Many of us travel and think of traveling for fun and vacation reasons. However, travel can be more than that. Travel can be like a retreat – to keep yourself healthy, to focus on a different part of “you” and to renew yourself.
How many of you have traveled for yourselves to obtain a better piece of mind, to obtain a rejuvenated soul, to treat your body and mind to an elevated state, or to simply feel good giving back to society?
When I travel, I love to visit the local spots and try to really find areas of a destination that are not always advertised to the general public. Examples include renting an ATV and wondering into the lands and streets off the resort, helping animals, such as in the Donkey Sanctuary in Aruba, and buying food from the locals who sometimes are outside with just a grill and food stand in order to help out a family more in need.
I want to do more and give back to the world. Not only because it would make me feel good, but I believe that we owe it to our world to keep it healthy and we owe it to ourselves to do good.
Some of my near-future goals include volunteering on a local farm, scuba diving with specific cause – to help capture lionfish, clean the reefs, and survey fish, and going on a meditation retreat to refresh my brain and souls.
Whatever preference you may have, we all can use travel to help our minds, bodies, and souls. Below are some ideas for a different type of travel:
- Meditation & Detox
Finding meditation retreats around the world is easy if you want to kick back and let your mind be free of everything. Many travelers have gone towards the yoga retreat path to not only see another country, but exercise, and really spend time on themselves for an entire week. Costa Rica seems to be topping the charts with yoga, and even surf retreats! Others have flocked to the desert to sweat and burn off everything that may be bothering them. How’s some Arizona or Egpyt sun sound to you? Others simply go to a destination where you don’t have access to cell phone service, internet, or email. Mountains are great for this type of retreat or a deserted island. Go to a 3rd world country too and live without technology for a bit to refresh.
- Volunteering & Giving Back
Giving back to the world and doing something for the social good is commonly found in the form of volunteering. Many agencies and websites offer opportunities – unfortunately they come with a high cost to cover “expenses” of the trip. Look to WWOOF, Diverbo, or google any volunteer opportunities “with no or low cost” to find where you can go for a tiny fee, yet still help out.
If you have a particular skill you want to use – such as medical, social work, or teaching English, you can find many other destinations that need help in those areas. If you’re not sure what you would do, you can opt in for any activity that you may find similar to a hobby – examples include gardening, cleaning the environment, working on a national event, feeding impoverished neighborhoods, or working with animals. This is where scuba diving comes in for me as well. There’s numerous events for coral reef surveying, research, and picking up ocean trash.
For any type of event in another destination, see if you can get involved!
Our lives get so busy at times that we forget to take a break. Vacations can simply be that – a vacation to take ourselves but bring us to other things. Indulging can be therapeutic for us more so than we ever thought. Go for that All-Inclusive option, splurge on the food, or book as many excursions as possible.
If you can go on a niche type of trip, go for it. These may be going to a Food & Wine festival abroad, Carnivale at a Caribbean island, going to a Ski or Beer Fest, or celebrating a foreign country’s’ holiday where it lasts 1 week or even 1 month! Sometimes obtaining an overload of something gives us the actual satisfaction we are craving to begin with.
- Do Things Differently
Travel gets to another place, another type of lifestyle, and to spend time with other people. Break from your usual routine at home and find new things to do. If the locals eat tacos with green sauce, do it too. If happy hour means taking an hour to yourself instead of getting drunk – try it out! If you don’t like tours, try a day one – you might be surprised at what you can enjoy in a different setting.
Also, talk and ask questions when speaking with the locals or business owners. If they’ve got tips, try at least one out. Ask about current or future events, as that might bring you back to the destination. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll want to bring people to your own event?
Share your stories below if you’ve gone abroad for any of these reasons and came back a different person!
This post is linked to the #SundayTraveler series, check out the other great travel hosts: