Where can I go to recharge?
September 13, 2011 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I am burned out. I want to get away and recharge. What are some amazing experiences/trip ideas?

It took a bit of convincing but I've managed to get my boss to agree to give me 1 month leave. I'm looking for some ideas of incredible experiences, amazing trips, etc. that will give me a chance to get away and clear my mind. A couple of ideas I've had: sea kayaking in the South Pacific, WOOFing in New Zealand, cycling SE Asia, trekking in Nepal. What I've ruled out: African safari (my girlfriend would kill me if I did this without her). I will be traveling alone and would prefer something active. Assume cost is not an issue. I am based in Tokyo so I am a bit biased towards Asia/Pacific.
posted by rsk to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Hiking the Inca Trail seems to be what all of the well-to-do hipsters are doing these days. I have three friends who have (separately) done it in the last year. Aside from the one who got appendicitis and had to have a sketchy country hospital appendectomy, everyone has raved about the experience.
posted by phunniemee at 7:00 PM on September 13, 2011

I went to Space Camp over Labor Day weekend. It. Was. Amazing.

(Although there was talk of reducing the number of sessions available soon.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:07 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about a month of language/cultural immersion? Shanghai would rate high on my list, or Seoul or Manila. Or, if you decided to go farther afield: Paris or Provence, Barcelona, Florence or Venice, or even the South American country of your choice.

My Perfect Moments tend to come packaged in the everyday, so this may not be the big adventure you're looking for. But there's something to be said for going deep rather than going big.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:30 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

For breadth of amazing and wildly different things to see, people to meet, etc, you can't beat the Transsiberian Railroad.
posted by colin_l at 7:35 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Do you dive? I've heard of diving boat expeditions to remote spots around Borneo, Sumatra etc that you can't get to otherwise and are absolutely insanely gorgeous. Borneo also has orangutans. There are resorts there set up to accommodate snorkelers too that are also pretty amazing.

Friends of mine did a camel-and-jeep trip across Mongolia that they said was something else. Also hiking Tierra del Fuego.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:38 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're based in Tokyo you are not crazy far from Alaska...one of the last places where you can truly experience untrammeled wilderness. I have met several people who say that viewing Brown Bears in their natural habitats in various national parks was a transformative experience.

If you want to stick to Asia you could head off the coast of Thailand to Tarutao National Park in the Andaman Sea...or just visit the Thai mainland. If you visit the Thai mainland, make sure to book a flight to Cambodia to check out Angkor Wat...

I'd check out Alaska.
posted by jnnla at 7:39 PM on September 13, 2011

Do what folks in pursuit of a recharge have done for centuries: set off on a pilgrimage! Established historical routes tackleable in your timeframe include: El Camino de Santiago in Spain, 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku in Japan, the Temples of Himachal Pradesh in India.
posted by apparently at 7:47 PM on September 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Two weeks in Greenland, followed by two weeks in Iceland. I did this last year and it was the best trip of my life. It allowed me to recharge, I saw incredibly beautiful sights, and had some quiet time as well. I came back with thousands of photos.

For a shorter stint, I did a one-week silent retreat last month in Alaska - we kayaked in the Inside Passage (SE Alaska) every day, we did meditation, yoga and qi gong, and ate wonderful organic food. Spiritually invigorating.

Recommend both trips without hesitation.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:48 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Flights to Australia from Japan are cheap. Nothing clears your mind like the vast emptiness of the Northern Territory outback. When solitary landmarks suddenly appear your brain rushes to saddle them with symbolism, cleansing the pipes. And the stars! Seeing your shadow at night and realising it's cast by the Milky Way is a great way to reset your perspective on life.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:00 PM on September 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Go to Bhutan. You will never have the chance to go to Buddhist kingdom for the rest of your life.
posted by jeremias at 8:12 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

posted by jchaw at 9:29 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jump out of an airplane. Seriously hyper-intensive adrenaline buzz that lasts for hours. If that doesn't knock you out of your rut I don't know what will. Bonus: you can still do other things listed above.

My whole family went the first time and we still talk about it. Mrs. Director was afraid of small planes and of falling and she loved, loved, loved it. We went last year for our 30th anniversary as well.
posted by trinity8-director at 10:53 PM on September 13, 2011

I highly recommend backpacking or biking through SE Asia. My favorite places? Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam and Thailand are also great.

And while it's highly cliche, Lonely Planet guides have never steered me wrong.
posted by bardic at 11:29 PM on September 13, 2011

When my boyfriend and I left Japan after two years, burned out & depressed, we went straight to Thailand for two weeks before moving to the UK. Within a couple of days we were relaxed, tanned and happy; after two weeks we were different, better people altogether. It's cheap to get there from Tokyo and you won't spend a redonkulous time in transit either. Having now been to most places in South East Asia, I can also highly recommend Vietnam. I found Cambodia's poverty to be very confronting and upsetting however taking a boat from Phnom Penh to Cao Doc, Vietnam was amazing.
posted by Wantok at 1:07 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

environmental volunteering.
posted by zombieApoc at 6:12 AM on September 14, 2011

After a year-stint teaching in Korea, I took a month-long train trek through mainland China. There were some bureaucratic snafus, but on the whole it was a majestic, strenuous and altogether peaceful adventure. Some high points along the way: bicycling through geologically pscyhedelic Yangshuo, hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge (photo mine) (2-day excursion)..Yunnan province in general, and the overall weirdness/backwardness/single time zone that is China.

But, if you choose China, please please DO NOT visit Tibet. I'll leave it at that because I want to keep this a fun thread :-)
posted by obscurator at 6:41 AM on September 14, 2011

I will second Iceland. Fly into Reykjavik, rent an SUV, and drive around the Ring Road for two weeks. It will be lifechanging.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:45 AM on September 14, 2011

(Hit post too soon)

It is also popular to bike around it, but it is starting to get cold there this time of year.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:47 AM on September 14, 2011

Wherever you end up, you may want to go on some nerdy day trips.
posted by Terheyden at 1:51 PM on September 14, 2011

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