Three Adventurous Wellness Retreats You Need to Try

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

Pursuing adventure has a certain way of reinvigorating our lives and putting things in perspective. It’s freeing to identify our fears, only to stare them down and challenge them. So much so, that people have built whole retreats around doing just that. These fear conquering getaways have been dubbed adventure retreats: designed to test the body, strengthen the mind and renew the soul. Here are three examples of different wellness retreats you need to try:

Run Mindful

This running retreat allows participants to push their cardio to its limits while enjoying all the beauty that nature has to offer. Organizers carefully choose both challenging and gorgeous trails that physically and mentally test your level of endurance, fitness and determination. These retreats don’t only emphasize running but focus on bettering your whole self. You’ll eat healthy foods that will nourish, support, and replenish your muscles. You’ll learn the importance of mindfulness and meditating while running. Lastly, you’ll have a chance to connect with other runners like yourself, giving you a chance to build your network of like-minded individuals.

Outdoor Survival Training & Yoga Getaway

This adventure retreat mixes outdoor theory and application with the calming nature of yoga and meditation. It was designed to be enjoyed outside in the beautiful setting of the Forest of Dean in Glouchester, UK. You will be faced with challenges on both land and in water, and will be assessed on your ability to lead and survive as a team member. Outdoor rescue training, emergency scenarios, rappelling, situational awareness, and basic survival skills are also built into the retreat. At the end of each day, you’ll have a chance to center your mind and body with yoga and stretching. After three days in the forest, the retreat moves indoors and wraps up with two days of massages, dinners, touring, classes, and socializing.

River Soul Journey

River Soul Journeys are adventure retreats along Idaho’s rivers, led by skilled rafting guides. Along the way, participants have an opportunity to fly-fish, hike, journal, and learn about local wildlife. You’ll have a chance to unplug, practice self-discovery and awareness, and tap into the healing arts yoga and meditation. River Soul Journey is about much more than the adrenaline rush that comes with rafting, it’s meant to be a deeper spiritual exploration to connect with what it means to truly be present, alive, and balanced. You can expect a health mix of journaling, yoga therapy, hiking, camping and plenty of time in the water. 

Bonus: Women-Specific Adventure Retreats

Increasingly, women-only adventure retreats are gaining in popularity. Many speak to the wellness aspect, emphasizing staying in tip-top shape, but doing so by traveling to some of the most beautiful destinations on the planet. Others stick to driving home the point of adventure and nothing more. The last group of women-only travel adventurists seems to highlight lifelong sisterhood. Whatever the selling point, it’s working. More and more women are jumping on board, hopping on flights (and jumping off planes), all in the name of adventure and unity. Here are a few women-only travel groups to check out:

Adventure retreats open up a completely new avenue for travel and vacations. This year, instead of taking a week for your typical trip to a resort, why not take one for your mind, body and soul? There are countless selections available, covering an array of sports and adventures, just waiting to be explored! These three options are just the beginning, so do your research and find the perfect adventure retreat for you. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Adventurous Wellness Retreats You Need to Try
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How To Stay Adventurous & Cautious At The Same Time

To start an adventure is to embark into the unknown. Most of the time, it is impossible to decipher the outcome of your action. The risk and uncertainty involved may scare you but these are also the same  factors that make an adventure fun and exciting. If you are willing to go through something without knowing what lies ahead, you are taking a step towards discovering your life’s purpose.

Sometimes you just want to rely on your instinct and leave everything to fate. However, this does not mean that you have to plunge into every adventure that comes your way. An adventurous spirit may require bravery and ardor but no one said that you have to do it without carefully weighing the pros and cons. Here are three questions to ask yourself to wisely assess if an adventure is worth taking.

Are you truly prepared?

Every great adventure starts with thorough planning and preparation. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Some adventures, such as moving to a new country or starting a business, can be life-changing. These ventures can be the way to fulfill your dreams, but will require you to work doubly hard or stretch your strength to the limit. So before taking a leap to an uncertain journey, take your time and and think if you are mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for it. Your financial status is likewise an important aspect to consider.

Are the benefits greater than the risks?

It is unlikely that you want to go on an adventure without a purpose. An adventure becomes a worthy pursuit because of it.The benefits that you believe you will gain from it can help you decide if you should entertain or abandon your plans. Setting your sights on the rewards that will come after a successful adventure can inspire and motivate you.

On the other hand, the possibility of failing remains no matter how much preparation you do. So your focus should not solely be on the rewards. Make sure that you are also aware of the things you can lose before deciding on an adventure. At the end of the day, seeing that an action offers benefits that far outweigh the risks can give you confidence to take a bold step towards an adventure.

Can you bear the possible consequences?

If you are aware of all the possible risks of a decision you will make, you also get to ponder if you are ready for it. Can you picture the worst case scenario and imagine its effect on you? A backup plan will be like a cushion that will soften the blow of failures. So you should also prepare a contingency plan in case an idea does not work. If just the thought of all the possible negative outcomes look unbearable, the adventure may not be a good idea after all. Consider your lifestyle and personality to determine the impact of being in particular situation.  

Adventures are like doors that lead to either a pleasant or terrifying destination. Opening either door can teach you invaluable life lessons. ut wouldn’t it be better if you managed to open the correct door with less tries? Taking some time for self-reflection can greatly minimize the risks and increase your chance to succeed. Always remember to seize every opportunity for adventures with a realistic mindset and wide-open eyes.

Brad and Julie DuncanHow To Stay Adventurous & Cautious At The Same Time
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The Healing Benefits of Adventure Therapy

The word therapy can incite a vision of a counselor intently listening and taking notes while the client pours out emotions. You can describe the scenario as formal and professional, as the setting usually takes place in the organized office of the therapist. This setup can indeed be effective, but people who are not so eager to try the usual way of a counseling session have another option: adventure therapy.

What is adventure therapy?

This therapy program breaks free from the typical setting of a one-on-one counseling session. Instead of doing it in the confines of the counselor’s office, you take the therapy outside and immerse the client into different kinds of adventure.

History of adventure therapy

Adventure therapy sounds like a groundbreaking concept, but the program actually has a long history. Its earliest form was during the 1900’s with the introduction of tent therapy. One of the first institutions to try this program is the Manhattan State Hospital East in 1901, when they isolated the patients afflicted with tuberculosis. The main goal then was to prevent the communicable disease from spreading, but the tent therapy program was surprisingly beneficial to the patients. Exposure to nature brought significant health improvements to the TB patients.

Adventure therapy today

Today, adventure therapy is a great alternative program to help people suffering from problems such as substance abuse, juvenile delinquency or severe depression. The program is based on the philosophy of experiential education which states that people learn faster and easier with direct experience and interaction.

Adventure therapy is called by various names such as a wilderness therapy program or therapeutic excursions. The approaches and methods also vary as the activities can include the following: cooperative games, wilderness adventures (such as camping or hiking), outdoor adventures (like rock climbing or rappelling), problem solving initiatives and trust-building activities.

The type of adventure therapy may differ based on the problem that the program specifically wants to address. In spite of various ways of implementing adventure therapy programs, all methods involve interacting with others as participants embark on a new experience.

What are the healing benefits?

Organizations that offer adventure therapy programs claim that the opportunity to experience nature and try new things can effectively encourage positive behavioral changes. This claim is backed by research as the result of a study about the effect of wilderness adventure therapy, published by the International Journal of Human Science, revealed wilderness adventure effectively decreases delinquency problems in minors.

Apparently, activities that involve nature and group interaction are effective in boosting self esteem and enhancing social and communication skills. Individuals who participate in adventure therapy programs also develop leadership skills and become more independent.

These therapeutic activities can therefore help people overcome problems such as eating disorders, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. Adventure therapy can likewise aid in the healing process of people suffering from severe depression or traumatic stress.

For many people, adventure is synonymous to fun, relaxation and excitement. The activities may involve risks, but breaking free from the daily routine to do something different almost always leads us to learn new things. Everyone will agree that we all need a little adventure to keep our zest in life burning. All of us should therefore take advantage of the many benefits that adventure therapy can bring.

Brad and Julie DuncanThe Healing Benefits of Adventure Therapy
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