I'm reading the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I think I'm the last person on Earth to read it, and now I know what all of the hoopla is about. It's a delightfully engaging book about feeding the body, feeding the soul, and feeding the heart. Ms. Gilbert writes about her own journey of personal growth during her travels in Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her adventures got me thinking about all of the places I want to visit, and how I might combine my love of travel with my desire for continued personal development.
So I've been doing a bit of research today, and darned if there aren't a plethora of destinations world-wide that combine beautiful, unique locations with self-development and relaxation or adventure. So here are ten that jumped off the computer and screamed “Buy a plane ticket right now!”
1. Costa Rica
This transforming Pure Vida resort and spa offers a variety of mind-body programs including yoga, nutrition, meditation, massage, Ayurveda, and much more. You will also enjoy a full array of spa services, as well as a variety of eco tours and adventures in Costa Rica.
2. Hudson Valley, NY
The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is one of the nation's foremost educational retreat centers. On a serene and beautiful campus in the Hudson Valley, you can enjoy beauty, art and cultural innovation. Regular workshops and classes are offered in personal growth, and you can enjoy film, concerts, and community gatherings. The Omega Institute also has a wellness center with a variety of therapeutic services, a meditation sanctuary, and an expansive library. Lodging is in comfortable cabins on the campus.
3. Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai Healing Vacations is run by Jane Winter, a licensed marriage and family counselor who has a private practice on Kauai. She offers customized vacation programs that include personal growth workshops, personal counseling, and eco-tour adventures on beautiful Kauai. Jane is well-versed in Hawaiian culture, history, customs, hula and chanting and can share Hawaiian tools for achieving peace and balance within. She was also a core member of Shakti Gawain's (author of Creative Visualization) clinical staff and co-leader for many of Shakti's programs.
4. Isle of Wight, UK
The Grange by the Sea is a gorgeous Georgian country house bed and breakfast. It is in the Old Village of Shanklin on the south coast of the Isle of Wight. Nestled in greenery, it is very secluded. Yet it's moments from the thatched pubs and cozy tearooms, the local train station, shops and restaurants and the long sandy beach. At the Grange you can enjoy award-winning authors to sharpen your writing skills, local landscape artists, leading life coaches and exceptional singers, dancers, and yoga teachers. There are a variety of courses from which to choose. The yummy English breakfasts consist of fresh, organic foods — and tea of course!
The Zen Retreat Cyprus offers different retreats to address well-being, self-discovery, and introspection for couples and individuals. The goal at Zen Retreats is to foster change and harmony within your life and to restore the much needed life – work – emotional balance. The spacious retreat villa offers a commanding view of the surrounding mountains and countryside with views towards the coast at Polis and Latchi. The property has its own private pool and garden areas with a covered gazebo were you can enjoy an outside massage or acupuncture treatment.
6. Amalfi Coast, Italy
During the Amalfi Coast Retreat, you will learn leading edge techniques and highly effective personal growth principals. The retreat offers a holistic approach to their teachings, working on the physical, behavioral, emotional, mental and spiritual levels during a variety of workshops. The Amalfi Coast is a spectacular coastline situated in the South of Italy. This retreat is for the luxury traveler, and the accommodations are in one of the finest five star hotel’s on the Amalfi coast. Sumptuous meals, a private yacht outing, and guided tours of the region are part of the luxury retreat package.
This 14 day Self-Discovery Safari held August 2010 focuses on personal and planetary healing within the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, known as the “birthplace” of man. Meditations, group dynamics, ceremony, and individual healing sessions encourage each participant to realize their highest healing potential for themselves and the planet during this tour. The tour also includes the best in cultural and natural history that these powerful locations have to offer.
Combine adventure and self-discovery during the Inside Passages Alaska Kayaking Retreat in August 2010. The retreat will be based out of the Keene Channel Lodge on the Wrangell Narrows, a sheltered and secluded location fourteen miles south of Petersburg. The lodge provides a lovely setting for day and overnight kayak trips in sheltered waters, with rustic, comfortable accommodations. The retreat includes a multi-day kayak camping trip to the Castle Islands, as well as the opportunity to explore meditation practice in a wilderness setting in order to experience presence, both inner and outer, through a variety of contemplative disciplines.
The Sophia Institute in Charleston, S.C., offers retreats featuring nationally and internationally renowned authors and teachers, like Marianne Williamson and Anne Rivers Siddons. The Institute offers a variety of programs for those engaged in personal and interpersonal transformation. The Phoebe Pember House in the heart of historic Charleston offers accommodations and retreat space in beautiful surroundings with tranquil gardens and peaceful spaces to reconnect with yourself, discover a calling or expand your spiritual journey.
The Heal-in-Paradise programs in Bali, part of the Indonesian archipelago, offer strategies for balance, discovery and awakening to manage stress, bring clarity of mind, enhance vitality, re-center and bring harmony. Life coaching, workshops, meditation classes and spa treatments are included in the programs. Cuisine is geared towards optimally fueling the healing process. Accommodations are in bungalows near Pererenan Beach and set in lush gardens. Bali is indescribably beautif
ul and is regularly voted by major travel magazines as the most enchanting travel destination in the world. It's also one of the settings for Eat, Pray, Love –so of course, it had to be on the list!