Supercharge your next holiday

PictureSummer is just around the corner, and it is time to plan  for a fabulous holiday to some far-flung destination.  You owe it to yourself to make it a memorable one, at most,  a life-changing one.  Here are some tips on how you can enhance your vacation:

1. Do something different.
Make a list of all the things that you want to do but have not done yet.  This may include snorkeling on a marine sanctuary or braving a caving adventure.  Perhaps even signing up for a birding tour while paddling in the mangrove may prove to be interesting.  To those who are not too adventurous and wish to avoid an adrenaline rush, a trip to an agri-tourism farm to learn about organic farming may prove to be educational.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as  it is something that you have not done before.  By going out of your comfort zone, you provide yourself an opportunity to  discover new  things that could possibly give you  joy. The further you are from your comfort zone, the more potential for growth there will be.


2.  Be with nature.  
Research shows that nature has healing qualities.  Simply being in the midst of nature can supercharge your body with positive energy that can repair cells, relax muscles, slow down heart rate and even normalize blood pressure.  Stay away from noisy videoke bars or beach concerts.  Instead, do nature walks in the mangrove,  trek in the forest or visit a nearby stream.  Listening to the sound of lapping waves,  singing birds,  rustling trees or   flowing water.  Smell the earthiness of the dead leaves on the ground or the sweet bloom of the coffee trees in the forest.  Feast your eyes on the beauty of  the landscape and the seascape.  Be awed by the magnificence of nature and be thankful for a chance to see, feel, smell  and hear  all its manifestations.

Picture3.  Discover new culture.
Immersing yourself in the culture of the place that you visit enhances your appreciation of the diversity in beliefs and traditions.  It makes you understand that contrast is awesome, and  you realize that opening your mind to other possibilities releases you from the bondage of limiting beliefs.  Discovering a totally different culture may prove to be shocking to those who are not used to being exposed to cultures other than what they have been born with.  But, with the right attitude,  the experience  could be life changing. Avoid being judgmental.  Be an observer first,  then a learner, a sifter and a person who respects diversity.


4. Contribute to the community that you visit.  
Being stingy is not always the best way to go about your vacation. Remember that communities who are engaged in tourism related services are in  it because it is their livelihood.  They also have families to support. This is particularly true for communities that had been capacitated and supported by government and funding agencies.  Community-based tourism is designed to provide an economic incentive for people to conserve natural resources.  By buying community tour packages and products,  you are giving them a chance to be part of development.  Inclusive growth can only happen if the marginalized sector of the community is on board. You play an important role because you are part of the value chain.Remember that travel is not just about you getting the cheapest deal.  It is also about you growing by leaps and bound, and contributing to community development.
For more information on the concept of community-based tourism, sign up for the upcoming Philippine Ecotourism 101 seminar

This article was originally published in Chen Reyes-Mencias’ blog, QuantumLight.
Photos are by Chen Reyes-Mencias and Patricia Mencias