Lotus-pond-and-thai-goddess Thailand - photo Zoe Dawes
Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao Temple Thailand - Mind, Body, Spirit Travel
Sunset at Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao Temple  – NE Thailand

Mind, Body, Spirit Travel? Sounds a bit fancy-schmancy doesn’t it? Do you mean you go all over the place namastaying, sitting in the lotus position and eating mung beans? Well, no, it most definitely doesn’t. Though I’m more than happy to namaste with anyone, I have never been able to sit in the lotus position, even in my youth when I was much more flexible than now. And as far as I know, a mung bean has never passed my lips, but, as James Bond says, never say never. Of course, I love lying on a hammock in the sun on a Caribbean island, but mind, body, spirit travel means more to me …

Since I first started The Quirky Traveller blog 10 years ago, I have been asked, ‘What does Quirky Travel mean?‘ I struggled with that question for quite a long time, before realising it simply meant the kind of travel I like. It’s travelling with your eyes wide open, using all your senses to experience your surroundings in an inspiring, unique way. It means taking your time to explore what’s around you, enjoying the moment and appreciating things fully. It’s about the people, culture, heritage, customs, sights, sounds and feelings that a place evokes. (Read more about it here What is Quirky Travel?) And of course, that really is Mind, Body, Spirit Travel.

This short video epitomises what I mean; a lovely way to spend an hour or two. Apparently it’s called #forestbathing!

Mind Body Spirit Travel

I experienced many different things that fed my soul on a recent visit to Thailand. Read 7 Soulful things to do in North East Thailand. (It is also the trip which helped me decide not to go on any more big Media Trips. Too many people, too much focus on Instagram and not enough time to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the places we visited.)

Lotus-pond-and-thai-goddess Thailand - photo Zoe Dawes

As I’ve got older, I’ve also realised that what’s most important to me is how a place makes me FEEL, rather than what I DO there. Some places have loads to see but leave me feeling totally unmoved. A good example of that is Los Angeles, a place I stayed many years ago with an American boyfriend. We spent four days exploring the city, looking at the enormous homes of the rich and oh, so very famous, doing the Hollywood Walk of Fame, window-shopping in Beverley Hills and gawping at muscle-bound hunks on Venice Beach

Mural at Venice Beach Los Angeles USA
Mural at Venice Beach

I HATED it. It seemed the epitome of celebrity consumerism, feeling heartless and shallow, replete with ‘the beautiful people’ trying to ignore the street sleepers and wannabees. The weird thing was, that so many people there talked about ‘soul’ and ‘finding themselves’ and yet it somehow seemed as if they were paying lip-service. I couldn’t wait to leave and explore more of California which, for the most part, I really enjoyed.

On the other hand, I absolutely LOVE Vancouver, an equally built-up city, which has somehow managed not only to retain its soul but seemingly continues to develop with heart.

False Creek Vancouver BC Canada - mind, body, spirit travel
False Creek Vancouver BC

Of course, it too has its street sleepers and wannabees, but it has gloriously beautiful skyscrapers, water everywhere, a lovely big park, pavements meant for walking, float planes zooming all over the place, great food and drink plus VERY friendly people. Read 24 Hours in Vancouver to find out more about this amazing city in British Columbia.

Broad Generalisation Warning: Canadians seem to really appreciatete the beauty of their country and do their best to enhance it rather than bulldozer over it … That’s a very personal opinion.

Statue of ‘Anishinabe Scout’ by Hamilton MacCarthy by Ottawa Parliament - photo Zoe Dawes
‘Anishinabe Scout’ by Hamilton MacCarthy overlooking Ottawa Parliament

I have visited Canada four times and each time discovered new things to delight mind, body and spirit. Highlights from these trips include getting up close to grizzly bears at Knight Inlet, a memorable international foodie tour in Montreal, cocktail hour at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in Ottawa, discovering First Nation history in Victoria’s Royal British Columbia Museum and our unforgettable road trip from Vancouver to Calgary through the Rockies.

Medicine Lake in the Rockies

Many, many other places and experiences have given me that special feeling that satisfies mind, body or spirit – and sometimes all three. They include swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, admiring Morecambe Bay from the medieval ruins of St Patrick’s Chapel at Heysham, Lancashire, the Taj Mahal at dawn, eating the perfect spaghetti carbonara in Rome, relaxing meditating with horses in the Lake District, just about anything in Greece, my soul country, feeding flamingos in the Caribbean, visiting my brother in Menorca and my absolute favourite mind, body, spirit travel experience of all time, sitting with gorillas in Rwanda.

I hope this has given you a clearer idea of what travel in mind, body and spirit means to me. And now I’m off to feed my soul on some lemon meringue pie, though it’s never as good as the ones my Mum used to make …

Lemon Meringue Pie

If you enjoyed this article, try:

Finding happiness under at tree on Menorca

Three Lake District Treats to satisfy Mind, Body AND Spirit

Peace and tranquility on a beach bench on Mykonos

Meditating with Horses and Creative Writing

20 Quotes to Warm your Heart on a Winter’s Day

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