“Love is not something that is a sort of rare commodity, everybody has it.” - Alan Watts
Hearts and hallmark cards are already multiplying - yes February is the month of true love declarations and tired clichés. Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying that people fall head over heels for this day of teddy bear cards and gold wrapped chocolates. For those of us who are a little more cynical – we are only too keen to share that the sweetheart holiday actually finds its roots in Roman feasting to celebrate beheading Christians.
Perhaps, we have reached a time when love can go beyond the borders of terrible poetry and overpriced dinner reservations. If we dare to put a different slant on February 14th it can actually be an amazing way of spreading joy and philanthropy. To celebrate a version of love that is all about seeking pleasure and shared experiences, here are seven sublime trips to inspire a different kind of date…
To Give Back: Teach English in Nepal
A twelve-week journey to follow in the footsteps of Siddhartha is a splendid sojourn for those who crave a little more out of life. Pleasure shows itself in many forms; it can be dancing in the Mojave Desert, heli-skiing in the Swiss Alps, driving the world’s fastest sports car – or it can be full cultural immersion and the chance to give back to this planet we inhabit. Teaching English in Nepal invites you to stay in a Buddhist monastery, embracing a life made simple and making new found deep emboldened friendships with the monks.
For those looking to unearth a new energy and embrace an experience that cracks open the vault of a fascinating culture -teaching English in Nepal is a sure way to spread the love.
For Self-Love: The Ananda Retreat
Stashed deep in the pockets of the Himalayas, high above the snaking silver of the River Ganges, sits a 19th-century Maharaja’s palace surrounded by lush lands and turquoise tailed peacocks. Despite the regal splendor, the former palace has been transformed into one of the most lauded Ayurveda resorts in the world. As part of a tailored program you can expect bodily exposure to lashings of sweet-scented liquids, many hand massages, and intuitive guidance life lectures combined with world-class yoga programs.
The Ananda Couples Retreat is a dream for those looking to invest in a little TLC and to find their way back to the path of equilibrium.
To Color Me Happy: Holi Festival India
A technicolor extravaganza of pure and unbridled joy is waiting to douse you as soon as you step foot into India’s Holi Festival. For those who want to celebrate the rite of spring rather than Valentine’s day, the Holi Festival is a beautiful bucket list experience. Traveling around the Golden Triangle is a kaleidoscopic welcome to the chaotic and colorful country of India. Not only is this your chance to witness the whimsical splendor of the Taj Mahal, to taste warming blends of wonderful spice, and to have epic encounters with those wild and out there travelers who are often tempted to Indian shores, but you can truly find your inner child in a cloud of color at the Holi Festival.
For those who want to live life in a burst of color rather than settle for black and white – the Holi Festival should be happening on your radar.
World Happiness Festival
Happiness comes in many forms, and for those who want to find it outside of the confines of a relationship, the World Happiness Festival could have a few fine ideas. Not only is this event completely committed to celebrating happiness, but it also takes place in Mexico – throw in a few tequilas and who wouldn’t be a bundle of lime salted joy? While the title may sound like a ball of fluff, this event goes beyond the usual tired clichés of self-care, hot baths, and yoga. Do expect a dose of magic mindfulness but also seminars, cultural encounters, workshops, and intellectual imaginings with one on one guides that will crack both your heart and your mind wide open.
For those wanting to truly delve deep and give meaning to happiness, this festival could be your Burning Man, only without the selfies and socialites.
For Rare Romance: Venice Carnival
Want to live your Life of Riley served with a dollop of old-fashioned romance? Why not amp it up a notch and swap the Italian candlelit dinner for a slice of 18th-century honeypot history. The Venice Carnival & Masquerade Ball is utterly swoon-worthy with its majestic renaissance backdrop, traditional masquerade makers, and grandest Casanova inspired balls. Don a velvet cloak and slip through the cobbled streets to a Venetian palace for a night to remember. Venice gifts so many things to fall in love with – Italian heritage, art, music, dance, and the allure of living a midnight life behind the mask.
For those wanting to fling themselves into full-blown fantasy, the Venice Carnival is your go-to for truly rare romantic experiences that are sure to ensnare the heart.