Head to Nicaragua Now!

PHOTO: NICARAGUA

PHOTO: NICARAGUA

We've been sending our adventurous customWELL travelers to Nicaragua for a few years now and every time they have rave reviews. From the culture activities to the surf spots to the chic eco-friendly hotel options, there so much to see and do.

Writer Nikki Vargas summed it up in Savoteur best: Like its neighbor, Costa Rica, Nicaragua is a lush and magical place. Unlike Costa Rica, though, it's not overrun with fanny-pack-toting tourists. If Nicaragua is near the bottom of your travel bucket list, don't blame yourself: Many people don't know just how much it offers. But once you're clued in, you'll definitely want to go. Here's why:

1. Nicaragua Is a Budget-Friendly Destination — for Now
2. It's a Surfing Hotspot
3. You Can Ski Down Volcanoes
4. It's Overrun with Beauty, but Not Tourists

Read Nikki's full article here.

Then get in touch with us to book your wellness vacation to Nicaragua now! 

{We're Obsessed} Fire Cupping Therapy

IMAGE VIA

IMAGE VIA

Wellness History in: China, Egypt, and Vietnam
Prescribed for: Allergies, common cold, inflammation, muscle tension, and respiratory issues.

Cupping, a traditional Eastern medicine form of healing, has shown up in Western spa treatments as of late. Typically applied to the back of the body, the practitioner lights a piece of cotton and places it inside a small glass container removing all the oxygen. The container is then applied to your bare skin where suction is created as the air cools. I was first introduced to cupping after contracting a cough while traveling during the winter season in Vietnam. After one intense treatment my cough started to subside and my lungs began to clear up.

Read about my favorite Vietnamese experience and then book one for yourself. - Linden Schaffer

To Visa or Not to Visa

IMAGE: PASSPORT INDEX

IMAGE: PASSPORT INDEX

Albania? No
Burma? Yes
Turkey? On Arrival

If you've ever played the game "Do I need a visa to travel here?", the brilliant new website Passport Index is here to make sure you're a winner every time. This online database of the world's passports and all boarder regulations makes it easy to figure out the entry rules. Headed for a solo jaunt criss-crossing Southeast Asia? Enter your home country details to prepare before you leave home. Meeting up with friends for a multi-cultural around the world adventure? Use the Compare tool (pictured above) to see which of your group will get a free pass - hello Germany - and whom will have to do a little more planning. Now if only the site would get the visa for you.

Actor Chris Noth on Travel

IMAGE VIA 

IMAGE VIA 

"I find {travel} to be the most educational experience, to meet people all over the world and find out how much we have in common. I feel like the media gives a general wash to things and people start judging people on the way they look, or by the fact that if they’re from a certain country that means something. Then when you meet them and develop a relationship, sometimes you find out that your best friend in the world will be from a country that you thought you had nothing in common with. I think you realize we are all one global family when you make those personal connections from traveling the world." - Chris Noth

excerpted from Mr. Noth's interview with Parade

{We're Obsessed} New Wash

IMAGE VIA HAIRSTORY

IMAGE VIA HAIRSTORY

When you travel as much as we do, stocking up on travel size products is a must. We look for any way to travel with less, but don't want to sacrifice all the goodies we're used to using at home. Enter New Wash, the hair cleanser full of natural fatty acids and essential oils that actually allows you to stop using conditioner and many of the other goops we rely on for styling (think serums, sprays and texturizers).

This inventive product, the brainchild of Bumble & Bumble founder Michael Gordon, cleanses without damaging your hair. He thinks of it as anti-shampoo, which has the added benefit of less money spent on other products to 'fix' our hair. Now when we travel we only bring New Wash, and it's stood up against sunny, sandy and salty travel conditions. 

What Yoga Teachers Eat for Breakfast

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

Ever wonder how your yoga teachers start their day? Oprah Magazine interviewed some of Pravassa's collaborators to find out. Here's how they get the energy to do all those chaturangas and headstands. Not to worry, though: There is still some coffee involved.

The Bit-of-Everything Buffet Maker

This meal is a healthy-breakfast lover's dream come true, featuring an impressive array of nutritious foods which, together, provide plenty of fat, protein and carbs to keep this yoga instructor going for hours. It comes courtesy of Jennifer Colletti, a yoga teacher and holistic health coach in Minneapolis. The first part: cereal with calcium-rich amaranth seeds, which she simmers in boiling water for 20 minutes, then combines with coconut milk and a little bit of stevia. Next, a few small apple- or maple-chicken sausages. And last, a smoothie made with coconut milk, protein powder, avocado, spinach, maca powder and a bit of collagen powder, which may help strengthen hair, skin, joints and bones.

The Grab-and-Go Guru

A handful of nuts and a piece of fruit may seem light, at first glance. But this meal, which is in New York City yoga teacher Aarona Ganesan's rotation, contains a surprising amount of healthy fats and protein. A serving of nuts has between five and seven grams of protein, which is about the same amount that's in a hard-boiled egg; while the fruit is easy to digest and eat on the go. And coffee is absolutely on the menu for Ganesan; she doctors it up with almond milk, coconut oil, cinnamon and maca powder for an added boost.

Read Full Article Here

{We're obsessed} 31 Bits

Businesses that give back are the bomb! Businesses that support the health and wellness of women around the world? Those stop us in our tracks. 31 Bits is the brainchild of 5-college friends who founded a jewelry company that works with beneficiaries in Uganda to create fashionable, quality products. These women provide and care for their families by earning an income, but the goodness doesn’t stop there. With a holistic approach to business, 31 Bits also provides counseling, health education, finance training and business mentorships. Everything the company does is funded through the sales of the products, which means every time you buy, you have direct impact on these women’s lives.

What a way to empower women in Uganda…oh and the jewelry is beautiful too. - Alison Kinkade

Changed by Travel: Bita Jenkins

Bita Jenkins in UTAH

Bita Jenkins in UTAH

Many moons ago, I was born in Tehran, Iran to an amazingly wonderful family. Open hearted and open minded; they loved to travel, stay active, read and have a lot of parties! From a young age I was exposed to fantastic people, beautiful cities, different cultures and foreign religions – really all walks of life. Then, my life and my country rich in beauty, mystery and history began to change. A revolution was taking shape. While already accepted to med school in Iran, the turmoil working its way through the country began to threaten the opportunities and potential life had laid out before me.  

1984 changed all that. My brother was already in the US studying and I decided it was the place for me too to continue my education. With no American Embassy in Iran, my mom and I, against all odds, traveled to Turkey where I applied for a student visa and my mom for a tourist visa.

We passed the time we had to wait by traveling, exploring, worrying, praying, meditating and in between sleepless nights we met amazing people and began to fall in love with Turkey, its culture and its people. In that time I grew as a person more than any other time in my life. Traveling became my love, my passion - my gateway to myself.

Two months after this amazingly rich period in my life we were granted our visas. I was ready to travel to US and ready to expand my world again. As author Clifton Fadiman so beautifully says, “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”

My life has been full of #changedbytravel experiences exploring the world in search of amazing people, unique places and immersing stories. With each meeting and each new destination, my heart and mind grow. I count on it to enrich my life and the lives of others.  - Bita Jenkins

Changed by Travel: Alison Kinkade

IMAGE ALISON KINKADE©

IMAGE ALISON KINKADE©

It's a rare occurrence when you can point to a moment in your life and say. "That's it. That's when I changed. That's when everything changed." Yet my exact moment was: July 5, 2013 at 3 a.m.

My best friend and I decided to leave our cornfield-surrounded town of 1,500 people and drive to Canada. Fast-forward 12 hours as we found ourselves at a hostel in Toronto swearing the next day were we headed for a hotel! Having never been around so much diversity in such an intimate setting, we were so overwhelmed to the point that we skipped the shared meal space and hunkered down with homemade peanut butter sandwiches outside on a park bench. Clearly we were far from our creature comforts and the familiarity of our small town. 

Three years have passed since that fateful night and I can now look back at my 19-year-old self with pride and smile at all the memories. Turns out we did not leave the hostel - instead we ended up staying for the entire week. What changed? Us! We decided to open up and connect with others, which resulted in friendships that are still going strong today. 

In that one week, I gained more life experience and learned more about the world than school ever taught me. Without cell phone service I finally learned how to read a map and I learned that Europeans never ask for a doggy bag (I think the snickering gave it away). My most cherished moment was when a chef from Switzerland cooked us a meal - this never would have happened back home. Through all this I learned that the simple things are often the most treasured. 

That one-week of travel changed my life, teaching me my biggest lesson: how to interact with people who have differing backgrounds and opinions. In the past three years I cannot count how many hostels I've stayed in during my travels through Spain, Italy, Ireland and much of the U.S. I've made countless friends and memories, gained confidence and said yes to new opportunities, which has allowed me to chase my dreams.  

Every time I think about my past travels, my hearts fills with joy and propels me to always be planning what is next. Now, whenever someone tell me they are thinking about taking a trip I automatically yell, "DO IT!" Then I pause to add, "But only if you're ready to be forever changed by travel." - Alison Kinkade