By now you might have heard that there's a movie out there based on the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love (insert tongue in cheek here).
The movie and the book both offer an inside look at the hero's journey. If you've read some Greek classics then you've seen this before -- the hero is perhaps confronted with a difficult circumstance or a desire to seek knowledge. The hero goes off to far-reaching lands, battles demons (personal and otherwise) only to return with some insight into the meaning of life (or, at the very least, some self-knowledge).
While it's sexy to go off to foreign lands (who wouldn't want their environs to resemble Bali?) to find oneself, it's certainly not necessary. You can go on your very own hero's journey without leaving your town. Heck, you can even have a mini-journey right on your yoga mat. Travel isn't necessary but intention, a willingness to to take responsibility, asking the right questions and an openness to receive the answers are.
That said, travel can be exciting, invigorating, and illuminating. These days, there are plenty of wonderful vacations/retreats that can help you get your yoga on, find yourself, travel in the footsteps of others who have found themselves (and perhaps written a best-selling novel about it), and do good in the world. Yep, it brings a whole new meaning to the old "what I did on my summer vacation" monologue...
Destination Peace offers "vacations for the soul" that mix volunteerism, yoga, and Ayurveda. These vacations are the perfect mix between helping others and doing good for others and doing good for yourself. Each vacation (all are located in Mexico) lasts 5 or 7 days and offer immersion in local culture, fun activities like whale watching, salsa dancing, and paddle boarding, and rewarding volunteer experiences. Click here to learn more.
This retreat, which takes place November 7-12 in Punta Mita, Mexico, offers daily yoga, meditation, surfing, along with plenty of time for play and introspection. A portion of your retreat fee goes towards sponsoring someone who desires transformation but can't afford it. Again, opportunity for growth through serving yourself and serving others -- beautiful! Click here for more information.
Yoga, fitness, meditation, energy healing and cutting-edge nutrition are front and center at this November 13-20 retreat in Costa Rica. I love that this retreat offers Kundalini yoga, as so few do. Click here for more information.
If you'd like to experience a little of what heroine extraordinaire Liz Gilbert did, the folks at Eat, Pray and Love Bali can accommodate you. These ongoing 7 day retreats to Bali include a visit with healer Ketut Liyer, vitamin lunch at Wayan's restaurant, and visits to local temples. Not surprisingly, these tours sell out fast, so you need to set one up well in advance. Click here for all of the pertinent details (and some very cool pictures).
If you're heading to another destination for your journey, don't forget your travel undies. If travel isn't in your budget right now, you can still reap the benefits of a hero's journey. Perhaps you could have your very own Walkabout. Or you could start -- or maintain -- a regular meditation practice. Or you could buy yourself a Moleskin and start a journaling practice. It all starts with a desire -- a desire to seek a higher ground, learning something, find yourself, shift your perspective -- and the age-old questions -- who am I and what do I want?