Solo Travel: Why We Love it

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Until you have packed your suitcase and set off for parts unknown - alone - it's hard to explain the mystical, magical, things that will unfold on a solo adventure. Solo travel gives you complete and utter freedom. You are in charge of what you see, when you see it, what you eat, when you sleep, the list goes on! Solo travel is the best way to get out of a funk, grow as a person, step outside your comfort zone, and best of all learn how self-reliant and strong you really are.

Unsure where to head on your next solo adventure? Here's a list of 20 places to consider. 
Want help planning that perfect getaway with a wellness spin? Check out our customWELL option.

Ubud | Bali

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

If you've ever been to Bali then you immediately know why it's one of our favorite places on earth. You also know that as the world becomes more global and the population ages, it is going to be hard to hold onto the magic that Bali offers forever. This little Hindu island set amongst the 17,000 other Muslim nations of Indonesia is a wonder. From lush rice fields to black sand beaches to ancient temples to cultural celebrations, there is no other place in the world like it. Check out the gallery of our favorite wellness travel finds. 

Interested in joining our next small group tour to Bali? Click here

{We're Obsessed} Time to Groom Your Gut

photo via 

photo via 

Gut health has evolved from hush-hush to hot topic and it’s no secret that elimination is one of the most important movements our body makes– it amps up our immunity, metabolism and moods.

We all know by now that a diet rich in whole grains, fibers, fresh fruits, and vegetables is essential for optimal digestion. But we must also make room for good bacteria in our digestive systems. Probiotic supplements and cultured dairy products like kefir – yogurt’s three times more potent family member – have an abundance of them. Kombucha and fermented veggies should also be on your radar and are a great excuse to rescue your mason jars from the cabinet’s caverns.

Food isn’t the only thing we can ingest in order to digest either; activated charcoal may be the most buzzed about ingredient lately, but we've been telling our clients for years to buy some for its unique ability to magnetize toxins and keep you healthy on the road. - Lindsey Jarrett

Balinese New Year Celebrations

Nyepi, Balinese New Year, takes place every Spring, but due to moon cycles, the exact date changes yearly. In 2015 the holiday fell on March 21st and it left us longing to be back in this magical place celebrating with the locals. Enjoy this video we created of our 2012 wellness tour to celebrate Nyepi's Ogoh-Ogoh day where evil spirits are awoken in order to banish them and cleanse the island.

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Bogota | Colombia

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

Just back from our latest scouting trip we fell in love with the vibrant artistic nature of Bogota, Colombia. This modern city is spread out but with cheap taxi rides, an incredible bus system, along with walking and bike paths throughout the city, there is no excuse to stay in your hotel room. Like any major metropolitan hub, Bogota welcomes expats from around the world and offers food, hotels, and tours for any budget. Check out the gallery of our latest wellness travel finds. 

Interested in booking a #customWELL itinerary to Bogota? Click here

4 Reasons to Stay Active in Winter

photo via Shutterstock

photo via Shutterstock

It's not even March and we're already sick of the cold winter weather. We admit it happens every year. As the sunlight dwindles so does the appeal of the outdoors. Yet continuing to stay active in the cold months is vital for your wellbeing. Here are four reasons you should make movement a priority:

1. Boost Immunity. Research continues to show that consistent exercise, including a simple daily walk, strengthens the body's immune system. By increasing circulation, your white blood cells are more able to keep viruses, bacteria, and the flu at bay. Work a walk into your every day routine by going out to pick up lunch or taking the stairs in your office building.

2. Restore Energy. Your body already works overtime and the short days of winter can make you feel as if the day has come and gone before you've accomplished anything. Active rest like listening to a soothing guided meditation or visualization can keep your blood pressure, muscular tension, and nervous system in check. 

3. Try New Things. If you spend your time outdoors in the summer weather, use a nice, warm indoor setting as an enticement to explore in a new way. Check out the nearest rock climbing wall, try a spin class or an intenSati workout, walk through an art gallery, or book a fusion cooking class. Bonus points if you bring along a friend for motivation and company!

4. Maintain Weight. Of course we know we should be choosing salads over creamy soups this time of year, but the cold winter elements including lack of vitamin D can wreak havoc on our cravings. Manage your stress and food cravings by keeping your fitness routine in check. This way you can indulge a bit without a second thought. Then when you return to a more balanced diet in the spring, you won't feel like you have excess weight to shed.

{We're Obsessed} JADETribe

photo via Jadetribe

photo via Jadetribe

'Fashion with a conscience' is JADEtribe’s motto and their natural, organic, ethical textiles follow suit. You can find us wandering the streets of Thailand or Colombia with any one of their messenger bags– large enough to carry water and a camera, but not too big to be uncomfortably heavy. Our founder, Linden often get stopped in the streets and asked “where can I purchased this bag?” The feel of the hand-woven fabrics seems local no matter where in the world you find yourself. The fact that New York-based founder, Kimberly Hartman uses JADEtribe as a platform to employ small women’s co-ops in South East Asia makes us return every season to see what’s new. Get yours at www.jadetribe.com

How To Become a Hotel Eco-Guest

PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

I was raised to be a conscientious citizen of the world. I recycle, take public transportation, turn off the lights when I leave the room, and recently started composting. For years traveling around the world I would smile when I read hotel signs that asked guests to hang up their towels instead of requesting new ones. I would also delight when I walked into a new hotel room and see that there was a recycling bin alongside the trash bin.

With hotels across the globe taking steps to show their commitment to the environment, is there a way for us to become even better eco-guests, whether you stay at large hotels chains or local boutique establishments known for their eco-practices? You bet! Here are a few simple things you can do during your next hotel stay to leave a smaller footprint.

Bring Your Own Toiletries Every company makes travel size toiletries these days. By bringing your own shampoo and conditioner, you save plastic, as the hotel doesn't have to replace the products you used during your short stay. If you just can't resist trying a new product, make sure you finish the product and take it with you to refill and reuse on your next trip.

Hang the Do Not Disturb Sign on the Door Your hotel room was cleaned just prior to your arrival and you are probably not spending enough time in it to make a massive mess. By hanging the Do Not Disturb sign on your door you are telling the hotel that no cleaning and no new towels are required. This simple act uses less electricity, (no vacuum), less chemical cleaning agents, and less water, as no washing of sheets or towels is required. If the thought of staying in a hotel and not having your room cleaned is too much for you, experiment; hang the Do Not Disturb sign every other day and see how you feel.

Request the Hotel Not Turn on the Radio/Lights Prior to Your ArrivalWhen this first started happening on my travels, I would to look around thinking I just entered an occupied room. While the idea of entering a hotel room that feels less empty/lonely is nice, it's not really doing anything to make us think we're not away from home. Save the electricity and tell the front desk it's not necessary.

Leave the Stationary Behind Are you really composing hand written notes these days? While it may be tempting to collect hotel stationary from exotic locales, why not take a picture of the stationary with your camera phone instead? Pictures last longer, plus you can post it on your Facebook wall.

Ask the Hotel to Email You the Bill Don't waste another piece of paper by requesting a printed a copy of your stay. Everything is electronic these days so ask the front desk to email you a copy. Better yet, before settling your bill, ask for a digital copy instead of having it slipped under your door at night. As we know, every little bit helps! - Linden Schaffer

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

Give Love

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Love comes in all shapes - romantic, friendship, family connections - and having meaningful connections does a body good. Lowering your blood pressure and staving off loneliness are just two great side effects according to the Journal of Psychology and Aging. Rely on your loves to listen to you vent after a long week or provide you with an endless stream of laugher, which reduces tension and anxiety. If you are in a romantic relationship, make time for a special getaway and enjoy a sexual romp. "Sex is a great form of exercise that burns about five calories a minute, lowers your risk for heart disease, and improves your sleep." says sex expert Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD. While it won't replace the gym, we'll give it a try, doctor's orders after all! 

Set Up For Sleep

PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

More often than not do you find yourself staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning as your mind reels from the day, or even counting sheep in a desperate attempt to get to sleep at night? While it is recommended adults get seven to eight hours of sleep nightly, the average working adult gets about six. A lack of rest is often compounded by excess coffee and sugary foods we consume to help keep us awake. In turn, too much caffeine and sugar lead to difficulty falling asleep at night, creating a cycle that becomes incredibly hard to break.

Sure, you know you should be sleeping more hours. That's an easy one. But have you ever stopped to consider that maybe the six hours of sleep you are getting aren't necessarily restful? In a society that is over-stimulated and under-nourished in the sleep department, the concept of a bedtime ritual has been gaining popularity. Everyone from Arianna Huffington to Cameron Diaz have been recommending more quality sleep, and the best way to get that is to create your own ritual and set yourself up for a successful sleep. Try these simple steps and take the parts that work for you to create your own nightly ritual.

Create an Oasis -- Make your bedroom a refuge, not an extension of all the things that add stress to your day. Designate the space as your own personal quiet zone. Remove the TV if you have one and leave your laptop plugged in to charge in the living room. Add a calming scent or high thread count sheets that you cannot wait to climb into. Try to recreate that feeling of stepping into a spa or a vacation resort, any place you've felt a physical relaxation response.

Make an Appointment to Sleep -- Sleep is serious business so treat it like a meeting that you cannot afford to miss. Dr. Mark Rosekind tells us, "Staying up later on a consistent basis, you readjust your internal clock, and delayed sleep phase syndrome sets in." This sleep disruption may lead to insomnia, and it wreaks havoc on your circadian rhythm. If you need more hours of sleep but can't seem to find the time, start making your sleep appointments 15 minutes earlier each week until you have scheduled the time you adequately need to feel rested.

Do an Electronic Detox -- Texting and emailing before bed can incite anxiety, especially if you stay up waiting for a response. If the idea of leaving your phone in another room while you sleep induces panic, take advantage of the airplane or do not disturb modes. Routinely shut off your phone at least 45 minutes before you close your eyes so you're not tempted to keep checking it. This also has the added benefit of training the outside world to know that you're not always available. This simple act will help both your mind and body relax.

Set the Mood -- Create a simple routine that when performed over and over will let your body know that it is time to power down. Dim the lights, cut down on mental stimulation, and move slowly. Use the time to take a hot shower or relax in the bath. Brush and floss your teeth and climb into bed feeling clean and calm.

Sleep Naked -- Yep, you read that right! Your skin has to breathe to stay healthy. Sleeping in the buff can clear up skin irritations and regulate your body temperature, both of which contribute to disruptive sleep if you are constantly being awoken by putting on and throwing off the covers all night. Keep the room temperature at a cool 65°F, and you'll even burn some calories overnight as your body works a bit harder to stay warm. - Linden Schaffer

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