Interviewed by the Blog J. Elaine On Beauty

24 Oct

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I had the privilege to be interviewed by my former colleague Jessica Pumphrey for her blog titled “J. Elaine|On Beauty.” The blog focuses on telling stories of everyday women and how they appreciate their own beauty experience. She has a series called “OnBeauty Q&A + portrait,” in which I was a part of. She wants to highlight women’s beauty from the inside out. 

Below is my interview:

How do you define beauty? 

True beauty comes from being comfortable and happy with yourself. The other part of beauty is about putting a smile on someone’s face and making them feel good about themselves.

What is one thing your mother or grandmother taught you about maintaining your own beauty? 

The women in my life are very simple. Most of them don’t wear makeup or dress up. I was taught natural beauty and being yourself  are two things that will make you a beautiful person. I learned to be content with what God gave me.

What is a unique feature that you had to ‘grow into’ or learn to appreciate? 

My nose because I thought it was huge. When I was a kid I would put a clothes pin on it hoping to make it smaller. Now when I look at my nose I don’t think it’s big at all. I guess when I was younger I focused too much on the nose which probably made it seem huge.

What is your favorite scripture or quote that helps you stay grounded? Why. 

“As you become more clear about who you really are you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you-the first time around (Oprah).

I think you need to take the time to listen to your inner voice or the whispers because they’re always trying to tell you something. Sometimes in life we’re just on overdrive and don’t take the time to be silent and listen to what the universe wants from us. It takes time and courage to listen to the whispers and do something about them. Change is never easy but in order to live the life of your dreams you need the courage to go for it.

What is your favorite beauty product and/or routine? 

My beauty routine starts at 6am. The first thing I do when I wake up is write in my journal about any thoughts I have on my mind. I don’t think I just write whatever comes to my mind when I’m basically half asleep. It helps clear my mind of any negativity or bad thoughts I had over night. I later spend 10 minutes meditating without any sound just closing my eyes and trying to be present. And finally, I go on a three mile run. I like to start my mornings with a clear mind.

What would you tell someone who struggles to find their own beauty?  

I myself struggle with this all the time. It’s not always easy to be comfortable with yourself.  There’s a lot of pressure from our society, friends, work, and family who want to dictate how we should look or act.  Sometimes with so much negativity in the external world its hard to even recognize or see our own beauty. Positive affirmations are the best way to find your own beauty, everyday look in the mirror and say, “I am a beautiful person.”

Favorite feel good song? 

I think its everyone’s favorite song, Pharrell Williams “Happy” song. I like the verse: “Can’t nothing bring me down. My level’s too high.”

Mi viaje terapéutico a Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

14 Oct

Pase un día en este pueblo de West Virginia que se llama Berkeley Springs. Disfrute del cambio de hojas y ande por el pueblo que ha mantenido sus baños terminales desde los 1750s. Este pueblo se concentra en mejorar la salud de todos los que lo visitan.

Los montañas se llaman Cacapon, que es un nombre que viene de los Indios Shawnee que significa aguas curativos. Mire el video para ver como si puede disfrutar de un viaje sin cambiar mucho tu estilo de vida.

 

 

Therapeutic Trip to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

14 Oct

I had a great day in the beautiful “spa” town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. There’s something so charming about small towns. People greet you with a smile and are always willing to help. This town in particular is focused on your health to help you feel better!

Check out the video to learn how you could stay healthy while still enjoying the sites, food, and scenery of the place. And by the way Cacapon is a derivative of a Shawnee Indian word meaning “medicine waters,” a reference to the mineral waters that have been renowned through history for their healing powers.

 

What I mean by traveling being therapeutic

11 Oct

Since I started my business idea of using travel as a therapeutic tool to help one going through a tough time I have received many comments about how it can actually help.

This summer I came to understand what people meant when they would say, “Travel doesn’t help me. It can be quite stressful, and I don’t get anything out of it.”  Many would say, “I rather stay home than have to deal with driving or being on a plane.”

And they’re right, if you travel because you have to or your trips have no purpose then you will not receive any true benefits.

This summer I didn’t have a true purpose which is why I got sick and didn’t enjoy it.

My purpose for our summer trip was focused on the need to please everyone. I had family coming to visit and my natural instinct was to immediately get excited and want to show them everything. It was going to be their first time in my home state of New Mexico so I wanted to leave a good impression.

Well…… the three week summer trip went a little something like this……

First stop: Brooklyn

One day spent in Brooklyn to meet the family coming from JFK airport. A short tour around Brooklyn to get a taste of the city, if you could even call it that.

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Second stop: Albuquerque and then Denver

Flew from Brooklyn to Albuquerque. Spent a day or two with my mom and then got on the road to visit my brother.

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Spent three days in Denver. I was able to see the infamous Rocky Mountains and some parts of Denver.

On this trip I forgot about healthy eating and exercise. I stuffed whatever food was offered….ice cream, steak, pancakes….you get the picture. This is where the stomach starts to slowly fall apart.

Third stop: Grand Canyon

Just being in the presence of this masterpiece is enough to be content.

However, I went with the wrong mindset. My stomach hurt, was tired(hadn’t been sleeping in days), and was told I couldn’t walk down into the canyon. I was too focused on being mad and tired.

This goes to show that pictures can lie because everyone sees them and thinks, “wow, Adriana is having the time of her life,” but what they didn’t know was that my mental and physical state were suffering. Never truly believe the pictures until you talk to the person.

 

 

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Fourth stop:  Sedona and Hoover Dam

Again…beautiful sites. The magical red rocks of Sedona definitely have a soothing medicinal aura of making you feel good.

Hoover Dam is just an architectural and scientific masterpiece. Again, I was in the wrong mindset. I was tired, stomach issues, and upset that we were seeing everything in a rush and not enjoying nature or the sites.

I was focused on the negativity and I let my physical pains dictate everything else.  I just didn’t get to enjoy the nature because I felt there wasn’t enough time to truly connect with it.

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Last stop: Vegas and then back to Albuquerque

Of course, when you’re already feeling bad you have to stop in the “city of sins” to stuff yourself with greasy food and be surrounded by people’s desire to spend!!!

At this point my stomach couldn’t digest anything, everything was going right through me.  I could not hold anything down. I had huge eye bags because of not sleeping, and my mind just wanted to get away and hide. I didn’t feel like talking, walking or exploring, which is weird for me. I had given up on enjoying any of the sites or the rest of our travels.

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I know what you’re thinking… “what a spoiled brat, she gets to travel to great places and she complains. So many others would love to be in her place.” And you’re right, I’m extremely blessed and fortunate for everything in my life.  However, since my business is about using travel as a tool to help you feel better I have to tell you what I did wrong and why it’s so  important to “TRAVEL WITH A PURPOSE.” My problem this summer is that I had no purpose but to please everyone and do way too much in a short period of time. I didn’t think of how I would feel, and thought if I didn’t offer enough they would think I’m selfish. In the end, I did more harm than good because of my mental and physical state I could not be my best self, which was the initial intention.

When I say “travel” I don’t want you to think you have to spend a lot of money or visit the hot spots. Traveling could be visiting the town nearby or going to a local state park, it’s about getting away and focusing on your purpose for being there. Like the organization Travel Effect says, “Travelers report higher levels of satisfaction with regard to their stress levels and their physical health and well-being. ”

My business  concept is about incorporating wellness into your travels, something I learned from Wellness Tourism Worldwide. When you travel because you want to help yourself feel better you have to think of your well-being, the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. It’s about gaining an empowering experiential experience, not just gaining miles. It’s about finding activities to enhance both the mind and body. According to Wellness Tourism Worldwide, a leader in education, development, and promotion of wellness travel says, “When your body or spirt encompasses discovery, connectivity, growth, and fulfillment by your positive engagement between people, cultures, and nature you come back a new person. 

My retreats are about leading physical, psychological, or spiritual activities to improve your well-being, and at the same giving you the opportunity to visit nature or a new town.  In the end, like anything in life you have to think of yourself first before trying to help the world. Like Oprah says, “its ok to put yourself down as #1 priority” because when you do you’re in a better state to help others.

Mi experencia con Oprah

30 Sep

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Todo cambio en mi vida cuando mande esta foto al concurso de  #OlayxLifeYouWant:

La reina de la televisión americana Oprah lanzó una series de eventos este año por todo los Estados Unidos que se llamaban “The Life You Want Tour” (La Vida que tu Deseas), y claro que compre entradas para atender. Desde que tenia 14 años he admirado mucho Oprah porque siempre decía algo que te hacia pensar en como mejorar tu vida. Siempre he sido una niña muy tímida y todavía lo puedo ser cuando no conozco bien el ambiente o a las personas. Cuando estaba en la secundaria pretendía ser Oprah en mi habitación y entrevistaba a los invitados  invisibles.

Pues como puedes ver he admirado mucho la carrera de Oprah así que me podrás entender cuando digo que mi vida cambio cuando le conocí.  Dos semanas antes del gran evento, “Life you Want Tour Weekend,” tour en el Verizon Center en Washington, DC un productor del programa de Oprah me llamo para decirme que a Oprah le gusto mucho la foto que mande (la foto arriba de mi en el Gran Cañon) y lo que escribí sobre la foto. Como le gusto a Oprah el productor me dijo que ella me iba llamar al escenario para explicar el significativo de la foto. Estaba saltando de alegría cuando me dijeron que me habían seleccionado para  estar con Oprah en el escenario. A la misma vez me puse super nerviosa de estar enfrente de mas de 10,000 personas y a lado de Oprah pero algo me dijo que era mi momento.

Y claro que fue mi momento. Para ver los subtítulos en español haz click al “cc” que esta abajo del video.  

Tuve la oportunidad de hablar, a mas de 10,000 personas, sin problemas sobre la vision de mi negocio que es usar el viajar para ayudar a personas pasando por fases difíciles en la vida. Cuando digo el viajar significa tomando tiempo para ti mismo, sin familia, solo tu u otra persona especial. Es el poder viajar a un sitio fuera de tu ciudad/pueblo donde podrás conectarte con la historia, cultura y naturaleza del sito y hacer actividades de relajación.

El estar allí enfrente de 10,000 personas y a lado de Oprah fue algo muy personal para mi porque estaba en una fase de mi vida no muy seguro de lo que quería hacer con mi carrera. Sabia que quería lanzar un negocio de organizar retiros de bienestar en el estado de Nuevo Mexico pero tenia muchas dudas si era algo que se podía lograr.  Lo que me paso después de bajarme del escenario fue algo que me trajo toda la claridad del mundo. Muchas personas que estaban en la audiencia me pararon, en los pasillos, para decirme que me veía muy bien con Oprah y que les gusto mucho mi idea de los retiros de bienestar. En ese momento todas las inseguridades desaparecieron y me di cuenta que mi negocio era algo que valía mucho y que tenia mucha potencial de ayudar a muchos que están pasando por una fase difícil.  Ya no tengo excusas ni dudas sobre mi negocio porque se que el universo quiere que lo haga.

Como dice Oprah en la vida tienes que escuchar a esa voz en ti que siempre sabe lo que debes estar haciendo. Tengo toda la confianza en el mundo algo que nunca tuvo hasta ahora. Oprah no sabe pero con su sonrisa y por haberme dado la oportunidad de estar con ella en el Verizon Center cambio mi vida. Gracias!!!

 

My two minutes with the beloved Oprah!!

22 Sep

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#OlayxLifeYouWant: The photo I submitted to Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend Tour

Olay asked “The Life You Want Weekend Tour” ticket holders to submit a picture that made them feel most beautiful. Since I was quite excited about anything having to do with the tour I submitted a picture that captured my mindfulness state, which is when I feel most beautiful. I also feel beautiful when traveling and discovering history, nature, cultures, food, and people. It makes me feel whole and appreciative. The picture above is how I see our evolution as humans: it took millions of years for the Grand Canyon to evolve into a masterpiece, and we humans are the same because it takes time for us to evolve into something great-it’s all a process. 

Thanks to the picture I was able to stand in front of more than 10,000 people at the Verizon Center. And more importantly, I was able to stand face to face with Oprah and tell her what travel meant to me. This was a really big deal for me because I’m the girl who is constantly doubting herself about everything and the one who tends to stay quite. The fact that I was able to get in front of a live audience and speak to Oprah, the woman who I’ve admired for so many years, means I could conquer anything.  Thank you Oprah for giving me this moment!

My Two Minutes with Oprah:

Every time I would watch the Oprah show I wondered what it would be like to be interviewed by her. Having studied broadcast journalism I always liked how she was friendly and personable in her interviews-something I tried to copy. After speaking to Oprah for two minutes my perception of her still hasn’t changed; she made me feel comfortable with her touch and smile. Not only was my experience with Oprah life-changing people’s reactions to my presence on stage made me feel I was going in the right direction. For the past year I’ve been wrestling with the idea of starting a business of organizing wellness retreats in my home state of New Mexico.  I haven’t started anything as of yet because I’m scared I’m not well-prepared or I don’t have much to offer. I always have an excuse why I still haven’t started anything. However, the love and support I received from perfect strangers, who saw me up on stage with Oprah, gave me the confidence to just go for it!! Like Oprah says, “making a bold move is the only way to truly advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you.” To the people who stopped to tell me that I looked great up there with Oprah and loved my idea about wellness retreats I want to say, “THANK YOU!!!” I no longer have an excuse. This year I will plan to have my first wellness retreat.

Other than getting my confidence back and being with Oprah the two-day event taught me some great lessons thanks to

Elizabeth Gilbert, Lyanla Vanzant, Rob Bell, and Mark Nepo.

-Oprah said something the first night that resonated with me– co-create your life with intention. Every action and feeling is motivated by intention.  Always ask yourself: “What’s your intention?”  “What do you want people to feel?” “Why would I want to do that?” Only do things when a “Yes” really means “Yes.” No need to please everyone because in the end when you please everyone you are just left with resentment, anger, and regret.

-I only have the power over my territory and nobody else’s territory.  I can’t go into someone’s territory and start telling them what to do. The only thing I could do is show love and hopefully the person will understand.

-It’s important to have a spiritual life. You don’t have to necessarily be religious but you do need to believe in something. If your spiritual connection is just being a good person then that in itself is considered to be spiritual.

-Listen to the whispers! The universe is always trying to tell you something.

-In the end life is quite simple. Every time we wake up and we’re able to breathe again God has given us a second chance to do better. Life is miraculous if you just think about how the human body and the universe works–it is just mind boggling. The universe only has one request for us and that is to breathe-nothing more or less.  If you’re blaming life for all your problems you need to start blaming your mind because it’s playing tricks on you. Face the facts and the present and you’ll be just fine.

-In life you need to choose a vision that has positive language like “I am powerful” “I am smart” “I can do this.” You become what you believe. If you currently have limitations that don’t allow you to fulfill your vision now don’t worry your vision is a constant work in progress; you just need to have something to work toward.

The two-day “Life You Want Weekend Tour” filled me with enough inspiration for a lifetime.  In the end, the tour gave us all a reminder that life is about living in the present and with intention, and being grateful for the miraculous life you have been given, and remembering to always put positive energy out in the universe–it will come back!

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My Interview with the Wellness Travel Journal-Wellness Worldwide Tourism

16 Sep

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This post is about Adriana’s search for a more meaningful profession and career transition. She started researching wellness travel last year. Interested to know more about my personal experience with wellness travel, Adriana recently asked for an interview which you can read here. Her new blog features her own account of “How I Discovered Wellness Travel.” I thought it would interesting for WTJ readers to not only read Adriana’s own blog account but also learn more about her inspiring journey through an interview.  
  
WTJ: In your new blog you wrote, “I’m so glad that I’m now 100% focused in working in the wellness travel industry. ” Can you tell our readers why?

AG: I finally get to focus on my two passions: travel and therapy. After some research I realized that my passion is considered to be called “wellness travel.” I believe travel could be quite therapeutic in helping improve one’s wellbeing both mentally and physically which in essence is what wellness travel is about. I have always loved to travel to learn about new cultures, and therapy/psychology topics are things I like to read about to learn how to improve one’s mental state. In my personal life travel has always helped me put things in perspective when I’ve gone through a tough time.

WTJ: What was the motivation behind the career change?

AG: I have worked in the PR and marketing industry, in Washington, DC, for over ten years and I always felt something was missing.Most of my clients were either government or nonprofits. I would work on certain PR/marketing campaigns and would get some decent results but felt I wasn’t making a big enough impact or difference. Everything I did was done fast just to get some quick results to impress perspective clients. I didn’t even know if I was truly changing the target audience’s behavior. All I knew was that the bigger the number the happier the client would be. There was never any real strategy it was just about boosting numbers and getting more money.

My philosophy has always been to work on something that has some type of meaning and helps make a difference in someone’s life. I know that with wellness travel you’re enriching people’s lives so that they could live a better and healthier life. 

WTJ: What research did you do and what lead you to WTW? 

AG: I started researching groups on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet to see if anybody could help me better understand how to organize therapeutic retreats for people going through a tough time. I had an idea of organizing those therapeutic retreats in my home state of New Mexico for people from Washington, DC, where I currently live. I know people from DC are pretty stressed out all the time. After my research and reaching out to several groups I found Camille Hoheb who opened my eyes to the amazing growing wellness travel industry. As soon as I read about WTW’s mission I knew that’s what I wanted to get into because it somehow had my two passions in the mix: travel and therapy. I didn’t even know one could actually build a career in the wellness travel industry. It’s also good to know that my concept about therapeutic retreats is something that interests others and it wasn’t just a cool idea I had. I’m now in the process of getting away from the PR and marketing world to join the wellness travel industry.

WTJ: What are your transferrable skills?

AG: I have a strong background in communications which comes in handy when trying to market a service or product. I know the steps to creating an effective communications strategy that could be tailored to any topic, service or product.
-project management

-social media

-marketing

-travel blogging

-people management

-communications

-PR for hospitality industry

-bilingual (Spanish)

-event management 

WTJ: What do you do now in wellness travel?

AG: I have a blog in which I write about wellness, travel, lifestyle, and self development. I’m part of several wellness and meditation groups in Washington, DC. I’m also invited by small-town tourism offices in the Washington, DC metro area to visit their towns. I produce videos both in English and Spanish and write about how the town helped improve my sense of well-being. For example, the last trip to Abingdon, Virginia helped spark my creativity which had been lacking for some time. 

WTJ: What excites you the most about wellness tourism?

AG: It’s multi-faceted about incorporating seven aspects of wellbeing such as emotional and intellectual. It’s all about enriching the mind, body, and spirit. I think it’s the best medicine anyone could have. Traveling with a purpose to improve both your physical and mental state will be something that stays with you forever.
 
WTJ: What advice would you give others?

AG: Travel with a purpose. I think the quote from French novelist Celine sums it up quite well. “Travel is useful. It exercises the imagination. All the rest is disappointment and fatigue.” There’s a whole new healthy world out there waiting to make you feel better so there’s no need to settle for unhappiness.  You never know when the “cool idea” or a “passion” you have is actually part of a credible and respectable booming industry.  Always keep trying. 

WTJ: On a Last Note to Our Readers…..

Let me also mention a few things.  I didn’t ask for any type of testimonial from Adriana and boy, am I am humbled at what she wrote! 
I am impressed with Adriana’s comment about traveling with a purpose . She nailed it! This is a key point in the new report, Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy.  Studies prove that goals, life meaning and purpose extend longevity and quality of life. 

Congratulations to Adriana on her new career path! I am so happy she took the time to write in and found WTW and WTJ useful and inspiring. For all of you who have been thinking of making a change – any change – in the words of Nike: Just Do It!  

I wish all of you reading this article much happiness, health and success.  – See more at: http://www.wellnesstraveljournal.com/people#sthash.cajmK5Wz.dpuf

 

 

 

 

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!