Instagram is full of perfect beach shots framing tanned legs and tropical cocktails ó this has become our vacation gold standard; itís what we imagine when we think of getaways. On the flip side are no-makeup selfies praising a return to nature on backpacking trips, as if heading out into the woods is morally superior to indulging on a beach.
Neither is inherently better than the other. Thereís nothing wrong with treating yourself, and living without indoor plumbing can be a great vacation ó if itís what youíre up for. Thatís the important part: are you enjoying your trip, or do you feel uninspired and tired when you think about planning your next getaway?
Travel can do just about anything you ask of it, if you choose your destination properly. Rather than heading out to a spot full of tourists where you can barely find a patch of beach to plant your towel, ask your vacation for something more this year.
For some, that may mean finding a new adventure to challenge what they think theyíre physically or mentally capable of. For others, it may mean giving themselves permission to relax and not check their work phone while indulging in a new culture. Whatever you want from your summer trip, itís out there ó you just have to find it. Hereís a few ideas to get your brainstorm going:
For Broadening Your Perspective
Thereís nothing quite like new experiences for changing the way you look at the world, and what better way to unlock that part of your mind than through travel? During your time abroad, youíll be at the edge of your comfort zone and constantly learning new things, from the local culture to new recreational activities.
Head to the coast of Tanzania to push your limits with a diving certification. Youíll be spending time with beautiful underwater creatures from turtles to seahorses, and the diving sites are suitable for all skill levels. Diving in Zanzibar will expose you to a different side of nature and cultivate new abilities at the same time. And donít forget how beautiful it is! Youíll be sure to return from this trip rejuvenated and ready to tackle other learning experiences the world throws your way.
For Indulging Your Senses
If you want to cultivate joy, feed your inner foodie, and experience life in brighter color than you normally do, head to Morocco. More specifically, check out Marrakech. If you normally reside in a Western nation, nothing about Marrakech will be familiar. Colors are brighter and food seems exotic (and yet so comforting at the same time).
The city moves to a different rhythm, with the day being interrupted for calls to pray five times a day. There is a reverence for spirituality present that resides in the same space as an incredible exuberance for life. Youíll be on your toes constantly trying to soak in every detail Marrakech offers up, and youíll still probably miss some ó but itís so worth it.
For Learning About Yourself
If youíre seeking an adventure thatís less externally stimulating and more focused on introspection, look no farther than the dense forests of Brazil and Peru. Traditional shamans are opening their cultural experiences to outsiders and guiding willing souls through the transcendental experience of self-exploration.
Through careful administration of the hallucinogenic ayahuasca, shamans guide groups of people into a trance-like state where participants experience other-worldly visions. Depending on the experience and the userís intent, reported revelations have ranged from commanding a total personal transformation to providing the extra push to start a business. If youíre craving a powerful, transformative experience, heading to South America may be in your future.
Donít Limit Yourself
This article offered a few suggestions and starting points, but only you know what kind of vacation is truly right for you this summer. You might be after an indulgent trip to pamper and rejuvenate yourself so you can return to work at 100 percent. Or, you might be more of a thrill-seeker looking for a new adventure. No matter what youíre after, the world has an answer for you. The important thing is to go and to do it for you. Keep an open mind and look at travel blogs, search flight deals, and wait for inspiration to strike. You might find it in the strangest place!