30th Adventure
January 3, 2013 1:43 PM   Subscribe

I'll be turning 30 in April, and I'm planning a trip in celebration. There are a lot of places in the world I'd love to go just to hang out and look around, but I decidedly do NOT want to do that for this trip. I want to travel somewhere and do something active. To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, my front runner so far is a one week stay in Jamaica learning how to make wood fired pottery. What similar "enriching" type experiences are out there?

I want to do something active, like make something or learn a new skill
I want to leave the country (US)
The whole thing including airfare (from the east coast) has to be under 4000
I'd like it to be all-inclusive
I'd like it to be 1-2 weeks
I don't want to volunteer (personal reasons, please don't argue with this, just take it as a parameter)
It needs to be happening around the end of April 2013

I found a fantastic site: www.shawguides.com for arts and crafts ideas (which is where I found the pottery thing) Other ideas I've considered but haven't found any program that matches my requirements: a meditation retreat, an exercise-type retreat, etc

posted by Calicatt to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Volunteering is actually not worth it if you're only going to be there for a couple of weeks anyway, in most cases.

My suggestion:

San Pedro on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, taking spanish lessons and learning how to do Mayan weaving. Also plenty of active stuff to do like parasailing on the lake and climbing volcanos. Cost is easily in your range. There are also meditation centers across the lake in San Marcos if that's your thing.
posted by empath at 1:50 PM on January 3, 2013

Deep inside Mexico : learn how to make tacos and chimichangas from scratch.

Buenos Aires: learn to dance tango, from scratch

Deep inside Argentina : learn to ride as a cowgirl

Spain (Sevilla and around) : learn how to be a matador

Aside from the taco making, the other activities will flush your mind and extremities with adrenaline and blood. Even the taco stuff can bring on adrenaline if local unfriendlys pay a territory visit.
posted by Kruger5 at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2013

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine did a tour (that I am still jealous of -- stupid school) with Knitting Iceland.

I know that the tour she went on was for established knittters, and I don't know if they do anything for beginners, so I guess this is only an option if you're already a knitter?
posted by sparklemotion at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2013

Dive course in Koh Tao, Thailand.
posted by dydecker at 3:26 PM on January 3, 2013

Travel to Port Townsend, Washington, come home with a pair of custom shoes that you made for yourself.
posted by Miko at 3:39 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend and I went on a week long cycling trip in Ireland this year and it was incredible! Such an amazing way to see the countryside, we stayed in different b&bs, learned hurling, and didn't feel one bit guilty for all the beer and fooood because we were cycling 50miles a day. If you want details, memail me!
posted by floweredfish at 4:53 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Several of my friends have done diving and LOVED it, magical etc etc and I would like to go climbing. [I really love wood firing but also wanted to say that if you haven't already done ceramics before, and haven't done wood firing before, I would not recommend it as a celebratory activity-- even if it's all inclusive, there's a lot of boring downtime but you still get sleep deprived when overnight firing, it is a ton of manual labour where you probably aren't learning much except for how to put wood in a fire and wait, plus you have to fly your work home.]
posted by tangaroo at 5:36 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This website looks like it might have something for you! It features all sorts of fabulous-sounding learning holidays, as well as yoga/meditation retreats and the like. I'd be tempted to head off to Spain - it's fantastic at that time of year. Flamenco in Granada followed by a yoga retreat in the Andalucian mountains, perhaps?
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:51 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I stayed at Mami Camilla, a B&B in Sorrento that is also a cooking school. I'm sure there are tons of these kinds of places in Italy, so if you didn't want to go to Sorrento, you could find another one. Bonus: you can do some hiking and day trips around the rest of the Amalfi Coast.
posted by soelo at 6:56 PM on January 3, 2013

Hike Cinque Terra in Italy?
posted by kat518 at 7:26 PM on January 3, 2013

I did a two-week horse trek in Mongolia in 2010, and it was amazing. Camping on the steppe, with a guide and all meals provided. The trek cost about USD$1000, as I recall, and airfare was maybe $2000.

I'm an experienced horse-rider, but you don't have to be to enjoy a trip like this. However, you do need to be physically fit.
posted by RubyScarlet at 1:40 AM on January 4, 2013

I am off tomorrow (eek so excited!) to a yoga retreat with ayeverdic treatment in south india. Its not all included but i have budgeted for food and sightseeing and extra massages etc and my total for 2 weeks comes in around £2000. I could have gone much cheaper if i wanted more of an ashram vibe or slightly cheaper if i went to another part of india or thailand and stayed in less 'fancy' accommodation.

I knew i wanted to go away and do/learn something and as i was going by myself i wanted some kind of structure and to not feel totally alone. I pretty much just googled stuff and played on the internet for hours. That was actually a lot of fun!

Seconding the website recommendation by HandfulofDust. They do some combination stuff too if you wanted to do a couple of things e.g. learn pilates and how to 'cook' for the raw food movement, learn arabic and ceramics, surf and photography. They have stuff worldwide. I didnt book through this this time but i've got my eye on some stuff there for later in the year.
posted by moreteaplease at 2:31 AM on January 4, 2013

Response by poster: Update: I'm going on one of the trips on the site handfulofdust mentioned. Jewelry making in sw france :) leaving tomorrow !
posted by Calicatt at 8:45 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

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