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Matthew McConaughey Shares His Life Changing Trip to the Desert

The actor opened up to Departures about how he makes travel a mindfulness practice.


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Matthew McConaughey is undoubtedly known for his acting. But he's become a bit of a mindfulness guru, too. The Oscar winner has led talks on finding happiness and has been open about his meditation practice. Those two passions recently came together when the star was part of a virtual meditation and panel hosted by automotive company Lincoln and meditation app Calm. Departures had the opportunity to chat with the longtime Lincoln spokesman and Calm narrator as part of this event to learn how he makes road trips a mindful practice. Plus, he reveals details about a recent life-changing trip to the desert.

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Why is this partnership particularly important to you?

"My relationship with Lincoln has always been authentic, which is something I look for when partnering with a brand. The panel was a nice fit as my mindset is heavily influenced by my environment, and I am sure many people are equally as affected. I try to spend my time in spaces that inspire me and foster good energy, be it my home, my workspace, and even my car. Sanctuary can be found wherever you are–in any of these places. I think it's a nice fit that Lincoln has now made Calm accessible to their clients, to help cultivate that sense of sanctuary for anyone, anywhere. It's a great way to achieve the balance many are looking for, especially during this time."

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life?

"When I need to decompress, even if I'm short on time, I try to find a personal sanctuary where I can unwind. My relationship with music has been very important to me over the last few months. Some peaceful, alone time doesn't have to be in the same space every time. It can be a quiet room, a bench in the park, or in my car on the open road."

Is it possible to turn a road trip into a mindful activity?

"No matter what you do, it's important to make time to connect with yourself, to slow down and appreciate life. Sometimes, we'll just take off on a drive as a family and head towards the horizon to watch the sunset or sunrise. It's a constant reminder that there is always a new day on the horizon. It's also important to spend time alone for everyone, sometimes a nice drive is what you need."

Where's the most relaxing place you've traveled?

"I've been keeping a diary for 36 years, and a couple of years ago, I finally decided it was time to sit down with these thoughts and make something of it. So I went away to the desert by myself for about what turned out to be 52 days to see what it was, and found a really reliable theme that sort of came out of it: Greenlights, which is the title of my memoir that comes out in October (pre-order: $23, It's an optimistic book. It is a memo. It's stories, prescriptions, poems, prayers, people, and places that I gathered. Ultimately, I noticed that many red lights and yellow lights that I experienced earlier in my life, with time, turned green. For example, we're in the middle of a big yellow light, And some people are in the middle of red lights. It makes me think about this: Can we foresee a day, if we handle ourselves right now, that we can look back at this very awkward and tragic year, and realize that it was the beginning of a foundational change, individually, worldwide. This time can even be a green light."


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