Why Choose A Wellness Retreat?
A Wellness vacation is about taking care of YOU. It's about getting healthy or maintaining your health by nurturing your mind, body, and soul. You can find Wellness elements in many hotels (most have gyms so you can keep active, but many offer the use of workout wear, in-room videos and equipment, bicycles, yoga, etc.) and there are also resorts dedicated to Wellness across the globe. So, why did I choose to come all the way to India when there are opportunities right in my back yard in the U.S.? For me, it's about getting healthy the right way. You hear so much these days about organic food, yoga, meditation, and healthy habits. These are notions that have been around for centuries, we are just coming full circle and getting ourselves back to the way nature intended for us to live and be. For me, there's no better way to learn about healthy habits and holistic treatment than India, and specifically Kerala, which is considered the birthplace of Ayurveda.
Things Don't Always Go As Planned
If there's one thing that's certain, especially in travel, it's that you never know what to expect when you are in a different country. Today was supposed to be a half day, private guided tour of Cochin, but as luck would have it, there were some political situations and rallies that prompted the government to declare a "band" (literally meaning "closure") in the State of Kerala. Schools were closed, businesses were closed, and there were no cars allowed on the road from 6am-6pm. To top it off, since my guide was coming from outside the area, he had to cancel as he couldn't drive to get to me. Luckily, my local touring company did an outstanding job of finding a new guide within Fort Cochin area at the last minute so I could do a walking tour.
As I mentioned on my Facebook Live post this morning, I think there's no better way to see a place than by walking through it's streets. You can use all your senses to really get a better understanding of the people and culture. So, there's always something positive that comes out of a seemingly bad situation. You may not be able to choose the circumstances, but you can certainly choose how you react to them. Having a great attitude and learning to "go with the flow" is essential in travel. It can make the difference between a great trip and one that leaves you feeling drained and annoyed. I'm a planner myself, so this "stay loose and go with the flow" idea is something I'm working on as well. I have a feeling this trip will give me plenty of opportunity to practice!
History and Culture Abound
South India's Relaxed Culture
Having toured through North India and Rajasthan, land of the Maharajas, last year, I now wanted to see the South and explore wellness in this region. I'm on a 3 week journey that will take me not only to South India but through Sri Lanka as well.
Even though I arrived in the wee hours of the morning into Cochin, in the state of Kerala, I could already tell there was a vast difference in culture from North and South India. Where Delhi and North India are marked by heavy traffic, the incessant honking of car horns, people rushing to and fro, the South is quite the opposite. My first impression reminded me of a tropical island with its swaying palm trees and smiling residents. This was confirmed by my travel host who picked me up from the airport and ensured I was settled into my hotel, The Brunton Boatyard. He concurred that North India is cosmopolitan and hectic and that the South is where Indians come to relax and find peace and a sense of calmness.
North India has many monuments and national treasures that are predominantly from the British rule. The South, specifically Cochin, has a mix of Dutch, Portuguese and British influences. The architecture, the food, and the history showcase the melding of cultures that impacted this region when these European nations sent trading ships here.
Join me through my stories as I travel the world. I hope the experiences and photos I share will inspire each of you to be travelers as well and to go explore this incredible world in which we live.