January, that time of year where we all decide that THIS is the year that we are going to achieve all our goals. From losing weight to learning new skills, we all start the year with resolutions of some sort. Travel can help us achieve some of these goals, especially if we are “forced” to do them. After all, if we are staying on a retreat that only serves healthy vegetarian food then our goal to eat less meat becomes a lot easier.
Below are trips that will hopefully help us with our well-being and bring a sense of meaningfulness to our travels. Some are following in ancient traditions where others are designed for life in the 21st century.
Meditation is the ancient practice of calming the mind to promote calmness, love, compassion, generosity, forgiveness and much more. It is practiced all over the world and has huge benefits to our general well-being.
There are meditation retreats all over the world practicing all kinds of meditation. Here are a few we found:
Wat Suan Mokkh – Thailand – They practice Vipassana meditation at this world-famous retreat.
Ananda Spa – India – Here they tailor the meditation to each person’s needs.
Shambhala Mountain Centre – USA – With over 100 different programs, we are sure you will find a meditation that suits you.
If you want to know why it’s like to be in a meditation retreat, check out this great blog posts:
Ringing in the New Year with 10 days of silent meditation
We all know that fuzzy feeling when we help someone. We feel good right? There are countless studies proving the more we help people/nature/wildlife, the happier we become. On our volunteering pages we have responsible volunteering opportunities all over the world. From monitoring turtles in Cape Verde to helping the dogs and cats of Koh Lanta in Thailand.
We are very selective on what volunteering opportunities appear on our site. You will not find any orphanages or any type of volunteering with children.
Responsible volunteering can literally change lives, the people you are helping and your own.
The act of walking is so underrated. Every now and then, we take a walk in our local forest. After just a few minutes I can feel my body and mind start to relax. There are no e-mails, tv, or phone calls to distract me, just the simple task of placing one foot in front of the other. If you feel like that after a few minutes, imagine how you will feel after a walking holiday.
There are many ancient pilgrimage walks to enjoy around the world. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy them and fitness levels vary from walk to walk.
The Camino de Santiago in Spain is probably the most famous pilgrimage walk. Our friend Flora recently took on the 400 kilometer challenge and has written some great posts about her experience.
Other ancient routes are:
The via Francigena – A walk from Canterbury, England to Rome, Italy
The Kumano Kodo are a series of pilgrimage walks in Japan.
Meditation and Yoga go hand in hand together. In fact many people learn how to meditate before they practice yoga. Like meditation retreats, Yoga retreats generally serve vegetarian food and have other activities going on in them. Yoga began around the 6th century BC in India. Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical side of yoga are used to help with health problems, reduce stress and make the spine more supple, something that most of us need now we are more desk prone.
Digital Detox Holiday
Digital detox holidays are relatively new but are becoming more and more important. You may find it strange that a travel blogger is encouraging you to switch off your devices and zone out for a while but as someone who is online for most of the day, I know how important it is to have internet free days. At weekends I rarely go online and I feel so much better for it.
Now there are companies and hotels that cater for people who need to switch off for a while. You will have no wifi signal, no mobile signal and in some places no t.v. You will have to talk to your fellow guests, read books and go for walks. I don’t know about you but it seems like bliss!
For some ideas of where to do a digital detox, check out this blog: Top 6 places for a digital detox
I love the idea of learning something whilst on holiday. Imagine yourself coming back from a trip feeling totally relaxed and knowing basic Spanish at the same time. There are hundreds if not thousands of choices when it comes to learning trips. Fancy yourself as the next Masterchef? Why not go on a cooking holiday in Tuscany, Italy? Or do you see yourself as the next David Bailey? Then you can go on a photography course in Morocco.
When we learn something that we enjoy, we get into a state of flow. By being in this state, all other thoughts leave our mind. Without knowing it time flies and we become very relaxed. At the same time we have learnt something new, a win-win situation.
Monastery or Nunnery Stays
If you want to get away from it all for a while and enjoy some peace and quiet then a Monastery or Nunnery stay could be just for you. You don’t have to be religious to stay in many monasteries, although some insist that you attend the ceremonies.
Italy in particular has many choices of Monastery/Nunneries that are open to guests and travellers. Asia also has many to choose from but you don’t have to travel abroad to find that peace and quiet. I am quite sure you will be able to find a Monastery/Nunnery close to home.
If you want to know what it’s like to sleep in a monastery, read this great post: Sleeping with monks: A night in a Japanese Temple
Probably the most popular type of holiday in the wellness sector. Health holidays can consist of detox breaks, fitness training, spa breaks, weight loss trips, cycling tours and much more. We all know that when we do something healthy our bodies and minds feel better. At home or at work our old temptations surround us but on a health holiday we are surrounded by like-minded people who are there for the same thing. It is easier to eat better food if the hotel only serves healthy options!
If you are looking for a trip that brings more meaning, I hope this list helps you achieve that aim. If you can think of many other options, please let me know in the comment box below.
*Some photos are used from Creative Commons.