“Travel is a tonic to me,” artist Norman Rockwell once said. After the Covid pandemic brought its challenges – mental breakdowns, anxiety attacks, debilitating bouts of depression, vomit-inducing stress attacks, weight loss, purposeful self-sabotage – his words couldn’t resonate more. My mental health, like many others, was in total disarray. But how to deal with it?
Travel is more than just booking a plane ticket to somewhere far-flung and exotic. It’s, as I have learned over the years as a repressed British lad, an opportunity to reflect, reset and re-align… to expose the great traumas, stresses and pressures of the every day and simply learn to deal with it in an alien place without the help of a melancholy Adele number.
Men afraid to address their mental health, or who are put off by the idea of a retreat should know this: wellness is subjective. No matter how many articles that preach ‘the best way to’ or ‘how to cope with’, healing is not about hitting up a retreat or joining a cult to sit around an open fire and start belting out mantras to a programme that’s en vogue right now. No, it’s about personalisation. Escapism, liberation, healing in a place that allows you to compartmentalise all the shocks, upsets and broken hearts to your own f*cked up beat.
The pandemic denied us the attention, love and acceptance that we all long for. In my own depression and mental downfall, a psychological and physical reboot in a foreign land was just the tonic my therapist implored me to undertake.
From desert shacks to retreats buried in the winter sun, these spots across the globe will help men with their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.