How I discovered wellness travel

12 Aug

I remember from an early age I enjoyed to travel. Anytime my parents would say, “we’re going on vacation” that’s all I could think about. I enjoyed seeing new things and being away from the routine.

Fast forward to today and I still like to travel but my feelings toward it is different. When I moved away from home and got into the workforce travel became my therapy and savior. I worked in high stress environments with a lot of pressure, and I think I wasn’t ready for it. Travel was able to calm me down and help with putting things into perspective.

This year has been a turning point because I finally realized that I could turn my passion of travel into a career. I started to research the travel industry and came across the site “The Wellness Tourism Worldwide,” and soon realized that all these years of seeking ways to improve my lifestyle in my travels was considered to be “wellness travel.” Camille Hoheb, founder of Wellness Tourism Worldwide, defines wellness travel in the guidebook she wrote, The Guide to Selling Wellness Travel, as such: “wellness travel is traveling to improve one’s sense of well-being.” She also explains, in the guidebook, why are wellness and travel connected, “As we have learned more about stress-related disease processes, we are focusing more on wellness vacation and why they are important. Vacations are good for health, happiness and productivity. They promote mental health and family bonding. Travel presents an opportunity to decompress from work and the daily stresses of life, to get the creative juices flowing.” She goes onto mention that, “vacations have been proven to be beneficial in mind, body and spirit and proven to lower the body’s chemical reaction to stress.”

“The Guide to Selling Wellness Travel” spoke my language and I learned that there is a great need for wellness travel in this country. “Wellness is expected to be a trillion dollar industry by 2017.” You, too, may very well be a wellness traveler if you’re able to check off anything from the lists below. If you check more than one thing off you may want to research the many wellness travel packages that are out there. In the guidebook there are several examples of hotels and touring companies that offer wellness packages. 

Why travel for wellness:

  • Kickstart a healthy regimen
  • Escape everyday life
  • Reconnect with oneself, others, a community, a movement, nature or God
  • Enhance one’s fitness or spiritual practice
  • Quest for engagement, peace or higher being

Emotional Triggers of Wellbeing Travelers:

  • “I need to celebrate!”
  • “I know the goal but I’m stuck”
  • “My life lacks meaning”
  • “My relationship with my partner is worn down by everyday life.”

The guidebook really opened my eyes to a different world that is out there to help you. I was lucky enough to interview the writer of the guidebook: Camille Hoheb. Her interview is up on the blog, it’s the post after this one. If you’re interested in traveling and taking care of yourself I would recommend that you purchase the guidebook. 

 

 

Interview with Camille Hoheb from Wellness Tourism Worldwide

12 Aug

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Why did you decide to focus on wellness travel? 

I find it exciting and both personally and professionally rewarding. Wellness travel taps into my experience in healthcare and my love of travel.  Most are surprised to learn that I have a Masters in healthcare administration and worked in health promotion and wellness my entire career. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and giving others a practical approach to wellness and growing their business.

What’s one misconception people have about wellness travel?

There are several misconceptions. There’s confusion that wellness travel is the same with medical tourism or spa travel. While spas are rebranding themselves as wellness providers, the wellness sector is not, however, rebranding themselves as spas. Another misconception is that wellness travel is only for the affluent. One of my taglines is “Wellness is a universal language.” Everyone wants to be healthy and vibrant and wellness cuts across household incomes, nationalities, religion genders and age groups. Pretty exciting.

 Give an example of someone who understands wellness travel and why

The first person I think of is Bruce Boon Tip, Founder of G Adventures. I had the opportunity to hear him speak and then later interview him for an article in the Wellness Travel Journal. His noble purpose of travel speaks fully to WTW’s mission of improving well-being and economic growth through travel. He is brilliant and inspiring!

 What are some of the key words or factors when looking for wellness travel trips?

Another great question! Wellness means different things to different people. The answer depends on the individual and what the purpose of their trip and what they want to achieve.  For some it’s about stress reduction, others want to lose weight, for others its personal empowerment, transformation, spiritual connectedness while others may want to combine interests like local food, cultural immersion, yoga and fitness.

 Why do you find traveling to be therapeutic?

Traveling is therapeutic on many levels –it is an opportunity for personal growth on so many levels.  I love travel because it gives perspective. It is fun, challenging, invigorating and very social.  You get to meet new people, make new friends, see old friends, learn about other ways of life, history, culture and food and then relive and share these experiences and travel stories with family and friends.

 Is there a wellness travel conference?

Sure there are! The next wellness travel conference I will be attending will be Termatalia in Argentina. www.termatalia.com

 What’s the biggest takeaway someone can get after reading “The Guide to Selling Wellness Travel?” 

Well, I’d love to hear that from you!  Those that have purchased the book have written back that it’s helped them decide on a career change, write a business plan, develop new markets and strategies to start or grow their business. I think the main point is wellness is here to stay, it’s for everyone and it is both personally and professional rewarding.

 

My itineary for the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

29 Jul

If you would like to do the things you just saw in the video below I leave you some information.

Where to Stay:

To have the true Mayan experience I suggest you stay at Casa KAN BALAM, a bed and breakfast in Playa del Carmen. Make the reservations on Airbnb. The owner has converted her house into like a boutique hotel with first class service. As soon as you walk in the door you feel like you’re in a Mayan Jungle.  Also, the breakfasts are home cooked, healthy and delicious.

First Day:

Visit Coba, a Mayan archaeological site, that has the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula which looks like a large mound of stones. The site is quite large in which you could see a wide range of tropical plants and animals.

After walking through the jungle I recommend you eat at LOL-HA, it’s on the street just before entering Coba.  I would order the “pollo pibil,” a typical dish form the area.

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Restaurante LOL-HA

Second Day:

We couldn’t get enough of the natural surroundings so we went to the town of  Muyil, not too far from Tulum, to visit Sian Ka’an.  Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was established on January 20, 1986, and in December 1987, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was declared a World Heritage Property by UNESCO, thanks to its unique biodiversity and fascinating Mayan history.

Near the end of the jungle a guide is waiting to give you a tour in a boat into the lagoons of Boca Paila and Campechen, via a labyrinth of natural mangrove canals and lagoons. Also, you’ll be able to float in the sweet water canals–the most relaxing thing ever.

Third Day:

We ventured further south, almost to the border of Belize, to the town of Bacalar to see the Bacalar Laguna. We had a guide take us out on a boat to visit all the sink holes(cenotes) and plants. It’s a true paradise because the lake has seven different shades of blue. And not too far from Bacalar, is the centote azul. Features one of the most impressive and deep “holy holes” in the whole Yucatan Peninsula. Estimated deepness of the cenote is about 200 meters (600 feet).

I hope you one day get the chance to visit this true paradise! Check out more of our pictures!

Mi itinerario por la Peninsula de Yucatan en Mexico

29 Jul

Si queréis hacer lo que vieron en el video os dejo la información. Cuando estéis en Mexico lo mejor que se puede hacer es alquilar un coche para poder explorar mejor.

Donde quedarse:

Recomiendo que os quedéis en Playa del Carmen en el Bed and Breakfast Casa KAN BALAM, un sitio donde podrás relajarte y comer saludable y muy bien. La dueña de la casa ha convertido su casa en como un mini-hotel con un estilo muy Maya. Haz las reservas en Airbnb.

Primer Dia:

Visite Coba, una ciudad antigua de los Mayas donde puedes subir la pirámide mas alta de Yucatan, unos 126 pies.  La zona arqueológica está rodeada de selva y muchas de las estructuras están sin explorar ni restaura. También hay unos lagos preciosos alrededor. Puedes muy bien pasar un día paseando por la tranquilidad de la selva.

Después de estar todo el día fuera os aconsejo que vayáis a comer al restaurante LOL-HA y pide pollo pibil, una comida típica de los Mayas. El restaurante esta en la carretera no mas llegar a Coba. IMG_0927

Restaurante LOL-HA

Segundo Dia:

Mexico es un país donde tiene tanta naturaleza todavía no explorada que es precioso ver.  Fuimos al pueblo de Muyil, que no esta muy lejos de Tulum, para entrar en Sian ka’an.  Sian ka’an es la reserva de la biósfera más interesante de la Península de Yucatán. Es un área virgen con manglares, selva, lagos, y lagunas donde viven muchas pájaros exóticas y animales salvajes en un entorno ecológicamente protegido. Al final del parque hay unos guías que te llevan en barco así podrás nadar en un hermoso canal de agua dulce.

Tercer Dia:

Fuimos muy al sur, casi a la frontera con Belice, a Bacalar. La razón por ir esta allí fue para ver la Laguna Bacalar.  También es conocida como la Laguna de los 7 Colores por los siete distintos tonos de azul que tiene. Un guía te lleva en un barco por la laguna así puedes parar y ver los diferentes cenotes y la fauna local.

No muy lejos de Bacalar esta el cenote azul, su nombre es muy adecuado porque el azul oscuro es debido a su gran profundidad, que supera los 90 metros. Hay un restaurante a lado del cenote donde puedes comer si te entra hambre después de nadar tanto.

Espero que un día tengáis la oportunidad de viajar por la península de Yucatan. Mas fotos de nuestro viaje

Mi viaje a Smithfield, Virginia

23 Jun

Tuve el privilegió de pasar un fin de semana en Smithfield,  pero lo mas importante lo que hice fue conocer a los residentes que llevan toda su vida viviendo allí.

Kathy Mountjoy, nos organizo el tour de la iglesia.

Albert Burkhart, es como el alcalde de la cuidad porque esta involucrado en todo. Nos doy el tour de  Fort Huger.

DeeDee Darden, dueña de Darden’s Country Store, nos enseño como procesan los jamones, y que un jamón de Smithfield  tiene que estar en sal por lo menos 30 días.

Gente siempre habla de los jamones de Smithfield pero este pueblo tuvo una historia muy rica durante la guerra civil como el Smithfield Battle ; ahora tiene un museo donde puedes ver el cacahuetes mas viejo  y aprender mas sobre como el negocio y la industria del jamón y cacahuetes empezó;  y unas calles bien conservadas exactamente como eran durante la época colonial.

Lo que mas me gusto del pueblo fue observar el sentido de gran comunidad y orgullo que tienen los residentes para su pueblo. Cuando fui al Firehouse Bluegrass, un concierto para recaudar fondos para los bomberos todos se conocían y no les importaba dar algo de dinero porque los bomberos siempre están cuando les necesitas.

Como dice Debbie, residente de Smithfield, que no hay nada en el mundo como Smithfield.

Smithfield es una pueblo típico de Estados Unidos donde todos se conocen y no ha perdido su historia porque los residentes trabajan juntos para conservarlo. Y si te gusta la playa esta a una hora de Virginia Beach.

Mas fotos de mi viaje están aquí.

 

 

Smithfield, Virginia–Residents Take Pride in their Town

22 Jun

I had the privilege of spending a weekend in Smithfield, Virginia, and most importantly I was able to speak to the residents who have been there a lifetime.

Kathy Mountjoy, who organizes tours for the tourism office, provided us with detailed stories about St. Luke’s  church and the cemetery nearby.  The cemetery was once used as an encampment by the Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Albert Burkhart, local historian,  who happens to know everything about Smithfield took us to Fort Huger. He spent many years working with the county to get money to restore the area in order to preserve an important part of history.

DeeDee Darden, owner of the Darden’s Country Store, took time out of her day to teach us how the hams are processed. The fresh meat is brought to the store in February and by November that distinctive salty Smithfield ham is ready. The hams stay in salt a day and half for each pound so a twenty pound ham will stay in salt for 30 days.  I love how they’ve kept everything intact as it was in the early 1950′s. When you walk into the store you take a step back in time.

Smithfield is much more than just ham it has a great history of important battles such as the Smithfield Battle ; art on every corner such as the life size statues of market hogs, painted by local artists; a museum that holds the oldest peanut and other interesting facts; and a well-preserved Main Street with a historic courthouse and school house. We also got a special treat at the Isle of Wight County Museum. A historian from Williamsburg came down to teach us how ice cream was made in the early 19 century.

However, the most important thing I noticed was a sense of community and pride. When I went to the Firehouse Bluegrass fundraiser concert everyone knew each other, and they were happy to give back to the firehouse because the volunteer firemen go out of their way to help.

Like resident Debbie said there’s no other place she rather be in.

If you feel like taking a weekend getaway to an old-time all-American charmed town I highly recommend Smithfield!

To view all the pictures of my trip please go here.

How to lead a Blue Zone Life

5 Jun

Photographer: Adam Voorhes (O Magazine- May 2014)

Blue Zones entered my vocabulary  last year when someone at a conference told me I should read the book “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner to gain inspiration for my business. I read the book and it forever changed me.

Living in the US I thought implementing the nine Blue Zone principles of living longer would be nearly impossible.  I thought that only happened in the places Dan Buettner discovered where people live to like 105 years old. Until I discovered that there was an initiative called, “Blue Zones Project by Healthways” that’s being implemented in different cities of the US.

It started in communities like the Beach Cities district, near the LA area, in which the community worked together to implement the nine principles listed below this post.  The Beach Cities implemented such things as walking routes instead of bus routes, grocery stores promoted healthier products by the check-out area, it organized workshops on the power of purpose, and many other things. The community came together to fight the stigma of obesity and unhappiness. Not only are cities participating but also states like Iowa, which happens to have a pretty ambitious goal of being named the healthiest state by 2016.

I believe the Blue Zone Project has huge potential to get people thinking more about living than working to pay off debt or buy more things.

Working full-time and living in a place like Washington, DC, where people hardly ever look up from their iPhones because they’re constantly working, I’m trying really hard to implement the nine principles in my personal life.  The one that’s easiest to do is having a glass of red wine at 5pm, which helps me unwind. I’m currently trying to surround myself with like-minded positive people in order to be sane and not think less of myself because I’m different.

Reading “Blue Zones”has changed me both personally and professionally. For my business I’ve tried to focus a big part of it on two principles: a sense of community and right tribe. Adrivo: the travel session is about getting the right tribe together to travel as a way to decompress emotions or problems.

All nine principles are simple enough for anyone to do. However, it  takes a long time and commitment to change habits but if you have a community to back you up change could come even sooner than you think. Since we can’t do it alone let me know if you’re interested in having a “Blue Zone” buddy to help create a grassroots community movement to add years to life.

9 PRINCIPLES

Unleashing your Energy

11 May

A couple weeks ago I went to a workshop titled, “Unleash the Energy Within”  hosted by Fresh-focus to learn how to improve my lifestyle. I was in need of a major reboot and thought it would be a good idea to venture out of my comfort zone and meet some new people.

I always like to reinforce the concept of my idea in the blog posts because it has to do with what I learned at this workshop. Adrvio: the travel session is about creating a community of like-minded people like myself who have found travel to be quite therapeutic. It’s not only about traveling somewhere to make you feel good for the moment but about creating a community that will be there for when you most need it. One thing I learned from the book “Blue Zones” is that one reason people live such healthy long lives is due to the strong communities behind them everyday, and that’s the concept I want to instill in my business–a sense of community.

A sense of community is also what I felt at the “Unleash the Energy Within” workshop. It was an intimate setting with a group of women from all walks of life looking to improve their lifestyles. It felt great to be with other women like myself who were trying to build a better life for themselves. The focus of the workshop was energy which is important for anything you want to accomplish in life. Without energy there’s no way you’re going to be able to travel and be a part of “Adrivo:the travel session”  so the first step is to recharge!

Joanne Shaw Schneider, a health coach, and Maria J. Terol, an exercise therapist and postural alignment specialist, teamed up together to open our minds to the four things that are affecting our energy: chemical factors, emotional stress, mental stress, and physical stress.

It was interesting to learn that mental problems can cause physical problems and vice versa–it’s important to take care of both. The workshop was a full day of activities and healthy eating. Joanne made some mouth-watering salads such as a salad with home grown kale from her garden and avocado, and a blueberry smoothie that was better than any blueberry dessert out there. If you want to know more about the recipes visit her site at www.nourishedbodyandmind.com.  If you’re putting non-chemical or non-processed food into your body your mind will be so much sharper allowing you to do the things you like.  Maria later worked on our postures by having us do some  back “tilts” to work on our pelvic alignment.

We later had the opportunity to work through some exercises to find out how certain behaviors create both pain and pleasure, but like they say, “no pain, no gain.” In order to change a behavior you’ve had for years it will be painful but later the gain is worth a million dollars.

I just gave a very brief snippet about the workshop because I want you to attend the next one so you too come away refreshed and energized to conquer your fears or problems. It was quite refreshing to be reminded how important it is to take care of our mind and body in order to enjoy life.  However, change could be hard which is why it’s so important to go to workshops like these to build a community that will be cheering you all the way to the finish line.

Look out for the next “Fresh Focus” workshop to learn more about how to build a good mental and physical balance in your life–you’ll need it for when you come traveling with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mi experencia en Abingdon Virginia

13 Apr

Tuve la suerte de estar invitada por la oficina de turismo a pasar unos días en Abingdon. Como el concepto de mi blog y negocio es como el viajar puede ayudar durante fases difíciles en la vida este viaje otra vez me ayudo a ver las cosas mas claras. En este viaje trabaje mas en sacar mi parte creativa intentando ver como podia promocionar Abingdon a otros.  Abingdon me motivo a ser mas creativa porque hay arte en cada rincón. En el día a día de mi vida mi parte creativa muchas veces esta escondida.

Abingdon es un pueblo muy histórica que ha sabido conservar muchos de sus edificios y casas del siglo 19. También la cultura de los Appalachians es muy fuerte–lo ves en la comida, música y el estilo de vida. Hay muchas actividades para los residentes: obras de teatro, música, buenos restaurantes, caminatas por las montañas y festivales. El teatro “Barter” es el Broadway de Abingdon porque siempre tienen las obras mas clásicas como “El Hombre de la Mancha.”

Lo que mas me gusto de Abingdon era la amabilidad de los locales que siempre te tratan con una sonrisa y una risa. Cuando uno dice que la hospitalidad del sur es el mejor no están mintiendo sobre Abingdon. La única cosa que podrían mejorar es tener tiendas y restaurantes abiertos los domingos. Pero por lo demás Abingdon es uno de esos pueblos que se te queda grabado porque no ha perdido sus tradiciones ni historia.

Para mas información sobre Abingdon visite su pagina web: http://visitabingdonvirginia.com

 

My journey in Abingdon, Virginia

13 Apr

Above is a video I put together to give you a quick overview of what I did over the weekend. I was invited by the tourism office to visit Abingdon which I was quite happy to travel to the area. Since the concept of “Adrivo: the travel session” is about how travel could help through a tough time in life this trip once again helped me gain more insight.  I was able to bring out my creative side more because I was always thinking of ways on how to better promote Abingdon to Washingtonians. In my day to day I don’t always use my creativity which is why I love to incorporate travel in my life somehow.

My impressions/advice for people visiting Abingdon:

Abingdon is a small historic town surrounded by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, which forms a massive wilderness playground complete with rivers, lakes and trails. The famous Appalachian Trail is nearby and the Virginia Creeper Trail begins in downtown Abingdon. If you have read about the Appalachian culture Abingdon still holds onto that mystical mountain culture. On Saturday nights at Bonefire Smokehouse  you could listen to a live band play beautiful mountain music-bluegrass, country or rock–music that speaks to the soul.

Abingdon is a town that has everything: history, great food, theater, outdoor activities, and music. Also, if you’re into historic preservation this town receives an A+ for its preservation of historic buildings and homes. The town takes pride in providing its residents with a list of activities to do. Every Sunday outside the lawn of the Martha Washington Hotel & Spa a band comes to play; the weekend we were there we listened to some jazz. And if you’re the outdoorsy type bike the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail which is about a 30-mile bike ride.

The Barter Theater is the little Broadway theater of Abingdon. The actors and production are of five-star quality.  Every night of the year you could see a classic play such as “The Man of La Mancha.” The reason it’s called “Barter” is because during the Depression people would barter produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play.

I would go back to Abingdon in a heartbeat and not just for all the activities but to hang out with the locals who are so nice. When my husband and I were walking down Main Street a couple stopped to talk to us to see how we were doing and if we were interested in seeing their church. They always have a smile and are always willing to help. It’s true in Abingdon what they say about that great “southern hospitality.” I would say the only downfall is that many of the stores and restaurants on Main Street are not open on Sundays. Other than that Abingdon has a special place among all my travels.

If interested in learning more about Abingdon visit their website at http://visitabingdonvirginia.com