DIY Wellness Holiday
Who hasn't come across a wellness holiday that looks amazing and then to find either the dates or price don't work for you? I have been on a few and I must say some of my most nurturing and growth oriented holidays were of the DIY sort. Here are a few of my favourites.
Central America - Language School
Studying Spanish for a month in Guatemala and Costa Rica helped me fully escape from my day to day reality. Nothing like learning something new to free your mind from work distractions. And the food was so fresh. In Guatemala I stayed with a family. Our meals were made fresh and even the tortillas were made each morning. In Costa Rica, I was positioned between the beach and rainforest in a $10/night cabana. My Spanish improved while I ate salad fresca by the sea and hiked and breathed in the fresh air of the forest with plenty of time to sneak in my wellness rituals.
Golden Triangle - Hiking
Hiking 6 hours a day between remote villages is the perfect way to get physically active, connect with people and cultures, eat fresh indigenous food and live without your daily addictions. This to me was the best way to detox. The heat made it challenging, but we were rewarded most days with wild swimming and the sweat was just part of the detox.
This is my number one holiday. Fresh air and food, physical activity, mindfulness and a bit of adventure. Each day we set out on a self-guided ride through stunning landscapes and charming villages. My absolute favourite tour is offered by Girolibero through Puglia.
When I couldn't find a yoga retreat to match my dates, I discovered Ashiyana in Goa India - Every day was a menu of yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic therapies with 2 delicious fresh meals a day. I could participate as much or as little as I wanted. The surroundings were beautiful and serene. Once a day I'd pick up fresh coconut water/coconut meat along the side of the road.
Most of my traveling has been done on my own. There is nothing more liberating to me than getting off autopilot, becoming anonymous, and discovering a new culture, landscape, customs and people. Waking, sleeping, eating and moving at my own pace was gorgeous.
The first city I travelled to completely on my own was Prague over 20 years ago. It was the most magical experience and since then my favourite solo trips include Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Greece.
Los Angeles is my home away from home. I run at all the opportunities in London and balance it out by getting my mojo back in LA. LA is experiencing a moment right now, but its wellness ways have been solidly in place for a very long time.
My home is in Hollywood and sits at the base of Runyon Canyon and around the corner from LifeHouse Tonics and Elixers and Organic Cheebo. Wanderlust, Tantric, Chatuea Marmont and Gracias Madres not much further.
My recommendation though for anyone heading to LA for wellness, is Venice Beach. I always rent an Airbnb from raw food chef Dara. Her gorgeous accommodation offers clean white simplicity and has an infrared sauna, bikes and Blendtec blender - which you don't need with Moon Juice and Cafe Gratitude around the corner. After a beach run, pop in to the Stretch Lab (great place to go to before the flight back to London). RA MA Institute is nearby as is an endless amount of boutique fitness venues, though I prefer to keep my fitness outside. Cycling along the beach in the morning and at sunset is medicine. Kreation Cafe is amongst my favourites along the fantastic Abbott Kinney. One final tip, cycle down to Santa Monica and jump on the train to downtown LA. Love its transformation. Oh and stop by Sunrise Organics in Malibu for the ultimate smoothies before heading to Surfrider Beach and an evening beachside snack at Nobu.
Sadly my skiing days are on pause after a cycling accident. This can be an overlooked opportunity for wellness. The bright clear skies, sunshine, pristine air quality, stunning landscape and invigorating activities are just some of the ingredients for a quality wellness holiday.
Looking for an easy wellness weekend from London? Marrakech has much to offer. Check-in at one of the many stunning Riads, take a swim, head to a hamman, take a cooking class from a local and lose yourself in the stunning gardens of Jardin Majorelle.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about these recommendations. Or I'd love to hear about yours.