If you are currently on a mission to find an excuse to travel more, you don’t have to look too far. There are many benefits of seeing the world, meeting new friends, and getting a new experience every day. Whether you are the cultural traveler or love the jungle and would like to spend more time with animals than with people, you can create the perfect experience that will help you grow as a person. Below you will find just a selection of excuses you can use next time you book a vacation.
When most people head away on vacation, they will tend to book a package holiday through a specialist lettings agency. This, of course, can be great. You can land great offers and spend a relaxing week or two lounging around a pool and making use of your chosen hotel’s facilities. However, it can also feel like a waste at times. Part of the joy of visiting a new place is to immerse yourself in its nature. You should aim to see new landscapes and experience things you wouldn’t be able to at home. Here are just a few different ways that you can actively connect with nature during your trips.
Serenity Eco Guesthouse is a family-run eco center that focuses on providing quality yoga programs that are accessible to all and to operating in a way that is synergistic with it's surroundings. We were impressed by the level of thought and attention that goes into the details of being environmentally friendly throughout this space. I'll talk more about the facilities and practices at Serenity Eco Guesthouse in a future article, but for now, I want to focus on highlighting their Serene Yoga Retreats.
Pete and I had the pleasure of experiencing 5 days at Elephant Nature Park in Cambodia. It was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of our lives. Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center (based in Northern Thailand, with projects in Cambodia & Myanmar as well). Volunteers come from all over to help and visit. They have executed dozens of rescues all over Southeast Asia, allowing for these sentient creatures to live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort.
Pete & I had the pleasure of spending 9 amazing & enriching days at Vagabond Temple in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. We feel so blessed for the experiences we had there, and they have followed us on our journey through Southeast Asia. We feel more spiritually connected, we have a deeper understanding of yoga and Buddhism, we were spoiled with delicious homemade vegan food, and we felt (and still feel) part of the close & welcoming community that is Vagabond Temple.
Hey there! We spent a fabulous 5 days on the beautiful island of Koh Samui in Thailand. After that, we flew from Koh Samui to Bangkok and then to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to get ready for our next adventure! Before I get too ahead of myself, let's check out some of the Koh Samui highlights!
I figured the full moon would be towards the end of January, and researched exactly when the party would be. I don't like to do too much on-line research about the places I'm going to visit, as I don't like expectations. If I'm guided somewhere, I go there and let myself experience it in the moment - simple as that. I found that the party would be close to when we would be visiting the island of Koh Phangan. I put that down on the calendar and started planning our trip around the Full Moon Party that was to happen January 23rd, 2016. Naturally, I wanted to go to the party, envisioning in to be a spiritual and enlightening experience.
Not to spoil the story, but spiritual and enlightening it definitely was not...
After close to a week of hard volunteer work at Eco-Logic Yoga Retreat Center, Pete and I were ready for some R&R! Due to the scheduling of our trip (the dates we were at the center and the Full Moon party in Koh Phangan on 1/23 that I wanted to go to), we only had a few days in between to explore the various islands. My parents are coming soon so we will be with them in Koh Phangan and Koh Samui for longer periods of time. Prior to the trip, we deliberated with either choosing 1 - 2 islands for the 5 day stretch or trying to see a few of them and hopping around. We chose the latter because we weren't able to decide what to nix out, and we really wanted to experience all of the popular islands. A few people told us that we were doing it too fast, and in hindsight, I have to agree.
Eco-Logic Yoga Retreat and TCDF (Thai Child Development Foundation) are located in Pak Song, near Ranong in Thailand. Their tag line is "Yoga for Charity" because the retreat center is set up to support the projects of the Thai Child Development Foundation. Each stay supports the foundation and their efforts directly.
We arrived late to The Yard Hostel at 3 am (or really early, depending on how you look at it). Pete (the hubs) and I hit the sack, both extremely jet lagged yet anxious and wired! We woke around 8:30 and headed down for breakfast and lots of coffee.
I met the gorgeous and talented Alexis Franklin (aka Yoga Warrior Goddess) earlier in 2015 after we formed an Instagram relationship. She participated in our challenge called #WakeUpYogis and caught everyone's attention with her fantastic photos and graceful yoga practice. We started chatting and instantly formed a close bond. She came to LA to and we met there and had a lovely time getting to know one another! Since then, we've spent a lot of time together both in person, on the phone, on Skype, and through Instagram, collaborating on many projects together (like each designing a pair of yoga shorts for Daughters of Culture, photoshoots, challenges, a future retreat, our blog launches, and more)! It's been a challenge for me to meet really solid people both professionally and personally and if there's one thing I can say about Alexis is that she's a solid woman. She's reliable, hardworking, organized, motivated, and talented!
... with LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!!
You've been warned. There's lots of pictures coming your way. As I sit here, the Saturday after my retreat ended, reflecting on all of the experiences & adventures we packed into 7 nights and 8 days, I am blown away. It's difficult for me to fathom what the retreat guests must be experiencing right now, as I know that it took me a couple of days to reacclimate back to life and to process what had happened - and I've done this many times before! On our time, we had two people that had never traveled outside of the United States before! They had quite the adventure. It's going to be difficult to write succinctly on this memorable week as so many amazing things happened, but I'll try to keep it brief! I hope you will consider joining us in 2016. I'm working on an event calendar now so please let me know what time of the year works best for you! Join my mailing list to stay up-to-date with the latest news!
Who is @BodyRockGems
Body Rock Gems is a super cute, small company founded by the lovely Yogi Renee-Marie Brewster of out Los Angeles, California. The line of jewelry uses precious stones, fine silver, gold and features body chains, rings, bracelets and more. Everything is hand-mand and custom orders are accepted.
Who is @ilovegurus
Prem & Joe, CEO & President of Gurus, respectively, both have ancestors in India but came to know one another through work in New York. Coincedentally (or not), 5 years after meeting, they found out that their family’s lived within walking distance from eachother in India. Both of their families have rubber farms in India where they source fresh rubber from for their sandals (they make cool mats, too!).
Who is @VagabondGoods
Drawing inspiration from "travel, yoga, art, beach life, and mindfulness", Vagabond Goods designs bring intrigue and style to your yoga gear. Sure to start lots of conversations in the studio or wherever you practice, these mats and towels are bold and cultural.
Who is @YogaTravelTree
Yoga Travel Tree is a boutique yoga and travel adventure company that specializes in yoga retreats & teacher trainings all over the world as well as teaching about the business of yoga. Their adventures go all over from Bali, to India, to Costa Rica (with me!), to Mexico, to Italy, and everywhere around there and in between there.
Hey there! I'm back home in California after two weeks in Costa Rica... I cut my trip short because of some unexpected circumstances (more about all that below) that led me to feeling homesick and realizing over and over that Paradise isn't paradise without the ones you love. When you arrive in certain places, you know in your heart that you're meant to be there and other places, you're just not. Your intuition tells you before you go usually but we do a good job of tuning that out to varying degrees, depending on our level of growth. Overall though, it's clear to me that through traveling, we learn lessons much faster than we have the ability to learn them at home and this is simply because we remove ourselves from the barriers of our homes and offices and routines and instead put ourselves in the way of the unknown, of adventure, and of new opportunities.
The outcome of what will happen these next few weeks, I know not, but I do know that I must trust the process completely and let go of any negative or doubtful thoughts that come up (and they do!). In my human mind, I do not have the capabilities to fathom or understand what will happen or why things happen the way they do. The recurring theme since deciding to plan my trip back is to not plan anything!