Ah, spring. Just saying the word brings a sigh of relief and boost of inspiration after a long, cold, dark winter.
Along with warmer temps, spring marks a time of rebirth and renewal for cultures around the world–and in our own lives.
What better way to dust off the past and celebrate new beginnings than with a trip?! Here are some of my favorite spring travel destinations to inspire a fresh start and personal rejuvenation.
Celebrate the transience of life viewing cherry blossoms in Japan
Head to Japan from March through April and you’ll notice locals and foreigners alike coming together for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. The parks are filled with parties and picnics under pink and white blossoms. Special sakura (cherry blossom) desserts pop up in the bakeries. Even Starbucks has a sakura latte. The spring version of a PSL perhaps?
The meaning of hanami goes deeper than pretty flowers and pink treats, though. The short lifespan of the blossoms is a metaphor for our own human existence and the transience of life. With roots stemming from the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, hanami is a reminder to live in the moment and honor not only the beauty of life but how fleeting it is too.
If you’ve been struggling with staying present or making room for the people and experiences that truly matter, a trip to Japan during cherry blossom season might be the reminder you need to live a more intentional life. Read more about my trip to Japan here.
Reconnect with yourself in Sedona, Arizona
Known for its luxurious spa retreats, as well as its woo-woo vibe, Sedona, Arizona is the perfect spot to reconnect with your mind, body and spirit.
If the winter’s left you feeling a bit low, head to one of Sedona’s Red Rocks vortex sites, which are believed to be energetic epicenters with healing powers. You’ll also find all the crystal shops, sage smudging supplies and psychic advisors you could possibly need for an awakening spiritual adventure.
Not the new-agey type? A good yoga class, relaxing massage and the warming desert sun will help you shake off the winter blues and rejuvenate you from the inside out. Winter who?
Wash away your past during Songkran in Thailand
Every April 13-15 the streets of Thailand turn into a massive water fight to celebrate the Thai New Year, or Songkran, which translates as “to move.”
The Thai people spend the days leading up to the festival visiting temples, saying cleansing prayers and spring cleaning their homes.
hell water breaks loose.
According to Buddhist belief, water purifies us, washes away the bad luck from our past and ushers in blessings for the year ahead. Somewhere along the line, this belief morphed into the epic water-blasting ritual that has locals and visitors alike pummeling each other with water balloons, squirt guns and buckets of ice water.
Sounds like a fun way to enjoy Thailand with locals and wash away the winter blahs!
Stop and smell the tulips in The Netherlands
If winter’s gray skies and barren trees make you feel closed off and depressed, a pop of color could be just the antidote.
Enter Keukenhof, The Netherland’s annual tulip festival. Sometimes you just need to immerse yourself in a field of bright, beautiful flowers, no?
Exploring one of the world’s largest flower gardens is sure to put a smile on your face and revive your spirit. Catch the blooms from late March through May in the town of Lisse.
Add some color to your life during Holi in India
If Keukenhof is the refined version of color therapy, the Holi festival is the wild child.
For a full night and day, the streets of India and Nepal turn into an explosion of color as throngs of people throw colored powders and water at each other. No one escapes clean.
The Hindu tradition commemorates good over evil and the arrival of spring. Know as both the festival of color and the festival of love, it’s a time to forgive and forget and make amends.
Ready to laugh off what’s been holding you down? Holi comes around in late February or early March, so it’s already over this year. But there’s still a chance to get your color on during Holi in NYC on May 6.
Bonus! Persian Nowruz Staycation
Nowruz, or Persian New Year started on March 20 and goes on for two weeks. A tradition in many Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, it’s a time to celebrate nature’s renewal and come together in peace with your family and neighbors.
For the weeks leading up to Nowruz, families deep clean their homes and repair anything broken. They also take the time to reflect on their spiritual health and participate in rituals (like jumping over fire) to purify the new year.
You can celebrate at home by spring cleaning your house, prioritizing self-care and spending quality time with family and friends. Sounds like the perfect spring staycation to me.