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How Travel Changes You

Travel is a very personal experience that affects each individual differently. And the type of travel, as well as the reason one travels, has a huge impact on that. Sometimes it excites or enlightens and sometimes it relaxes and cures us. It really all depends on the who, what, where and why of it. But one thing that I can say for certain – that for the majority of us who travel for the love of travel itself – is that it changes us. And those changes can be barely noticeable or completely life altering. I would also say – that for the most part – that change is positive. Which is why I am putting this down in print – to encourage those that travel religiously to keep doing so and to urge those who rarely see past their own city or even neighborhood – to incorporate travel into your life in any way you can.

So, what are some of the ways that you can expect to be changed by traveling? There are far too many to list here but I would love to touch on some of the most basic, yet important changes that I have experienced or that others have shared with me as changes that have occurred in their lives thanks to a particular trip. Read on to see three main reasons how travel changes you and feel free to add yours in the comments below.

It Breeds Self-Confidence

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

Anytime you leave your comfort zone you are ultimately adding another layer of confidence to your persona. And traveling is almost always taking you out of that zone – because you are going to some place you have never been before – in other words – you are going into the unknown. The unknown can be scary in certain scenarios but in travel it is exhilarating. It is arriving in a city, town, country or continent where you may not know a soul. You may not even speak their language. But you go there anyway, and you show up with itinerary in hand and you see, smell, taste, hear and feel everything you came there to. And whether you are traveling solo or with a group – the experience is entirely of your doing. You chose the destination, you got on the plane, you left your little corner of the world and conquered a new corner. And whether or not you considered it as such before – it takes confidence to travel. And once you do – it will breed more confidence. Not only to journey to other new places – but in so many other aspects of your life as well. And who couldn’t use a little bit more self-confidence? A boost in self-esteem is a welcome change no matter who you are.

It Humbles and Inspires

Photo by Omotayo Tajudeen from Pexels

There are many destinations – some of the Caribbean islands that I have visited in particular come to mind – that surprise visitors upon arrival. And by that, I mean that you go there – prepared for the sprawling resort with the swim up bar, the oceanfront view, the fine dining and the white sand beach – yet at times the first thing you notice is not even close to what your final destination is going to look like. The ride from the airport to your accommodations often takes you through the reality, the real world, the everyday life of its inhabitants. In some cases, its no where near as pretty or perfect as that all-inclusive you are headed to. The poverty and lack of modern conveniences can be startling – but in so many of these places when you look closer you will see that the people there are smiling.  When you take the time to talk and interact with the locals – you will not hear complaining. You will hear tales of how they make it work. You will see pride in the job they do – whether it is creating handicrafts to sell to the tourists or serving you drinks by the pool. And how can that not humble and inspire you? When you have the means, the opportunity to travel to their homeland and stay in fabulous hotels – no matter how little you think you may have otherwise – you are there on vacation. This is their reality. And they are making the best of it and are probably enjoying life more than a lot of us who have so much more. It not only humbles me – but inspires me to do better – to be better. Instead of bartering I will pay extra for that trinket. Instead of complaining that I didn’t get enough hand towels I will leave a larger tip for housekeeping. And once I am home – I will continue to do better. And that is a change that everyone can be proud of.

It Makes You More Appreciative

Image by Avi Chomotovski from Pixabay 

Gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Three especially important attitudes in my life. And anything that causes a swing from not being grateful for – or even just taking for granted something that we should thank the universe for each and every day – is a change for the better. After all, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough. – Anonymous.” Once you start traveling the world – or even the country – and possibly even other parts of your state – you start to see that no matter how bad you may think you have it – someone always has it worse. And that does not have to be depressing. Because like I noted above – you will also find that most people who don’t have what you have – are still happy and enjoying life. And that is for the simple fact that they appreciate what they do have. When you are grateful, when you are appreciative, when you are truly thankful for what you have – life becomes a blessing. Because the more things you appreciate the more you find to appreciate and the happier and perhaps even more important – the more content you will become. And whether you realize it or not – being happy and content is pretty much what all of us aspire for everyday of our lives. Any goal we may have or the intentions we set – are always with the end result being that these goals or intentions will bring to us happiness and contentment. And that is a change for good.

My friends I want you to know that travel is a blessing in so many ways – for the changes discussed above and so very much more. I sincerely feel travel is that important and that change is good for the soul. And I want you to know that I am always here for you to help you decide where you would like to go to next to experience some of these and other changes that will truly enrich your life. Contact me today and let’s get started on creating the perfect vacation for you in 2021.

Yours in Travel,

Thia

Lifestyle

Why Is Travel Important?

So, when I sat down to write about why I feel travel is important it dawned on me that if I asked ten different clients of mine why they felt travel was important – I’d more than likely get ten different answers. And none of them would be wrong. Travel – and why it’s important to take the time to do so – comes in all different shapes and sizes depending on who you are and what you personally hope to get out of it. To some travel is complete relaxation. To some it is exhilarating activities. To some it is total cultural immersion. To some it is a history lesson. To some it is – ok – you probably get the idea by now. The importance of travel in your life is dependent you – on why you travel or what drives you to travel. That being said – I do have my own ideas on why travel is important for us as society as a whole. And those reasons can actually be conveniently listed in such a way that they spell out the word itself – TRAVEL. Read on to discover just six reasons why it is so important for all of us to get out there and explore the planet!

T – Transformational

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Oh dear, the opportunities that travel presents to us to be transformed is an overwhelming topic to say the least. Through travel we are taught how people in other cities, states, countries and continents live – up close and personal. When we visit a new destination, we are being invited into the everyday experiences of the residents that live, work and die there. And depending on the destination it can be enlightening to the point that it changes us and our perspective on life. Or it can be as simple as seeing locals washing their clothes in a nearby creek that reminds us not to have a meltdown when the clothes that were washed and dried – in the very convenient modern appliances that exist in our homes – remain in the basket unfolded. This awareness makes us more compassionate, more understanding and I believe – simply better human beings overall.

R – Relaxation

Photo by nappy from Pexels

Look – there is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you like to travel to just get away from it all, sit on the beach with a book in one hand and a pretty frozen drink in the other. That is why God made all-inclusive resorts – lol. We live in a stressful world. A world that doesn’t always view life as I believe it should be – which is a journey to be taken one day, one minute, one second at a time. Instead, we are bombarded with ridiculously busy schedules and deadlines and are sometimes labeled as lazy if we just decide to put our feet up for a day and sit on our couch with a bowl of popcorn to just chill and Netflix. Why? Because there are bills to be paid, cleaning to be done, activities the kids need to be driven to, elderly parents to care for – the list goes on and on. So – under no circumstances should you ever feel any guilt over wanting to just get out of dodge and do nothing but unplug and relax. It is just that important to your mental health. Traveling to relax is nothing to be ashamed of – it is just as important as all of the other reasons – well – that travel is important!

A – Activity

Photo by nappy from Pexels

You know another thing that is good for your mental health? Activity. And exercise is a huge part of my life for that very reason. But most of you don’t travel to do your crunches on the floor of your hotel room (although if you do good for you)! Active travel is simply something that gets you moving outside of your typical everyday fitness routines. I am talking hiking volcanoes, zip lining through a forest canopy, biking through national parks, kayaking infamous waterways, snowshoeing at a ski resort or perhaps learning how to tango! Being active increases your energy, gets your endorphins pumping and elevates your mood. Physical fitness is a great way to ensure a longer and healthier life and a trip that includes some aspect of being active makes that travel important for your overall well being.

V – Vacation

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Ok this one is cheating a bit because vacation is travel – but that means that if travel is important then so is vacation! As a family or even just a couple – taking a vacation together – i.e. traveling – is an awesome way to spend meaningful time together. From planning itineraries, to trying new foods, to discovering how other cultures do things, to revisiting history – it all brings you closer together.  And – apart from that bonding experience – perhaps it will even give you a new understanding of what’s important to each other and bring about a new appreciation for your traveling companion(s). Now should you be a solo traveler – as so many are these days – taking a vacation can actually net you the same benefits as traveling with others – the only difference is – you are finding out all of this about yourself. And getting in touch with your innermost thoughts, feelings, beliefs, likes, dislikes and more is an incredible thing. Yes – travel is that magical.

E – Economy

Photo by nappy from Pexels

Travel is super important for the economy – and my gosh nothing like this past year to make that so apparent to anyone who isn’t in the travel industry. Just ask those whose businesses and livelihoods were affected by the world pretty much being grounded for months and months. It really brought to light how far reaching the effects of traveling – or the lack there of – can go. The dollars you spend pretty much from the start of the planning process to the preparation for the trip to the trip itself are far reaching. Without travel spurring us to contribute to the economy jobs are lost, homes are foreclosed on and savings are depleted.  And then of course there is sustainable travel which is huge – especially for those in locales where it is a means of being independent as well as for providing for their families. When you buy local handicrafts or hire a local guide to show you around you aren’t just contributing to that town’s or village’s or city’s economy – you are contributing to the well-being of a specific individual and their family. It’s that important.

L – Living Classroom

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

You can read about it in a textbook. You can google it on the internet. You can watch it on tv. But there is nothing – nothing like being there in person. What am I referring to? All aspects of travel – you name it. Architecture, monuments, religious institutions, rainforests, glaciers, pyramids, national parks, ancient ruins and so, so much more. Being there – seeing, feeling, breathing, touching it is like stepping into a larger-than-life lecture hall. Hearing about it from a local who was there or whose ancestors were there – you will learn ten times more then you could ever learn any other way. The importance of learning about the past, learning about the environment, learning about atrocities that were committed, learning how things were built – is immeasurable as it helps us to not only not repeat past mistakes – but to be inspired to forge new paths. Amen.

And so, my friends – this is just a sprinkling of why I feel travel is very important. I would be so interested to hear what makes travel important to you, please leave your comments below. And be sure to contact me to get started on planning wherever it may be that is important for you to see and experience next.

Yours in travel,

Thia

Lifestyle

We Spent 2020 at Home – Can We Spend 2021 Exploring the World?

So here we are – three weeks into 2021, eyes and ears wide open for any bit of news regarding the possibility of being able to travel this year after being grounded for almost all of 2020. And if we can travel, will options for destinations be limited? Will we truly be able to go back to the business of exploring the world or will we be confined to our own borders? What is travel going to look like? Will it just go back to the way it was pre-pandemic? Or look a little or even entirely different?

Yes – these are all valid questions that not only have I heard from my clients and potential clients, but my fellow travel advisors, our partners and even from my friends and relatives – oh and from myself. Like you, I have questions. But possibly unlike you – I know where to find the answers and aim to provide you with the most up-to-date reliable information that is out there at any given time. 

What Will Travel Look Like?

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

Of course, no one knows for sure what lies ahead as far as travel this year, but it is already shaping up to be much more promising than the travel landscape of last year. Numerous international destinations reopened after being subjected to a global shut down in the better part of 2020 – with more opening their borders up as the weeks go by – our horizons are certainly broadening, even if the ways that we have to go about our journeys are quite different in look and feel. From hand sanitizer dispensers every few feet, to masks being required for entry to pretty much everywhere other people are, presenting negative COVID-19 tests, health screenings, mandatory quarantines and more – it sure looks a heck lot different than it did one short year ago.

Thanks to two approved vaccines with a third one looking hopeful – the demand for travel is on the rise, bucket lists are being pulled out, suitcases are getting dusted off and bookings are coming in. Yes – emphatically yes, we are going to be able to travel in 2021 and the majority of you whom I speak with are more than ready to travel – whether it be by just dipping your toes in or diving in headfirst.

That being said, we do need to be prepared for the ongoing changes and updates regarding CDC requirements until we beat this creature called coronavirus. Thankfully, all sectors of the industry have loosened their cancel and postponement penalties which is a huge win for the consumer. It boils down to yes – go ahead and book that vacation you didn’t get to take last year, and if necessary, you can reschedule it without the costs and hassles that used to come along with doing so. Be rest assured my friends I will be the one who will be verifying with each of my partners exactly what their process is so that you will be well informed before putting any money down.

Where Can I Travel To?

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

As of this writing, traveling internationally is still tricky thanks to the recent CDC mandate that everyone arriving in the United States must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter or re-enter as that includes US Citizens. Many major hotels and resorts are working to make this as easy as possible for its US visitors by obtaining tests that will be available to their guests prior to their departure either for a nominal fee or some even complimentary. And although that may be just a handful right now – I am confident that it will become a more widespread practice as time goes on. Meaning that international travel is not out of the question by any means. It simply depends on your comfort level, where you want to visit and the availability and access to testing to ensure a smooth trip back home.

The other option is exploring our little corner of the world until we can once again come and go freely without the COVID-19 cloud hanging over our heads. With fifty states that offer pretty much any type of landscape, climate, activities, cuisine, wellness, culture and history that means your options are plentiful. And my friends, sometimes the treasures we find in our own backyards are the ones that we cherish the most.

Trust Your Travels to Thia!

As always, I am here for you – to guide you, to reassure you, to offer you options you may not have considered in the past – and most importantly to keep you informed. From start to finish you have my unwavering support and guidance no matter what your comfort level may look like right now. Whether it is heading to an open Caribbean Island for wellness and peace in the warmth of the sun or visiting a spa after a day of skiing at one of the amazing mountain resorts in the US – I am here to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. Contact me today to get started on planning your next adventure!

Yours in travel,

Thia

Lifestyle

Travel in 2021

Typically, when we are on the cusp of a new year, we take the time to reflect on the past year’s joys and sorrows, milestones and missteps, wins and losses. The start of a new year fills us with enthusiasm and a determination to make it the best year yet. We make resolutions, we set personal and professional goals, we welcome January 1st armed with our date planners ready to fill up those pages with what we love to do the most and well … we do it.  

Unfortunately, 2020 resulted in a lot of scribbled out plans in our date books thanks to the arrival of the pandemic. And right up there on top of the list of what had to be cancelled and / or postponed just so happens to be my love and my passion – travel.

As an inhabitant – and adventurer – on this marvelous planet first – and a proud member of the travel industry second – I – along with many of you – have faith that we have turned a corner heading into 2021. Thanks to the arrival of not one – but two – vaccines that have turned on that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And even if it’s just a flicker for now – it’s destined to glow brighter with each passing week. 

Now, neither I nor anyone else can 100% predict what it’s going to look like post-pandemic. But I have no doubt there are going to be positive changes – and a lot of them – overall in humanity itself – and in so many areas – including my beloved travel community.

So, as we enter 2021 with much hope in our hearts for the world – let’s start the discussion of what changes we can expect and just exactly where we want to go once we feel safe doing so again!

What’s Going to be Different?

Honesty – as I stated above – I feel that it’s going to be nothing but positives that come out of this ordeal as far as travel is concerned. We already know that airlines and hotels have taken their cleaning practices up a hundred plus notches – Amtrak too. And cruise ships are hard at work developing their new safety protocols for when they return to the oceans and rivers where they long to be again. The way I look at it is that it’s brought a new standard – a new level of cleanliness and safety – that was needed long before 2020 and that is now here to stay.  

I also believe that my brothers and sisters in our travel advisor family will be playing a huge part as not only your trip planner extraordinaire – but as your go to source for safety information on the transportation and accommodations you choose, for the protocols that have been put in place within the destinations you are traveling to, for the cancellation and / or postponement penalties for every aspect of your journey and so much more. And speaking of cancel penalties – we are already seeing much more lenient policies being rolled out by all sectors of travel – which is a huge plus for all of us!

The Bucket List

I believe that more and more people who have not made travel a priority in their life before the pandemic may be changing their minds about how important it is to see, feel and experience as much as possible in this great big world of ours while we are still here and able to do so.

But so many get overwhelmed when deciding where to go first. And that my dears is why I am here – to assist you in discovering where it is that your heart is leading you.  And one of the ways that I am helping many of you to do this is through a new community I have formed on Facebook called The Bucket List by Thia’s Travel Services. Here I am assembling a group of passionate travelers sharing our adventures and experiences and introducing each other to fabulous destinations with the goal to create a bucket list together – to expose each other to what’s out there waiting for you to discover it.

Staying Positive and Planning While We Wait

So, when it turned 2021 last night at the stroke of midnight everything did not miraculously return back to normal – or even to a “new, new normal” – as if someone had waved their magic wand. Yes, we have vaccines and yes – numbers are coming back down in some of the hardest hit places – but COVID-19 is still here, and we still have a way to go before the vaccine is distributed to enough people to start experiencing that all important “herd immunity.” 

Now I’m well aware that sometimes staying positive is easier said than done but I find one way to accomplish this is simply by looking at how far we’ve come.  Look at how we met 2020’s surrealness with a resolve to make it to 2021. As a society we’ve become more resourceful than ever, we’ve come together to help one another, we’ve applauded, praised and most importantly appreciated our essential workers and so, so much more.  My gosh that puts a smile on my heart just typing it! 

Baby steps. There are going to be down days along with up days but that’s normal whether it’s 2021 or 2011 or 2031. One thing we can be positive about is that travel will be back and better than ever. And I would be honored to help you start the planning process. Let’s get the discussion started – contact me and together we can give you something else to look forward to in this brand new year.

May you all be blessed with a year of health, happiness and travel.

Yours in travel,

Thia

Lifestyle

Wellness Travel FAQs

Americans are stressed out. With everything happening in America in 2020 and in the rest of the world, it is no wonder that we’re all so stressed out! Combatting this stress can take many shapes and forms. As a travel lover and aspiring travel blogger, I find that the most therapeutic way to deal with this stress is by travelling. 

And in post-COVID19 2021, I bet you’re going to want to travel! The world of wellness travel is going to be increasingly appealing to travellers like you and me, as we seek out opportunities that give us a change of scenery along with relaxation. 

I often receive questions about wellness travel that I’d love to answer in this brief blog post!

What is wellness travel? 

I get asked this question a lot! Which is why I wrote an entire blog post on demystifying what exactly wellness travel means (both, to travellers, and to me personally). 

If you haven’t already had a look at that, here’s a quick explanation: Wellness Travel is travel that is intended to improve your physical and/or mental well-being. The idea is to go on a vacation that stimulates your mind in different ways, all of which are aimed at helping you become the healthiest version of yourself, physically and mentally. 

Is all travel wellness travel? 

Yes, and no. 

All travel can be wellness travel. However, it depends on your goal. For instance, some people love to indulge in wellness activities on a normal vacation; some people enjoy going off on wellness-specific vacations; and some like to change the way their original vacation was planned, just to incorporate more wellness options into it. 

Wellness travel is fun

Often, wellness travel is viewed as a type of travelling that promotes peace through yoga or meditation, without making room for fun activities. This is completely false! The best part about wellness travel is that you can decide the intensity and pace of your entire trip. And it can be really active and fun, too – whilst also promoting peace through yoga and meditation!

What can you do on a wellness vacation?

There are tons of ways in which you can experience wellness vacation. Here’s a blog I wrote that highlights three interesting ways in which you can experience wellness travel. Other ways in which you can enjoy a wellness vacation include: 

  • Meditation Retreats
  • Spa vacations
  • Vineyard tours
  • Cruises 
  • Walking tours
  • Healthy-eating vacations
  • Ecotourism
  • Volunteerism

There are so many things that might help you figure out what truly makes you happy and encourages you to feel the best you ever have!

What is the best wellness travel destination? 

You’d be surprised at the sheer volume of places that allow you to experience wellness in different forms. Some of the most popular ones in the world are: 

  • Indonesia
  • Costa Rica
  • Japan
  • Jamaica
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Germany
  • Greece

…and the list can go on and on! But what I absolutely love is that you don’t have to travel all the way to the other side of the world to indulge in a wellness vacation! The USA has some fantastic options within the country itself, such as in Florida. I will be pleased to help you figure out some information about some of my favourite destinations you can visit with me, at a special TTS price, too! 

How to plan a wellness trip? 

There are many ways in which you can plan a wellness trip. 

As a travel consultant who specializes in wellness travel, I would love to be of assistance. I can help you plan your trip from start to finish, by ensuring that you have the best packages available for your goals. 

If you would like to plan your wellness vacation yourself, you can also book a consultation with me just to figure out what you need to be looking out for, by contacting me here

Planning a wellness trip is not difficult, but it involves dedicating a lot of time in trying to understand how you need to go about it. 

I hope that this brief was a quick read for you to understand how wellness travel works and some of the finer details about it.

For further questions, you can schedule a call with me by filling this form, or DMing me on Instagram or Facebook. You may also email me here directly, with your questions. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Lifestyle

Family Staycation Ideas During COVID-19

This time last year, nobody would ever have imagined we’d be stuck here in the midst of a pandemic, just watching the summer go by without a vacation. Although it has been difficult for all of us, it has arguably been way tougher for families quarantined together. 

There are so many nuances to that – we all need our space, we all have different approaches to things, we all want to go out and meet other people too, we’re all frustrated…and the list goes on. And if you’ve got young kids, it’s definitely a lot more confusing for them to figure out why you’re not taking them to Disneyland this year. 

Which is why I decided to help you a little and compile a collection of different sources on the internet, giving you some great ideas on how you can enjoy a family staycation during the pandemic! 

But first, what is a staycation? 

A staycation is a vacation with an interesting twist. It is a vacation that you or your family celebrates in your own home-town or within a day trip’s distance from your home. Staycations are immensely popular for a number of reasons, such as: 

  1. They are not very costly
  2. They help you relax and unwind in a familiar environment
  3. You don’t HAVE to take an off day from work 
  4. There isn’t any additional travel time or stress
  5. No jet lag
  6. They are easier to plan
  7. They help you learn more about where you live 

How to have a family staycation during the pandemic

Camping in your backyard

Selena Mills, in an August 2018 article in Today’s Parenting says you should try camping out in your own backyard!

My input is, setting up a tent in your backyard, along with a grill, marshmallows, sausages, potatoes (and any other yum, edible goodies you can get your hands on!) is a great way to enjoy a staycation. Of course, now that it’s fall, you might want to be careful of it getting too nippy. In case it does, though, you can just tuck in with your loved ones after an evening in the backyard! 

Have a family art session

Mills also says you can consider having an art session together. At Thia’s Travel Services, we love everything that screams, “Wellness!” and getting creative is a surefire way to boost your sense of wellbeing. You can paint, do origami, make crafts out of waste, decorate the house with lights – and so much more! This set of resources by Good To Great Parent gives you some lovely art ideas, especially if you have younger children: https://goodtogreatparent.com/get-free-access

Go Hiking

A couple of months back, I discussed going hiking to overcome COVID-19 blues. Taking off with the family and going hiking is a lovely way for you to stretch your limbs, find some peace amidst nature, socially distance, and regain a peaceful balance – all at once. Don’t forget to document your hike! Take loads of photos and maybe even encourage your family members to write a journal entry about it to help them express how they feel. 

Yoga at home

When you’re staycationing during the pandemic, an effective way for you to deeply relax is doing some yoga – alone or with your family. With a stunning number of online tutorials and classes, you can staycation your way to being a peaceful yogi in no time! Here’s an article I wrote last month, giving you some yoga tips. This time around, try it with your family members too!

Create a ‘destination’ in your own home

A great way to do away with travel blues is to build your own dream destination in your home! If you’re in the mood for the beach, turn on this video on the loudest device you have at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nep1qytq9JM, make some pina coladas (virgin pina coladas for the children, of course!), and grab your favourite snacks – anything goes, from chips to seafood! You can also watch BBC Earth episodes to go with your wanderlust. If it isn’t too cold, your family staycation can also feature swimwear for you and the rest of the family!

Go out and take a walk around your neighbourhood

Often, we lose sight of deeply interesting things even if we see them everyday – just because we’re so familiar with the place we live in. Taking a walk around your neighborhood and trying to spot unique things about it can help you experience your neighborhood like you’ve never done before! Your family staycation is a great way to show your children around the neighborhood and teach them about nature too.  

The bottom-line is…

We’re all in this together – especially you and your family. And the best way to get through this, is together. Until we can travel again, make sure you fully enjoy a family staycation so you don’t have to go without a vacation this year! 

Lifestyle

7 Yoga Tips For The Quarantined Soul

The pandemic has taught us all the importance of self-care! Staying at home the entire time can be draining, considering you can’t really meet people or go out to new eateries.

Or do anything new. 

In this challenging time, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a bunch of resources on self-care; Here are some I’ve already shared, before: 

As a travel consultant focusing on wellness travel, I often get asked if I also plan yoga-retreat-vacations – which is something I am working on as part of my complete travel package, sometime in the future!! 

But naturally, since we can’t travel right now – for yoga, for adventure sports, or anything at all – I thought I’d make yet another compilation. This time, it’s a compilation of 7 yoga tips for you to engage in this peaceful activity at home to soothe your nerves during this challenging period. 

Whether you are just starting your first yoga class or just have a few classes under your belt, these tips will help you get the most out of your attempt to do yoga. 

One of the first tips I can give is to start yoga with an open mind and a willingness to continue. 

Be aware that meditation and yogic breathing (pranayama) are two essential practices that complement the movement part of yoga asanas. 

While asana and posture are important for physical health in yoga practice, yoga philosophy and meditation practice can also do wonders for your mind, emotional health and general well-being. 

Whether you have been practising yoga for years or are just beginning your journey, if you decide to venture deeper down the right path, the depth of yoga and its benefits will continue to unfold for you.

Create a yoga spot in your home 

man doing yoga session

No, you don’t need to have a spot permanently dedicated to yoga, but when you ARE practising, you will need to be in a place that has ample space and is preferably peaceful and quiet. 

You’ve probably heard of people setting up yoga spaces with incense sticks and candles – and these are delightful additions to have, to get you in the zone. But they are not necessary. 

Use a yoga mat 

woman in black tank top and blue denim jeans sitting on gray concrete floor

Get yourself a yoga mat, or a carpet you can practise on. You don’t necessarily need a yoga mat, but a non-slip one can keep your hands and legs from slipping when you do your exercises. That said, you can also work with a carpet.

If you’re looking to buy a yoga mat, you can get some really good ones online! Decathlon’s online store has a few great ones! But do your research to find one that fits your budget. 

Warm up before you start

silhouette of woman making yoga pose

Warming your body up, like with any other exercise, is important so that you don’t injure yourself. This article I found tells you more about warming up properly: https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/a-gentle-yoga-warm-up

Do it regularly

body of water

Just like patterns in nature, the key is to be consistent. Don’t focus on doing yoga for elongated periods of time; instead, focusing on doing it regularly – even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day – can be far more rewarding for your mind and body.

Find an online class that you like

woman in black t-shirt and black pants lying on black yoga mat

Although this is not a ‘mandatory’ tip, it’s one way you can ensure you do yoga correctly and regularly. The pandemic has helped a lot of yoga teachers take their classes online – which is particularly helpful if you’re looking at learning from international teachers! A simple Google search for yoga teachers online will show you a whole bunch of teachers that you can contact. 

Or use YouTube videos

woman doing yoga facing calm body of water

You can also learn from teachers on YouTube. Of course, you won’t be able to connect with them one-on-one, but it’s free and you can leave questions in the comments section! 

Here is a great channel that teaches you how to do yoga right: https://www.youtube.com/c/YogaForCureVideos – and the best part is, it’s from India, the birthplace of yoga! The instructor is experienced and her instructions are simple to follow. 

Practise Shavasana

‘Shavasana’ is basically a posture that involves lying down. Literally just that – lying down. Did you know that lying down on your back can help you align your spine, help you focus on breathing correctly, aiding better digestion – and most of all, just feeling relaxed. 

Sometimes, lying down with our eyes shut for a few moments is all we need for our bodies to feel rejuvenated. Try it out the next time you’re feeling drained in the middle of a normal day to see how it makes you feel! 

By lying down and concentrating on your breathing, you bring yourself back into your reality, and allow yourself to experience mindful living, which promotes your mental peace. 

Post Covid…

You can take an offline yoga class and try different yoga styles and attend meditation retreats to enhance the way you live life! 

If you don’t feel you can do yoga on your own, go to a studio to take a yoga class. If you are a beginner who wants to start with online yoga, you can find one of the best yoga studios in your area or online for yoga classes that suit your time and schedule. 

I look forward to being able to take you away to some of the best yoga retreats, depending on what part of the world you want to visit! 

In case you’re already planning a trip for the forthcoming year or even later, you can contact me and set up a consultation call, where we can chat about where you would like to go and whether you are looking to go on a purely yoga-oriented vacation or a vacation that also includes a yoga retreat!

Lifestyle

Hiking can transform your life for the better…

Trying to figure out when the travel ban will be lifted in the USA is tricky; because although a few places are open for us to travel to right now, it may not be a good idea to do so. Naturally, this is because we want to stay indoors as much as possible so that the virus stops spreading, and we can ALL, collectively, revert to our normal lives ASAP. 

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to go back to normal! The new normal is not for me, because a world where I can’t travel freely is not an idea I like very much. 

As for understanding when the travel ban will be lifted – I cannot honestly say. However, what I do know is that we CAN still avoid the blues of not being able to travel. I thought long and hard, and came up with a solution that helps us deal with not being able to fly far this year – hiking!

Hiking

Although taking a hiking trip close to where you live is perhaps not your ideal summer trip, you will be astonished to learn just how fulfilling it is! 

A few weeks ago, I shared some COVID-friendly guidelines for you to keep in mind when you go hiking. Here’s the link, just in case you forgot. 

For a lot of people, hiking is a way of life. You will find hikers who can’t get enough of following their favourite trails and exploring new ones. So much that a normal vacation itinerary for them also includes a whole lot of hiking. 

Me? I wasn’t a hiking person at all. The outdoorsy life was never for me, especially since I am more of a peaceful vacationer. 

Except, I couldn’t stand staying at home the entire time. So I decided to do something I’ve never really cared for; and went hiking.

And, dear reader, you will not believe just how fulfilling it was! Here’s a short video describing my hiking experience (link to the IG video). 

Here are some reasons that hiking is such a fulfilling experience: 

Hiking can help solve a lot of your health problems and prevent others 

There are a number of ways in which hiking can contribute to improved physical health. From better cardiovascular health to a lowered risk of different types of cancer, and a thorough lung-cleansing, hiking is a great way to keep your body young, even as you grow older. Here are some of the health problems that hiking can help cure or prevent: 

  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol
  • Cancer

Hiking helps you keep fit

This is a more obvious reason. Hiking can help you lose weight and also strengthen your muscles. For people that dislike the gym, hiking is a solid option to get fit. And now, during the coronavirus pandemic – it is perhaps the only option, even for gym-goers. 

Hiking rejuvenates your mind

When you go hiking, you find yourself surrounded by nature. Studies have shown that by stepping into nature and avoiding electronic devices can help you do away with the worries of your daily schedule and other stressors.

Hiking reduces your stress levels

Research has shown that people who spend some time amidst nature are less likely to feel stressed. Regular visits outdoors can help you stay calm for longer periods of time. 

Hiking is a mood-lifter

Yet another fantastic effect of hiking is that your body being active, amidst nature, can help relieve stress hormones – contributing to a happier, more positive state of mind. At a time like this, I bet you could use a mood-lifter, eh? 

Oxygen matters 

When you go off hiking, your body is able to take in more oxygen than in a polluted environment – thanks to all the trees and plants you will encounter. Oxygen is essential for pretty much everything we do. From being linked with the way serotonin in our brain functions to memory, appetite, and social behaviour, ‘getting some fresh air’ is more than just a phrase – it should be taken quite literally, to help you function optimally. 

Hiking improves your sleep quality

Did you know that by hiking on uneven terrain, you use about 28% more energy than if you did on even terrains. This consumption of energy, coupled with taking time off your phone screen, can help you improve the quality of your sleep, as well as your sleep schedule!

Where can you go hiking? 

Depending on where you live, a simple Google search can show you some of the hiking trails you can visit close to you. Of course, make sure you are in compliance with the guidelines as provided by the CDC at all times. 

I can help!

If you would like me to help you plan your hiking trip, you may contact me here: https://thiastravelservices.com/contact and I will be pleased to show you where to go!

Lifestyle

5 Stunning Hiking Trails In & Around Charlotte

Introduction

With the increasing uncertainty of when we might be able to travel again, we have found ourselves actively seeking out different ways to bask in nature. Just to get a break from staying indoors and feeling like you’re cut off from the outside world, except when you need essentials. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been doing your research too, and your browser history is probably punctuated with search queries like:

Hiking trails near me

Can I go hiking? (Btw, yes you can, you just have to be ultra-careful!) 

Gardens near me 

Can I go jogging/running/walking? 

The simple answer is – yes, you can do these things. You can visit gardens, and state parks, and hiking trails. And yes, you can also go jogging, running or walking. 

As a travel agent that people can trust for all advice related to travel, I thought it might be useful for you to know how you can do physical activities outdoors, safely. 

Here’s what the CDC has to say about going out: 

  • There is a potential risk of going out, which is closely related to meeting other people. 
  • Unless you can maintain 6 feet of distance between you and other people at all times, it’s a bad idea to engage in any social interactions outside of your household. 
  • Should you happen to run into someone you know while you’re out, you should be careful about how long you spend with them. The longer you spend time with people, the higher are your chances of being infected. 
  • Going out in groups with people outside your household is risky. 
  • Indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor spaces. 
  • If you are at high risk for severe illnesses, you should avoid going to places where you chance interacting with other people. 

Read all their guidelines here. They also list preventive measures on their website here

Here’s my break-down of what that means for you: 

  • You can go hiking safely if you don’t meet people who don’t live with you. 
  • You CAN go hiking with your family members if they live with you. 
  • If you do need to visit public places where you might find other people, wear a mask. 
  • Carry your own food, water, toilet paper, and sanitizer. 
  • If you do feel sick, stay home! 

These should have you covered for your COVID-19 hiking plans! 

Hiking in 2020 during COVID-19

Hiking has long been a favored form of physical exercise by many-a fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Long walks have the potential to be everything from peaceful to romantic and just plain fun – and that’s essentially what hiking is. Add to it the beauty of nature that you get to take in, and you’ve got a wellness activity that rejuvenates you and makes you want 

My intrigue with the world of wellness travel intensified when I realized that you don’t need to necessarily travel far to be able to travel for wellness! The thing is, travel is more to me than just a source of livelihood – it’s a way of living. And being forced to stay indoors has turned my world upside down. 

So when I found out that I can go hiking to delightful locations close to where I live, I realized that along with me, you should be able to, as well! In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of 5 hiking trails you should definitely check out if you live in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. 

5 Hiking Trails In and Around Charlotte 

Lake Norman State Park 

Disclaimer: This photo is by NC State Parks and is not owned by TTS

Lake Norman is absolutely gorgeous, especially at this time of the year when the trees are in bloom! The Lake Norman State Park has 33 acres of the 32,000+ acre lake, surrounding which, you can find plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and picnicking. Here are a couple of trails within the Lake Norman State Park 

Alder Trail

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When I went to Lake Norman with my family last week, we chose to hike along the Alder Trail, which is an especially great trail if you’re looking to refresh your muscles and stretch your limbs out a little. A short trail of under a mile’s length, the Alder trail invites you to take a walk through alders and pines along the shore of the lake. 

Lakeshore Trail 

The Lakeshore Trail is a much longer one at 6.3 miles long and has been reviewed as an impressive one by several hikers! It offers a scenic walk along the lake, laced with greenery and flowers; and comes with the option of a shorter, 3 mile trail for those that want something easier on their bodies. 

Bakers Mountain Park

Disclaimer: This photo was from the AllTrails Website and is not owned by TTS. 

The hiking trail at Bakers Mountain park is about 6 miles long and offers a stunning view from about 700 ft above. Bakers Mountain, situated approximately an hour’s drive from Charlotte, is beyond fantastic, with its diversely-populated flora and birdwatching options. 

Evergreen Nature Preserve 

Disclaimer: This photo was from the AllTrails Website and is not owned by TTS. 

Just three miles from the heart of Charlotte is a quick and easy 2-mile long trail that’s great for you to visit right now and bask in the glory of nature! You can smell the fragrance of hardwood and sight migratory birds. A hidden gem that’s relatively shy of the public eye, this is your chance at exploring a gem that’s not so far from urbanization!

Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve 

Disclaimer: This photo was from the AllTrails Website and is not owned by TTS. 

Butterfly-spotting. Herbaceous plants. The scent of woody plants. And birdwatching. 

Does it get better? 

Actually, it does! This is another park in Charlotte. With several miles of lush forest land, interspersed with ponds, the Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve is the perfect mid-day escape for you to find some peace from all the housework and working from home!

I do hope you enjoy exploring these trails just as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you! I will be thrilled to offer you more options and itineraries for your hiking trip near Charlotte at affordable rates. If you live in other parts of the USA, I can help you out with a special little package, too! Get in touch to plan your special hiking trip now! Also follow me on Instagram to see how I’ve been coping with not being able to travel 😉

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Lifestyle

Guidelines for Hiking in 2020: USA

When you think of travelling, you probably think of hopping onto a flight and taking off to different countries! A dream that many of us harbour, international travel is unfortunately impossible as of July 2020. 

But who says you can’t travel anyway? In this blog post of mine, I spoke about how you can travel without really travelling. And now, I have better news for you!

You can still go hiking in and around where you live!

In the USA, a number of guidelines by the CDC and several states, show that you can go hiking safely and responsibly. 

In this article, I’ve explored the guidelines that many sources are providing to us for safe hiking possibilities. 

Tips for safe hiking

Here’s a bunch of tips that I got – all summed up in a pretty picture for you to save and keep in mind! 🙂 

If you want to read about each of these guidelines in detail, I’ve linked to all the sources at the end!

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Happy hiking!

If you need help planning a hiking trip, get in touch here!

Sources

https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2020-06-17/hike-new-trail-rules-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/visitors.html

https://www.afar.com/magazine/you-can-still-go-outside-while-social-distancing

https://spectrumnews1.com/ky/louisville/weather/2020/07/16/summer-hiking-the-safe-way

https://www.thelily.com/how-to-hike-safely-and-responsibly-during-coronavirus/?

Note: Thia’s Travel Services is not a medical expert and claims no liability. Thia’s Travel Services is only relaying information from verified third-parties.

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