I’m trying to refine my specialties or niches in travel content (what I do here) and travel advising. As you may know, they are culinary, active adventure and wellness. I chose these areas because I like to focus on these things when I travel, along with history and culture.

I feel I’ve done a good share of working the culinary angle, so I don’t think I’ll write about that in this space for now. Perhaps the only thing I’d say here is I don’t write my recipes because I like to follow others or make them my own. So, don’t expect any of those or cookbooks from me. I’d rather visit restaurants, go on food tours and visit markets than try to create a decent dish.

For these next two weeks, before I go to Texas twice for two professional development trips, I’ll write about what wellness and active adventure mean and how you can benefit from both. The first one is wellness, which I wrote about several years ago. A lot has changed about it.

Sometimes wellness travel involves yoga but not always ( Photo by Amin Sujan: https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-women-lying-on-yoga-mat-under-blue-sky-1375883/)

Going beyond yoga and meditation

When you hear “wellness travel,” do you automatically think of retreats focused on yoga and meditation or trips to a spa? I think a lot of people do.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, people have sought any self-care opportunity, whether exercising, mindfulness, journal writing, taking baths or anything that will help rebalance their lives.  However, the definition of wellness has expanded to include emotional, mental, social, and environmental components, not just the traditional physical and spiritual modalities.  As a result, wellness travel means different things to everyone, but it all comes down to developing a healthier lifestyle. It can even mean a vacation focused on getting better sleep or an extended digital detox.

That’s not to say yoga, meditation and spa vacations have lost their appeal as wellness travel drivers – far from it. When people ask me about wellness, I still get the most questions about workshops and retreats in these areas. But it’s good to know that more people can benefit from this focus, especially if they don’t practice either discipline.

We enjoyed fresh, unprocessed food during our time in Italy and felt great after nearly every meal

Defined by destinations

Wellness travel, like culinary travel, considers its destinations to provide a unique experience for individuals. For instance, many people would come to Colorado to participate in a hiking retreat that winds through the many mountain trails. They would also take advantage of natural hot springs found all over the state and yoga classes with a dramatic mountain backdrop.

How many people would love to learn about healthy eating in a gorgeous overseas setting? That could be possible if you take cooking classes in Italy or Hawaii or market shopping in Japan. Wellness does have a culinary or nutrition component, and what better way to learn about it than on vacation?

I’ve yet to go to Mexico or Costa Rica for a wellness retreat, but I know people who told me it was a peak personal experience. Having wellness experiences on the rhythmic shoreline or a lush jungle only enhances a calming, balancing activity like yoga or meditation.

Hiking and wellness go hand-in-hand in a place like Breckenridge

Combining wellness with other travel types

Naturally, you often do different types of travel on one trip. For instance, I love to stay active by doing hiking or biking excursions (active adventure), eating well at a restaurant or main dining room, going on a food tour (culinary) and doing a spa treatment or yoga class (wellness).

Nature-oriented wellness travel is also becoming more popular. One of my friends is certified in forest bathing, where you are consciously experiencing an outdoor environment. It’s not going on a mere hike. Instead, it’s a way to allow nature to help heal what’s ailing you. But it does allow for an activity while you engage in wellness practice.

Wellness can be added to any itinerary to enhance your travels, especially if you’re not ready for a straight “wellness” vacation. You might find that you’ll want to do that sooner than you think.