Have you ever felt an overwhelming desire to get away from it all and take a real break from your hectic life? Then you take that long awaited and overdue vacation, and when you return, feel like you never left? Maybe your vacation was tiring because it was done uber tourist style - jam packed with a week or two of trying to “fit it all in”. Or even if it was a relaxing respite, you noticed that the calming benefits had the staying power of 24 hours. Personally, I have had enough of these experiences to yearn for something that affects me in a deeper, more holistic way. How about you?
It is my belief that travel has the potential to rejuvenate when it becomes less of a “see all” or “escape from” event and more of an intentional part of one’s overall quest for wellness. Retreats, excursions, and ordinary trips can revitalize when they are initiated with soulful intention, energized with present moment attention, and sustained with the heart of a pilgrim (seeker).
Wellness Travel is growing faster than any other type of travel. This heightened interest seems to reflect the collective stress of a society that is searching for an antidote to today’s frenetic pace. We all know that our technology driven modern life can drain and be unsettling. Often precious moments of life are lost in favor of attending to unrelenting data. Ever constant personal and work texts and emails, the multiple personalities of social media, and exaggerated news stories vie for our attention as real threats like climate change and political divisiveness erode our basic sense of security.
As we struggle to keep an absurd amount of balls in the air, we are told that we must also take care of ourselves and counter all this by taking deep relaxing breaths and fitting in time to meditate, exercise, and eat right. Can the solution really be to add to your to do list? It is no wonder that more people are noticing their distress and seeking ways to rebalance themselves with holistic practices like yoga, meditation, and Wellness Travel.
Travel has always been about self-discovery, finding clarity, and eliciting change. Our ancestors left the familiarity of home as pilgrims and explorers in search of sacred places, adventure, healing, solitude, and nature. Ancient pilgrimage routes are traveled today by modern pilgrims and seekers; Machu Picchu in Peru, Stonehenge in the UK, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain are a few examples.
Today’s travel industry is responding to the interests and demands of sophisticated, adventurous, and health minded travelers who seek getaways that feed their passions for activity, culture, and culinary experience. Wellness Travel runs the gamut from challenging treks and pilgrimages for the hard-core seeker to high-end resorts that cater to the well-heeled traveler’s every wellness whim. In between the budget and ultra-luxury options are a plethora of yoga retreats and nature trips to take people off the beaten path for outer as well as inner exploration.
Wellness Travel has the potential to differentiate itself from ordinary tourism in the following three ways.
1. Being Intentional! Purposefully asking for some sort of change, insight, clarity, healing, or ease.
2. Being Mindful! Paying attention to what is happening in the Now and being open to the teachings of the present moment.
3. Being Soulful! Encountering the sacred; being-touched at the core of your being.
Wellness travel fosters a connection with one’s most essential self by encouraging slowing down, eating well, and spending time in nature. Because Yoga is the epitome of a mind-body-spirit integration practice, classes are often on the itinerary or available. Yoga teaches mindfulness, promotes relaxation, complements other activities, and, perhaps most importantly, instills pragmatic guidelines for living that travelers can bring home with them.
Discovering your personal passion for travel will nourish your spirit. Likewise getting off the beaten track can help you get back on track. Wellness travel is hot and the options are endless! A good travel agent can help you match your interests with the right ventures. Wherever your journey keep in mind that intentional travel can make ordinary travel extraordinary.
Shannon Leavitt – YogaLift owner, coach, CPT, Yoga instructor, RD- Yogalift.com
COSTA RICAMay 11-18, 2019
Danube River Cruise – Authentic, Effortless & Fun!
AmaSonata on the Danube River
Traveling through Europe on a River Cruise is really a stress-free, fun way to adventure. This past August, I had the chance to sail the Danube River, Vienna to Nuremburg. It was truly a blast. Our river cruise ship, the AmaSonata, carried only 160 passengers & dropped us right in the center of a new town daily. Bikes were always available.
AmaWaterways has embraced fitness trends & only employs professional instructors. I appreciated their daily excursions and that each was set up by fitness level and difficultly. Practicing Yoga, or doing Zumba on the top deck, became an excellent way to cruise past castles & postcard-perfect cities.
The variety of cuisine on board was wonderful. For diner, I recommend ordering from their “menu of the day.” Every three-course meals was delicious & came paired with local wines to perfection. I personally took a shining to the Rose’. By the end of the river cruise, the charming & efficient dining staff knew my preference and just poured a glass.
Every night, the NEW pre-diner happy hour was very popular, as even the spirits were free. This really brought the cruise passengers together and combatted my own instincts to retreat into my cozy cabin and rest after a day of sightseeing. There was a lot of dancing all around, made possible by the local entertainment, which came on board at ports & performed during happy hour & after diner. Before this trip, I had only traveled in Europe by car, train & bus. Undoubtedly, this river cruise was my most relaxing, and most experienced filled European getaway.
Choose a river cruise for your next European Vacation. Call me. 651-771-5666 for availability & quotes.
Over Tourism is creating havoc for major tourist’s sites and contiues to threaten famous cities, beautiful beaches & archeological treasures. Consider the city of Venice which has over 24 million tourists descend upon it each year.
Day-trippers & cruise passengers, who total almost 15 million, pollute and contribute little economic value to the city. To combat this, Italian cities had implemented hotel taxes for overnight stays to cover costs. However, Venice has now started charging a 10 Euro tax pp. to these day-trippers & cruise passengers entering the lagoon city via turnstiles.
Amsterdam, which experiences a similar influx of tourism, has started to fight back with an 8 Euro pp. entry cost for visitors arriving by ocean or river cruise ships.
You can still enjoy the romantic canal cities of Venice & Amsterdam IF you heed this sage advice. To avoid the throngs of visitors, I suggest traveling offseason, during the cooler months, and/or a stay over for a couple of nights. During the evening when the cruise ships & day-trippers depart, both Venice & Amsterdam are still grand European cities.
Bernabo Bocca, the president of Federalberghi, a national hoteliers’ group, said: “Our historic city centers are museums, and as with museums, it is right that visitors should pay to see them.”
I could not agree more.
Yes, it is a new year, but somethings do not change.
As a travel advisor, my advice remains the same for 2019:
“IF you can be flexible on your travel dates & even your travel destination, you will travel the world for less and travel better.”
Every week I receive updates from travel suppliers offering discounts travel on packages that I make available to my clients. This week there are New Year Travels Deals. Book your winter trip & save on travel packages to the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, & Hawaii.
If you ski or snow board ski the Alps versus the Rocky Mountains this year. Club Med offers all-inclusive European ski packages that rival the ski resorts of Colorado and Utah but cost less even with an international air ticket included.
Let us continue the Australia “Walk About” by flying 1.25 hours from Arlie Beach to Cairns in north Queensland. Tropical North Queensland is the northern most part of the state of Queensland & is centered on Cairns the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Take a dive boat, snorkeling adventure, or fly out over the reef from Cairns. Enjoy the Kuranda Scenic Railway from Cairns to Kuranda, the village in the rain forest. This railway tour, which opened in 1891, travels through the protected World Heritage tropical rainforest. Alternatively take the Skyway Cable car for more amazing views. Kuranda is home to an exceptional Aboriginal art community + other local artists. It is worth a visit. For your own Australian advenutre, call me.
Continuing the walk about - A 1 hr. & 40 flight north froms Brisbane we land in Airlie Beach.
Airlie Beach, an Australian resort town on Queensland's Whitsunday Coast, is a gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. When I visited this past fall I felt as if Airlie Beach was on the verge of change. Yes it still has the laid back hippy feel but the new luxury accommodations are a sure sign.
I spent 3 NTS in Airlie beach boating, snorkeling, diving & flying. Day 1 -Whitehaven Beach, which has been named one of the world’s best beaches. Day 2 -The seas were a bit ruff for the 1 hour boat ride out to a reef platform. I barely escaped sea sickness but diving on the Great Barrier Reef made up for the ride. OK, I just did a shallow dive with a master but it was very cool. Day 3- I had the opportunity to fly over the Great Barrier Reef in a sea plane. No, you cannot land on Heart Reef but it is really breathtaking from above.
Then I flew to Hamilton Island, one of the islands of the Whitsundays close to the reef, for a couple of nights. Most of this car-free island is still covered in bush land & we spotted koalas, kangaroos, wallabies. A beautiful place to visit & explore but not inexpensive.
Costa Rica may appear small on the world map but reigns large in diversity: i.e Wild life with conservation, unique regions from cloud forests, volcanos to beaches; from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. This Central American Jewel is worth a visit. While it is inviting-do not spend your entire vacation on the beach. There is much more to see & experience in Costa Rica.
Many first time travelers to Australia start their vacation in Sydney, New South Wales.
One can easily spend a week in & around Sydney Australia & still not see & do it all.
Sydney is home to the famous Bondi Beach 30 minutes from city center. Walk Sydney's famous Bondi to Coogee coastal trail 3.7 miles beach walk past Aboriginal rock craving & more beach. Every October this walk hosts the “Sculpture by the Sea” a free exhibition featuring artist from around the world.
Take in the Taronga Zoo for an afternoon which houses over 4000 exotic & native species. Try the rope challenge that offers a different view of the zoo. For the ultimate zoo experience, book the Roar & Snore i.e. a sleepover at the Taronga Zoo in a luxury tent.
You will not want to miss the infamous Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. From the top you will witness an awe inspiring view of the city & harbor. Take a tour of the Sydney Opera House in the middle of Sydney Harbor. Take in a performance. You will never forget it.
Go camping for a night on Cockatoo Island in the middle of the Sydney Harbor or purchase a gampling package. Either way, you wake up to a gorgeous view. Take the ½ hour ferry to Manly & enjoy a day of surf beaches, water sports, & a chic laid back atmosphere.
Just 2 hours from Sydney are the Blue Mountains & the Blue Mountains National Park which is famous for the 3 sister rock formations + 2.5 million acres of with forests, bush land, sand stone cliffs & waterfalls. Excellent hiking & mountain biking opportunities abound. Scenic World in Katoomba, the largest of several villages on the way up the Blue Mountains, has a cable car, a walkway over the rainforest canopy and a glass bottom skyway.
Let me make this your reality!
Time Travels Inc. is now an official Aussie specialist.
Certified through Corroboree West 2017 in October, Time Travels inc along with 300 Travel agents from around the world met with Australian Travel Suppliers; large & small, on the amazing Gold Cost of Australia.
I met 135 suppliers in 3 days who educated me about Australian Tourism. This was work for a few days but oh how wined & dined we were!
Follow us as I continue to share our walkabout acorss the country.