Six of the Best Rejuvenating Travel Experiences

Posted by Hayley Cleeter 12th April 2023
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Six of the Best Rejuvenating Travel Experiences

So we’ve officially left winter shivering in our wake, springtime has well and truly arrived with a bang of blossom and (mostly) blue skies, and we can’t help but feel rejuvenated.

Where we may be more inclined to hibernate in winter, it can feel like we’ve emerged from a period of stagnation. But now we’re keen to grow, reinvent and rediscover what makes us feel alive. Rediscovering that zest for life has got us thinking about how we can rejuvenate without relying on the seasons.

Travel is, in itself, a fantastic opportunity to check in with your mental, emotional and physical health because of all of the unfamiliar moments you’re often thrust into without much time to think. You’re forced to come out of your shell and try new things. So here are some of the most rejuvenating activities we engage in on some of our tours. 

Get creative in Sri Lanka

As children, one of the first things we’re encouraged to do is express ourselves creatively. As we get older, unless it’s a hobby we’ve held on to, we might find it challenging to dedicate the time to such pursuits, and it’s particularly hard if it means starting something new and unfamiliar. 

We can all find ourselves getting stuck into a routine but setting time aside for creative expression is a great way to stimulate the mind and destress.

Sri Lanka is known as the emerald isle, but it’s not just beauty that makes this emerald glisten. You can find an abundance of traditional arts and crafts in Sri Lanka that local artisans are keen to keep alive against the threat of urbanisation and modern lifestyles.

On our Adventures with Purpose tour, you can visit the Gadaladeniya Temple, a community of artisan craftsmen and the remarkable Suriyakantha Centre for Arts and Culture - home to a fascinating collection of ancient books, Buddhist manuscripts and traditional paintings. A visit to a guru of the ancient Kandyan art of dancing and drumming will give you an insight into the local culture and you can also participate in a handloom weaving workshop that still follows the principles of ‘Dumbara weaving’, a traditional craft that has been recognised by UNESCO.

Trying something new can help you feel inspired and you might even take home the souvenir of a brand-new hobby.

Relax and recuperate in Jordan

For millennia, spa treatments that aim to beautify, relax and rest the body from the outside in have been a go-to method to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.

Our planet has an abundance of natural spa treatments and perhaps one of the most famous is The Dead Sea.

The lowest exposed point on the Earth's surface, lying 409m below sea level, the Dead Sea water is rich in mineral salts and contains so much sodium that plant and animal life cannot live here. But you can! For as long as you’re relaxing at least. Achieve the ultimate zen floating on the surface of the water and be sure to reach down and slather some mud over your skin. It's made up of silt deposits from the surrounding mountains, rich in skin-nourishing minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium amongst others, that is said to reduce skin impurities, and inflammation and apparently even relieve pain.

Nurture creatures great and small in Cambodia

Caring for and interacting with animals is said to help ease loneliness, and relieve stress and depression. Animal therapy is even used as a way to help people cope and recover from some physical and mental health conditions. Animals stir up feelings of admiration, and curiosity and encourage us to be present in the moment. So surely the bigger the animal, the bigger the benefits, right?

Of course, we’re not suggesting you adopt an elephant as a pet, but spend time at  Asia’s largest captive elephant sanctuary, the Elephant Valley Project in Cambodia and you'll be immersed in the simple yet amazing daily routine of the elephants and their mahouts.

With just over 1,500 hectares of land and only 10 elephants, these elephants have ample space to roam free in their natural habitat and focus on their rehabilitation, avoiding the detrimental activities such as riding and swimming that plague the majority of other camps in Southeast Asia.

You can spend the day observing the elephants in their natural habitat while learning about their lives, personalities and amazing progress and recovery since their arrival at the Elephant Valley Project. Supporting a worthwhile cause while pondering the sometimes complex relationship we have with our planet and the amazing, resilient creatures we share it with is sure to leave you feeling a renewed sense of admiration and respect for both the animals and the people doing the hard work to protect them.

Walk it off in Albania

If we put it simply, nature heals. When we’re not feeling ourselves, perhaps a little sad or stressed, it’s not just a feeling that affects our mood, it can impact our bodies and our overall health with our nervous, endocrine and immune systems taking a hit. 

If you live in the city, work from home or spend a lot of time indoors, one of the best ways to reset is to get outside and surround yourself with nature. We’re genetically programmed to find elements such as trees, mountains and water captivating to look at which distracts us from a busy mind, plus studies suggest it reduces blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension.

Albania is blessed with the most impressive natural landscapes, from the mountains of the north, known as the Albanian Alps to the picturesque coastal south, known as the Albanian Riviera. So whether you find a moment to reset your circadian rhythm by relaxing by sea and sand with the sun beating that vitamin D down on you or high up in the mountains, with the sight of towering peaks and traditional rural life playing out in between some heart-pumping walks, the guarantee that’ll get the serotonin flowing.

Connect to the community in Ethiopia

As we well know, mental health massively affects our quality of life, but there are many ways to nurture good mental health. Connecting with others is integral to our wellbeing so finding a sense of community can really help us thrive and discover more about the world around us, and our own worlds within.

Connecting with people from different cultures can be especially rejuvenating as language barriers might force us to be more present and figure out different ways to communicate. It also may help us gain more empathy and understanding of the different paths we all walk.

Speaking of walking, on our Northern Ethiopia tour, one of the undisputed highlights and an activity unique to our own tours (as far as we’re aware) is our TESFA trek between villages. This community-based enterprise enables visitors to connect with the locals in a more personal way, stay in traditional accommodations and learn about the day-to-day lives of the people of the Ethiopian Highlands, while contributing to the protection of their culture and environment. 

Meeting the locals will give people the most authentic insight into a country but pair that with getting out into nature and drinking in the stunning landscapes and we dare you not to feel revitalised.

Seek a spiritual reset in India

You may not be religious, or even remotely spiritual. Still, we dare you not to feel moved by that palpable air of reverence in India, especially around the sacred River Ganges. In Hinduism, the River Ganges is personified as the Goddess Ganga and is said to have flowed from Lord Shiva’s hair - bathing in it can help wash away sins and even merely touching the water will help you attain moksha (salvation).

Varanasi is one of the most significant places to experience India’s reverence for the River Ganges but head to less-visited Rishikesh to experience the Ganga Aarti, an unforgettably spiritual experience, generally beginning at sunset and lasting up to an hour and a half. 

The performance of the aarti by the Guru, the singing of bhajans (hymns) by the saffron-robed disciples, the fragrance of incense and camphor as it permeates the air, the mesmerising light of myriad diyas, the sound of the rushing river, the setting sun mirrored in sparkling ripples on the flowing water and the intensity of the people as they sway in unison, all combine to create a surreal atmosphere of peace that pervades every sense and remains with you long after you have left Rishikesh. We can think of no better way to feel a spiritual rejuvenation than this.

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