Find Yourself Everywhere – 12 Months of Connection-From IgNITE Magazine Travel
By: Shauna Armitage
Discovering the beauty in nature, in physical activity, in our human past is oft times the best way to rediscover the beauty within ourselves. Many locations attract travelers, but only a few speak to the soul. For those looking to build their level of wellness for the mind, body, soul and spirit travel to these locations offers peace and serenity, connections to the past and connections to the teachings of some of the oldest, most venerated religions known to man..
No matter what religion you do or don’t practice, there is something calming and sacred about faith—even if it isn’t your own. It is easy and refreshing to connect with Balinese Hinduism, and in turn, connect better with your self.
The temperature in Bali remains in the 70s pretty much every month of the year, making it an ideal destination to escape to in January. The enlightened traveler will head straight to Ubud, a beautifully lush town with temples and monuments, celebrating balance and harmony at every turn.
Remember how stunning the earth is? Taking a bike ride through the countryside or meandering through the Tegallalang rice patties will surely remind you. Green pops out in just about every direction, interrupted only by a clear blue sky. Finish your day—or start it—with a yoga class taught by the masters at your resort or in a local temple.
The most important part of a journey to Bali is the pace—take your time and soak it in. Sit by the water garden of Pure Taman Saraswati temple—which is dedicated to the goddess of knowledge, literature and art. Do something new like pull out a pencil and spend an hour drawing the thousands of pink lotus flowers gracefully lying upon the water before you. The fine detail throughout the complex is dizzying, so much so that you may never want to leave.
Palm Beach, Florida
The high-end feel of Palm Beach beckons a more laid back crowd that can be hard to duplicate in other Florida beach towns. The 70-degree weather in February calls everyone down to the beach.
The locals take advantage of the ambiance of the outdoors and provide spin classes, yoga and more out on the beach. Once you’ve treated your body to a positive physical experience, head indoors and try a sensual one. The Breakers Palm Beach Resort provides a beachside haven for rejuvenation where travelers go to relax and indulge in the resort’s signature Guerlain Facial—a technique used found only at the Breakers and in France.
Egypt’s capital is a large city with people from all walks of life, and March has perfect weather for visitors to enjoy —a comfortable heat during the day and a pleasant chill at night. The ride from the airport to the center of the city is lined with palm trees and statues from the days of the ancients. The contrast between old and new is stark, and truly breathtaking.
Sometimes finding yourself means getting a little lost. Start at your hotel and head towards the river. Along the way you are likely to have the urge to pop into little shops full of trinkets and treasures, stop at restaurants open to the street. Take in the phenomenal smells and delight in the mesh of east and west in everything you see. Crossing the street—something so simple—is tricky here, and if you make it, you’re likely to feel renewed sense of spirit for living through the experience.
If you’re lucky enough to be strolling along the Nile as the day becomes night, the city will come alive for you. The rays of the setting sun become apricot and soft blush as they envelop the skyscrapers, monuments and mosques all around. The air becomes thick with the sounds of the Muslim call to prayer and the love and sincerity sinks deep into your soul.
Aix-en-Provence, France boasts temperatures in the mid to high 60s during the month of April—not too hot and not too cold, but perfect for exploring the outdoors. Sit outside at a café in the shade of the trees lining the Cours Mirabeau and try a food you’ve never experienced before while you watch the people walk by. Visit Le Grand Marche—a provincial market near the Cours Mirabeau—where you can find fresh produce, clothing and bright, beautiful flowers. Move slowly. Inspect everything you see. Talk to the vendors. Learn something. Take the afternoon to discover yourself by indulging in the people around you.
The city itself is dripping with old world charm, and a leisurely stroll or bike ride is most definitely in order. After you’ve taken in your fill however, head out to the country. Visit local a winery or gaze upon Mont Sainte-Victoire, the mountain which inspired many of Cézanne’s most celebrated paintings.
The Arctic (Where?)
I want you to go to the arctic in May. I want you to bundle up—because the temperature will not rise above 40 degrees—while the rest of the world sings of the glory of spring. It can be difficult to tear yourself away from the lovely little wild flowers that are beginning to grace the earth with their presence, but once you arrive, you won’t regret it for a minute. The cold artic climate scares away many, which is why you can experience the natural beauty of the ice sheet, fjords and hidden rocky earth below it in all its splendor.
Hike along the 100 mile long Polar Route, take a kayak out around an iceberg, explore a local village or wait for dark so you can take in one of the most stunning phenomena on our little planet—the Northern Lights. Spend your time out in nature and connect with the beauty that only mother earth can provide.
Peace and serenity can be found on the turquoise waters off the coast of Belize. June brings the rainy season to this small country in Central America, and most travelers will head for the pricier, busier Caribbean locations, so not only can you enjoy the locale without the hustle and bustle of a million tourists, but you may also get stuck in a tropical rain storm! Dance on the beach anyone?
Start your journey on the Placencia Penninsula where you can easily access an inland nature tour at Monkey River and the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve. If these creatures took your breath away, that’s no surprise, but you’ll also want to take the plunge into the sea where you’ll find schools of colorful fish in a stunning underwater world. With the full moon of June, whale sharks return to Gladden Spit Reserve and you can take the opportunity to interact with these gentle giants.
Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya
One of the most beautiful ways to connect with yourself is to rediscover who you are through the eyes of others. Take the hot month of July to jet away to Africa where you will be in good company with the Maasai people of Kenya.
The Maasai people have an incredible sense of self, refusing to abandon their semi-nomadic lifestyle as well as traditional dress and customs at the urging of the Kenyan and Tanzanian government. Upon your arrival, these warm people welcome you into the fold, inviting weary travelers into their homes to dance along with them and learn about their way of life.
Lucky travelers who visit this region in July will also have the opportunity to view the Great Migration as millions of wildebeest, zebra and gnu’s pass through Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve—with predators in tow.
Biddeford Pool, ME
There’s just something beautiful about it. Head to a small little city called Biddeford Pool on Maine’s rocky coast for an afternoon with very few people and an overdue date with the sea. This tiny community is encircled by the Atlantic and offers the weary traveler his or her choice of rocks on which to spend the day. Jump from rock to rock or simply be still and close your eyes allowing the sound of waves crashing against the rocks below the only thing you are aware of.
The dainty little wild flowers lead the way down to a pebble-filled beach where you can scour the ground for sea glass or search for creatures in tide pools. Walk along the Audubon until you can walk no more, or explore the rocks that emerge from the sea at low tide and pick a spot to meditate.
Redwood National Park, Crescent City, CA
As fall approaches, the crowds tend to go home, leaving you alone with yourself in the vast expanse of Redwood National Park. Fog creeps inland from the Pacific Ocean—roughly 40 miles off to the west—and creates a dreamlike atmosphere among the trees, some of which can live to be almost 2,000 years old. These ancient sleeping giants grow up to 10 feet in diameter and many have reached a height of 360 feet or more, making the average passer-by feel insignificant by comparison. But what’s wrong with that? Observing yourself in comparison to the superb spectacles of nature can help you step back pinpoint your own place in the universe.
Search for your spirituality in the dazzling landscape of Sedona, Arizona. Many hikers take in the impressive local scenery, but in-the-know travelers gather at the vortexes—cyclones of energy that come directly from the red rocks and can be felt by those in their presence. The four main vortexes are Airport Vortex, Cathedral Rock Vortex, Boynton Canyon Vortex and Bell Rock Vortex, each of which emits a unique energy from the earth.
Days filled with red rock plateaus and striking canyons give way to spectacular star-filled nights. Sedona’s elevation, cloud-free skies, transparent desert air, lack of humidity and light pollution creates one of the most outstanding places to gaze upon the heavens in the United States.
If the strong earthy energy and spectacular views of the cosmos isn’t enough to fill your days and cleanse your aura, Sedona is known for its exceptional spas, so there are even more ways to indulge in you.
Taroko National Park, Taiwan
Regain some piece of mind in the tranquil mountains of Taiwan. Taroko, means “magnificent and beautiful” in the language of the indigenous Truku tribe that once resided there, and it is a fitting way to describe Taroko National Park.
November brings weather in the 70s for travelers to delight in as they investigate the gorges and breathe in the sweet mountain air. Traverse suspension bridges and bask in the spray of marvelous waterfalls before taking a meditation hike to one of the nearby temples that seem to sprout from the forest floor like a flower in bloom. Local Buddhist temples are a serene location to worship or simply admire.
The superb architecture lining the streets of Jaipur, India is enough make anyone want to travel there—magnificent palaces and imposing hilltop forts speak of a rich past. The present, however, grabs the attention of those looking for connection.
Take a stroll in one of the cities colorful bazaars and haggle over goods or sit in a little restaurant in take in the vibrancy of the Pink City. Head outside the city for a day to connect with yourself by connecting with one of the most intelligent and noble creatures on earth—the elephant.
Learn about the elephants by staying at a camp outside the city as their guest. Feed them, ride them, bathe them, paint with them—enjoy the countryside and the company.
Wherever you roam, there is an opportunity to find yourself, connect with a part of yourself you didn’t know existed. Try something new, visit a sacred place, challenge your body—find a place that makes you feel alive. Every month of the year is a new opportunity to connect with the most important person you know—yourself.