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Photo: Molly Beauchemin

Vacationers Increasingly Looking to Adventure, Charity, and Wellness

Wellness retreats are something of a buzzword in 2017, with everyone from millionaires to millennials seeking out ways to relax and prioritize their health while exploring beautiful destinations around the world. Until very recently, “wellness” was often strictly associated with luxury relaxation, rather than charity or active cultural exploration, but new travel collectives like the Mind Body Spirit Network have started incorporating those elements.

“I started the Mind Body Spirit Network to connect people in meaningful ways through wellness events and wellness travel,” Sallie Fraenkel, MBSN’s Founder, writes over email. “A Mind Body Spirit wellness journey is a ‘patchwork quilt’ of experiences that may include hiking, cooking, indigenous healing ceremonies, spa treatments, farm-to-table meals, and ‘insider access.'”

Photo: Molly Beauchemin

“By combining elements of the wellness lifestyle (mind/body/spirit pursuits) with volunteering in the communities we visit, we experience wellness not only of ourselves, but of the planet!” she adds. With an array of trips in various locations around the world– immersive trips to New Mexico and South Africa among them–Mind Body Spirit Network trips are a way to “give back” while traveling and relaxing at the same time.

While experiences are highly curated (and come with a price to match), the ethos of leaving a place better off is a defining tenet of the organization. Of course, this is not at the expense of luxury: the “El Camino Real Road To Wellness” takes place at the new Sunrise Springs Spa Resort and offers a “literal and figurative exploration of the El Camino Real, the trade route traveled by Mexicans into San Juan Pueblo, NM from 1598 to 1882.” Activities include everything from a half-day hike to see La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs to a visit to El Rancho Las Golondrinas to experience the culture and traditions of New Mexico’s Hispano past. (There’s also a visit to Georgia O’Keefe’s house, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, yoga, and horticultural experiences.)

Photo: Molly Beauchemin

The South Africa Journey of Hope and Togetherness is similarly experiential, with a distinct emphasis on highlighting the charitable work being done by The Gift of Hope, a U.S. non-profit organization that has been supporting South African children, teens, and women infected with and affected by HIV for over 10 years. The trip includes unique African healing rituals and wellness services, special musical performances, visits with local artisans, a beautiful day trip along the coast to Cape Point, horseback riding on the beach at sunset, but also a specific emphasis on visiting programs in action and meeting the people whose lives are being transformed by the services they receive.

For more information about the Mind Body Spirit Network, visit the organization’s website.

Want more wellness that’s good for you and the environment? Check out Restival or peruse our list of “green” alternatives to Burning Man.


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