Making travel meaningful is a deliberate decision. One with opportunities to gain personal and cultural insights in new places, revitalize with new experiences and allow yourself to become the traveler you always wanted to be. It’s different for everyone. But world wide travel won’t be slowing down any time soon. And fit-cation wellness travel has become the new status symbol of a productive healthy lifestyle. At the top of that list? A brain- body boost of revitalization.
I often get asked what’s my favorite place to travel. My answer? Honestly, where hasn’t been? My most memorable travel experiences have been ones where I’ve taken away a lesson. It could be a new certification, ritual, cultural fact, workout, product, or friendship. That happens whether I’m traveling for work or leisure, hosting a week long retreat, or daycation. In luxury accommodations or hammock camping. As I write this, I’m reflecting on the past few weeks immersed in the spiritual vibes, balancing and panoramic views on the South Pacific island of Bali. All allowing me to take in a collection of experiences to help me feel more present, positive and renewed. I leave out the pressure of hitting each iconic landmark or Instagram photo spot in a hyper-efficient itinerary, instead opting for a series of slow travel experiences. Not only do I gain benefit, but I don’t return to home base exhausted and ready for a vacation from my “vacation.”
Because my work is already about experiential travel and helping individuals revitalize, I’m always looking for new ways to get that next energy re-charge. Travel is awash in possibilities, and my wanderlust (even amid creating the next retreat) reveals more creativity. So, what does it take to stay centered and revitalized while traveling? Let’s get personal with a few things I’ve learned as (an almost) full time traveler.
Don’t Worry About What Everyone Else is Doing
In doesn’t matter if you want to bask in the sunshine onboard a luxurious yacht, work with local non-profits in remote villages, or attend a targeted wellness retreat with your personal coach. All these things will focus on your personal goals. The worst travel experiences I’ve had included following other people’s passions, and visiting places that they were excited about, not me. If it doesn’t connect to you, even if it’s the most iconic landmark, seek out the more obscure, local, or remote. Anything else that leads you down a new path. Because regretting travel moments can fill you with negative energy. Embrace your weird and wonderful here, because a buzz from revitalizing your inner soul with exactly what you want to do, is exhilarating!
Seek Out & Spend Time in Energetically Healthy Places
The first thing I do when I arrive in a new place is to find the yoga centers, fitness gyms, spas, shamans and healers. They are different everywhere but provide a familiar base line and allow me to stay in touch with my body-mind connection. I also revitalize in sacred places respected and sought out by locals. That may be a local mountain, famous cave, canyon, and known spiritual vortexes like Sedona, Elephant Caves Bali, Mount Batur Volcano, or Aboriginal grounds. I’ve immersed myself in chanting in energetically spiritual grounds of Hawaii, done yogic breathwork on Costa Rica’s Chirripo Peak, and meditated on top of Mount Batur to name a few. These places are oozing revitalization, and the more you can surround yourself with the right “tools” to facilitate your own unwinding that better. So what’s next on your list?
Get a Taste of the City – Literally
When you travel do you worry about dieting, or packing on the extra pounds outside of your regular routine? That’s a concern I hear a lot and why people are seeking out more highly productive fit-cations to add to their travel. But you can still seek out your own therapeutic nutrition on the road with a few tips in travel eating. Of course, enjoy the local food stalls and cafes, but keep your sluggish intestines moving with lots of regular water, fruit, veggies, and spices. Get a feel for local flair by asking around for the neighborhood “gastronomy guide” and no I don’t mean the Fodor’s version. Let locals know you’re open to traditional options, cooking classes and home stays. Who knows you may find yourself immersed in a new culture swapping stories, like the class I took in Vietnam. This led to a healthy revitalizing lunch (made by me) then a market tour, walking the city, and on to exploring famous local food and beer streets into the night, all with a local guide.
Food is your medicine, sticking to the lighter and non-processed fare will keep you energized for full travel days, while still taking in the local culinary treasures.
Stay a While – Connect with Coaches, Healers & Teachers
If you have a chance to embrace slow travel, welcome it in with open arms. The slowness allows you a month or more in one location to truly live like a local. There’s a reason co-working spaces and collaborative vibes can be found from Chile, to Bali. Immersing yourself in culture and language, while still being an effective digital nomad is the Instagram dream. It’s also a reachable reality with plenty of options available. Individuals are creating side gigs, re-inventing themselves in new careers, and adding travel to their lifestyle. The goal? Freedom to stay and wander a while without the stress of rushed travel. The benefit? That’s infinite and up to you.
When I work with brands and travel companies around the world, I get to understand the complexities of each culture, and work with trainers, teachers, coaches and business owners that are the richness of that destination. The best experiences I’ve had have been when I’ve had meaningful conversations, connections, creativity and collaborations. Like training guides in Morocco, teaching yoga on luxury expedition boats in Hawaii, or hosting worldwide tourism boards at media trips in Costa Rica. All times I stayed more than a month at a time for my own slow travel.
Travel to Learn with Immersion & Culture
Often the best moments in revitalizing yourself come when you least expect them. It’s about being open, letting yourself mingle where you normally wouldn’t, having a plan but also being o.k. with that plan falling apart. Knowing yourself and letting life live through you rather than to you can ultimately lead to some of the best physical and mental break throughs. It doesn’t matter if your flying solo or with a group, attending a certification retreat, or studying a language. Taking away travel memories and learning is the ultimate souvenir.
I once spent twelve days in the Panamanian jungle on a survival course that presented me with physical and mental challenges but left me imprinted with the feeling of excitement and appreciation for myself and the local culture. Gaining knowledge can bring about a certain inner peace, and you have rights to share what you’ve learned.
Travel is a teacher who’s lessons only increase over time. A constant contrast inside and out. Some hypnotic, some uncomfortable. Still others are a lesson in growth, humanity, language and movement. Revitalization is the process of making something grow, develop, or become successful again. It doesn’t always have to be exotic or far away, but it does need to be personal. Now it’s your turn.