As part of our series on meaningful travel, I have been asking friends to share their stories on special experiences they have sought out in foreign places. From working in water security to volunteering at a permaculture farm, to studying European art history, there are many enriching experiences to be found abroad. Craving the opportunity to travel solo for the first time before a family vacation in Turkey, Saarah escaped to The Sanctuary, a wellness retreat on Thailand’s Koh Phangan.
As part of a larger focus on self-growth this year, Saarah went for a five-day course on meditation and yoga. In addition to finding relaxation, Saarah learned about asanas, pranayama (directed breathing), and chakra meditation. “I also met some amazing people who prioritize spirituality in their lives,” she explains.
Following on the advice of a friend who had gone there some years before, Saarah was seeking a learning experience. Especially memorable were the surroundings: “Beach, jungle, amazing food, great weather, and an awesome teacher.” While raving about the setting and recommending the venue to others, she still notes that this type of escape isn’t for everyone. “ You have to be interested in spirituality, self-growth, and alone time.”
Although she’s not sure what’s next, she wants to return to the Sanctuary someday. Her advice for making travel more meaningful? “Carry a diary to capture the memories, do your research, and pursue activities that promote self-growth, whether that be museums or just beautiful attractions.” She also knows the value of a good review. “I talk to friends to get ideas for the best places to go.”