By: Bryan Herb
It’s 11 o’clock at night and I am surfing online. Well, to be specific I am shopping online, and for something that I didn’t really even know existed a month ago, nor realize that I wanted and maybe even needed. I am shopping for a yoga hammock. If you are scratching your head wondering what that is, it is the fabric and hooks that one needs in order to do aerial yoga. If you don’t know, aerial yoga is a type of yoga where you are suspended in mid air in a large piece of silk fabric that is connected to the ceiling or a beam. There are a number of poses that you can do, and many place you in an upside-down position, and in those poses your spine greatly decompresses and relaxes.
Like many of my favorite things in life, I discovered aerial yoga on my travels. I enjoyed an aerial yoga session at the Four Seasons Landau Maldives, and liked it so much that I did another session at the St. Regis Maldives. As I hung upside down, nestled in the silk fabric at the St. Regis, feeling my tension in the lower back release, I began to wonder if I could re-create this at home. As it turns out that a simple search online to show these hammock devices for only $60, and voilà it is on its way to my home as we speak. I have had back issues my whole life, and I am excited to have this option, that relieved a lot my pain.
The thing is, I did not need to go all the way to the Maldives to experience aerial yoga. They have this back home. However, I never knew about it, and it’s just not part of my normal circle or routine back home. Shopping online for this device, I realized that it was only because I was out of my usual element, and at a place where all kinds of new things and experiences were readily at my fingertips, that I was introduced to it and gave it a shot. I discovered that I absolutely love it.
Yoga, in general is something that I started doing when I was traveling, and was staying at a resort where they offered complementary sunrise yoga. It is now something I do all the time.
In India, I learned a specific sun salutation yoga routine that is a part of my every day life, and that I have taught to my Zoom Vacations travelers on our tours. In fact, it is a routine that I incorporate in my other travels as it helps my body feel so much better after days of traveling. You can do it anywhere, and you do not need any equipment— the perfect thing to stay limber while traveling or starting your day.
For me, yoga is just one of the subtle ways in which my trips have inspired me. Travel takes us out of our usual comfort zones and places us in a physical and emotional mindset to try new things.
This is definitely true in terms of cuisine. I cook a lot at home, and so much of my cooking has been inspired by dishes that I have had while I have been traveling. Recently I learned how to make several traditional Maldivian dishes, and I realize that they are so easy. One of my favorite things to eat is fresh tuna, and the Maldives is famous for it, and so I learned a lot of really simple dishes including a soup that was out of this world. All of it easy to make.
When I was on Safari in South Africa, our Safari lodge surprised us during a sunset game drive with a small beautiful event in the bush. At that event they served a carrot ginger soup in mugs. I got the recipe for it, and now I make all the time at home.
A few months ago at Zadun, a Ritz Carlton reserve in Cabo San Lucas, I went to the hotel bar, and noticed all of these incredible glass and crystal bottles of bitters that they use for many of their drinks. I kept admiring how beautiful they were, and how it added such a sense of elegance to the bar. When I got home, a simple search online revealed that these were easy and inexpensive to obtain. So, fast forward to I have a beautiful set of these crystal bitters decanters that have taken my cocktailing to the next level.
When I was in Morocco, there was a specific style of long sleeve lightweight shirt that many of the men wore. I loved the look, and bought a few of these shirts which are now some of my favorite things that wear, and are appropriate in a variety of settings.
In Rajasthan in India, I was inspired by the delicate painting of floral and nature motifs that served as borders around beautiful doors and windows in the palaces that we visited. So, during a very quiet Covid New Year’s, solo, I took the time to try my own painted border at home. It was actually a great way to spend that evening, creating art, and reflecting on the wonderful trip that I had in India. Every time I look at that border, I think of India and am filled with happiness.
Travel definitely gives us a chance to relax and rejuvenate ourselves, and to learn about new cultures, expand our worldview, and simply celebrate life. However, it also has the power to inspire us long after the trip is over. Living a full life is so much about getting out of our usual comfort zones, and trying new things.
As I look ahead to my future travels, I know that there will be things that I will try and practice that I did not even know existed before, but that will become a positive aspect of my life. Whether it is new recipes, new fashion, or new activities or exercise and beyond, if you keep an open mind, and a willingness to try new things, you can discover so much that will make your world so much bigger, rich, and rewarding.
Bryan Herb is co-owner of Zoom Vacations®, a US company that creates stylish international private events and gay group vacations to the world’s hottest destinations. Learn more about them at www.zoomvacations.com or call 773.772.9666.