Fundamentally speaking, travelers seek change. We’re attracted to new sights, experiences, foods, and friendships. As a frequent globe-trotter, one of my main goals is to return home looking changed. Not by wearing that Andean alpaca sweater that seemed to work in Peru (and just doesn’t back in the States), but by displaying trail-toughened muscles developed on Spain’s Camino de Santiago or callouses forged while sea kayaking in British Columbia. Feeling changed – from enhanced mental focus stimulated by sleep programs in Scottsdale to a new serenity induced through meditation practice on Bali – is equally essential. But whether my souvenirs are physical or spiritual, it’s all about seeking active, restorative ventures that improve my life and mark me as a wellness-addicted traveler.
Like a lot of people, though, I don’t simply want to maintain my current wellness routine when I’m away. Sometimes I want to take it to a higher level. Other times, I want to learn from locals about their traditional health and cultural practices, such as forest bathing in Japan, cleansing at a Mayan sweat lodge in Mexico, or studying calligraphy in China.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a cruise, spa retreat, country escape, beach getaway, or Himalayan adventure,” says Lisa Prosser, an Indianapolis-based Virtuoso travel advisor. “Wellness travel is about exploring and discovering ways of life that give you a new way of life.”
Vacations have always been about restoring energy, but travel today is much more personalized when it comes to wellness, with a diversity of trips ranging from trekking pilgrimages to medi-spa retreats, fitness cruises to learning vacations. Here’s to the latest health trends that are not only broadening the travel industry, but also travelers themselves.