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2023: a new way of conceiving travel
According to Booking, “leaving on vacation continues to be an ideal solution for a few days of relaxation, but in 2023 many travelers will take advantage of their vacation days to treat the mind, body and soul.” According to their travel forecasts, 42% of travelers want to connect with their mental and physical health, perhaps by trying meditation retreats or experiences to learn more about their mind.
The 2023 Trends on Spiritual Journeys
In total, 24,179 people took part in the Booking survey in 32 countries and territories, including 1,008 in Italy.
Here are the findings that emerged regarding spiritual journeys:
44% of those interviewed said they were interested in participating in a yoga and meditation retreat, with a greater concentration of interest in Eastern countries, such as China (67%), Hong Kong (65%), India (70%) and Thailand (77%).
Among the Italian interviewees, 35% showed interest in this type of travel (of which 8% answered emphatically “very interested”).
42% of those interviewed said they were inclined to embark on a spiritual journey to experience moments like pregnancy or menopause in peace.
From a generational point of view, interest in spiritual journeys seems to concentrate more among Generation Z (50%) and Millenials (52%), while it decreases in the more mature age groups (40% for Generation X, 21% for the Baby Boomers and only 10% of the Silent Generation).
This could indicate that the new generations are more open to the idea of exploring new forms of personal growth and spirituality than previous generations.
In general, this survey showed how people and travelers are looking for moments and opportunities to “slow down” and to find themselves, trying something really different from their routine. A journey away from technology, in the name of meditation, silence and spirituality can really make a difference.
The therapeutic effects of travel
In recent years, this trend has focused above all on the concept of travel as a cure, or rather on the power of travel to cure or at least relieve stress and allow us to face life’s disappointments, illnesses and even illness, as in the case of the train -therapy, in a more combative way.
With this I don’t want to assert that you have to feel bad to travel or perceive the journey as an isolation from the world to escape from problems, also because we know that wherever we go we always carry ourselves and our limiting beliefs.
The journey to act as a therapy must first of all be perceived as a wonderful adventure from which we can learn to better understand the reality around us but also ourselves, finally putting ourselves on the line as we have never done before, measuring our limits but taking also awareness of our capabilities.
What is a Spiritual Journey?
A spiritual journey or spiritual retreat is a period of time during which a person moves away from daily distractions to focus on their spirituality and personal growth.
This can include activities such as meditation, yoga, studying one’s faith or spiritual tradition, or simply spending time in silence and contemplation.
During these experiences, people have the opportunity to work on themselves, learn new techniques for managing stress and emotions, and spend time in a calm and relaxing environment.
Why go on a spiritual journey?
Spirituality is a very important part of life and is almost never separated from it, unfortunately many societies have created a system whereby it is often overlooked. To reconnect with the soul, the spirit and the inner part of oneself, re-establish a balance lost between the sometimes oppressive dynamics of the routine.
How to organize a spiritual journey?
Where do you want to go? It’s always best to know where you’re going. Once you have chosen your destination, prepare a travel plan, at least broadly speaking.
Keep a diary of your trip. Start writing your thoughts even before leaving, you can start with the role you want to assign to this trip. Visualize yourself traveling and write the sensations it gives you.
Always remember that there are no mistakes. The point of experiencing spiritual journeying is not to find an answer, it is a process of continually asking questions.
Start having awareness of your mind and your ego and learn from the difficulties in your life. Finally have the courage to go all the way and embark on your journey
Do you go on spiritual journeys alone or in a group?
Spiritual journeys can be conducted individually or in groups, and can be guided by a spiritual leader or be autonomous.
Your journey is yours alone and is unique. Also, while the advice of others may be helpful, no one can tell you how your journey should go or in which direction it should go.
What to take with you on this trip?
Usually during these trips the less we bring, the more we will find and discover. I therefore suggest that you adopt a minimalist approach and bring only the bare essentials.
Here is a list of 5 destinations to find yourself:
1) India: the lure for mystical journeys
It is said that you don’t go to India, you go to India following a spiritual call. Anyone who visits this nation says they come back very different, or maybe they never come back? What is known for sure is that India seems to have stopped at 5,000 years ago. An intriguing, Hindu and mysterious country that has a dark side where poverty alternates with the slow passing of time.
Traveling to find yourself in this spiritual dimension is a deeply marking experience. Among the mystical places, there is Rishikesh, the capital of yoga and meditation, here you will find schools, ashrams and centers everywhere and a varied and wide choice of programs.
2) Japan: improve yourself with meditation
We all know today’s Japan, the technologically advanced one, undoubtedly fascinating and to be explored very calmly. However, there is another side of Japan, the one that emanates pure spirituality. From pilgrimages, holiest mystical places to pure botanical gardens. One of the rare and pure corners to visit is the island of Shikoku. A site infected with benevolence for travelers and pilgrims, where the inhabitants seem to be very welcoming and grateful for life.
Another of mystical spiritual journeys can be experienced in Fukui prefecture, on the island of Honshu, where the Monastery of the Dragon in the Sky, called Tenryuii, is located. A perfect habitat to improve yourself and change your life, learning meditation and cleaning up your spirit. Among the shōji, the sliding paper panels, meditation and care of the spirit, it is possible to try a 360° experience, living together with the monks. Learn meditation to be able to improve yourself and your ego.
3) Spiritual journey in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Whatever type of trip you make in Nepal, you will certainly return more enriched and serene.
However, for those who intend to go deep into spiritual research, I recommend 3 unforgettable experiences:
The spiritual paths organized by the Tibetan Cultural Association accompany and guide anyone who wishes to in the fascinating world of Buddhism. It is a trip recommended for those who want to have an experience of meditation, prayer and reflection through the wonderful Kathmandu Valley.
Those who instead want to take advantage of a trip to Nepal to devote themselves to yoga, Tushita Nepal, near Pokkhara, is a center that offers yoga and meditation retreats to those who wish. The breathtaking view of 3 mountains more than 8000 meters high will help clear your mind of negative thoughts, stress and anxiety.
Finally, if you want to approach meditation practices and Buddhist philosophy, you can choose to stay at the Kopan monastery. At least 10 days are recommended to benefit and learn the basics of meditation, but if it seems too much and you are not ready for this experience, you can also just stay a couple of days.
Spiritual stays of Yoga and Meditation in Italy
4) Lama Tzong Khapa Institute – Pomaia (IT)
The Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is an international center for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism of the Mahayana tradition. It is located in Pomaia in Tuscany, in a hilly area of great landscape value a few kilometers from the sea.
Founded in 1976 by Lama Thubten Yeshe, the Institute is one of the most important Buddhist Centers in the West, frequented by people – of all ages and from all over the world – interested in deepening their understanding of Buddha’s teachings and developing their own inner qualities of compassion, generosity, patience and kindness, in the setting of a wonderful place that favors research and inner peace.
5) Ananda Center, Assisi (IT)
Located in the beautiful Umbrian hills near Assisi, the city of Saint Francis, the Ananda Center offers a wide range of courses and residential stays based on the principles of the ancient science of Kriya Yoga and Self-realisation, transmitted to the Western world by Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.