I think a lot of us could use some travel therapy right now - a chance to truly escape the barrage of bad news, the natural disasters or even broken relationships.
Not sure what travel therapy is? Well, traveling is the therapy - it can soothe the soul and bring enlightenment, but mostly, it opens up an entirely new way of looking at the world. It can change your perspective on life, and sometimes even change your life entirely, in ways you never thought were possible.
While the destination in itself doesn't always matter, there are some that do truly provide the ultimate escape, allowing you to forget about your worries, break away from the daily grind and the chaos of the modern world. Perhaps you'll connect with nature, discover an unknown talent, or even find the meaning of true happiness.
Research has found that traveling actually boosts levels of perceived happiness, lifts one's mood, lowers the risk of depression, decreases stress hormones and even reduces blood pressure to help you live a longer, higher quality of life.
What does travel therapy mean to you?
Whatever the answer is, these destinations are likely to provide the getaway you've been desperately in need of.
There are many spirit-renewing places in Ireland to spend time in. Visit Newgrange, a short drive north of Dublin and you'll experience Europe's oldest megalithic site. It's at least a thousand years older than the Giza Pyramids. Venturing inside enlightens the soul, no matter what your faith.
Head to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, accessible by ferry or plane. It's home to one of the finest Celtic stone circle forts in all of Europe, Dun Aengus. Lie down on the soft grass at the edge of the nearly 330-foot-high cliffs and gaze out at the Atlantic - the dramatic cliffside location, the desolation, the ancient stones, all make this spot incredibly unique.
Visit the smallest of the Aran Islands, Inisheer, for an especially tranquil experience. Wander around the maze of paths that wind through old stone walls, with holy wells, castle ruins, rare plants and birds spotted along the way.
Isle of Islay, Scotland
The southernmost isle of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides offers an especially serene, magical beauty, as well as lush scenery that includes idyllic stretches of sand that sit at the edge of brilliant azure waters. An enchanting energy is often sensed here, by both locals and visitors, especially while walking over the hill to view Loch Finlaggan. There are also multiple spots that are known as “natural power places," along with numerous ancient relics spread across the picturesque landscape.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu has long been considered a place of power. This mysterious "lost city" is truly special - in fact, its original inhabitants believed it was the true center of the universe. Those who live in this region today emanate faith and wisdom that often leaves visitors with a profound sense of significance in the world.
Sedona, Arizona is known as a 'thin place,' where the veil between spirit and flesh, life and death, is believed to be more permeable. It's considered a spiritual power center as the power that emanates from the multiple vortexes in the area is said to produce some of the most remarkable energy on Earth. Some say that you can actually feel it, but whether or not you believe they actually exist, there is one thing that’s undeniable, people are drawn here for something more than just its incredibly stunning beauty
Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico
Officially designated a Pueblo Magico, or Magic Town, in 2006 by the Mexican Tourism Secretary, magical is most certainly the word that best describes it. Every time I've traveled here, I leave with a sense of feeling renewed. Located just off the Pacific coast, about 50 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, it boasts a natural oasis of palms and lush fruit trees along with endless stretches of golden sands that are often empty, even during the peak of the busy season.
In town are nearly an endless number of outstanding eateries, many serving dishes based on fresh, local ingredients like organic produce and seafood. Browse through the art galleries and small local shops tucked between old brick colonial buildings. The 1733 mission Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos not only offers stunning views of the Valle de Pilar and the ocean, but if you time it right, you can take in the scene with a backdrop of beautiful song that carries from the church, floating through down the hill, across the palms and out to the sea.