Changing our environment makes us discover new dimensions of our identity and embrace the ones we already acknowledged. Experiencing culture shock is a great trigger for self-evolution because it makes you question your own values and lifestyle, and it forces you to grow out of your cocoon. With the new generation of travelers that seek a deeper experience on their journeys, it’s never just about sightseeing: it’s about the personal transformation. Here are the top four ideas for your spiritual journey.
1. Reconnect with nature in Queensland, Australia
Queensland is the Australian eco heart, which makes it an ultimate destination for reinforcing your connection to nature. In the modern tech era, we’re alienated from nature and from ourselves. Too often, we go through our days on autopilot. Science-backed data says reconnecting with nature has many health benefits, especially in the domain of mental health. In Queensland, you can visit the Lamington National Park, which is a part of the world’s most extensive rainforest, Gondwana, listed as the World Heritage Site. Lamington is home to various endangered species and through the guided tours and tree top walking trails, you can encounter many different animals. It will make you feel like an integral part of this world, and you will certainly feel sudden gratitude and amazement for all the incredible creatures. While you’re in Queensland, don’t miss out on snorkeling or diving in the world’s biggest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef. Oceans are proven to have healing properties, and it can even induce a meditative state: swim with rays, fish, eels, turtles, even docile sharks, and whales. You will feel rejuvenated and come back home completely changed.
2. Experience spiritual transformation in Bali
Western civilization has always been intrigued by the East–its layered and complex approach towards religion and the spiritual seems exotic. Bali is known as “the island of gods,” being a home to thousands of different temples and religious compounds. Balinese culture nurtures a holistic approach that is filled with the honest celebration of life, which can be a huge step away from the usual Western perspective. Temple tourism is extremely popular: feel the spirituality by visiting some of the most prominent ones such as the Tanah Lot with its distinctive position on the sea rock, or the Goa Gajah from the 11th century, a breathtaking archaeological complex. Because of the natural scenery filled with serenity, Bali is one of the top destinations for yoga and meditation retreats. In addition to practicing different types of yoga (e.g. Hatha, Vinyasa, or Power Yoga), you get the precious opportunity to learn from yogi masters and upgrade your knowledge of the spiritual side of yoga. For a more challenging yoga experience, you can attend organised Bali yoga teacher training, where you can practice this discipline on a much higher level. Discover how different parts of Eastern philosophy overlap and embrace this new knowledge. You probably didn’t know about the connection between Feng Shui and yoga. Feng Shui is more than just arranging furniture around your house in order to ensure a free flow of the “chi.” It’s about balancing five elements: earth, fire, water, metal, and wood, and harmonizing them with your life. The environment is crucial to connecting yoga and Feng Shui, which makes Bali a perfect destination.
3. Visit Yoga capital of the world: Rishikesh, India
If you’re interested in Hinduism, India is the best destination. In addition to Bali, Rishikesh is the most popular place for a spiritual journey. It is a home to the International Yoga Festival and a true mecca for yogis. Located by the holy river Ganges, it has one of the globally most reputable yoga resorts and ashrams. Transcendental meditation was conceived here by the great Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and it got different forms with later generations. The purifying power of the river Ganges has its roots in Hinduism and tradition: it is believed the river is actually a personification of the goddess Ganga. The water washes away all the sins and has liberating powers–it can set one free from the life and death cycles.
4. Take a true pilgrimage to Mount Sinai, Egypt
According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. It is now a popular tourist destination, attracting both believers and curious travelers. The mountain can be reached only via the road, and the most beautiful sacred spot has to be the St. Catherine’s Monastery. In 2013, it was closed due to economic instability and upheavals, but it reopened and can be visited. To enter the St. Catherine area, you need to pay a bit more than $2.50, but the entrance to the monastery is free of charge. If you want to visit the museum located up the stairs, Ikon Galleria, you need to pay for the museum ticket that costs LE 25 (around $2.50). For an amazing spiritual journey, climb the mountain with a Bedouin community guide. If you’re feeling adventurous, connect the historical dots and visit the Great Pyramids in Cairo; it will take a 6-hour drive to do so or a quick trip by plane.
Travelling is crucial for better understanding of our own place in the world. Consider these five destinations for your spiritual journey: guaranteed you won’t regret it.
What are your favorite spiritual travel destinations?
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Photo: Nicole Noel