From getting fit to saving the planet, change your life for the better this year with these 10 self-improving holidays.
Make 2014 the year. Whether you want to drop a dress size, run a marathon or even learn to belly dance, check out these 10 terrific ideas for holistic holidays. Go on, you can do it!
1. Get fit – run a marathon: Hawaii
Put down that last leftover mince pie. This is the year you’re going to get fit. But turning off the TV and running once around the park isn’t enough – you’ve got to aim high. Give yourself a real challenge. How about running a marathon. It may be a bit soon to contemplate the London marathon in March, so how about the Honolulu Marathon in December? 26 miles? Easy.
2. Learn to cook: Italy
Beans on toast just won’t cut it. Impress the ladies (or the men) with your kitchen skills. If you’re a budding Gordon, Heston or Delia, learn to become a domestic god(dess) on a crash cookery course. Even better, learn to whip up show-stopping dishes using organic ingredients in picturesque countryside at a cook school in Tuscany.
3. Learn to surf: Cornwall
If, like us, you always wanted to be in The Beach Boys, you’re probably waxing down your surfboard, and can’t wait until June. If the monster storm swell in the West Country right now is a bit scary for a novice, sign up to a surf school and learn to ride those tubes like Garrett McNamara.
4. Learn to live the good life: Devon
Leave the rat race far behind. If you dream of chucking in the nine-to-five and swapping your Prosecco for potato wine, master the art of living off the land on a smallholding life course in Devon. Learn how to look after cute farm animals, and how to cook from scratch using fresh, seasonal produce… not that there’s any connection.
5. Find yourself: Brazil
Going to the gym is somewhat more straightforward, but a drastic way to find a new you this New Year would be to attend a Ayahuasca healing retreat deep in the Amazon jungle. ‘Participants return with a new lease on life, having turned the corner on their problems and found the path leading to their complete health and happiness’, apparently. Definitely don’t try this at home!
6. Learn to sing: Cuba
Are you the next Sam Bailey?! Or does your vocal prowess extends only as far as murdering Tainted Love at the pub karaoke? Get your chords in trim with a singing holiday in Havana, Cuba. You could be the next Sam Callahan. Er, hang on a minute.
7. Learn a language: Spain
Go local. If your knowledge of the local lingo extends as far as ordering a beer, how about a language learning holiday? Spanish in Seville? You’ll learn all the important stuff, like how to chat up the local talent.
8. Learn to belly dance: Turkey
As Shakira once said, the hips don’t lie, so learn one of life’s essential skills on a belly dancing course. Learn how to wiggle those hips with more style than your usual uncoordinated floundering on the dancefloor under the expert guidance of Turkish tutors in Istanbul.
9. Save the planet: Maldives
Turtle power! Give something back to the planet on a conservation holiday like being a volunteer on a turtle conservation project in the Maldives. Look after cutesy turtles and spend your free time scuba diving and sunbathing. Doesn’t sound like too much like a working holiday, does it?
10. Learn to paint: Greece
Easel does it! Brush up on your artistic skills where the light is bright and the sun is shining, helping you to magic up a masterpiece in comfort. Capture the sunset with a sundowner in hand on a painting course on the Greek island of Santorini, or just pack your paints, head to the Med and get inspired. – Skyscanner (www.skyscanner.net)