The beginning of a new year — let alone a new decade — is a great time to recharge and reflect. Many travellers seek a wellness destination at this time of year. The concept of ‘wellness,’ however, is subjective, and need not be restricted to a spa break. We explore some different iterations of rejuvenation below.
Escape the everyday
An extraordinary experience in an exotic environment can provide a ‘rebirth’ of sorts. Trekking through different landscapes — jungles, deserts etc. — and removing yourself from your everyday physical environment to focus on something completely different is often a life-changing experience. Two of Quintessentially Travel’s favourite adventures in 2019, visiting Rwanda to track gorillas, and staying on the Bolivian salt flats perfectly fit the bill.
Lose or (find) yourself
Says Jenny Graham, Managing Director of Quintessentially Travel, “Our clients are seeking programs that help one interact with the self… From challenging experiences to life-changing spiritual retreats, travellers are increasingly eager to escape the every day and embark on experiences that empower them.” Spiritual destinations, such as Lake Titicaca in the Andes (with its famously bright and reflective waters) or Machu Picchu and Peru’s Sacred Valley, can provide the perfect environment for renewal of mind and spirit.
Restore your rhythm with music
Listening to music can have a relaxing effect on your mind and body. Classical music has been proven to slow your pulse, heart, and blood pressure, inciting relaxation. Try experiencing it live, in one of the world’s most celebrated venues, the Vienna State Opera. The more than 160-year-old building regularly plays host to truly incredible performances of both opera and ballet.
Going it alone
Solo travel is one way to escape everything. Having shed past stigmas, solo travel is now de rigueur for both men and women alike. Jenny recommends choosing your destination based on what you’re looking for, whether it’s to “recharge, learn, be inspired, or simply escape.” Then, it’s about planning your schedule and utilising resources in advance to maximise comfortability and avoid surprises. Liaising with the locals, and making a new friend, can offer a renewed perspective that may be much needed. “Plan something that makes you excited and lets you engage, and make a new friend, even if it is only for one hour—e.g. a local running club, cooking classes, or a mindfulness group,” Jenny advises.
Find your happy place – go back to basics
Sometimes, retreating to nature can help to reposition oneself at the centre of your own life by tending to your mind, body, and spirit. Thailand’s Soneva Kiri encourages exploring the surrounding oceanfront area and is eco-minded to make sure you do so responsibly—try diving, snorkelling, or trekking through the rainforest to sit beside a waterfall. Similarly, Alila Jabal Akhdar, set within Oman’s mountain region, offers spectacular scenery and a temperate climate with crisp and clean mountain air.
Immerse yourself in a passion
Immersing yourself in the environs can be relaxing and life-affirming. Try learning a new skill or craft when you travel. The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana offers a wide array of activities, from Painting in Nature to Horseback Riding to Archery. Mastery of a new skill can be motivating whilst expanding your horizons by uncovering a new passion.
Our sense of smell, closely linked with memory, has the power to transport us to happy moments from our past lives. Olfactory system nerves directly connect to our limbic systems, changing brain chemistry and inciting relaxation and sensory memories. Lavender, in particular, has been proven to have calming effects. A visit to Coquillade in Provence puts you right in the heart of the lavender fields in a charming hillside village. Explore and inhale, taking a hike through the surrounding countryside or seeing it by air, from a hot air balloon.