“And What’s Your Idea of Happiness?” – Club Med’s current advertising slogan. Club Med was the forerunner of exotic vacations. Exotic travel has now evolved into everything from expeditions to the Antarctica, personal health & wellness retreats for HoopYogini, destination cooking schools, etc.
What is HoopYogini? It is the combination of yoga and hula hoop. Currently it is part of the regime at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. A premium five-day workshop for a couple which includes accommodations, meals, use of facilities and movement programs like transformative practices (Gestalt, massage, yoga, etc.) costs $4,025. Sounds expensive! According to the Global Wellness Institute’s Global Wellness Economy Monitor (January 2017), wellness tourism now accounts for $563 billion of the worldwide $3.7 trillion “wellness industry.”
Being in the food business, destination cooking schools pique my interest. Here are some exotic options:
- Beijing cooking classes at the HuTong Cuisine Kitchen. Image mastering dim sum or learning to make the perfect Peking duck.
- Wake up at a retreat, enjoy a blast of morning wellness and forage for vegetables high in the mountains of Mexico. At the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende’s “A Sense of Taste“program, guests take a morning trip to walk the fields and pick produce from local organic farms, before attending a cooking lesson from the hotel’s Executive Chef, capped off by a celebratory dinner.
- Exclusive cooking classes at the La Canonica Cooking School in Tuscany on the 4,000-acre estate owned by the Ferragamo fashion family. Approximately $250 per person or $1,400 for a private lesson (note: excludes travel). I always did want to learn how to make Scottiglia (wild boar stew) served with a side of home-made gnocchi.
“And What’s Your Idea of Happiness?”
While I love exotic and not-so-exotic travel, it’s good to remember you can find happiness and beauty all around you. This weekend, I drove up to the Central Coast of California, and found beautiful hills, panoramic vistas and amazing wildlife all around me.
Club med started it; the works of vacations appears to be an array of multitasking.
I’ll take the trip to Tuscany gladly.
Both locations work for me.