Deep Travel: The Secret to Feeling Happier on the Road

Travel is a state of mind.

You know that feeling—the still point in between all the movement and chaos of travel, when you look around and you're knocked out by the beauty of the world around you?

The moment when you're driving through a mountain range across the world, or watching the sun set over the lake in your hometown, and you feel your heart fall into tune with your surroundings? It's a moment when everything drops away, and the purpose of life feels crystal clear and simpler than ever.

For many of us, that feeling is the reason why we travel. Sure, the photographs are great souvenirs—but we travel for the experience.

Some writers have called this feeling "deep travel." According to former New Yorker staff writer Tony Hiss, deep travel is a "feeling of interconnectedness and heightened experience." It's "an exhilarating state of mind that travel can evoke, when everything seems suddenly fresh, vivid, intensely interesting, and memorable."

Of course, it doesn't always work out that way. It's easy to get wrapped up in logistics, to get discouraged when something goes wrong, or to get overwhelmed by pressure to have an incredible vacation.

Fortunately, there are ways to maximize the amount of deep travel experiences that you have, and here's a spoiler: It starts from within.

How to Access the Deep Travel State...

1. Give yourself time

So often, tourists try to cram too many destinations into a single trip. This is incredibly tempting, as there are so many beautiful places to see and most of us have limited vacation time—but really, what are you going to get from speeding between Venice, Rome, Napoli, and Florence in four days other than blisters on your feet and an awful headache? You'd be much better off spending the time soaking in the magic of Firenze. A good rule of thumb for travel in general is to spend at least two full days (or three nights) in any city or location.

If you think back to the times that you've felt electrified, breathtaken, or otherwise moved by a travel experience, you might realize that these experiences don't always happen when you think they will. An expensive beach resort, a wild safari, or a twelve-hour bus tour can create a deep travel experience, but it's more likely that you'll find what you're looking for by traveling slowly.

Image via Lottoland

2. Meet locals

In order to fully immerse yourself in a place, you'll want to avoid the most touristy attractions. The best way to do this is to meet the locals.

If you want to go all-in, you can live with a local through a program like Couchsurfing or Workaway. Couchsurfing is just for accommodations, but Workaway involves doing four to five hours of work for your host each day in exchange for room and board. It's one of the best ways to get close to locals and other travelers quickly, while also traveling cheaply.

Of course, you can also just visit local haunts and start talking to people—or you can enroll in a class, attend a festival, or take part in another experience that will allow you to really get to know the people living there.

Image via The Telegraph

3. Leave things open to chance

Getting lost is one of the absolute best ways to experience deep travel. Especially in the era of WiFi and smartphones, you're not really in danger of being totally stranded (just make sure you check the time of the last bus).

Instead of trying to check off the best destinations, try opening yourself up to fate. Always favor experiences over destinations, ask locals where they think you should go, put on your best walking shoes, and let yourself wander.

When wandering, try to really drink in the sights of the world around you. The gardens hidden between buildings, the old man and his wife lingering beside the river, the accordion player in the subway station—they're what will bring you to that state of peace and connection that defines deep travel.

Image via Artstation

4. Do some research

While you should always be open to chance, it's never a bad idea to do some research and planning before setting sail. First and foremost, you should definitely check bus and train times and book your hostel or hotel in advance; that way you won't have to stress about these things while on the road.

Try bringing along some literature by writers who lived in the area, or carry around a research or fun-fact guide. Having some knowledge of a place's history, culture, and language can only help you deepen your connection to wherever you are—so grab some Lorca while in Spain, or De Beauvoir in Paris, and let your mind wander alongside your body. In general, you should prioritize destinations that align with your interests. Spend time chasing the ghosts of your favorite artists around New York. See the local sports team play. Whatever floats your boat, it's always worth customizing your trip based on your own preferences rather than blindly following in the footsteps of the crowds.

Image via As Told By Ash and Shelbs

5. Don't spend that much money

This is a win-win rule to live by while traveling. While you don't want to deprive yourself, sometimes you can actually enhance your travel experience by sticking to the free or cheap stuff. Typically, the most touristy of attractions can be the most expensive, while gems will be hiding in plain sight.

Instead of picking places or attractions because of their value, pick destinations based on reviews and local recommendations. Instead of favoring expensive meals every night, try out the local dive—or cook pasta with other hostel occupants. Instead of flying from place to place, try out a long train ride, and watch the countryside pass by.

Don't feel like your whole trip is ruined if you skip out on a place because the admission fee was too high. Instead, prioritize experiences over checklists, and memories over souvenirs.

Image via My Belize Blog

6. Don't expect everything to go well

If you set out on the road expecting everything to go exactly as planned, you're going to be disappointed. Accept it now: Your bus will be late. Your hostel will be loud. The food will be disappointing, the attraction sold out. That's all part of the journey. Crying in a hostel bed is part of traveling. Buying the wrong train ticket or falling asleep and missing your stop is, you guessed it—part of traveling.

You can and should plan for mistakes—always leave a few extra hours to get anywhere, and buy museum tickets in advance—but regardless, things will always go wrong while you're traveling. You might see unexpected sights; you might have to sleep in a train station; you might wind up spending the night in a city you've never heard of. You'll wind up in transit and waiting in lines far longer than you planned.

If you can find a way to treat all of this like part of the trip, not like a hindrance, you'll find that you'll be far more open to deep travel experiences than if you'd been meticulously counting your wins and losses.

Image via Western Financial Group

7. Travel alone

Traveling alone gives you time to think and to get to know yourself. It allows you to follow your own rhythms, to create your own path, and to see what you really want to see. It also makes it easier to meet people, and to make impulsive decisions about where to go next.

One of the most rewarding parts of travel is the strangers you meet on the road, the brief bonds or sunrise conversations with people you've never met before and will never see again—and especially when traveling alone, you'll find it's shockingly easy to talk to people, even if you're introverted. Plus, when you're not constantly chattering with a companion from home, you can actually soak in the place that you are, and you can allow new experiences to expand your mind and even change your life.

Of course, traveling alone comes with its own baggage and safety concerns, but it's generally a great excuse to totally escape, to try on new personas, and to embrace your surroundings on a deeper level.

Image via So Tov

Ultimately, deep travel is about opening your mind to new surroundings. It's about allowing yourself to appreciate the beautiful world you live in, and the body that allows you to experience all its salt and wind and sound. It's what pushes us to keep adventuring into the unknown. It's about paying attention to the inner dimensions of your travel experience, rather than just the exterior aspects. If you do it right, it can make all the difference.

As anyone who's been on a family vacation that erupted into fights at the hotel bar knows, any trip can be utter misery if you're in the wrong state of mind. But with deep travel skills in your arsenal, any destination can be a paradise.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!