Katja’s Live a Little post yesterday on living healthier and taking good care of yourself while having fun got me thinking of destinations and activities that have made me feel good in a way or another while traveling. Although these may not have any actual health benefits, feeling good is the foundation of being healthy, and hey, I definitely had fun while visiting these places and doing these activities.
Originally I was going to write only about the specific destinations that have a certain feel good factor. But then I thought about it, and came to the conclusion that often it is the small details and experiences that make a place special. Like company of good friends or glass of excellent wine. Hence I collected ten of my favorite places and experiences that have really made an impact on a certain trip, or in the way I travel in general. I hope you’ll find some inspiration from these and I would be more than happy to hear what are you tips for feel good vacations!
The Feel Good Experiences
1. Learning something new while on a vacation. As I’m writing this we are on a holiday in Portugal and what a holiday it has been! Trying something totally new, in this case surfing, has taken this holiday to another level and it has been amazing to try something so foreign, and to slowly pick up the skills to feel confident in the new sport. Learning to make pasta in Italy was another first for this year and hopefully the last three and half months of 2012 have more learning experiences in store.
2. Spending the day at the beach. You might have seen this coming: from surfing to the beach. I’ve never been a real beach animal but on this holiday I have enjoyed it to the fullest. Picnic lunches, a good book, some shade from the sun and little baby to whom everything is a first have made the time at the beach priceless.
3. Long weekend at a ski & spa hotel. The combination of refreshingly cold temperatures, fun times on the ski slopes or cross-country tracks and bit of luxury in a spa hotel is a winning combination. I actually have one specific hotel in mind where I took my husband for a surprise visit for his birthday earlier this year and I’d love to go back again. The Quality Resort & Spa Norefjell in Norway has it all: skiing at the doorstep of the hotel, activity spa for families, luxurious spa only for adults and spacious, comfortable rooms.
4. Returning to a familiar location. While going somewhere new or exotic is always exciting, it also feels good to return to the same old familiar locations. Knowing the people, eating your favorite dish at the local restaurant and knowing exactly which wine you will want to sip on the first evening on arrival are some things to look forward to.
5. Finding adventure near home. For most of us it is not possible to travel constantly. But in a way there is no need as often there is so much to see within a short distance from home. Me and my family have been conquering “the ten tops” of our region in Norway this summer, an annual initiative to get people out and exploring new spots in the community and we have had great time doing this. We still have few to go though before this autumn’s deadline…
The Feel Good Destinations
1. Ainsworth Hot Springs in Canada. When I traveled around British Columbia couple years a go I was all concentrated on the kayaking missions we were going to do there. We had also planned to tour around a bit to visit my husband’s family, but I had not had the chance to research where we were going. And then we passed by Ainsworth. How did I not know that there are hot springs in Canada!? I was very exhausted from our kayaking experiences and nothing could have made me feel better than relaxing at the hot springs.
2. Hurtigruten. Hurtigruten is the scenic coastal ferry in Norway shuttling from Bergen on the west coast all the way to Kirkenes up north. Along the way you can take part in activities and excursions in certain ports but other than that and good food, the nature is doing all the entertainment on these cruises. I have only done a 24h stretch of the cruise, maybe one day I’ll get to do bit more.
3. Grand Canyon. There are many ways to experience the Grand Canyon and I did it by water. On the two-week trip we took with kayaks and rafts down the Colorado River we had no cellphone coverage or laptops, and the sun dictated our daily rhythm. We got up with the sun. And we went to sleep with the sun. I can’t remember when I have felt as relaxed and calm as during this trip, it was a great reminder that couple of weeks offline is not a bad idea every now and then.
4. Hisa Franko Restaurant. This is a small, Slovenian restaurant by the Italian boarder near the village of Kobarid with superb food. So superb, that the owners Ana and Valter have been flown to the States already twice this year to showcase their skills to American audiences. On our Slovenian visits this is a must, and I would recommend a little detour to the Slovenian side if you ever visit Venice in Italy, for example.
5. Norway. I had to put Norway on the list, as a whole. Even though we have been living in Norway now for couple of years the place still amazes and surprises me, and I think we have finally found home! To get an introduction to Norway read my last week’s post here in Skimbaco.