Take a solo trip. Traveling can help you take a breather and focus on yourself, your emotions, and realign with your inner self. It may seem scary for some people to travel alone but sometimes challenging yourself, learning what your strengths are, and pushing yourself out of your own comfort zone can help boost your self-confidence and promote self-development.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewingSahara Rose De Vore.
Sahara Rose De Vore is a Travel Coach and Founder of The Travel Coach Network. She uses her decades of travel expertise to help people have meaningful and transformative travel experiences that improve their overall wellbeing, personal, and professional life. Sahara Rose is a published author and has been in more than 60 media outlets including Forbes, Business Insider, Thrive Global, and Authority Magazine for the mission to reshape how and why people travel. Visit her at https://thetravelcoachnetwork.com/
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up as an only child to a single mom. We could hardly afford to keep food in the cabinets, let alone see the world. Therefore, travel seemed so far out of reach for someone like myself. Plus, no one in our family or community was a traveler. Our idea of traveling was family road trips from the north of the U.S to the south Texas to visit my grandmother’s family near Mexico but, I was so young that I only remember bits and pieces of those adventures. I had a wanderlust soul and no idea where it came from.
I have always had an artistic eye so every time that I would see beautiful photos of lush green rainforests and colorful tropical birds in Costa Rica and other incredible places around the world, I was simply in awe. I saw movies with sky-high waterfalls and the most stunning white sand beaches. I knew that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore but, how could I ever make that happen?
Well, I was determined to and I did.
When I graduated over a decade ago from university with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, I was very underwhelmed by the lack of diversity in career options. At the age of 22 I was unsure of the life that I wanted to have and what my passions were. I was struggling with anxiety and bouts of depression and knew that whatever it was that I was going to do with my life, I wanted it to bring me happiness, purpose, and I wanted to make an impact on the lives of others and the world.
I decided to take a very unconventional route and ignore what pressures society and family were placing on me. I booked a one-way ticket to Europe, packed a suitcase, and set off to find the answers that I was looking for.
I wound up falling in love with how much travel was helping and healing me that I spent over a ten years traveling on and off to over 84 countries by the age of 31.
This was the catalyst to creating my dream travel coaching business.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I spent years after graduating with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management traveling the globe trying to figure out what my ideal career path in the travel industry was. Over the years, I learned about what types of travel jobs people had or what people were doing that incorporated some sense of their love of travel. These jobs were things like being a travel agent, travel advisor, or a travel manager, being a social media travel “influencer”, being a travel writer or a travel blogger, or working for a company where you traveled for business purposes. None of those resonated or aligned with what I wanted to use my knowledge and experience of travel in. I struggled for a long time trying to find what my purpose in travel was. I believed that there was more to a travel career than blogging and bookings and that travel was something so powerful that we as humans needed and wanted. This is what sparked my idea to become a travel coach. I then created The Travel Coach Network to help other passionate travelers have an aligned travel business that they loved and then I branched into helping business travel and corporate integrate the power of travel into their companies.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
My biggest fan and inspiration is my mom. I know that sounds cliché but I am very blessed to have a mom who always supported me in whatever it was that I wanted to do in my life. I am an only child and she is a single mom so me choosing to travel the world solo for so long of course wasn’t easy for her but she always supported me. She always instilled in me that I can do anything in life that I want to do and become whomever I wanted to be, so I ran with it!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
One of the silliest things that I did when starting my business was when I launched a new group program and offered a payment plan, I accidentally set it as a one-time payment which meant that I had to contact each client each month for that month’s payment until the three months were over. I learned to double check everything before making it available to my audience.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I absolutely love the book “Connected to Goodness” by David Meltzer. This book reassured the importance of being kind, being of service to others, and making a positive impact in the work that you do. In this book, David tells you how you can attract and manifest what is that you want in your business. This approach has helped me sculpt my business and better yet, how to maintain a positive mindset when things are seaming to go your way.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“The universe will only give you what you can handle.” This quote has never been more relevant to my life than when I started my business. When you try to do too much at once and don’t dedicate your energy to what needs it most, you are putting a limit to what the universe will provide for you. There’s a reason why you aren’t reaching your desired goals. You need to open your heart and put energy to where you want to thrive. Allow the universe to guide you. There is a reason for everything, it is up to you to recognize that and accept it.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am developing programs for corporate wellness, business travelers, and travel agent trainings centered around my signature Travel Coach Approach©. After years of research and reading studies, I learned how beneficial travel can be on our mental, physical, and overall wellbeing. Data such as how being outdoors in nature can lower stress levels, how learning new skills like navigation, a new language, or problem-solving can boost cognitive abilities, how sitting by the ocean and breathing in the salty sea air can reduce anxiety, or how meeting new people can deepen your emotional compassion and compassion for others. The majority of people love to travel but most are not travel experts or intuitive travelers. This means that people need to be educated, inspired, and empowered to have transformative experiences that either improve their wellbeing in some way or bring personal or professional desired results. People travel for personal, work, spiritual, emotional, and healing purposes. I am bringing more light and education to this.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Experts, psychologists, and neuroscientists have been studying and finding that travel has the potential to affect mental change. Here are 3 good habits involving travel that can lead to optimum mental wellbeing.
- Take a solo trip. Traveling can help you take a breather and focus on yourself, your emotions, and realign with your inner self. It may seem scary for some people to travel alone but sometimes challenging yourself, learning what your strengths are, and pushing yourself out of your own comfort zone can help boost your self-confidence and promote self-development.
- Spend time in nature. The US National Library of Medicine talks about how “therapeutic landscapes like forests, mountains, and calming sea sides may help to decrease the risk of psycho-social stress-related diseases”. Spending time at a beach, going for a hike among the trees, sitting at viewpoint on a mountain or a hill, being among wildlife, getting sunshine, and breathing in fresh air can have a great impact on your mental wellbeing.
- Get involved in your travel planning process. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that “the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation”. Planning is an easy way to dramatically boost personal happiness. Planners are happier than non-planners in personal relationships, their job, their company, physical health and well-being, and happier with how they spend their paid time off. So, next time you go on a trip, don’t hand over the entire process to someone else if you don’t have to. Instead, get involved!
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I’m working on myself every single day. I’m no master of meditation or yoga by any means but I do my best to be as mindful as I can be. What I find works best for me right now is to journal and write things down. I have two businesses that I run by myself at the moment so there is always a lot going on in my head. What helps me is to get those thoughts and ideas down on paper and organize them. I use my whiteboard to make a to-do list for the day, I use post its to segment my weekly tasks, and I use a color big calendar so I can visually see what I have scheduled for the entire month. This helps me a lot. I am a very artsy and visual person so colors and organization brings clarity, ease, and less stress to my every day. I really want to work on developing a more consistent self-care routine and find a balance so I can incorporate more yoga and meditation to my life.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Walk instead of ride. If you can, try to walk somewhere instead of hailing a taxi or driving. I especially love to do this when I travel. Not only does it help me keep fit and active but it also enables me to explore new areas of a place that I would have passed up in a vehicle. If you are home, try walking to a park with your kids instead of driving or if you can, maybe try walking to work.
- Get outside. Being outdoors inspires you to be more active. It’s nice to lounge on the couch or in bed all day but by simply going outdoors, the fresh air and sounds of nature can spark a new sense of wellbeing and motivation for you. Go to a nearby park and run around the track a few laps or go for a hike on a nearby trail.
- Make a smoothie. Your outer physical health is also related to your inner health. It’s not easy for everyone to eat healthier so an easy and yummy way to start is to simply make a smoothie. You can do this for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. Throw in your favorite fruits, add some veggies that you want to consume but don’t want to actually eat, and add in any extra vitamins, protein, or powders that you have. It’s like a one-stop-shop for your healthy eating for the day!
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
I have always been a healthy eater. As a traveler, trying new fruits and vegetables is one of my favorite things to do. I see colors and they scream vitamins and nutrients which I know will make my body and mind feel better. But, that doesn’t come easy for everyone. Some people have a really hard time choosing foods that are better for their overall wellbeing because they simply just don’t taste as good as something that is salty, cheesy, and greasy. Right? Some of the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, such as eating healthy is good for you, are centered around the fact that we like things that temporarily make us feel good without thinking about the long-term or overall affect. We know that we need to eat better, drink more eater, get more sleep, save money, take care of our bodies, and be more mindful but, in the moment, it makes us happier and fulfilled to eat that cheeseburger, pour an extra glass of wine, stay up and watch the next episode in your favorite tv series, or stay on the couch all day long. We as humans don’t like to get pushed out of our comfort zones and we seek temporarily fixes. With practice and consistency, we can make small changes every single day that better our minds, bodies, and work-life.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Developing emotional wellness can be rough for many people. Here are three good habits that can help build your emotional wellness.
- Volunteer and help others. I heard a quote from Brian Mullaney, the Founder of SmileTrain.org, that “helping others is one of the most selfish things that you can do for yourself” and I couldn’t agree more. Helping others and making an impact in the world or the lives of others can help build your emotional wellbeing. Being able to make a difference in a way outside of your own being makes you feel something. You feel excited, proud, happy, loving, caring, passionate, joyful, empowered and may be sad all at once. Spend time giving back in some way. This can mean volunteering, donating your time, making others smile, doing a good deed every day, inspiring someone, bettering the environment, caring for an animal, or any other kind way to make a difference.
- Travel more. Travel exposes us to other ways of life, ideas, belief systems, cultures, and religions. Seeing how people live differently from your own life, upbringing, or home country can open our eyes and hearts. It can spark a new level of compassion, empathy, understanding, and acceptance, ultimately heightening your emotional wellness.
- Journal. Writing in a journal is a safe and comfortable place to express yourself. The more that you do it, the more vulnerable and open you are about your emotions. By writing down what matters to you in life, what doesn’t matter to you, what you aspire to accomplish, what your goals are, how you feel deep within, what impacts your mind and soul, all allows you space to expand your emotional wellness. It’s important to tune into our inner self in order to grow emotionally.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
Smiling spreads kindness and being kind gives you all sorts of good feelings. To improve your emotional wellness, try smiling at someone that you walk past or even when you’re talking on the phone with someone. There is an energy that smiling emits and it is contagious. Smiling builds compassion for others meaning you care that they too are happy in that slight moment. Make it a point to smile at someone every single day and to practice smiling even when you are alone. I may even shift your mood and mindset.
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Travel. One of the greatest opportunities to reach optimum spiritual wellness is to travel to certain places around the world. Reason being is that there are so many different spiritual journeys to be had. Some examples are visiting and learning about the life and journey of a monk in Asia, spending time in at a yoga and mediation retreat in India, experiencing different types of rituals and ceremonies around the world, or even just simply sitting near a stunning body of water or natural landscape and taking deep breaths while assessing your own spirituality and what you want out of life.
- Meditate. This can take years of practice for some people but if you spend just a few minutes everyday meditating, you can heighten your spiritual wellbeing. This helps by clearing your mind and learning to just be. It can spark a sense of belief to you in a way that you never thought of before.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Trying something new like reading a spiritual-based book, spending time exploring churches, temples, or other spiritual places, or learning about other belief systems, ceremonies, or rituals around the world. Expanding your knowledge when it comes to spirituality opens your mind and heart to find what you want for yourself and where you stand when it comes to your own spiritual wellness.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
There are countless benefits to being in nature that help to cultivate our spiritual wellbeing. The outdoors, whether you are in the mountains, near a body of water, or deep in a forest, ignites a level of spirituality to you. Nature inspires and heals us. Being in nature allows us to open our eyes to a planet filled with other living beings outside of our own species. There are many places in nature around the world that are known for spiritual enlightenment such as the trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, the hiking trail of El Camino de Santiago in Spain, the spiritual vortexes in the Sedona mountains in Arizona, and visiting the Holy Land of Jerusalem, Israel. So, whether you enjoy history, water, mountains, hiking, or plants, there are many ways to go on a spiritual journey in nature.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
A part of my mission is to grow a movement in my Thrive Through Travel Initiative. This movement is about the acknowledgment that travel has a powerful impact to improve the mind, body, soul, and work-life. My goal for this movement is to inspire people to share how travel has impacted their lives and why they turn to travel for their own unique reasons as well as encourage companies to take travel off of the back burner and move it to the forefront for thriving in wellness and in the workplace.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I would absolutely love to have lunch with Arianna Huffington, the founder of Thrive Global. She has always been an inspiration to me since the beginning of my business journey. It is a dream of mine to collab with Thrive on a future project for travel wellbeing.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.