The month of December is when some people start thinking about all that has happened over the past twelve months and begin to make plans for how they want to spend their time in the coming year. For those interested in travel, but no longer content with South Beach or Vail, there is another option available.
A number of years ago, I took that option myself. I wanted a trip that was based on personal growth and discovery. Today this is called "Sacred Travel," but back then it was about taking my savings and heading out with a backpack. I first went to Nepal and trekked in the Himalayas. It was there that I encountered yoga in a spiritual form and began the study and practice of it. I then went to Thailand to learn about Buddhism and sat for two 10-day silent meditation retreats. It was there that I began to see my mind in a way that I never had before! I traveled around Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia learning to live in the moment and listen closely to my intuition. So taken by yoga and Buddhism, the following year I went to India to study more yoga and begin the study of Tibetan Buddhism.
Today sacred travel is a growing niche of the travel market. It is a kind of travel that is not just recreational, but "re-creational," where the focus is on personal growth and sacred experiences. It involves visiting "spiritual hotspots" where the traveler is able to tap into ancient cultures and philosophies through meditation, ritual, prayer and ceremony. In many cases, the traveler finds they are changed forever - in a good way. ☺
Karen Tate, author, lecturer and sacred tour director, leads trips specifically to sacred sites of the Goddess. These are sites around the world where the Goddess was prominent in the past and in many cases is prominent today. Shiva Rea, internationally renowned yoga teacher and retreat leader, leads what she calls "pilgrimages" to places such as Bali, India, and Greece where "awakening shakti" is the intention. Lisa Black, another renowned yoga teacher and very dear friend of mine, leads an annual winter retreat in Mexico at Maya Tulum where the intention is to experience a "deeper sense of total health and well-being and leave more open, energized and inspired for life!"
If you are thinking of a special trip for the new year, what are you looking for? How will you renew yourself and inspire yourself for 2009? Will you take a trip of transformation?