- By Globerouter
- On Jul 26, 2019
- North America
- Travel Tips
The American Dream just isn't what it used to be. Instead of financial freedom, millennials are part of the 'renting forever' generation. 70-hour weeks are not restricted to Wall Street; it's now part and parcel of having a job. And you're expected to answer emails, whether you’re asleep, with your family, or in the hospital.
It's no surprise Americans are struggling. According to a CNN survey, 55% of us are consistently stressed. 45% worry daily. And 22% feel chronic anger. If you're part of this crowd or dangerously close to it, finding serenity and a stress-free life should be top of your priority list. Here are 5 destinations that can help make that happen.
To show you that I'm not going to go through the standard tropes, I'll start with the first "out there" suggestion. Transylvania isn't the usual Mediterranean location most people will point you to, but it's worth putting on your bucket list. Located in central Romania, the region is part of the Carpathian range of mountains, offering visitors a picturesque landscape to explore.
If you're a history buff and lover of fairy tales, this part of the world will tick all of the boxes. It's gorgeous, with lots of unspoiled nature, towns and villages that haven't been ruined by McDonald's and Starbucks, and a pace of life you could really get used to. And then we have the castles. Bran, Hunyad, and Poenari Castle have all been associated with Dracula (aka Vlad the Impaler), and they're each stunning in their own right.
80% of Canadians think Niagara Falls should be declared the Eighth Wonder of the World. And I can't say I disagree. This place isn't so much for hanging around and relaxing, but for reaching pure zen by witnessing an incredible work of Mother Nature first-hand. If paying a visit to Niagara Falls and seeing the majesty live doesn't make your jaw drop, I don't know what will.
Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls in one. The flow rate, sheer height, and deafening roar of the water combine to make it an experience you'll never forget. The thrill of seeing nature at work beats the skyscrapers of the big city any day of the week. It's also ideal for those of you with families, are there are a bunch of fun wholesome activities in the local area.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The big reward after finishing the grueling Inca trail, there's nothing quite like arriving at Machu Picchu through its magnificentSun Gate (Inti Punku). You arrive at sunrise, long before the hordes of tourists, and you see the stunning archaeological remains of a once thriving civilization. The backdrop is gorgeous and you'll feel like you're part of a National Geographic special. If only you could package it all and take it home with you.
For me, the Machu Picchu experience deserves the Inca Trek as part of the journey. If you're still relatively fit and healthy, it's a very manageable trek that takes you through quaint Peruvian villages, archaeological sites that you can only get to on foot, and so close to nature that you'll forget all about the hustle and bustle of day to day life. There's also no phone signal, so technology can take a hike (bad pun intended).
Yes, Patagonia is more than just an outdoor brand for the cool kids. If you're the type that prefers a trek over doing nothing beachside, you'll love the continuation of the Latin American theme. The Torres del Paine National Park is listed as a favorite by all who have visited, it's so beautiful that it can literally bring you to tears (or was that just me?). It really is that stunningly gorgeous.
Explore the dense jungles of Patagonia, have a drink in Puerto Natales, a small town full of life and color, and have a look inside the Cueva de Milodon,a cave that boasts a rich prehistoric history. A favorite feature of this part of the world is that the sun won't set until 11 pm, which means you can gaze out at the natural wonders from your tent, cup of hot beverage (rather than your smartphone) in hand. Tranquil, relaxing, and away from the stresses of suit life.Bliss.
Belize, Central America
I've taken you to the wonders of nature, grueling yet rewarding treks, and castles that wouldn't look out of place in a fairytale. Beautiful places, but not exactly your ordinary holiday. To cap off the list, let's go to something that offers more traditional pleasures: Belize, a hidden treasure of Central America.
Belize is a place where you can sit back with your favorite cold cervesa in hand, enjoying the calming sounds of the sea and the hot sand beneath your feet. Sit back, relax, and your worries will get the message that they're not welcome here. What I love about this place is that you can find a stretch of sand that hasn't yet been discovered by tourists, leaving you feeling like you're the only person in the world.
Belize is far more than a beach, however. If you're deciding between this place and Machu Picchu, for example, be aware that ancient Mayan ruins can also be found in this tropical paradise. You'll also come across untouched rain forest and the planet's second largest barrier reef.
Finding peace of mind needn't be an unobtainable goal, even in today's accelerated world. Any of the destinations suggested above (and many more we didn't) will ultimately help you recharge your body, mind and spirit. You'll get a pinch of perspective that you may have been missing recently. They'll make you remember that there's more to life than the rat race. And even if you have to go back to your desk after it's all over, it’ll still be worth it.