Top Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning a Spiritual Vacation
By Ellen Lutwak
Ask 10 people to define “spiritual travel” and you will hear 100 responses.
That may sound like a Zen proverb – and enlightened adventurers will offer answers as simple as they are complex. In the context of travel, there are so many paths to take. At the core: transformation.
“Travel itself is always a transformative experience,”
says our Yampu Tours co-founder and vice-president, Monica Irauzqui.
In fact, travel industry leaders identified transformative travel as a top trend this year. For example, more than cultural immersion of experiential travel, transformation goes hand-in-hand with spiritual travel touching on self-reflection, personal development or a shift in personal perspective.
Spiritual journeys differ from traveler to traveler as well as from trip to trip.
Some seekers visit the same healing destination time and again. Others relish in a buffet of inspirational options.
“Even if you do not consider yourself spiritual, you can enjoy a trip that will revitalize your mind, body and soul. Just have an open mind and an interest in learning from other cultures and religions,” says Irauzqui, who has been likened to a travel guru.
She finds even more joy in designing the right customized itinerary for her clients than traveling with her family. Well, almost.
“Sometimes a spiritual experience can be completely unexpected,”
The perfect example was her trip to the Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve in Ecuador. Every day, hundreds of macaws and parrots gather together to eat clay along the banks of the river.
“Once I was there early in the morning watching these red-and-green creatures and I was mesmerized. I found myself so relaxed, it felt as if I had had a massage.”
“When our family – including our young kids – was traveling in the Andes Mountains, we were able to visit a local farm, break bread with a nearby family, pray together to both my God and their Sun God. Just after the translator told me that the family had prayed for me, I was in awe because I also had prayed for them. I still remember how I felt with the sun shining down on us all.”
Monica believes Peru is a must for anyone interested in spiritual travel, “Peru is one of the most spiritual hotspots of the world. For someone who wants to delve deeply into it, we can do a trip where a Shaman accompanies you for the whole trip.”
Let Your Travel Guru Start You on Your Journey
In our highly connected world, we have so many travel options literally at our fingertips. Maybe too many. We all are busy people squeezing minutes out of every day to give back to ourselves. One of the best ways to free ourselves of stress from the start is to let go and allow a travel guru to guide and plan – especially the mind-boggling minutiae of transfers, currency or Visa mishaps.
Check in with yourself before embarking on the journey by asking yourself these important questions:
Who do you want to travel with?
- Myself – a solo adventurer
- My partner
- Multi-generational family group
- Best friends
- Colleagues from school or the workplace
Where do you envision staying?
- A seaside retreat enhanced by eco-friendly linens and healthful food
- A historical hotel in a city with awe-inspiring churches and museums
- A traditional lodge in the Amazon (the actual jungle) rich with natural wonders
- A lush countryside with mystical, ancient temples
- A courtyard cottage in a tranquil village steeped in ancient traditions.
When do you want to travel?
- Autumn with briskness and bright color
- Winter with snow and splendor
- Spring and the rebirth it brings
- The Summer Solstice and healing light
- Anytime; just ask how many days I have
What kind of activities can you imagine doing?
- Yoga practice with increasingly challenging poses
- Mindful walks in a meditation garden
- Challenging hikes in the mountains
- An introduction to tai chi in a park in China
- Meditation by a waterfall
What is your intention?
- A shift in purpose
- A deeper connection to a spiritual being
- Healing the body and soul
- Communing with nature and culture
- No intentions! Let it go. Whatever happens, happens.
Suggested Spiritual Destinations
Find Bliss in Bali
The ancient and mystical temples of Indonesia draw visitors and pilgrims from all parts of the world. These magnificent temples are an alluring destination not only for the spiritual traveler, but also for architectural and historical enthusiasts.
Center Yourself in Costa Rica
Explore three gorgeous eco-lodges of Costa Rica: luxury, wellness and wildlife abound. Be taken to the calm, pristine cloud forest and El Silencio Lodge & Spa, a planet-friendly sanctuary for soft adventure and inspired wellness.
Consider a visit with a local shaman healer while visiting Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan Citadel. Observe, but even more importantly, participate in traditional rituals. Our travelers have said “truly mystical.”
In need of some additional inspiration for your Spiritual Getaway? Take a look at these Yampu Tour Sample Itineraries!
- Om Away from Home in Argentina
- Take an Inner Journey in the Great Outdoors
- Angels in the Morning Salutations: A Peruvian Meditation Tour
How does Devora define “spiritual”?
Fellow traveler Espree Devora, “The Girl who Gets it Done” produces and hosts tech podcasts; “I also create offline life experiences for people in the tech community to form more meaningful relationships.”
“I define spiritual by being honest with myself and feeling whole inside. Spirituality is the clues on my treasure map to living a life full of joy. Every time I travel – even when work is involved – it’s a spiritual journey.”
Through traveling solo through Central Europe and Scandinavia plus on a scooter through Thailand and Malaysia, she discovered two things:
- The people make a place feel like home.
- The journey is the magic.
Exhale and P.S. Remember to Pack a Journal
The resort is booked. The hotels, flights, and connections between flights are confirmed. The local yoga instructor has already sent you a welcome email – and even included some detox recipes and yoga tools to enjoy while still stateside. So far so good, what next? Of course, you will begin packing and acquiring those items that will make your trip comfortable.
Do remember one very important item that will allow you to capture your thoughts – your Yampu journal!
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Travel with Yampu Tours once and we’ll keep our eyes – and our mind – open for your next customized journey. Offering seamless logistics, local guides and luxury within reach. We have the resources to help you get the greatest reward of all – your peace of mind.