13 Tips For Responsible Tourism

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Travel is such a wonderful thing. Most of us do it with the right intentions and really want to experience different cultures. However, we aren’t always well equipped with the knowledge we need to practice responsible tourism. Responsible tourism can essentially be summed up as, “First, do no harm.” Here are some tips to make sure that you do no harm to the people, animals, and nature of the world.

1. Support local trade

responsible tourism shop local markets

When buying souvenirs, food, or even going on tours, shop local first. Big corporations and international chains don’t need your money. The locals do.

2. Learn local customs and values

Research to the best of your ability so that you can be respectful. Learn how to greet locals, appropriate body language, and anything that is considered rude or offensive. Also keep in mind that there may be some rules and laws that you would never have guessed.

3. Dress appropriately

Modesty is very important in many cultures and countries. Find out how much you should cover up in different situations, such as visiting local temples.

4. Leave no trace

Don’t litter. Try to reuse things and avoid papers and plastics, as many developing nations will not have an abundance of recycling bins. Instead of buying water bottles, you can refill your own thermos by using a water sterilization tool.

5. Don’t patronize businesses that treat people or animals inhumanely

This includes riding elephants and taking photos with drugged animals. Also avoid “attractions” that exploit people, like orphanage tours.

6. Don’t buy from children

Don’t support child labor. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes nor where that money’s really going.

7. Don’t give money to beggars

Like the above, you don’t know where that money is going. Plus, it helps perpetuate the cycle of dependence on the “white savior.” Instead, donate money to established organizations that work to create sustainable self-reliance within the country.

8. Ask permission before taking photos of locals

responsible tourism locals

They’re real people living their lives. They’re not there for your amusement. It’s demeaning and voyeuristic. That’s not to say you can’t ask. I found the majority of people were excited to be in my photos.

9. Be responsible about volunteering

First off, you should not participate in voluntourism. It’s extremely harmful to local communities. However, if you have an in-demand skill, like nursing, do your research before setting off.

10. Don’t buy ivory products

Also consider reporting it. Selling them is illegal in most countries.

11. Look out for your fellow travelers

Everyone’s out of their element. Many people are traveling on their own. Look out for them and help them stay safe.

12. Negotiate, but be fair

In many countries, bargaining at markets is part of the culture. But it’s important to keep in mind that this is how people make their living. What’s chump change to you could be a lot to them.

13. Don’t step on, or touch anything while snorkeling

With the coral reefs and many ocean species in danger, it’s so important to respect sea life.

 

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The Dangers of Dental Tourism: How I Broke My Jaw

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er broken jaw

Unhappy ER selfie

Dental tourism, traveling to another country to save money on dental work, is super popular right now. There are even entire websites dedicated to helping you find the best providers. It’s generally considered pretty safe as long as you take certain precautions, such as checking their reviews and taking a look at where the dentists received their degrees.

I’m no stranger to dental tourism. When I went to Bali, I decided to have my teeth whitened. Everything went swimmingly and I raved about it. What’s better than saving over 50% of the cost it would be in the U.S.? Maybe the fact that I was traveling there anyway and it didn’t interfere with my relaxation time at all.

Since moving to San Diego, CA, I’ve been visiting a dentist in Tijuana, Mexico. This is relatively common here and I’ve met other people who do the same thing. It just seems to make sense economically. Can you even call it dental tourism when you’re only 30 minutes from the border?

Things Take a Turn for the Worst

When the dentist told me I would need two of my wisdom teeth removed, I figured I better get it over with right away. The dental staff were so friendly and comforting and I felt safe. But things didn’t turn out so well.

First of all, I looked in the mirror to find that they had taken out the wrong tooth! They took out the bottom left wisdom tooth instead of the top left. When I told them this, there was a bit of back and forth until they told me they would not charge me for the third tooth and I would have to wait two weeks for them to remove it! Furious, but deliriously swollen, I agreed. I later realized this didn’t even begin to make up for what was essentially malpractice. In addition to the unnecessary pain and the time it would require for me to keep going back, it also put me at increased risk for infection, especially since I am over 25. But this was far from the worst of it.

When I got home I tried to eat liquid foods, as recommended. But each time I went to swallow I felt excruciating pain in my jaw. Several times it seemed to slip out of place entirely! I immediately made an appointment with a local dentist so he could take a look at it. The dentist assured me that this was common and likely a normal part of healing. I kept regular appointments with this new dentist so he could keep tabs on my condition.

Unfortunately, things got worse instead of better. I could only open my jaw the width of my finger and my teeth weren’t even touching on one side. I was definitely not healing. Finally, I was referred to a specialist.

Three Days in the Hospital. Two Months of Suffering

Nearly three weeks after the procedure, I finally received a panoramic x-ray. I’m not a doctor, but it didn’t take a genius to see the results in that x-ray. It was broken. Badly!

broken jaw dental tourism X-ray

I was told to immediately go to the ER in the hospital across the road. So much for a weekend with friends visiting. I spent two days waiting, one night in surgery, and one day recovering.

The surgeon informed me that since the break was so bad and since it was so long after the initial fracture, my jaw would have to be wired shut for a whopping six weeks! Meaning I can only eat foods that are pure liquid with no chunks. I also can’t exercise or talk very easily. Since my food intake is limited, I’m constantly weak and tired. I try to get out of the house, but I mostly stay in bed because I have frequent dizzy spells.

Moral of the Story

Sure, this could have happened in the U.S. The surgeon told me my jaw was very small and susceptible to fracture. BUT if this had happened in the U.S., I could have very rightfully sued. Since it didn’t, all I can do is kick myself for making this mistake.

In addition to all the pain and loss of time I could have been looking for a job, I’m out a lot of money. And the bills won’t end here. Due to the force of the wires, my teeth are shifting and I will likely need braces again. Furthermore, I’m at an increased risk of cavities since I can’t brush the inside of my teeth. Yes, the wisdom tooth procedure was a fraction of the cost it would be in the United States, but my total costs are now much, much higher.

Yes, there are some great dentists abroad. However, I can’t recommend that anyone else take the risk of dental tourism.

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Top Swimming Holes in Zion National Park

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Swimming holes may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Zion National Park. Hiking, canyoning, and mountains galore are probably higher on the list. But when I went, it was nearing 100 degrees and unbearable. Emerald Pools, the most popular hike, unfortunately, does not allow swimming. After extensive research and exploring, here are the best ways to cool off that I found.

The Virgin River

zion national park swimming hole virgin river

The Virgin River runs throughout Zion. There are plenty of less frequented spots along the river that are great for swimming. Just avoid any spots too close to a tram stop or major trail and you’ll be fine! Be careful as the currents are much stronger than they look (I came out with quite a few scratches). Parts of the river are also open for tubing at certain times of the year.

Pine Creek Waterfall

hiking pine creek zion

Less well-known and less accessible, the Lower Pine Creek Falls trail takes you to a hidden swimming hole. Getting there is more than a little tricky, and my Mom and I got really lost. But there’s also no crowds and the water is warm and calm. Joe’s Guide provides a pretty detailed description of how to get to the trailhead. From there, you’re on your own.

The Narrows

zion national park the narrows swimming

In addition to being a great hike, The Narrows is a fun place to cool off. The hike itself consists of wading through (sometimes waist-deep) water, but there are plenty of deeper spots to swim along the way. Getting there and hiking through can be as difficult or as easy as you’d like depending on how far you decide to go. Most people just go until they start getting tired and then turn back. In my opinion, this is the most fun hike at Zion, but it does get very crowded.

 

 

 

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A Mother-Daughter Bonding Road Trip

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grand canyon road trip mother daughter

Upon deciding to move cross-country from New York to San Diego, I knew my mom and I needed a proper goodbye. We’ve always been super close and this was going to be the first time we weren’t living within a few hours’ drive of each other. After some thinking, I realized what could be a better send-off than a road trip? The logistics and costs of driving from coast-to-coast ended up not being ideal so I flew her out with me to San Diego and we rented a car. I planned out a route on Roadtrippers that included the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. We packed some snacks and we were on our way.

I’d always wanted to do a road trip in the U.S. But I’ll admit that after so much international travel, I was worried I’d be let down. I thought wrong.

Our first stop was Peggy Sue’s Diner. Super cheesy and touristy. But it set the mood for the rest of our trip as I realized that the Southwest was a whole new world I had yet to conquer. It became more apparent as we crossed the state line to Arizona. I can’t imagine having done this trip any other way as every mile was beautiful. Looking out of the car windows was unreal. Sprawling mountains, canyons, deserts, and valleys. It was really hard to focus on driving! Understandably, we never reached any of our destinations on the trip within an hour of when we were supposed to. We just couldn’t help pulling over everywhere.

road trip arizona grand canyon zion

As enchanting as the scenery was, it was far from the most memorable part of the road trip. In Williams, we had mother-daughter dates with wine flights and interesting locals. At Horseshoe Bend, my mom had the most embarrassing moment of her life (I assume). I’m not supposed to repeat the details, but I will say that it brought us closer together. After all, nothing brings two people closer than one laughing at the other’s misfortune, right?

In Zion National Park, I really wanted to do a lesser known trail. After doing some research I found one online that leads to a secret waterfall. Apparently, it was so secretive that the park rangers couldn’t even help us find the trailhead. Luckily, we eventually stumbled upon it on our own. The trail was obviously unkempt and we had to wade through the stream for most of it. After a little over a mile, we came to a dead end. A mini-waterfall and a wall of rocks blocked our path.

My mother, always protective, suggested I try to scale the boulders next to us so I could go up and over this barrier. It was far from safe. I managed to slowly wiggle my way up there while my mom spotted from below. Upon reaching the top, my mom began to follow. She struggled so, in a real Hercules moment, I used one arm to hold onto the tree behind me and one to help pull her up. It didn’t really work, but it was still an epic moment. At the top of the boulder, we realized there was no way to get around the barrier… and we couldn’t figure out how to get down! We eventually slid down the side and got a few cuts and scrapes along the way. Oh, and that little waterfall that blocked our path? Apparently, that was our destination, after all!

We definitely learned a lot about each other on this road trip that we didn’t already know. For the first time, I felt we had that “adult” mother-daughter friendship rather than taking on the caregiver and child roles. My mom would like to think we’re like the Gilmore Girls, but we’re probably more like Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in Snatched. We had a great time, but we butt heads a lot, too. She likes to blast the A/C while I’m shivering under blankets. I like to scream along to T-Swift and get annoyed that she doesn’t sing the right words. I learned that I’m a chip off the old block in that we’re both insane weirdos.

But I also learned that she’s way more adventurous and gutsy than I knew. And she got to see me at my best: planning and navigating trips. I can’t wait to go on another mother-daughter trip, but I think next time an all-inclusive with a swim-up bar might better suit our relationship.

 

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My Favorite “Old New York” Establishments

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Anyone who knows me knows I probably should have been born in a different decade. I’m obsessed with classic movies, vintage fashion, and, of course, old-school restaurants and bars. Having lived in NYC for nearly five years, I grew to love “Old New York” establishments. Sure, there are countless vintage themed speakeasies and cafes, but I prefer a place with history. Here are my favorites. Take note that none of them have windows.

Bemelmans Bar

bemelmans bar old new york

Located in the Carlyle hotel, this is my absolute favorite bar in NYC. I couldn’t go that frequently as it’s far from cheap ($25 cover most nights and ~$21 per drink). But the drinks are good, the atmosphere is unique, and the live jazz is what I live for. You seriously feel like you’ve stepped into a Casablanca-eqsue jazz bar. It’s quaint and you can tell there are quite a few regulars. The artwork is also amazing as a fan of Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeleine. Fun fact: Bemelmans wouldn’t accept payment for his work. Instead, he requested a year of free stays at the Carlyle.

21 Club

21 club old new york

Originally a Prohibition-era speakeasy (and possibly the only one still standing), The 21 Club is a true New York landmark. All of my favorite Hollywood icons have dined here, along with nearly every president. In fact, many have their own favorite table to reserve because they dine here so frequently. It’s also featured in numerous movies and TV shows. I will admit, the food isn’t amazing, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Minetta Tavern

Historical, cozy, and the best burger in New York? Count me in. (Ok so I’m a vegetarian now, but I wasn’t at the time! And it was without a doubt the best burger I ever had.) Minetta Tavern was a regular hang for some of the biggest writers of the 20th century. Stepping in the door on a cold winter night is like finding an old inn to escape from the snow. Be warned though, reservations are tough to come by. We opted to dine at 11pm rather than wait two more weeks. Even though I won’t eat the burger, I’d love to go back to Minetta for the warm, bistro environment next time I’m in town.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

grand central oyster bar old new yorkAnother iconic spot, Grand Central Oyster Bar is known for its high-vaulted ceilings, fresh seafood, and convenient location for travelers and commuters. While it’s not nearly as intimate as the other spots on this list, the architecture is undeniably impressive and the food is pretty good, too. You should also definitely check out the quirky bathrooms.

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10 Ways to Stay Fit During Long-Term Travel

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Long-term travel has a way of taking its toll on your body. Eating out at every meal, long travel days without exercise, and cheap drinks all add up. But it’s possible to maintain (or even lose) weight while traveling. Here’s how.

1.) Cook your own food

Choose hostels and AirBnBs with kitchen access. Buy your own groceries and cook for yourself. Compared to the U.S., produce elsewhere is generally much fresher and more delicious so you don’t need to be a pro-chef to create something amazing. This will also save you a ton of money.

2.) Workout videos

Download some workout videos onto your tablet or laptop so you can watch them offline. Then recruit some of your travel buddies to join you so you can stay accountable.

3.) Go on active adventures

hiking active fitness travel

Hiking, swimming, biking, and even just walking around a new city are fun ways to stay fit. More adrenaline-filled activities like climbing, canyoning, and surfing also fit the bill.

4.) Limit sugary cocktails

Sure, they seem like such a great idea when you’re on the beach. But all they really give you are excess calories, dehydration, and a hangover. If you’re in the mood for a drink, stick to wines, hard liquors, and beers.

5.) Don’t go crazy with the free breakfast

Whether it’s a hostel with endless bread and cereal or a full-on breakfast buffet at a nice hotel, it’s easy to over-do it. This is especially true when you’re trying to save money and think it will help you skip on lunch. Guess what? It won’t because carbs only fill you up temporarily. So go easy on the breakfast and make your own healthy sandwich for lunch.

6.) Pack healthy snacks so you don’t need to stop for a huge meal

While portion sizes are generally smaller abroad than they are in the U.S., they’re still pretty damn big. And a lot of people have three of these huge meals a day since they aren’t home with access to snacks. Pick up some nuts and fruits at the grocery store so you don’t have to go crazy with the restaurant meals.

7.) Limit indulgences to special, local foods

vietnamese food hanoi local cuisine

When it comes to traveling, moderation is key. You can’t go to a foreign country and not indulge. Trying the local cuisine is a huge part of the culture and experience. So skip the burgers, but occasionally opt for the local pasta or unique desserts.

8.) Take advantage of body weight exercises

If you don’t have time for a full workout video, you can still fit in several reps of body weight exercises. Squats, lunges, push-ups, etc are all great ways to ensure your muscles don’t whittle away during those long train rides.

9.) Take local classes

Muay Thai in Thailand, yoga in Bali or India, and dancing in Argentina or Spain are all unforgettable ways to stay in shape and have fun.

10.) Cut yourself some slack

vacation tanzania beach zanzibar

Don’t set unreasonable goals. More importantly, don’t feel bad when you screw up. You’re on vacation for Christ’s sake! Be flexible, be good when you can, and forgive yourself when you indulge too much or are too tired to get out of bed.

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6 Things I Miss Most While Traveling

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IMG_20170203_185347

Every once in a while I seriously consider traveling long-term and never returning to the U.S. Of course, I would never actually do this because I would miss my family and friends too much. But there are also many other downsides to traveling that we often forget about. As amazing as travel is, there are some things about home that will always keep me coming back.

1. Western Food

Yes, foreign food is amazing. I didn’t think I would ever get sick of many of these cuisines. But sometimes you really just want the comfort of the foods you grew up with, like a New York pizza or even just a good sandwich. It’s rough to be stuck in a place where they don’t make it quite the same.

2. Established Friendships

OK, this one is a no-brainer. Sure, you’re meeting so many friends from all over the world and it’s great. But sometimes it’s nice to have a friendship that lasts more than a week or two (not including ongoing WhatsApp messages). And it can also get extremely tiring to go through the same small talk with new acquaintances all of the time. I get to the point where if someone mentions they are leaving the hostel within the next day, I find an excuse to end the conversation. I know it’s terrible, but socializing is exhausting!

3. The Basics

Traveling definitely makes you appreciate a lot of things you always took for granted. I miss being able to order delivery in NYC anytime I want, rather than having to brave the streets during a storm because the hostel doesn’t have a restaurant. I miss being able to find everything I need at the store. I miss being nearly certain I’ll be able to communicate with any given person during my day. Even more basically, I miss toilet paper and bathroom doors that lock. Oh, and then there’s also all the times I miss bathrooms period.

4. Material Things

It’s nice to be a minimalist, but sometimes I miss having stuff. I hate having to live out of a bag. I miss having a room that’s decorated to match my personality with nostalgic memorabilia rather than generic room after room. No matter how hot and tropical the country you’re visiting, there’s something cold about bare white walls.

5. Internet Access

There’s definitely something nice about taking a technology detox for a few days here and there. There are even days when I’m grateful that the WiFi doesn’t work and I’m forced to just relax. On the other hand, there are plenty of times when I feel isolated and disconnected from family, friends, and current events. More importantly, there are times when having WiFi could be a life-saver, like when your credit card stops working.

6. Personal Space

I stay in hostels and take public transportation 90% of the time when I’m traveling. I’ve also taken a few group tours. This means I’m usually in loud and overcrowded environments. Whenever I come back from a trip, I cherish my alone time. I spend a few days at home doing absolutely nothing before I’m ready to be social again.

7. Sleep

People tend to think travel = vacation. Not true. At least not the way I (and most backpackers) travel. You’re constantly on the go. Waking up early for tours, hikes, or just to catch the sunrise. Racing around to catch the next mode of transportation. Even when you do have time for 8 hours of sleep, it’s still nearly impossible to make use of it. You’re bound to encounter a few inconsiderate hostelmates who like to turn the lights on in the middle of the night, play music without headphones, or are just simply loud.

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10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Solo Travel

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I love solo travel, and thanks to social media, more and more people are beginning to feel the same way. But a lot of people are still afraid to travel alone. Even if they’re not worried about safety, they’re concerned about feeling lonely or not getting enough out of the experience. Here are some tips for using the fact that you’re on your own to your advantage. Most importantly, be safe but have fun!

1. Visit somewhere spiritualsolo travel bali temple yoga

Temples, cathedrals, and ancient ruins are perfect spots to explore by yourself. Actually, any quiet, beautiful place will do. You can be more introspective and meditative than you ever could if you were with someone else. Let the dramatic realizations begin!

2. Avoid romantic places

Sure, some people are okay riding down the canals of Venice alone, surrounded by kissing couples. But this would probably make most of us feel a little lonely (and grossed out). Personally, I prefer to save the romantic spots for someone special and go everywhere else on my own.

3. Take yourself on dates to restaurants

Even if you would never do this back home, you should absolutely try it while traveling! For one, you’ll get to try so many different foods than if you just limit yourself to street food. Second, you’ll get to see local culinary customs in action. Lastly, it’s super fun! After all, you are your own perfect date.

4. Go to cute little cafes and people watch

In my mind, there’s nothing more European than this! Grab an espresso or an afternoon tea and take it all in.

5. Head to the park for some quality me-time

botanical gardens singapore

I love going to the largest park in every city I visit. I think it’s usually the most beautiful part and you get to see locals taking a rest from their busy lives. Bring a book, notebook, or sketchpad and enjoy!

6. Do things your way

Embrace that there’s no one else around that you have to please. This is by far the best part of solo travel! Sleep in if you want to. Wake up early and catch the sunrise if you want to. Spend a lot of money on a fancy dinner or grab some ice cream and eat it in bed. Your options are unlimited.

7. Befriend the locals

What better way to get a true feel for local life than by making friends with the locals? Learn from each other.

8. Make friends with fellow travelers

Sure, you’re solo traveling and want to do and see things on your own. But you can’t be alone all the time! One of the best parts of traveling is sharing stories with other backpackers from all over the world. And since many people are on their own, nearly everyone is friendly and up for a good conversation.

9. Go shopping

markets bali Indonesia shopping shops

Shopping is always more fun when you’re not slowing anyone down and can do things at your own pace. Find some hidden gems or just browse the local markets for a few hours.

10. Take a local class

Whether it’s yoga, pottery, or cooking, learn a new craft from the local experts. Plus, you’ll probably make some new friends while you’re at it!

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Singapore on a Budget

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singapore budget marina bay sands

Singapore is one of the most expensive countries in Southeast Asia, and you could definitely have a luxurious vacation here if you wanted to spend that kind of money. But you really don’t need much money at all to get the full local experience.

Accommodations

You’re probably looking at $15-$25 USD a night, which is still much more expensive than Thailand or Vietnam. But it’s doable and much better than Western European prices.

Food

singapore food hawker centers budget cheap

Hawker centers are basically huge, diverse food courts. You can easily get a full meal for under $6 USD and they have some of the best food I’ve ever had. Hawker centers began as a way to regulate formerly unhygienic street hawker food. Now they’re a staple and some food stalls even have Michelin stars. My favorite hawker center was Lau Pa Sat, which is probably the most popular choice. It’s also a very local experience as many of the local business people eat here.

Transportation

Public transit in Singapore is the way to go. It’s efficient and cheap (half the cost of the subway in New York). It’s also cleaner than anywhere I’ve been in Europe for sure!

Budget Activities

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore marina bay sands gardens by bay budget

Go to the top and take in the views. We got drinks, but you can actually go up for free and look over a small (but crowded) balcony that’s open to the public. Beats spending $500 a night to stay there.

Gardens by the Bay

This is completely free and one of my favorite thing to do in Singapore. You could definitely spend hours here. I went both at night and during the day and I just couldn’t get enough. If you don’t have a lot of time, try and go at night because the lights are beautiful.

Botanical Gardens

singapore botanical gardens free

The Botanical Gardens are also free to the public. There are some gardens that cost extra, but we were already so overwhelmed with all of the free options that it’s hard to imagine getting bored.

Explore the Neighborhoods of Singapore

Walk around Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street to absorb the local street culture. Singapore is all about the immersion of different cultures. Be sure to check out the local food, architecture, and shops.

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Becoming a Yogi in Bali

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bali yoga yogi indonesiaI’ve always enjoyed yoga as a casual hobby. My “practice” consisted of going to a class at the gym a few times per month. My motivation was completely physical and I rolled my eyes whenever I was in a class where the instructor started chanting. Needless to say, I was far from a yogi.

This all changed when I started going through some major life transitions. I had plans to quit my job and move across the country. Despite wanting to make this change for over a year, as the day came closer I began to question myself. I was beyond stressed. I decided it was time to get away. Maybe a weekend yoga retreat outside the city?

As I began to research my options, I realized that this city break was going to cost me a lot more than I would have expected. The average retreat cost about $500, not including transportation. I was discouraged until I found something even more surprising. For the same $500 I could spend a month doing unlimited yoga in Bali! Of course, flights were a bit more expensive than Amtrak but screw it. I booked the retreat and after quitting my job I was off!

Upon arriving at my retreat in Canggu, Bali, I definitely started to feel at peace. With ocean winds, open-air yoga studios, and a large pool to drink healthy smoothies by, how could I not? But I also started to realize that the yoga itself was not what I expected. I had assumed that the yoga would be fun and mostly for beginners. I also assumed that most of the other people at the retreat would be like me, casual exercisers who just wanted to escape life for a while. Boy, was I wrong. Nearly everyone was a pro!

My first day of yoga was exhausting. I just took one, 90-minute class (out of the 12 classes available each day) and I nearly passed out. The movements were challenging, the heat was intense, and the instructor really pushed me. In fact, he physically pushed me into positions that my body couldn’t handle. He told me that he could tell I was very flexible and I just wasn’t trying hard enough. I was not a fan of this guy.

aerial yoga retreat bali

I expected to be too sore to do any yoga the next day. I was surprised to wake up refreshed and eager to take more classes! Over the next coming weeks, I still found the classes difficult, but I was excited to push myself further and further. The instructor I hated my first day became one of my favorite people. I was starting to see physical and mental changes within me. My body could do things it never could before. I even became confident enough to try aerial yoga! More importantly, I was able to sit still and be calm, something that’s quite foreign for an anxious person like me.

Over the course of 30 days, I met inspiring yogis from around the world and kick started my own journey into spiritual wellbeing. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this in a weekend in New York.

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