Are You on the Brink of Burnout?

 IMAGE  VIA

IMAGE VIA

Take a moment for a quick 5-step self-evaluation.

1. Sleep—Would you generally say that you are not getting enough sleep or hours of quality rest?

2. Eating Habits—Do you lose your appetite when you’re busy or reach for the unhealthiest option to cope in what seems like an unmanageable situation?

3. Exercise—You know movement is the way to counteract the ill-effects of our increasing sedentary lifestyle. Do you find yourself overwhelmed with the thought of adding exercise to your schedule?

4. Coping Mechanisms—Do you lash out at others over minor issues? Do you fire off emails that you later regret?

5. Success—Are there never enough hours in your day to complete everything on your list? Do you forget to stop and celebrate the small victories because you bypass them on your way to the next thing?

If you answered yes to more than half of the above questions, congratulations, your fight-or-flight response is in a constant state of readiness. That means, it's time for a VACATION!

Good news, you came to the right place! Join one of our upcoming group trips or get in touch to plan a custom wellness vacation of your choice.

We look forward to reigniting your spark. - Linden Schaffer

 

Want more tips for how to start or maintain a wellness routine at home or when traveling? Pick up Linden Schaffer's best-selling book
Living Well on the Road 

Pravassa Wins Solo Travel Award

 SOLO TRAVEL IN CAMBODIA | PRAVASSA©

SOLO TRAVEL IN CAMBODIA | PRAVASSA©

Pravassa wins Specialty Tour Operator in World Nomads Solo Travelers Choice Awards

Since 2009, Solo Traveler’s mission has been to advocate on behalf of solo travelers. The annual Solo Travel Awards, sponsored by World Nomads, showcases companies known to serve solo travelers and excel at serving these travelers by offering tours, cruises, and/or vacation packages with no or very low single supplements. 

We are thrilled to announce that Pravassa has won the 2018 Specialty Tour Operator Award.

For a full list of winners, click here.

Changed by Travel: Linden Schaffer

 Image  PRAVASSA©  - Linden Schaffer (R) and Friends in Italy

Image PRAVASSA© - Linden Schaffer (R) and Friends in Italy

Riding through Paris on a motorcycle. Hitchhiking the German Autobahn unsuccessfully then pitching a tent as the sun lowered across the horizon. Watching Yugoslavia’s summer rays beat down over the glimmering, cliff-side sea.

I first heard of these adventures as a teenager and promptly made my father pull out the slides for proof that he was talking about the same people who raised me. Sure, I’d witnessed remote tribal villages through the pages of National Geographic as a kid – I knew there was more to the world than my small suburban existence. Yet imagining people so close to me exploring the other side of the world simply blew my mind.

At 10-years-old, my uncle gave us a globe. I spent countless hours studying it, wondering what it would be like to live in the Soviet Union, East Germany or any number of places that no longer exist within the borders of an old map. I never imagined a life dedicated to travel, but hoped to explore as many of those places as possible one day.

At sixteen I won a spot to compete in a volleyball tournament in Canberra, Australia. 4 flights and 30 hours later I was on my first international trip with a group of girls I’d never met. We lost the first day of competition, but it didn’t matter because I had made it to the other side of the world.

I still remember five girls huddled for warmth in sleeping bags, waking up to snowfall during what was summer back home; running along the Australian Parliament House’s rooftop garden; coming face-to-face with a guy who had puzzle pieces tattooed all over his face in Sydney’s red light district; feeding eucalyptus to a koala bear in my arms; and exchanging addresses to keep in touch with new friends.

Without social media to fall back on, I remember certain aspects of that trip so clearly because I was present for each moment. Traveling halfway around the world with no connection to home, experiencing new landscapes, animals, and people, and capturing them all with my father’s loaned camera (diligently loaded with film rolls and kept out of sunlight, of course).

Australia lit a fire in me and I vowed then and there that many far-flung adventures were to come. Returning home, it didn’t matter that only one of those film rolls actually produced any photos, because I had discovered it’s the journey that makes the lasting impression. I had discovered, for the first time of many, the feeling of being changed by travel. - Linden Schaffer

 

Want to travel with Linden? As the founder of Pravassa, she's often leading our group wellness vacations. See the latest trips here

AIRE Ancient Baths | NYC

 PHOTO VIA AIRE ANCIENT BATHS

PHOTO VIA AIRE ANCIENT BATHS

We have no doubt you that you might recognize this romantic under ground space lit only by candles and the bathing pools from numerous TV shows and movies. With dramatic ceilings and warm toned brick you'll think you time traveled from the streets of NYC to ancient Europe.

AIRE NYC is the first international outpost from the Spanish company. Spanning a 16,000 square feet subterranean level of an 1883 TriBeCa building, the space and decor is a nod to ancient Greek, Roman and Moroccan days where people gathered in thermal baths as part of their social life. The co-ed space requires bathing suits and strange spa slippers to be worn at all times for hygiene, but you quickly forget about this quirk.  

We slipped into an afternoon slot and descended a large glass staircase into the bathing area, which was almost empty due to the time of day. With a jet bath, 102° hot pool, the 98° warm pool, a 57° cold pool, a 50° ice pool, the salt-water bath, and the steam room - to move through as you please - we decided we should just move in. Massages are done in a walled glass space containing about 7 beds separated by curtains. Complementary water and hot tea are available throughout your session and bathers are notified of the end of the 2-hour session with chimes. In our dreamy state we must have missed the call as we overstayed our session, yet no one seemed to notice. 

Cost: $96 starting                                                              LOCATION: TRIBECA | NY

Feeding 150,000 people a day

 IMAGE:  EMILY POLAR

About 10 hours north of Delhi in the town of Amritsar you'll find The Golden Temple. As one of the most revered spiritual sites in India, the temple sparkles as it's literally a 24-karat-gold-plated masterpiece. Our own Katie Jehenson had her most recent #changedbytravel experience in this temple and has been sending Pravassa travelers here as part of a wellness pilgrimage. 

Below travel writer Emily Polar capture her experience. 

Located in Amritsar, Punjab, The Golden Temple is one of the most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism, but it’s not only Sikhs who make the pilgrimage here. The temple receives and feeds 50,000 to 100,000 people daily from all religions and walks of life, and during big festivals such as Diwali, the numbers can rise to 150,000 per day. 

There are four entrances, one on each side of the Temple – not to confuse, but to emphasize that it is open to all – and one bridge leading to the Temple that, I later learned, symbolizes what Sikhs believe to be the ultimate goal of human life – to become one with the Divine.

Read Emily's full story here.

To book a customWELL vacation to India and include The Golden Temple in Amritsar, click here

Solo Travel Tips

 IMAGE VIA  SHUTTERSTOCK

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

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.

6 Influencers Name Their Favorite Places in the World to Practice Wellness

At Pravassa, we believe that committing to a wellness practice deepens ones travel experience. We asked five incredible wellness travel gurus to share their favorite place around the world to practice wellness. Scroll down to read about their experiences firsthand. 

Interested in planning your own wellness getaway to one of these breathtaking locations? Let us book it for you. We'll handle all the details, so that the only thing on your mind will be timing your sun salutations to sunrise. Don't wait, book now: pravassa.com/customwell
 

Leah Santa Cruz • Bali

My favorite place to practice yoga, meditation, breathwork and qigong is Bali. Here, you're completely immersed with nature, surrounded by lush jungle, exotic animals and natural beauty. I believe we become quite unwell when we lose contact with nature for too long. Most of us that have lived in cities for most (or all) of our lives are in deep need for communion with the elements of nature. We often don't even realize how badly we need this—just being in Bali does something incredibly healing to the mind-body system.

Despite tourism on the island, the Balinese still live, eat, dress and uphold their traditions. It's beautiful and mystifying to witness. Yogis from around the world travel here to practice together with a like-minded community. Surfers and tourists come for the scenery, and others come for the healing. Bali teaches you to slow down, let go, enjoy life and be grateful for what you have—all things that lead to happiness. 

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Kelley Ferro • Thailand

There’s something about Thailand that is very spiritual for me. While traveling throughout the country on my honeymoon, I felt so connected to the Earth, the people and the nature. I was even more in tune with myself. Practicing yoga just as the sun was rising over a lily padded lake at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai was one of those spiritually connect moments.

I thrive from being outdoors, so having this practice at dawn added so much more to the experience. The rhythmic voice from the instructor mixed with the birds ringing in the morning and the breezes sweeping across my face, I felt totally transported and at ease. Wellness is infused not only the resort, but in the landscape of Thailand. There’s this overwhelming appreciation focus on being outdoors and on the energy of the country.

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Jessica Wright • Washington

My favorite place in the world to practice wellness is at The Rolling Huts, a modern camping alternative in Winthrop, Washington. The wellness modality that I practice there is simply unplugging and spending time in nature.

The Rolling Huts a truly special place for me as I go every year with my husband to truly disconnect from the world for three nights. It's one of the few places I've found where nature is untouched in the Cascades National Park and the slow mornings on the patios of the minimalist cabins really grounds me. This time to "just be" has become an annual retreat for us, and it's something I look forward to every spring.

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Sarah Anne Stewart • India

Northern India is one of the most incredible places in the world to practice wellness, particularly at Ananda Spa. This beautiful hidden gem, placed in the Himalayan foothills, is truly a one-of-a-kind wellness spa experience and offers a variety of amenities for their guests. Among one of my favorites is the focus on the healing properties of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world and is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. 

If you are looking to fulfill your personal goals or make a commitment to a big transformation in your life, the Ayurveda experience is magical. Two of my favorite Ayurvedic healing practices include Abhyanga, a traditional synchronized full body massage given by two experienced therapists using Sesame oil, and Pizhichil, a rejuvenating experience during which lukewarm herbal oils anoint the entire body.  Whether it is to heal, cleanse or relax, there are a multitude of amazing experiences at Ananda in northern india.

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Lena Franklin • Vietnam 

My favorite place in the world to practice wellness is in my maternal homeland of Vietnam, and Mindfulness meditation is the practice that I immersed myself in while traveling there. Because most of the country is Buddhist, I like to seek out temples where I can sit, get still and absorb the ancient spiritual energy. Practicing meditation in this part of the world where it originated is transformative on multiple dimensions. The devotion and dedication that the Mahayana Buddhist monks have for walking the path of peace infuses into your cells and you return home renewed. Vietnam is the land of my ancestors who went through centuries of war and struggle. To feel the energetic resilience of the Vietnamese people will ground you into the heart of humanity.

Journeying through Vietnam is a moment-to-moment meditation no matter what you’re doing. Vietnam’s diverse landscape, from the rice paddies of the delta in South Vietnam to the limestone mountains of Ha Long Bay in the North, make it a country of tremendous natural beauty. Pair this beauty with the heart-centric welcoming nature of the Vietnamese people and spiritual depth of their Buddhist culture and you receive the alchemy of transformation through presence. Everywhere you turn in Vietnam, you are greeted by warm smiles and wafting incense billowing out of homes and temples. Your senses will take in the Vietnamese culture, awakening your heart to interconnection and love.

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Trevor Morrow • British Columbia

My favorite place in the world practice wellness is Nimmo Bay in British Columbia. Once a fishing lodge when it opened over 30 years, Nimmo Bay has long since evolved into one of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious wilderness resorts. Accessible only by float plane or helicopter, there is a deep sense of seclusion, peace, and privacy.

In this natural and remote location, you’ll feel a unique harmony with the elements around you—which makes it a magical place to practice mindfulness, reconnect with your body, and emerge feeling renewed. This can be enhanced by Nimmo Bay’s wellness offerings that include a holistic therapist, reiki master, intuitive, and masseuse; the resort even has a floating sauna, which sits on a raft in a secluded bay where you are dropped off and picked up by boat. From outdoor showers to body balancing treatments along with guided meditation, you'll feel at one with nature and be able to focus on your self-care. Oh, and don’t leave without taking a dip in their hot tub, located directly next to a powerful waterfall that flows with cold water from a snowpack at the top of the mountain a few thousand feet above. 

World's Most Relaxing Places

The list is out! CNN's has crowned the World's Most Relaxing Places and we're thrilled to say that we can send you to 6 amazing ones that made the cut.

Let us help to you take relaxation a step further, by planning the entire getaway making the most stressful thing you have to worry about: what to pack!

Don't wait, book now: pravassa.com/customwell
 

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

 For  Wellness aficionados  ready for a glass of green juice overlooking endless rice fields, a built in yoga community, and local healers.

For Wellness aficionados ready for a glass of green juice overlooking endless rice fields, a built in yoga community, and local healers.

Ise Jingu, Japan

 For  spiritual seekers  in search of tranquil relaxation amidst a series of shinto shrines known as the "soul of japan".

For spiritual seekers in search of tranquil relaxation amidst a series of shinto shrines known as the "soul of japan".

Arenal, Costa Rica

 For  Nature Lovers  ready to explore wildlife, impressive volcanoes, and time just sit in the hot springs or your own private plunge pool.

For Nature Lovers ready to explore wildlife, impressive volcanoes, and time just sit in the hot springs or your own private plunge pool.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

 For  adventurous travelers  seeking a gateway to the ancient world of angkor wat, magical sites, trendy cafes and jungle ruins.

For adventurous travelers seeking a gateway to the ancient world of angkor wat, magical sites, trendy cafes and jungle ruins.

Hoi An, Vietnam

 For  laid-back explorers  ready to slow travel the beguiling riverside, admire exquisite architecture, enjoy traditional boat rides and afternoon bicycle tours.

For laid-back explorers ready to slow travel the beguiling riverside, admire exquisite architecture, enjoy traditional boat rides and afternoon bicycle tours.

Byron Bay, Australia

 For  beach lovers  WHO CRAVE supreme surfing conditions, powder white sand and a relaxed, down to earth vibe. 

For beach lovers WHO CRAVE supreme surfing conditions, powder white sand and a relaxed, down to earth vibe. 

{We're Obsessed}: Costa Rica

 Costa Rica  |  Photo Pravassa©

Costa Rica  |  Photo Pravassa©

So close to the U.S. and with a multitude of direct flights, it’s time to pack a bag and head to Costa Rica. Touch down in paradise in under 6 hours (3 if you’re traveling from Miami or Houston) and you’ll find you can experience 12 different microclimates in one tiny nation. From lush dense tropical rain forests to cool cloudy mountains to pristine untouched beaches, take a look at what has got us so smitten with this sustainable country that operates on 100% renewable energy.

Pravassa's scouted, vetted and specially curated wellness travel offerings are the hallmark of our company. Ready to head to Costa Rica? Get started here.

5 Great Audiobooks for Your Next Summer Adventure

Your bags are packed. Your passport is ready, and you're headed to the airport for your much-anticipated summer adventure. You can't wait to arrive at your destination, but how do you pass the time while you're up in the clouds? We're big fans of audiobooks to keep you entertained and engrossed in a compelling narrative. Plus, plugging in your headphones in can help drown out the noise of the plane or a toddler crying in the next aisle—a win-win. Check out our top five books of the season to listen to during your next travel adventure. 

To inspire some (more) wanderlust: Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom 

Rosenbloom’s wise, passionate book on the pleasures of solo travel explores topics such as dining alone, finding silent spaces, and discovering interests and passions. Warning: This read may have you calling us to plan your next solo adventure as quickly as you can say “bon voyage"! 


To expand your mind, body and soul: Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body and Spirit by Candice Kumai

In the crowded wellness space, blogger Candice Kumai’s new book stands out as she shares her favorite Japanese traditions for cultivating grace and inner strength, dozens of healthy recipes, and practices to reclaim the art of living well. 


To have a good laugh: Caypso by David Sedaris 

Sedaris's new collection of essays is both deeply personal and laugh-out-loud hilarious; using his legendary keen powers of observation, this book is a must-listen for those who want a good chuckle at the banalities and monotony of everyday life.


To impress your book club: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

Looking for a novel as gripping as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl? Look no further than this psychological thriller about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly exposed. 


To feel inspired and uplifted: Clock Dance Anne Tyler

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anne Tyler takes us through the narrative of her protagonist's life, culminating in her decision to fly across the country to care for a family she’s never met. This impulse decision takes her to unexpected places—and helps to re-write her own story in the process.
 

Still like the feel of a paperback book in your hands? Pick up a copy of Living Well on the Road by Pravassa founder Linden Schaffer for practical tips and knowledge on how to enhance your own personal wellness journey.