Once you become established in the technique, you can practice being the master of your own life -- you get to choose how to react to your body sensations. And this has a benefit not only when you are sitting calmly on the beach, but also when you are in a stressful situation.
You may not know the name of S.N. Goenka, who died Saturday at the age of 90. But if you've counted your breaths to relax in a hospital, or if you've ever tried to eat, walk, or speak "mindfully," you've felt his influence.
A 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat with Noble Silence, 4 a.m. starts and 10 hours of meditation daily was never going to be easy, but combining it with communal living and random explosions probably made it even harder.
A Vipassana course is travel of a very personal kind, as it is above all a journey with the self, which may or may not involve conventional travel. If you love travel of all types, you can, as I did, combine both.