Fishing for lunch off Cayo Espanto, Belize
A private island all to yourself makes sense of course, thank you Cayo Espanto. But you know what is even better, taking the boat into the Caribbean Sea for some sun, sea and a little wind kissing your face. You can dive for conch and learn how to throw a rod out for red snapper. Then a little fire on a remote island where you grill lunch. Oh heavens.
Silent Meditation Retreat at the Japan Vipassana Association, Japan
Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation practices, dealing with “insight into the true nature of reality.” In the cities of Chiba and Kyoto, Japan, the Japan Vipassana Association is a non profit organization offering courses in Vipassana Meditation. These courses span a 10 day period in which one is welcome to come learn these meditation techniques. This level of mental clarity can be reached at the minuscule sacrifice of arbitrary distractions such as reading, writing, music, drinking, and any possible form of communication. Fairly simple. While no one involved accepts payment for the service (very on brand), the association operates off of donations and the generosity of past students.
Buffalo farm in Tenuta Vannulo, Italy
An absolute highlight in the famous cheese-making region of Campania is the world famous organic buffalo farm Tenuta Vannulo. A mere 1.5 hours south of Naples near the ancient city of Paestum, it’s worth the pilgrimage alone.
Your artisanal journey begins with a tour of these grand, placid animals and an insight into their daily lives and use of state-of-the-art equipment – you see them voluntarily walk to a milking robot (did I mention they queue?), whilst listening to piped classical music. Others are showering and scratching their way to an invigorating massage with a large rotating roller. It’s obviously a happy-buffalo-equals-exquisite-mozzarella scenario, because it’s the best mozzarella di bufala you’ll ever taste in your life.
After watching and salivating your way through a mozzarella making tour of stretching and braiding, you get to try the warm, dripping, insanely delicious cheese, and if you get there early you’ll be lucky enough to buy some to take with you (you won’t find this in stores anywhere else). Additional enticing incarnations are found in their retail store. Also onsite is a leather goods boutique, agricultural museum and café.
The winding old streets of the kasbah that haven’t changed in forever. A labyrinth of narrow stone alleyways leading off from one another. Doorways up winding stairways into rooms upon rooms. Superb Moroccan food and enchanting, crowded tea shops. Once an International Zone, which meant, basically, a safe haven for spies to meet, mingle, trade and betray one another. Probably nothing like that now but that historic intrigue hangs on the air like Middle Eastern tobacco smoke. Don’t drink the mint tea if you’re traveling alone.
Nordik Spa-Nature, Ottawa, Canada
If you are visiting Ottawa a Nordic spa probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but they have one and in fact it is the largest in North America. And devotees of spas around the world will tell you this is either the best or in the top two or three they’ve been. Located at the entrance to Ottawa’s Gatineau Park, it’s just a hop, skip and jump from downtown. The spa comprises the only salt-water floating pool in America, indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, 10 outdoor baths, nine saunas, plus restaurant, lounge and Biërgarden with terraces. Treat yourself to a massage, body treatment or their Källa treatment. Sounds pretty good to me. And it’s closer than Scandinavia.