Vacations That Can Change Your Life: Adventures, Retreats and Workshops for the Mind, Body and Spirit

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9781570713910: Vacations That Can Change Your Life: Adventures, Retreats and Workshops for the Mind, Body and Spirit
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Describes travel to places and programs aimed for physical, psychological, and spiritual growth

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Instead of returning from your vacation with a snow globe or a hotel towel, Vacations That Can Change Your Life will help you bring back a new awareness that could alter the course of your life. Ellen Lederman lists more than 200 soul-enriching vacations, including Buddhist and Sufi retreats, hypnotherapy weekends, wilderness survival excursions, and weeks spent swimming with wild dolphins. Vacation listings are divided into Holistic, Spiritual, Healing, and Health Promoting, Self-Improvement, and Learning retreats. Each listing includes at least a page-long discussion of cost, facilities, lodging, specific courses or programs offered, and requirements for attending as well as addresses and phone numbers.

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From the Introduction

What do you have to show for your last vacation?

If you're like most people: not much! The tan probably faded a few weeks after you came back. The relaxation you felt while you were away disappeared within a week or two of resuming your regular routine. All that remains of your investment (the time and money spent on the vacation) are the souvenirs you brought home.

T-shirts, ashtrays, and little plastic globes that "snow" when shaken may serve their purpose, but they don't have much of an impact on your life. Nothing is any different than it was before the vacation. You remain exactly as you were, thinking and feeling and doing the same old things.

But your next vacation can affect you in a meaningful and permanent way. Any of the possibilities in this book could transform your life. The skills learned or perspective gained will remain long after the actual experience has ended. Unlike standard travel which stresses passive sightseeing or sunbathing, these vacations demand active involvement of the mind/body/spirit. If you throw your whole self into one of these adventures, you can explore, discover, learn, heal, and grow.

There's no question that it's easier to continue your usual style of vacationing. Many people return to the same spot year after year for just this reason. Going back to a familiar beach or mountain resort eliminates the need for research and indepth planning. All that's required is a quick phone call to reserve your place. Or, if your chosen vacation is a little more complicated, a travel agent can provide advice and manage the details.

With the vacations in this book, you will need to expend a little more effort. Most travel agents haven't heard of the vast majority of the profiled vacations. You won't be able to pick up a travel magazine and see an ad for most of the retreats or workshops. Chances are your friends and neighbors haven't experienced these adventures and can't recommend any of them to you.

You'll also need to be prepared to venture past your normal comfort zone. Sticking with what you've always done in the past is much less risky than trying something new. It's safer and less stressful to know exactly what to expect. Even after reading about the vacations in this book and in any promotional material you may request, you still won't fully realize all that may occur or how the experience may affect you until you actually participate in one.

What you can expect is to be challenged in ways that aren't possible on standard vacations. In the place of a leisurely walk through a museum, you can choose to spend a week in more active pursuits that can expand your confidence and self-reliance such as kayaking through whitewater rapids. Instead of sitting on a beach, you can hike through a national forest as you learn backpacking and survival skills. Rather than just splashing around in the ocean, you can swim with the dolphins as part of a special program that enhances human creativity and communication.

On your previous vacations, probably the most intellectually challenging activity was flipping through a magazine or deciding on a restaurant for dinner. If you're ready to acquire skills and knowledge that last beyond your vacation, learning a foreign language or filmmaking can become your focus the next time you get away.

While you may have visited cathedrals on a European trip or even attended a religious service once or twice, it's likely that not a lot was asked of you spiritually on your last vacations. But the spiritual programs contained in this book actively promote spiritual/religious growth. Whether you're in need of a little renewal in your current faith or feel a compelling need to explore a new type of spirituality, you can get involved in a retreat that provides the environment and the support to explore the deepest parts of your soul.

Unlike your usual vacation which you spend entirely with family or friends (or sightsee among strangers with whom you never really interact), you'll need to extend yourself socially. Except for a few vacations where you meditate or participate in a solo backpacking vision quest in the desert, you'll encounter new people and share some intense experiences with them. While there are some vacations that are intended for you to share with a spouse, parent, or child, you may be participating in one on your own.

But don't let the demands and challenges scare you. You do have to invest yourself physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually, but you'll get much in return. The small amount of effort and time needed to learn more about the vacations which interest you is well worthwhile. It will ensure you of choosing the program that most meets your needs. The experiences you have will be transformational and will make a difference in the rest of your life.

And keep in mind that these experiences will also be enjoyable. You will not be giving up all the fun and relaxation of a more typical vacation. Even the most rigorous programs include some recreation. The majority of the centers, retreats, and adventures are held in very scenic locations by oceans, lakes, mountains, and farmland. You'll enjoy good food and make great new friends.

It's very possible that one of these programs will change your life in a very positive way. You might learn a new skill, develop a hobby, improve your health, or discover your spiritual side. Investigate and then enjoy what may be the vacation of a lifetime!

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ISBN 10:  1570711240 ISBN 13:  9781570711244
Publisher: Sourcebooks, 1996
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