June 2012




Days are getting longer, the school year is coming to an end and the heat is moving in. It’s summer, and for most, that means vacation time. I was fortunate as a child that my family enjoyed the outdoors and most of our vacations were spent horseback riding, canoeing, hiking and exploring. My father taught us to hunt for arrowheads and Indian pottery, of which we now have a nice large collection. My siblings and I would have a contest to see who could find the largest banana spider web; some were over 12 feet wide. We learned about Florida’s indigenous creatures and their behaviors and spent hours seeking and identifying different prints on the trails. We were not to know we were learning, officially, just that we were great explorers.

Because I’ve been blessed with four sons, my rugged outdoor experiences have paid off. My husband and I, with boys in tow, have spent the past 20 years exploring some of our nation’s most exquisite natural beauties. Family adventures have included road trips and excursions from Key West to the Grand Canyon, giving us a continued thirst for discovering our fascinating outdoors.

Based on June’s article, “Born to Explore,” by Joe Robinson, we need to engage in new experiences to be more vital and happy. This month Healthy Escapes theme features some of our nation’s healthiest getaways—places where exploration is enhanced by informative classes, engaging workshops, rejuvenating amenities and healthy dinning—all of which embellish the vacation experience.

Throughout the years, I often relied on vacation memories to inspire my more mundane daily routine, which began with a race to prepare breakfast at 5 a.m. and ended with squeezing in 23-minute dinners after game nights. I have an assortment of lasting visions I use often in my meditations, like peacefully floating down a river until we would come upon one of nature’s ice-cold, spring-fed swimming pools, and then ending the day with slow-roasted meals on an open fire, completely exhausted, yet revived.

Although these memorable expeditions were always well photographed and documented in scrapbooks, photo collections and videos, the most memorable aspects remain only in my mind. The mental calmness, the re-engaging and sheer pleasure of living in the moment is what I remember most.

As we focus this month on Men’s Wellness, I would like to emphasize the benefits of a getaway as an opportunity to unwind and re-engage, but also a opportunity to discover healthier ways.

Recently, my husband and I experienced in a weekend spa getaway at Escape at Wind Creek. Each morning, we were greeted with an energizing, freshly made vegetable smoothie or fresh pressed juice, which we later learned to prepare in a private cooking class. We enjoyed a variety of fitness classes, relaxed with massages, facials, whirlpool soaks, steam baths and escapes at the meditation circle. Each day was filled with healthy meals, with plenty of time to relax and spend time together. Although we had traveled just a short distance, we both agreed, on many levels, it was one of the most rejuvenating experiences we have ever had.

So, although it may not be the usual gift for fathers, this Father’s Day, consider surprising the men in your life with a loving healthy escape.

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