Travelling is a great way to relax, disconnect, get in touch with great history and culture, explore amazing cuisine, and challenge the mind and body. The type of vacation you choose depends on your needs and preferences, and every escape can have a positive influence on your life. Everybody, however, needs a spiritual adventure from time to time, to challenge themselves.
Whether you are interested in walking in the woods, hiking, water sports, or extreme activities, everything that involves nature can offer you real unworldly experiences. Continue reading this article and find out which are six of the best adventures that can bring you a memorable mind and body challenge.
El Camino de Santiago, Spain
Known in English as The Way of Saint James, El Camino de Santiago, is a famous pilgrimage that ends in at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the place where the remains of Saint James the Apostle are allegedly buried. Walking El Camino used to have religious importance for Christians from all over Europe, but now, most people decide to go on the hike for their own reasons. Some want to overcome difficult moments in life, while others are interested in challenging their mind and body. The long walk is challenging, but it’s also fulfilling, and it is said that whatever you are looking for, you will find it while walking El Camino.
Many ways take you to Santiago de Compostela. But the most popular one is the French Way, a route that takes you through the French Pyrenees and the northern edge of the Iberian Peninsula. Whether you want to walk or prefer cycling, get ready for many days of physical and mental challenges, tiredness, and muscle pain, but also amazing landscapes, delicious food and interesting conversations with new people.
With mesmerizing landscapes, mouth-watering dishes, friendly people, and the opportunity to explore wild areas, Patagonia is a destination for all adventurers who are looking for a challenge.
One of the best things you can do in Patagonia is to hike through the famous Torres del Paine National Park, a place considered the eighth wonder of the world. There are many circuits to choose from, but one of the best options is the W circuit, a hike that gives you the chance to admire imposing glaciers, majestic peaks, and some of the most impressive ice-blue fjords.
Via Francigena, Italy
Whether you are religious or you just want a spiritual and physical challenge, walking Via Francigena is a great choice. Though, at the moment, this pilgrimage is not as famous as Santiago de Compostela in Spain or as walking to the holy city of Jerusalem in Israel, it is a great hiking option, giving you the chance to admire beautiful Italy.
The old, religious route begins in Canterbury and ends in Rome, and it is almost 1,300 miles long, stretching through the Jura mountains, the Alps, and the Italian coast. But, depending on your time and fitness level, you can start closer to Italy’s capital. The religious pilgrims in the past were looking for forgiveness and faith, and they were stopping at all the monasteries and abbeys on the way. You can do the same thing, even if your reasons for walking Via Francigena are different. Walking the route, dining with monks, and participating in traditional prayer services can be great ways to find yourself.
Though hiking is a great way to heal our mind and body, sometimes a digital detox is more challenging than anything else. Being always connected is something most people got used to, and giving up your phone, staying away from social media, and not checking your emails are things you hardly consider doing. So, sometimes you need to make yourself forget all about technology and adventure into a digital detox in a place where there is no cell reception and satellites.
Walking through the jungles and rainforests of Costa Rica, relaxing on its charming beaches, and indulging in exciting physical activities like waterfall rappelling, snorkelling, hiking, rafting or surfing are amazing ways to completely disconnect from your daily routine. Costa Rica offers adventurers great ways to push themselves and grow, and if this is what you are looking for, add this fascinating country to your must-visit list.
Mount Kailash, Tibet
Being the epicentre of the spiritual world for different religions like Buddhist, Bön, Hindu and Jain, the majestic Mount Kailash is a great place for people who are interested in a real climbing challenge. The pilgrimage to Mount Kailash is not easy at all, but it offers mesmerizing landscapes, as well as the chance to see charming pagodas, shrines, and temples. If you are a spiritual person searching for enlightenment, you should know that, according to Tibetan Buddhists, trekking Mount Kailash gives you the chance to find the path to Nirvana, but only if you repeat the circuit 108 times, completing a 3,564-mile hike, around one peak.
These are our five spiritual adventures that promise to challenge both your mind and body. All of these destinations are waiting for curious travellers with memorable natural beauty, wilderness, as well as great physical activities.
Whether you walk a religious pilgrimage, climb a mountain, or get lost in a place without internet or cell reception, you have the chance to push yourself physically and mentally, and to give yourself the chance to heal and grow. Just make sure you start your journey with an open mind and heart, and you are ready to embrace everything that might come on the way.
This post was kindly written for Active Outdoors by Rebecca from RoughDraft. Rebecca is a translator by day, and a traveler mostly at night. She is an expert on living with jet lag – and packing in tiny suitcases. You can read more of her exploits at RoughDraft.