Out of all the wellness retreats I’ve experienced so far, my top three destinations are the Maldives, Morocco, and mama Bali. Many of the wellness activities from country to country are similar, offering meditation and yoga practices, and you can trust that food will be clean and healthy versions of local fare to add nutrients and strength to your physical body, but what sets each destination apart is the dimension of your spirit which is nurtured during each experience.
This Face the Current Travel Feature is published in Issue 20 / Summer 2018. Order PRINT here, subscribe to digital membership for unlimited access to all our content, or continue reading this article below.
FtC: How has travel given you a renewed sense of vitality?
Mindy: Travel is amazing for summoning new energy because when you’re in a new country, everything is different. Same, but still different – new scents, new faces, new languages, new flavors, new mannerisms. When you’re in a familiar place for a long period of time, things become familiar and it’s easy to go on autopilot. When you’re traveling, you’re constantly re-evaluating everything around you, which automatically puts you in a much deeper state of presence with a heightened sense of awareness. Living in this state, you can’t help but feel energy you’ve forgotten even exists, where you feel truly alive.
FtC: If you could pick 3 destinations to retreat to for holistic wellness and vitality rejuvenation, where would they be and why?
Mindy: Out of all the wellness retreats I’ve experienced so far, my top three destinations are the Maldives, Morocco, and mama Bali. Many of the wellness activities from country to country are similar, offering meditation and yoga practices, and you can trust that food will be clean and healthy versions of local fare to add nutrients and strength to your physical body, but what sets each destination apart is the dimension of your spirit which is nurtured during each experience. Because the Maldives are in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it’s easy to quiet your mind and focus on receiving energy from the sea, because you know there’s nothing out there for miles and miles. To contrast this are Moroccan wellness retreats which feature traditional Hammam therapy, a type of hydrotherapy where you strip down butt-ass naked, stand in a marble steam room, and are scrubbed from head-to-toe by a little old lady (for men it’s a man), for 5-7 rounds using a series of ingredients like sea salt and traditional black soap made from eucalyptus and pressed olive oil, to remove every impurity from your body. After each session you receive a long, slow massage. It’s a vulnerable experience and interestingly erotic, leaving you in quite a sensual state if you’re open to it. In Bali, what I’ve learned is that there is an abundance of treatment therapists who aren’t just massage practitioners that run your body through a rub routine – the Balinese have a knack for intuitive healing, and they feel your body to give you what you need – pressure point release, movement, whatever your body is asking for. In other words, the experience you seek should play a role in the destination you travel to.
Retreat to the Maldives to receive an abundance of ocean energy and feel physically revitalized and energetically reset; retreat to Morocco to feel deeply cleansed, inside and out, and uniquely sensual; retreat to Bali to feel nurtured, grounded, and loved.
FtC: Do you prefer the notion of “let’s get lost” or “adventure with a purpose” and why? Which is more nourishing to your soul?
Mindy: My favorite way to travel is actually a combination of both. I love to set out with a general travel route or destination in mind, but to hold no timeline, no agenda in between. For example, if we were to go on a day adventure, my ideal scenario is to pick a destination somewhere down the line and take all day to get there. Whatever happens in between is meant to be. It’s good to adventure with purpose because it gives you something to aim for, but genuine soul experiences don’t usually come out of rigid calculations – they happen out of the blue. That’s why I love leaving room for getting lost, changing plans, and going with the flow. Somewhere in there is the magical realm where soul experiences unfold.
FtC: “Your journey is yours alone – not a better version of someone else’s.” Nowadays there’s a sense of competition to share the best photos and captions of travel experiences on various platforms. How might you advise people on how to keep the essence of travel experiences real and authentic, and less influenced by pressure to turn everything into the next best social media post?
Mindy: Everyone experiences the essence of travel differently, and the most important thing is to know what yours is. Speaking as a content creator, one of the things that gives me life is getting an epic shot in an epic spot and being able to share it with the world. Waking up before dawn to greet the top of a volcano before the sun. It’s the experience of earning the shot, and it’s not about anyone else. If creating content on your travels and sharing your adventures is what you love to do, then that’s the essence for you. On the other hand, if you find yourself traveling to a new country to craft yet another coconut pineapple beach blanket tea party, then it might be worth asking why you came to this country in the first place, if you can do that from anywhere.
In my mind that’s the difference between celebrating and forgoing the essence of travel… as well as the difference between being a content creator and an ‘influencer.’ A content creator is someone who’s out there chasing life experiences and sharing them with the world; an influencer is out there working on their feed. Both are viable businesses nowadays and to each their own, but in terms of keeping travel experiences real and authentic, my advice is to forget about the photograph and remember why you’re traveling in the first place.
Go do something that’s new, that’s out of your comfort zone, with people you vibe with. Don’t make the priority documenting yourself in an artificial scenario for the sake of appearing exceptional; make it a priority to seek exceptional life experiences worth documenting.