How to Lose Your Identity (in a good way)



Yes, you read that right. Type this into Google and most searches will yield results on how to avoid losing your identity—whether it is credit card fraud or maintaining autonomy in relationships. The identity I am referring to is the accumulation of qualities that we think define us. What happens when we willingly lose this identity, rather than trying to protect it? We find our true selves, not the external factors that we carefully pack into a tight little box with a bow and present to the world.

I’ve spent my entire life trying to define myself. You probably have too. I am Josalin—the college student, the teacher, the freelance writer. “I am the successful doctor, musician, lawyer, mother, yogi, CEO. I like this type of music and these kinds of clothes and these are the places I go.” Caught up in a search to define ourselves, we sometimes forget who we are at our core and become dependent on external representations to determine our self-worth. We become consumed in our roles, our jobs, and the physical objects we own. While all of these things can be rewarding and play a large part in our lives, they ultimately do not define us. By detaching from the need to create and keep an identity, we can truly find ourselves.

Here are 3 easy ways to shed your identity without losing yourself:

Travel. Switching up the scenery does a world of good for our well-being. It also gives us the opportunity to remove ourselves from the places, the pace of life, and the people that are familiar to us. In a new setting, we have no labels or preconceived notions to attach to our surroundings. We have nothing to rely on but our own judgments and experiences.

Limit your dependence on social circles. While maintaining a healthy social life is an important aspect of being human, balancing the values of the groups you associate with and your own can sometimes be a challenge. To be sure that your choices are in line with your own beliefs, branch out, form different networks and make new friends. If you don’t normally go to this side of town or to that bar or to that gym, go! Go, feel vulnerable, and don’t fit in.

Set some alone time. Being alone is a beautiful thing, especially when you have the time and the insight to enjoy it. By having time to ourselves to reflect on our goals and values, we can understand ourselves more fully than when we are caught up in the rat race or the fast-paced demands of society.

Not knowing who you are is a scary thought, but it is actually a blessing in disguise. It means you and your potential are limitless. You can be free to be yourself, without being bound to definitions or expectations. Your identity resides within you, regardless of who you appear to be to the world, and you are the only one who truly knows who this person is. Take the time to nurture the relationship you have with yourself, and watch the windows of clarity fly wide open.

- Written for Pravassa by Josalin Saffer

{We're Obsessed} Bug Off Bug Spray



Finally an herbal insect repellent that actually works! We've tried so many varieties over the years, apparently mosquitoes love us because we're so sweet, and were ecstatic to come across this certified organic option. Created from apple cider vinegar, purified water and essential oils of citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass and more, we had to stop ourselves from spraying it on even when we didn't need it. We still have some left in the 2 oz glass spray bottle even after a month of wellness travel. Get yours now:

Wellness Travel For any budget



Whether you decide to plan a getaway near or far, small changes to your travel routine can make all the difference when it comes to wellness. Learning to be present in your surroundings doesn’t have to cost anything; it simply means putting away your smartphone. Wellness resonates in a different way with every traveler and the aspects that nourish you can and will change throughout the stages in your life. Everyone can add a little more wellness to his or her travel no matter your budget. Start with any of these tips and build up to create a routine that maximizes your favorite wellness rituals.

Pre Travel Tips:

Prepare your body for travel 24-hours before you leave home by eating as clean as possible: no alcohol, no caffeine, and limit your carbohydrates. Instead fuel with lean protein and fresh vegetables. This will give your system less to breakdown and keep your blood sugar in check.

Get in a workout – any favorite physical activity. Travel by plane, train, or car involves sitting for a long period of time. Prepare your muscles by giving them some stimulation and stamping out the muscular stress and tension your body builds up by being sedentary.

On the Road Tips:

Make your calories count by eating nutritious food. More and more airports are renovating their restaurants to offer healthier choices, but if you are planning a road trip it’s not always possible. Either way, pack snacks so you can eat what and when you want. Insider Tip: Did you know that flight attendants pack coolers instead of eating airplane food? That should tell you something.

Take time to stretch out. Walk up and down the aisle of a plane, make a pit stop to do a little exploring on a road trip, or strike a yoga pose in the terminal. This is the best way to keep your blood flowing and re-center your breath. Sometimes a small physical movement can make the difference between a smile and a frown during stressful times of travel.

Hotel Tips:

Book a hotel with a steam room or sauna. This is my #1 go-to wellness travel staple – especially when traveling for work. Being on an airplane dries you out and leaves you trapped with foreign germs for hours at a time. Heading directly to the spa upon arrival detoxes your system and lets you sweat out all the baggage of travel – literally.

Pack a pair of sneakers or walking shoes and set out to explore. Concierge desks often have running maps or hiking trail guides available. If you are in a major city there are always great neighborhoods to explore. Even if this means waking up an hour earlier, you will feel grounded and more alive when you can connect and enjoy the environment around you.

Wellness Indulgences:

Eat local food. Travel opens the world to us and food is the quickest way to grasp the history and a unique understanding of a new culture. Fruits, vegetables, spices, even entire meals may be made up of ingredients that are new to you. Depending on your budget you could arrange a cooking class, a food tour, or just stroll the markets and point to what you want to try.

Research the local culture and participate. From line dancing in Texas to a pilgrimage in India, any place you travel will have something unique to that town, city, or country. As a traveler who is open to stepping out of your comfort zone, the locals will embrace you and aim to make your experience special. 

Want to splurge? Join one of our curated wellness vacations, which focuses on a local festival – we'll give you access to private ceremonies and events that are not open to regular travelers, but that welcomes wellness travelers. -

This article was written for and originally published on wellness website SpaFinder.

{Well on the Road} Caroline Jordan




Most recently in: Hawaii

The one snack you can always find in my carry-on is: Quest bars and apples. 

Tell us your in-flight rituals: I'm always traveling in stylist workout wear. That way it's easy to be comfortable, fashionable, and fit in walking + stretching on the go. I love to do standing yoga poses while waiting at the airport to reinvigorate my body from the stress of traveling. 

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived?  I get out and exercise when I arrive. Doing so helps me sleep well in my hotel room and it re-energizes me from a long bout of travel. I believe movement is medicine and helps make everything feel better.  

Describe your workout on the road style: I love to get out and explore a new location with an invigorating run. I'll combine that with bodyweight strength workouts and Ab videos in my hotel room. I travel so often that my YouTube channel is full of my exercise routines that I take with me.

How do you keep sickness at bay? I make sure to drink tons of water while traveling and take my vitamins! Altitude and re-circulated airport air can cause dehydration and put you at risk for catching a bug. To stay healthy I keep a refillable water bottle with me and drink at least 8 ounces for every hour inflight. 

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item? I order as many vegetables as I can when traveling to help with digestion. For dinner or lunch I'll order a salad (extra veggies!) with chicken and dressing on the side. If it's breakfast, I love a filling bowl of oatmeal and fruit. 

What do you do to stay grounded? I love to journal. I believe you must find a way to connect with yourself on a consistent daily basis in order to live an intentional life. 

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? I love writing letters and sending postcards when traveling. But of course face-to-face time is always best! 

About Caroline: Caroline Jordan is a professional Health, Wellness, and Lifestyle Coach, entrepreneur, writer, speaker, fitness instructor, and athlete. She graduated from from the University of California and is certified by several health and wellness agencies such as A.C.E. and Balletone. She has been featured in Shape Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and writes regularly for established wellness websites. Stay connected with her adventures or book a private coaching session via her websiteFacebook page or YouTube channel. 

{We're Obsessed} VLTA



Eco-jewelry for wellness? We didn’t know such a thing existed until we discovered VTLA. This zero waste line houses your favorite essential oils in secret compartments, cool right?! Stash your favorite scents, oils or perfume, or leave the pieces empty; they are so beautiful they stand out on their own. VLTA is ethically sourced and made out of recycled metals and gemstones, making this company one of our favorites. Bring a piece along on your travels and you won't need any other adornments as you can dress them up or down; we know because they look stellar with both our yoga pants and a little black dress! Get yours at

PS - Join the Instagram contest we have going on with VLTA, Sept 14 - 19, for your chance to win prizes!

- Paige Halleland

Drive Cardio | LA




We love to jump into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes when we travel. That runner's high from pushing your body is addictive and it is sure to create a sweat fest. We headed to Drive Cardio (on the very north end of Santa Monica) on our last trip to L.A. to work on our Cali beach body.

The class warm-up series started with jumping jacks, squats, lunges, and mount climbers, then we split into two groups: one on the treadmill and one focusing on strength training. It takes some mad trainer skills to be able to split your time between two groups and keep the calls out to runners vs. resistance banders straight. Most exercises are done in a 60/30 format - pump it up for 60 seconds, cool it down for 30 with clear and encouraging direction. The maximum push is up to each person with no pressure to run the fastest or lift the most weight, making it a great group class for people beginning to experiment with HIIT. 

Classes are capped at 12 people so register early and arrive with plenty of time to snag a spot in the small parking lot. Towels and free water are on hand as well as a locker for your wallet and car keys. The bright street-level studio has lots of natural light and sometimes they'll open the windows so you can smell the surf.

COST: $28/class                                                     LENGTH: 60 MINUTES


What is your vacation personality?



Vacation is supposed to be a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. We're all for exploring an overcrowded city or a nature spot with no one around for miles, but the key to any vacation is balance. This is why it's so important to us to include free time in every itinerary we plan whether it's for a group or an individual. That's why when we read this latest article in the New York Times, we knew we had to share it with you. 

"Research cited by the Harvard Business Review shows that people derive little to no happiness boost from vacations they perceive as stressful. Jam-packed itineraries and tight connections may look exciting on paper, but they could end up meaning you return no happier than when you left."

Read the full article, written by Arthur C. Brooks, here.

Wellness tourism taking the vacation world by storm



In the past, vacations were ways for many to shed responsibilities and relax. That trend, however, seems to be as old as Disney World, as the idea of wellness trips slowly take over the vacation scene.

This week on “Take Care,” print, television, and digital journalist Ismat Sarah Mangla talks about the new traveling trend and what fuels people to be active during their vacations.

Listen to the radio spot

5 Ways to Wellness: Amsterdam

Although perceived by many visitors as an adult playground, Amsterdam is a city with much more to offer than its open-minded lifestyle. Hands down it is one of the best places to wander and get wonderfully lost. 



Stress Reduction

Boating. Relaxing on one of the many waterways is mesmerizing and a moving meditation in its own right. Looking for a romantic way to see this city? Holland International offers a two-hour candlelight tour that takes you through the entire UNESCO Heritage site. Traveling on a tight budget? Do as we did and take advantage of the benches that line canals. Sit to unwind, read a book, or just appreciate nature. The tranquility of water always helps our worries drift away. 

Physical Activity

Cycling. Obviously no trip to Amsterdam is complete without joining the Dutch way of travel. Despite it’s small size, there are 400 km of bike paths within the city. Rent a bike by the hour or a week to tour the city on your own or join in an organized group and get a history lesson. One of our favorites is Mike’s Bike Tours and Rentals because they offer both city and countryside excursions. Conveniently located in the city center, the guides speak to their own passions, which offers a truly genuine experience. 

PHOTO via amsterdamnow

PHOTO via amsterdamnow

Food Education

Restaurant De Kas. If you’re in town from May through October, Restaurant De Kas is a must visit. Guests are welcomed to tour the restaurant’s nursery and garden or attend a workshop in the field to learn more about the growing food. The greenhouse grows the restaurants vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers - giving new meaning to ‘from field to fork’. No menu is printed as the restaurant serves Mediterranean inspired dishes, which change daily based on the harvest. Don’t fret; you’re in great hands with the Chef as the courses just keep arriving. 

Spiritual Connection

The Begijnhof. Off-the-beaten-path, this enclosed courtyard dates back to the early 14th century. Home to several interesting religious buildings including Amsterdam’s oldest surviving house, Het Houten Huis, it is known to locals as a serene oasis and peaceful escape from the chaos of the city center. Cut off from Amsterdam’s traffic noise, visitors are asked to respect the courtyard’s silence. Pop in for a few moments to ground yourself and enjoy the stillness in the midst of the vibrant bustling city that is Amsterdam.

StEDjlik Museum | Photo: Paige halleland

StEDjlik Museum | Photo: Paige halleland

Cultural Involvement

Museumnacht. The first Saturday of November, museums and art galleries participate in National Museum Week leaving their doors open until 2 a.m. In addition to the special exhibits, you’ll find music, dancing, eating, and full on revelry. Tickets range from 14 € - 17 € and offers access into over 42 locations. Use the website to plot your path and find out where the after parties are if you are not ready to go home. 

Pravassa’s 5-tenet wellness philosophy is rooted in these core concepts: physical activity, stress reduction, food education, spiritual connection, and cultural involvement. These principles have guided our company’s wellness practices from inception and informed how we create our itineraries. While we don't currently plan trips to Amsterdam, you can clearly see we live our philosophy even on vacation. – Paige Halleland

Solo Travel Tips



Out the other night with friends, the topic of solo travel came up during dinner. My husband had just returned from a two-week solo adventure to Hawaii and I have been traveling solo for years. A friend commented that, while she has yet to travel solo, she dreams of the day when a solo getaway will offer her some much needed time to clear her head and think about her future.

Actor and author, Andrew McCarthy describes solo travel in his book, The Longest Way Home, as the time when he feels most at home in himself. I couldn't agree more. Solo travel changes you. Being on the road alone, you are forced to confront your true nature. You depend on the kindness of others and step outside of your comfort zone in search of new, fulfilling experiences. It is liberating!

Now that you're ready to pack your bags and head off on your own adventure, here are some tips and tricks that I've learned throughout my years of travel that not only make myself, but my family, more comfortable saying good-bye.

Prearrange accommodations and transportation - My loved ones and I feel more comfortable when I'm able to leave behind an itinerary of where I'll be on which dates. Hotel phone numbers are handy especially if you're traveling to a foreign country or place where your cell phone may not work. Pre-booking a taxi or shuttle for my arrival saves me the stress of trying to figure out what to do upon exiting the terminal especially if I'm jet-lagged and in unfamiliar territory. That being said, there's nothing like going with the flow or taking recommendations from the people you meet while traveling. Therefore, I always make sure my reservations are refundable in case something better pops up.

Plan arrival during daylight hours - As a woman who only speaks English, with a few key foreign phrases, I prefer to arrive at my destination during the day. If I have to wait for my bus or taxi I can at least get my bearings and feel a bit more comfortable as more people are usually around during the day.

Respect the local culture - When it comes to packing, I do my research in advance about what is acceptable attire where I'm traveling. Typically I pack casual and conservative clothing or layers so I can cover up when needed. Since I'm not in the market for unwanted attention, good jewelry and revealing outfits stay in my closet at home.

Make friends at your hotel - Spend some time talking with the concierge or hotel owners if they are around. Not only will you get some great local advice and perhaps a dinner reservation at a hotspot, but also you will develop a relationship that invests someone on the ground in your comings and goings. Often these people will keep a watchful eye out for anything amiss.

Trust your gut - Often times we are so busy in our daily lives at home, we don't listen to our instinctual side, but on the road this is an important guide to your health and safety. If you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable in a threatening way, then excuse yourself and move on. If it's late at night and walking back to your hotel seems daunting, then grab a taxi. Your body has ways of warning against bad choices, you just need to tune in and listen.

The more you travel solo, the more comfortable you will become with being on the road alone. Like me, you may even come to crave the time away. Solo travel is like exercising a muscle, the more you do it, the better and stronger traveler you become. - Linden Schaffer

This article was written for and originally published on The Huffington Post.