The Healthiest Getaways
Best places where you can disconnect and de-stress
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” — Anonymous
In the mid-sixties there was a hit Broadway play, Stop the world, I want to get off!, and, with all of the chaos going on in the world today, many of us share this sentiment, seeking to escape from the constant stresses. There are many studies that have documented how stressful modern lifestyles have become, and with the increasing influence of technology in the workplace and at home, many industries have an “always on” mentality which can lead to increased stress. We are now living a 24/7 life/work/style. There is more information flowing into people’s lives now than ever — much of it distressing and challenging. And with it, there are even more possibilities for interruptions and distractions.
According to the recent study from Pew research, they were able to establish a measurement for stress that is known as the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). To do so they created a list of 10 questions for participants to answer, which explored the relationship between a variety of digital technology uses and psychological stress.
“These technologies are said to takeover people’s lives, creating time and social pressures that put people at risk from the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.”
Because of this increased stress, there is a growing emphasis on overall well-being and wellness sweeping through modern culture. It is also a backlash from the influx of new addictions such as the fears of not being connected, like problematic internet use or nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia). With the fast paced onslaught of technological advancements, there are now scientific studies finding a rising trend in anxiety disorders around not having access to a mobile phone.
Unlike the ’60s and ’70s there are more health conscious people, especially the boomers as they near the final frontier of their lives. Many of us are seeking a more favorable balance, going back to the original concept of being in tune with nature. There are very few places in the world that are remote enough to really feel as if we have found freedom from disturbances, into quiet and tranquility. Being immersed in nature and experiencing fresh air, peace, hiking, local farm-to-fork fare and adventure is a rarity. That is why the concept of visiting healing retreats, spas and natural mineral springs are becoming more popular.
After a recent trip to Desert Hot Springs near Palm Springs, California, I discovered the upsurge in tourists who are flocking to this desert oasis, even in the summer. Healing waters from the resort, Two Bunch Palms, are said to be so soporific that they can calm even the most type-A movie mogul! Heavy hitters and Hollywood honchos escape to experience the naturally flowing thermal waters known for the extraordinary purity and rich lithium content as well as a natural mood stabilizer. Mud baths and massages are the favored treatments of many regulars (often booked side-by-side when accompanied by a friend). There are also couples massages offered in a romantic candle lit room. Voted the top rated water in the United States, many well-known celebs hide out from the chaos of their overbooked, social media-hyped lives. Named “Best for Mineral Springs” each year from 2004 through 2010 by the readers of Spa Finder Magazine, it is also ranked by USA Today as “one of 10 great places to relax your mind and body.”
As a young adventuress, traveling by air was a more dignified experience. The excitement of planning, imagining and escaping by plane was exciting and beckoning. We were allured by the promise of being able to experience other cultures and the world at large. However, for the younger adventurer of today, traveling by air is a completely different prospect altogether. We live in a time where the experience of traveling has become less about experience and more about price. Something which doesn’t help those who grew up with the over saturation of technology and in even greater need of escape. However, the great part about being alive at this time is the amount of affordable luxuries being offered to counteract the techno influences. With all of the conveniences available, we are able to escape from the gridlock and grime, without too much effort. Along with scheduled cruising to remote places, within a relatively moderate budget you can also fly by air charter. Instead of roughing it by land and sea, you can fly above the clouds and land in an air strip away from the crowds. Conventional air travel has become almost abhorrent. With the TSA restrictions and Disneyland-sized lines to meander through just to get a tiny seat, we may find ourselves getting stuck between what may feel like behemoth strangers. Mid-twentieth century traveling abroad was a luxury where we were still treated like special guests, even in coach. Now we are just part of the cattle call, crowding onto people movers. While rushing to get to a flight that is usually delayed, we may discover even worse, as it ends up being cancelled after waiting on the tarmac for hours!
Last year, Bloomberg reported on a new Four Seasons-branded jet that would be transporting clients on exclusive round-the-world tours complete with bespoke activities. That is one of the most elite examples of a trend that will become significantly more apparent this year: hotels serving as hosts to your destination as a whole. Numerous hotel groups are expanding programs that give customers privileged access to incredible settings and rarefied local experiences.
Yet there are still many opportunities to travel to faraway lands to beat the crowds which are off the beaten path. Although the advent of technology has led to more stress, there are more affordable ways to de-stress. Flying on a private jet to any destination — something which was once only for the Royals or the uber elite — is now accessible for many of us. With the soaring failure in commercial air travel, there is a boost in business aviation growth and private plane hire.
In fact, some of these luxuries, only reserved for the leisure class are now simple pleasures that are more accessible. What was once a dream, envisioned from reading a book, or watching a movie can be a reality with the advent of new technological advancements. As the world grows smaller, with a global vision, we are able to reach more out-of-the-way places, for business and pleasure. Things are happening so fast that the future holds great rewards with mega-entrepreneur’s like Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic. He is dreaming even bigger by offering suborbital flights into space in the near future! In many ways,
Earlier on Huff/Post50: