Wellness insiders take us from Puglia to Patagonia on a visionary journey into their future travels.
Travel is often restorative and revitalizing to our minds and spirits. There’s something about the smells of a seaside village or the sounds of a busy marketplace that makes you feel more alive than ever, which makes the current, indeterminate state of being homeward bound a bit stifling. Fortunately that same state does offer us a lot of time to dream up the next grand adventure and reflect on those past. While we wait for the world to open up safely, we’re asking ourselves (and others), “Where do you want to go?”
We asked five wellness experts about their post-pandemic travel aspirations for nourishing their souls. From the boot of Italy to Ghana, from Iceland to their own backyards, here’s where they’re hoping to explore someday soon.
1. Porquerolles, France
“We were originally scheduled this summer to go as a family to a very special place in the south of France that my husband and I have been twice before, but we’ve never taken our kids. It’s an island called Porquerolles and it’s absolutely other worldly. There are no cars allowed and it’s very natural—think eucalyptus, pine, and all that Mediterranean amazingness. There are olive trees, a couple of small vineyards, and just one tiny hotel, Le Mas Du Langoustier, that is very rustically luxurious. The restaurant at the hotel is Michelin starred and dinner stretches out for hours, with the crickets and the smell of pine and the sound of the ocean.
Porquerolles is only an hour flight from Paris, but it really makes you feel like you’re just so far away from everything. It’s like time stands still. We live in New York City and we’ve had such a stressful few months. When we can finally travel, being able to get away to a place that makes you feel so far removed but also deeply immersed in nature sounds like a really good idea for the whole family. A big part of health and wellness that we often ignore is disconnecting from the busyness of life. We’ve been forced to disconnect through the quarantine, but when you go to Porquerolles (quarantine or not) you’re forced to detach in a way that I think is really important for health. We need to take that break from our manic lives, so a vacation that can offer us that is super welcome.”
2. Ghana and Nigeria
“I would love to visit several African countries including Ghana and Nigeria. I have close friends who are Ghanaian and Nigerian, respectively, and have loved and appreciated the pieces of their cultures they have shared with me. Last year I had several friends go to Ghana for the Year of Return, and their experiences sounded incredible. I admire their first-hand connection to their African heritage, and honestly wish I had the same connection. I have never been, but I would love to foster a deeper relationship with the history of my ancestors by visiting these places. Ideally, I would take these trips with some of the people closest to me, and we would all have an incredible cultural experience together. I truly can’t think of anything more relevant to my wellness and personal journey than connecting with the cultures of my ancestors.”
Liz Moody, author of Healthier Together
“Iceland has an energy unlike any other place I’ve been in the world (which may be attributed to the literal energy of the ever-changing landscape of volcanoes that dot the island). I prefer to get out of Reykjavik and into the smaller towns—my favorite area is Flúðir, which is home to many of the country’s geothermally powered greenhouses. In a country where fresh produce can be expensive and hard to come by, you can pick up a bounty of local veg to cook in an Airbnb kitchen every day (and if you don’t have a kitchen, definitely check out Friðheimar, where the must-try tomato soup is served inside a greenhouse, with fresh herbs you cut at your own table).
On our last trip, we spent the day hiking in the landscape that felt better suited for the fairies that so many Icelandic locals believe in, before soaking our tired muscles in healing hot springs—our favorite of which was just big enough for two people, hidden off a dirt road with only pastoral sheep for company. The last few months have been hard on my mental health (I’ve struggled with high levels of anxiety in the past and have largely been sheltering-in-place in a tiny Brooklyn apartment). At times, I’ve found myself closing on my eyes and channeling the energy I felt watching the wind turn the long grass into waves as warm mineral water enveloped my body. I can’t wait to go back.”
4. Puglia, Italy
Alison Wu, founder of self-care lifestyle brand Wu Haus
“I’ve already been quarantining in a home away from home. México has been home for me during the pandemic, and I’ve loved being able to spend time here in its stunning natural landscapes. I’ve taken a couple road trips over the past month, and I’m looking forward to exploring more of this country in the months ahead. But I also can’t wait to be able to explore other countries again. I’d start by returning to Puglia, Italy.
The first time I visited was in 2018, and I’ve been dreaming of going back since. It’s considered the “heel of the boot” (since Italy is shaped like a boot). It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, surrounded by gorgeous beaches and filled with a rich history and vibrant culture. When I visited in early May, there were wildflowers growing everywhere—fields and fields of red poppies were not an uncommon site. One of my favorite experiences was swimming in the Cave of Poetry, a stunning cave along the Adriatic Coast. I also loved visiting Ostuni and Lecce. I could never get tired of Pugliese cuisine: simple pasta dishes, fresh fruits and veggies, seafood, and plenty of rosé.”
5. Carretera Austral, Chile
Nati Valderrama, lifestyle blogger and certified health coach
“Before COVID-19 struck, I had a lengthy list of places I wanted to travel. I was planning to visit a friend in California in June to meet her newborn son, and other friends in Europe in September. I’ve never been to Europe or California before, so I was highly looking forward to both trips. Obviously, both trips had to be canceled, and my priorities had to shift drastically. Being stuck in quarantine since March has truly made me rethink my relationship with travel, as now even a trip to get groceries is exciting (and nerve wracking!). I no longer dream of faraway travels or luxurious plans. I’ve been dreaming way smaller. I’d really love to travel around my country. I live in Santiago, Chile, and it’s always been a dream of mine to travel south to the Carretera Austral. It’s a beautiful Patagonian highway that is truly one of a kind. I’ve always had it on my travel list, but my dreams of foreign travel were constantly more of a priority. So, once this is all over, my husband and I will be grabbing our car, our tent, and our sleeping bags, and we’re heading south.”