Turning A Trip Into A Honeymoon

“I wish we were going on our honeymoon,” I said to my husband as we boarded a plane to Bali. “Who says we can’t pretend,” he responded. It was this tiny comment that completely reshaped the way I ended up thinking about our 10-day trip to Indonesia turning it from just a vacation into a paradisiacal getaway.

As a travel writer and health coach, I’m extremely lucky to have travel as a part of my job description. I’m even luckier to have my husband tag along with me often. We’ve been able to see parts of the world and share new experiences together we might not otherwise get the chance to. But, often those trips are work related meaning I’m taking meetings, writing up posts and never truly disconnecting from my 9 to 5.

So, when I got asked to lead some meditation classes on a cruise through Indonesia in July, I had the mindset it was going to be that mix of exploring and working again. That was where my honeymoon comment came in.

IN THE SERENGETI ON OUR ACTUAL HONEYMOON.

IN THE SERENGETI ON OUR ACTUAL HONEYMOON.


Ross and I opted to go to Tanzania for our honeymoon in January 2016 and it was one of our favorite trips of all time. Not only did we get to check off bucket list items like going on safari, but we also completely unplugged and embraced all things romantic (private dinner under the stars in the Serengeti? Yes please!). Honeymoons are the one time where everyone at work encourages to take as much time as you want off and not worry about answering work emails, and everywhere you go people are pampering you. Not to mention, for some reason honeymoons just spark that urge to say “I love you” to your significant other like every 10 seconds.

But, even though we’re not newlyweds and already took an official honeymoon, who says we couldn’t behave like we were? So, we did.

Though I was technically working on the week-long cruise, leading a handful of meditations certainly wasn’t an imposition to our honeymoon plan. Yes, I did have to wake up early a number of days, but when I wasn’t working we went hiking, took naps, and laid on the beach without checking emails constantly. Then, after the cruise, we decided to extend our trip by spending a few days in Ubud, Bali and that’s where the honeymoon feeling hit a new high.

WE STAYED IN THE REGAL VILLA 2 AT THE VICEROY BALI.

WE STAYED IN THE REGAL VILLA 2 AT THE VICEROY BALI.


We stayed at Viceroy Bali and the moment you enter the intimate resort situated in the heart of The Valley of Kings, you feel transported. We were greeted with welcome drinks, flower necklaces, and cool towels, just like a couple of newlyweds. We enjoyed a drink in the restaurant overlooking the jungle before heading to our private villa (side note: it’s a villa only resort and there are only 25 total). When we walked in and saw our massive room, spa-like bathroom, beautiful thatched-roof ceiling our hearts began to pitter patter. Then it got better.

We looked out the window to see our own private plunge pool, lounge chairs and mini garden with unobstructed views of the jungle. Oh, and there was a natural waterfall serenading us in background. Even if you entered this place in a bad mood, you had no choice but to fall into the romantic swing of things. As soon as our valet left, we looked at each other like yup, this is a honeymoon alright.

We had arrived in the morning so we literally spent the entire day never leaving the room. We took a nap, lounged outside, went swimming, took a bath, talked, and everything else you want to do on a honeymoon. The staff took care of our every need and were happy to accommodate when we wanted to switch our five-course tasting dinner to that evening instead of the following.

THE BEAUTIFUL DESSERT AT CASCADES RESTAURANT.

THE BEAUTIFUL DESSERT AT CASCADES RESTAURANT.


The first time we left the room was for that dinner, which was just as romantic. Their restaurant, CasCades, is one of the top fine dining spots in the whole area and overlooks the valley from a bird’s eye view. We ordered a bottle of wine before settling into our decadent meal that, of course, was lit by candle light. The chef came out to greet us and even changed a course for me to make sure I was totally enjoying the dining experience. The staff kept apologizing about the rain that night, but for us it only made it more romantic. After the meal, we retired back to our villa and fell asleep to the sound of the rain in the jungle. Hello any romantic movie ever!

We woke up the next morning feeling more relaxed than ever and opted to go sightseeing that day with one of the guides from the hotel. They let us design our own private half-day tour so we could see exactly what we wanted without the hassle of a group. We visited the rice terraces, the Holy Spring Temple, did a coffee tasting, and went shopping all before heading back to the hotel where we kicked up the romance even more by doing a two-hour treatment at their Lembah Spa.

THE VIEW FROM THE SPA AT VICEROY BALI.

THE VIEW FROM THE SPA AT VICEROY BALI.


The two of us love a good massage, but they’re usually about 10 minutes at a nail salon in NYC. Getting a full pampering session happens once in a blue (honey)moon. We were massaged, scrubbed, and moisturized with yogurt. It didn’t end there. We then enjoyed a shower together followed by a rose petal-filled bath, steam room, and hot tub. To say we were relaxed and totally gushy for each other is an understatement. At that point, we couldn’t even fathom being with other people and opted for room service in bathrobes instead of dining out.

Sadly, we had to check out in the evening the following day, but still managed to enjoy a late check out, dinner, and pool-side lounging. By the end of our stay at Viceroy Bali, our mission of treating our trip like a honeymoon was a success. Even if we weren’t newlyweds, it was taking that mindset and making a few indulging, out-of-the-ordinary, decisions that really brought that feeling to life.

Obviously, we can’t always go on luxurious vacations, but we can make more of an effort to adopt that attitude of disconnecting from the world, reconnecting with each other, and embracing romance. With that mindset, we can perpetually be on our honeymoon.  

Why I Needed to Take a Vacation From My Vacation

Hitting the road or hopping on a plane can be exciting, but it also comes with a lot of stress. There’s packing, getting to the airport on time, dealing with traffic and delays, drawing the short stick when it comes to seating options, and body clocks that often get out of whack. That’s exactly what happened to me this past summer when I decided to fill every waking moment with travel. 

I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who gets the travel bug if I don’t go somewhere every six or so weeks. I constantly need a change of scenery, even if it’s a quick trip upstate. So, when I was pushing the three-and-a-half-month mark of no trips, I went a bit nuts with the planning.

First up was a cruise around the Mediterranean, where I led meditation classes for a week, followed by a two-night trip to Denver, where I spoke at a conference. Then, I made my way over to Portland, Oregon for the Fourth of July, where I ate five meals a day, and lastly, headed down toRio for the Olympics, where sleep wasn’t on the itinerary. While I am immensely grateful for each and every one of these experiences, I was also extremely tired. 

The time spent traveling to and from airports and working non-top while on the road caught up to me by mid-August. My back was sore, my skin broke out, and I had a tension headache that wouldn’t go away. Although I chose this, I needed to reset and reboot before autumn set in. So what did I do? I planned another getaway. Before you throw your arms up in the air, hear me out. This trip was going to be different -- I would spend my days sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, and doing absolutely nothing.

To avoid another long-haul trip, I opted for a destination that's all about relaxing: Boca Raton, Florida. My husband and I booked a two-day stay at Boca Beach Club, an oceanfront hotel that's perched on a half-mile stretch of private beach. Translation: it's quiet enough to fall asleep to the sounds of the Atlantic. The property also has two fitness centers, multiple restaurants with health-conscious menus, and a top-rated spa -- all the necessary ingredients for a true escape. 

To get into vacation mode, we did the unthinkable: put away our computers and cell phones. Studies show that six out of 10 employees have conducted some work on a recent vacation. And a Framingham Heart Study found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack. 

Once we got over the discomfort of disconnecting, we made an effort to relax. And what better way to do that than by eating? We chowed down on some delicious fish tacos and guacamole before heading back to the room and taking a nap. I couldn’t remember the last time I napped in the middle of the afternoon.

Food and sleep -- we kept it to the basics. We took advantage of the fact that we had time and a beautiful location on our hands, so we splurged for the romantic panoramic dinner. The next morning, we indulged in sunrise yoga. For us, it was something out of the ordinary, romantic, and the perfect activity to kick off a day of other healthy activities. We wrapped up by 7 a.m. and were at the pool two hours later, ready to take another short nap. The afternoon was filled activities like walking on the beach, chatting, and hitting the gym. Typically, our workouts are squeezed in the morning before work or after leaving the office, so it was a nice change of pace to exercise together. And before dinner that evening, we decided to catch up on a little grooming like haircuts and manicures (I even convinced my husband to get his first one ever). Then, it was on to another delectable dinner before calling it a night. 

On our last day, we went all out -- in relaxing. This was our spa day. We opted to try the ritual bath experience, followed by a couple’s massage to make sure we were 100 percent blissed out by the end of this marathon de-stress weekend. The 50-minute bathing experience was unlike anything I've encountered before. You go from an aroma room to a personal tub in a Turkish hammam-like setting, followed by a shower that feels like you’re getting sand blasted. Next, you're transported into another tub, where water is steadily dumped on your back for an aquatic massage. The whole experience ends in a communal whirlpool.  Needless to say, all the visible wear and tear on my skin from months of traveling had been scuffed away. The hour-long massage took care of my muscles, releasing the tension that had built up from carrying luggage and unsuccessfully sleeping on planes.

At lunch, in our robes, we looked at each other with a smile that said “we did it.” We were stress-free and feeling refreshed. Getting on the plane later that night didn’t have the same sting as the flights earlier this summer. And when we awoke the next morning in our New York City apartment, the world was a little easier to handle. All we needed was a vacation from our vacations.

Traveling Can Boost Your Sex Life and Make You Skinny

Courtesy of  Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

From my Travel + Leisure story:

Want to boost your sex life or lose a few pounds? Travel more. According to a new study from Expedia, travel was a significant contributor in improving health, weight loss, gaining confidence, and increasing sex drive.There’s even a scientific reason wanderlust can inspire bedroom lust. “Traveling can help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As stress and anxiety decreases, mood increases—bringing many, often unexpected, positive benefits in how we perceive ourselves, motivation and productivity, and our general outlook on life,” Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist who worked with Expedia on the study, said in a statement.

So, how does globetrotting also keep you skinny? It has to do with your routine. Typically while on the road travelers are engaging in spurts of healthy activity, which also breaks bad habits of old routines. This also helps with boosting overall mood. “Exposure to a healthy amount of sunshine is also believed to increase the brain’s release of the hormone serotonin which is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused,” added Papadopoulos.

Along with a better sex life, body image and overall happiness, more than two million respondents said that traveling made them more creative.

How Meditation Helped This Guy Ditch Dating Apps — And Get More Dates

Last year, Andy Glickman decided he’d had enough. The now-24-year-old realized that his love life essentially consisted of a string of people just looking for superficial or physical relations, with no interest in connecting on an emotional level. He was meeting people online and through apps, and would frequently receive unsolicited nude pictures from people more than twice his age. And he was tired of it.

So Glickman, who also happens to be a sought-after yoga instructor and meditation coach in Philadelphia, decided to apply his expertise in meditation to his love life. 

How? Meditation is all about being centered and remaining in the present moment. Glickman took that emphasis on present awareness and turned it inward to gain new perspective. “Meditation helped me take control of my life from the inside out,” he tells Yahoo Health. “I became more aware of my ‘vibe’  and what I was giving off in real life at bars, in restaurants etc. I quickly realized that if I wanted to be successful at connecting with others, I had to radiate only my best vibes. This meant confronting and clearing out my own insecurities.”

By the end of 2015, Glickman had deleted all of the dating apps on his phone and made it his resolution to meet people in real life instead of online. “Meditation taught me that I was ready to meet someone in real life rather than defaulting to the social norm of meeting someone online,” he explains. “I had to soften to the idea that it was still a possibility to approach/be approached face-to-face without any sexual connotation.”

And then he made a point to change the way he met new people. "I started handing out my phone number more and did things like maintaining stronger eye contact,” he says. “Meditation spurred me to be more bold organically without realizing it. As I began to focus on myself, not only did I begin to notice the people around [me], it was as if people began to notice me.”

Now, he says he is more confident going on dates and in his ability to ask others out.  Over the last four months, he’s gone on 10 dates, some with the same people, and has been approached by about eight different people — all of this without the help of the Internet.

Here, Glickman shares his six tips to incorporate meditative practices into your daily life if your goal is to step up your dating game. They’re geared toward making you more confident approaching someone, but also figuring out the type of person you wish to attract.

Click HERE to find out the six steps!

Want to live longer? 9 tips to living a healthier and happier life

The Fountain of Youth: something written about in fictionalized stories where young men and women set out to find the secret water so they’ll never age. While this holy grail of youth doesn’t physically exist anywhere in the world, there are some places on the planet where people are living far longer than the average human.

Curious to see what was making the folks in different parts of the world consistently reach three-digit ages, author and National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner took multiple expeditions to discover the secrets to longevity in these regions. He dubbed the five places as “Blue Zones”, where people were not only living long and healthy lives, but measurably happier ones as well. These places include Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and a section of the community in Loma Linda, California. “From all of our research we have found that there are nine lessons, which we discovered in every Blue Zone in the world,” Buettner says. “We call them the Power 9.”

Click HERE to find out what they are! 

How to feng shui your digital life in 20 minutes or less

Feng Shui is an ancient philosophical practice that's been discussed in great lengths as a way of fixing relationships, and in some cases, even earning more money. The basics involve making adjustments in your home or office to create a better energy flow and more harmonious environment.

"If your environment isn't in a balanced state, then your life can't be in a balanced state," feng shui expert Suzanne Felter tells me.

But, what about a different world — the digital world, for example. We spend so much time there, yet we barely put any effort into making sure that all pieces of that environment are equally balanced.

According to Nielsen's Total Audience Report, American adults are spending more than 11 hours a day watching TV, listening to the radio or using smartphones and other electronic devices.

"Most of us spend so many hours on the computer or on our phones that we are most certainly feeling the the effects of that energy," notes Felter. "It's important to apply similar clearing techniques you would in your home with your digital life to restore that balance and flow."

While clearing out our inboxes is a step that seems to be on our perpetual to-do list, Felter offers a few ways to feng shui your digital life in 20 minutes or less. Click HERE to find out how.