4 Alternative Places to Spend Christmas: A Guide to Good Living


As the famous commercial tells us, “Holidays are coming! Holidays are coming!” Christmas is such an exciting, joyful time for a lot of people, and the reasons to love it are obvious – fun family activities, parties, gifts, yummy seasonal food and traditions.

However, allow me to let you in on a little secret – It’s ok if you don’t want to carry on with holiday traditions. Whatever your reasons, don’t ignore them.

If you’re longing to try something different this holiday season and get way from all the festivities, I’ve put together four suggestions of places to visit, featuring activities complimentary to youth prevention and good living.


A Spa in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort city located within Coachella Valley, in California, United States. The hot desert climate and interesting geography of Palm Springs make it a popular winter destination for people looking to enjoy a myriad of outdoor leisure activities and sports. Biking, horse-riding, tennis, swimming and hiking are all readily available. Palm Springs also boasts over 100 golf courses. If you want an invigorating holiday filled with fun and healthy activities, Palm Springs is the perfect place.

The word Springs in the city’s name refers to the hot, mineral spring water found in the surrounding desert, which feeds the healing, thermal pools at the city’s various spa resorts.  The benefits of visiting a spa resort are well known and include stress relief, weight management, anti-ageing, and healthy detox treatments.

There are so many high-end, luxuriant spa resorts to choose from in Palm Springs; it can almost be a daunting experience. If you want a healthy, relaxing break for your body and mind, you are spoilt for choice. One potentially helpful option is to put your trust in fellow travellers. Websites like TripAdvisor allow visitors to leave honest reviews of the places they have stayed.


A Chinese Yoga Retreat

Due to their intrinsically relaxing nature, yoga retreats are becoming popular holiday choices for busy professionals. Your time spent at a yoga retreat will include daily practice, mindful meditation and free time to relax. The goal is to let go of daily stress. If you are a yoga newbie, will you be comfortable or happy at a retreat? The truth is it’s completely up to you. Like many things in life, the benefits of yoga are linked to how much time and thought you are willing to put into your practice.

If you are already a seasoned yogi, attending a dedicated retreat will allow you to really focus on your development. The multiple daily classes they offer will take your yoga to the next level.

The remote and calming environment of a yoga retreat gives you the opportunity to disconnect from one of the biggest modern challenges to relaxation – technology. Saying goodbye to work emails and distracting mobile phones gives you the chance to decompress and actually meditate, plus a retreat located far from tourist hot-spots means your free time can be spent exploring beautiful surroundings and cultures.

With a cultural history of reflection and meditation, it’s unsurprising that Asia offers some of the world’s most beautiful yoga retreats. Focusing on China, you could find yourself spending the holidays in the spectacular, mist-clad karst hills of Guangxi province, relaxing amongst the snow-tipped summits of the Tibetan Plateau, or amazed by Qing Cheng Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


A Bulgarian Wellness Clinic

Wellness is a buzzword in the spa and health industry. Embracing the concept of wellness means to live in a state of well-being, vitality and optimal health. Things that can help you achieve this goal of living a richer, more enjoyable life are exercise, a healthy diet and bodywork. There are clear parallels between this concept of health awareness and youth preservation.

Bulgaria is a Balkan country in Southeastern Europe famous for its one thousand natural spas. These warm, mineral-rich waters and mud deposits, with claims of healing and rejuvenating properties, have been attracting visitors since Roman times. A friend recently recommended a Bulgarian wellness clinic, which operates during the winter months at the Azalia Hotel and Spa, near Varna.

Dr Ljudmila Emilova’s Wellness Clinic has treated over 40,000 patients, with a goal of providing information about healthy living, focused on eating habits. The clinic uses natural methods based on the Holistic approach. Your stay here will involve treatments, lectures, cookery classes and activities designed to restore balance. The detox element of the clinic features a fruit and tea fasting programme, or a regime based around fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked – this will be the opposite of the traditional holiday overindulgence!


A Mountain Resort Off the Beaten Path

If you’re the type of person who believes a place easily accessible by a nonstop flight is not a big enough adventure, then the rewards for taking a trip off the beaten path are numerous. The true pleasure lies when the journey continues – a hike, a long, winding drive into the mountains, or a floatplane hop to a secluded island.

There is a treasure trove of inspiring and beautiful blogs, dedicated to discovering secret places around the world. I particularly enjoy Classe Touriste, a fascinating look at the journeys of travel journalists David de Vleeschauwer and Debbie Pappyn, connoisseurs of the remote!

Christmas is the season of giving, so why not treat yourself to a special gift? Getting away from it all doesn’t necessarily mean forgoing comforts. The best remote resorts and luxury lodges present stylish designs and world class service in the middle of nowhere. A good example of this is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Peru, where we thoroughly enjoyed our stay after a wonderful hike along the Inka Trail. As the name suggests, the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu is a quick bus ride away, but perched in a cloud forest, the 12-acre site itself has plenty to keep your mind, body and soul inspired. Visit an organic tea plantation, hike an orchid trail, and finish your day in the Andean eucalyptus sauna. Each one of the 85 cottages has a wood-burning fireplace, perfect for snuggling up to in the evening – Happy holidays!

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