It means putting down your iPhone or camera and truly seeing where you are, rather than through a filtered barrier.

In order to properly take stock of my adventures and absorb all the wisdom and inspiration I come into contact with on the road, I find I need a few travel essentials to help me reach my TAO OF TRAVEL.

* Comfy shoes for walking meditations of a morning, when the world is just waking up and when you can feel like you have most places to yourself.

* Ayu Black Musk Ayurvedic hand-blended oil, an exotic, healing scent that uplifts and grounds me at the same time… and keeps me feeling sexy even if I haven’t showered for days.

* Helios Homeopathy travel kit, which my husband recently bought me and which I now cannot leave home without. It includes 36 homeopathic remedies specifically for the traveller – Argent Nit for anxiety and Ignatia for homesickness are especially useful for me.

* Tiny travel teapot from China and a some loose leaf organic tea from Global Tea Hut, so I can start the day with some mindful sipping to get me in the zone to properly engage with the destination that day.

* Yoga mat in its Nagnata bejewelled bag, to make sure my body stays stretchy and limber on the road.

* Leather-bound travel journal for nightly reflections.

Now I’m not going to lie and say I’m always mindful when I’m away. Given what I do for work I often need to embody that spinning top, fitting in as much as is humanly possible into a day to create full, useful stories often with minimal time. But when I have been conscious and present? Well, it has led to some profoundly magic moments.

Like the entire day I spent just breathing, talking and offering flowers to the Ganga river with a heartbreakingly kind sadhu in Rishikesh. Like the afternoon I left my phone and camera at home in Burgundy and took my old bike for a spin through the vines for hours, not caring where I was going or that I was missing out on capturing some of the most stunning scenery I’d witnessed in my life. Or like the hour I spent on a hot, hazy afternoon in Zambia, simply sitting in silence and watching a group of ten baby wild dogs, one of the rarest safari sights, play happily in the dirt.


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