Travel News

Transformational Travel: Three Life-Changing Vacations and Retreats

Locations in this article:  Tucson, AZ

Everyone hopes that a vacation will change their life, but some programs are actually designed to be transformational. Fit Globetrotter Dena Rochwerger-Braun investigates three vacations where personal growth and change is paramount.

It seems like now more than ever people are just plain stuck. Maybe we were one of the many who lost our jobs, or maybe we’re like a whopping 57 percent of Americans who hate their job; either way many of us are wondering “Is this all there is?” or “What is my purpose?” Travel just might provide the answer.

Traveling is often about seeing the sights of a new place, but transformational travel is about taking a journey to see yourself in a new light. From a luxury spa to a quick career apprenticeships,  these three travel opportunities use different means to enact personal transformation.

Transformation at the Spa

Miraval, located near Tucson, Arizona, has been voted best spa in the U.S. many times, but to simply call it a spa does it a disservice. Miraval is in the business of transformation. It’s a place that encourages you to explore your passions and push out of your comfort zone through the myriad of lectures and activities offered.

On any given day more than 30 different programs, plus individual consults, are offered. Whatever your goal you can craft a schedule designed to help you explore it, from classes like Reflect & Transcend–an interactive workshop that helps you focus on what you really want and create an action plan to get it–to Breathwalking which shows you how to use your breath to slow down and relax while doing something as simple as walking. To really delve into a particular concern, schedule a personal session such as Adventures in Everything, an hour-long, one-on-one where Matt Walker will teach you how his Five Elements of Adventure approach can help you clarify your goals and get unstuck.

Often the root of why we’re stuck in life is simple; fear. Miraval believes that the confidence gained by pushing past fear in a challenge activity will translate to overcoming obstacles in everyday life.

To that end there are several programs designed to address the ability to let go, move forward, trust, and communicate while jumping from a high platform or walking a tightrope suspended 35 feet in the air. Imagine the courage it takes for a woman to jump off a 35-foot platform when in her past her husband tried to kill her by throwing her off a high cliff. A woman who experienced exactly that told the group that the first time she had no control, but to jump this time was her choice. Talk about facing down a fear. If she could do that, she could do anything. And that’s the point.

Miraval is luxury. The 400- acre property houses guests in casitas featuring every creature comfort found in a four-star resort, including the most pillowy bed you’ve ever slept in. The Miraval kitchens further prove that healthy eating is not deprivation eating, and calories are proudly displayed. And of course there is a spa (which is remodeling for 2012).

[rates start at $595, per night, per person, double occupancy]