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New Year, New You: 6 Unusual Detox Destinations

Detox is quite the buzzword these days. Right as the clock strikes midnight on the new year, many a resounding promise to achieve better health crosses glittery, wine-stained lips.
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Detox is quite the buzzword these days. Right as the clock strikes midnight on the new year, many a resounding promise to achieve better health crosses glittery, wine-stained lips. Detox seems to be the obvious answer -- rid yourself of all the nastiness once and for all so you can start off fresh, renewed, with squeaky clean organs. But if a colonic is not your idea of a fun time, there are lots of other, more unusual ways to break from your everyday indulgences -- and not just from all that holiday season booze, but from everything else in your life that might be weighing you down (literally and figuratively), like food, technology, and even people (Negative Nancy is good for no one).

Check out these unique opportunities to detox around the world, and then join the Spiritual Seekers and Wellness Tribes to get more tips on where to go to add a little more peace and balance to your life through travel.

1. Batanes, Philippines

Photo: Batanes by: denvervender flickr - Courtesy:

Things that many people might consider points against Batanes -- poor cell phone signal, unreliable electricity, basic hotel facilities, a lack of recognizable restaurant chains and nightlife -- are all positive for those looking to detox from fast food, alcohol, and technology. And heck, if it keeps the hordes of tourists at bay, it's for the best -- you'll get to keep this hilly, verdant island paradise all to yourself. Batanes is the smallest province of the Philippines, and its relative isolation has allowed it to preserve its spectacular scenery and simple way of life. Spend your days hiking, biking, snorkeling, or just sitting on the beach. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

2. Southern France

Photo: France by: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho flickr - Courtesy:

One of the world's greatest wine regions might not be the first place you'd think to go for a detox, but not only are there plenty of luxurious detox resorts that dot the region and opportunities aplenty to hole up in a beautiful country cabin and forget about the world, but -- and here's the best part -- there actually exists a type of detox in the Madiran region that encourages the drinking of red wine (it's a fruit, right?) to help cleanse the ol' digestive system. Only in France.

Photo: Costa Rica by: Roman Königshofer | Filmmaker & Photographer flickr - Courtesy:

Of the myriad ways to detox in Central America, one of the most appealing is a surfing retreat, of which there are plenty on the coasts of countries like Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. There's just something about spending time out on the waves -- alone -- for days on end that makes it easy to hit life's "restart" button. For beginners, learning to surf might be a little rough, but hey -- it will definitely get your mind off of all of the drama back home. And as an added bonus, many of the region's retreat centers also combine surfing with yoga and eco-lodge living, so you can get a full, refreshing detox experience.

4. Matera, Italy

Photo: Matera by: vic15 flickr - Courtesy:

When you think of a spiritual holiday, sleeping in a cave might not be the first image that comes to mind (or maybe it is -- what do we know?). In Matera, you'll do just that. The cave dwellings here are thousands of years old (and part of one of the oldest settlements in Italy) and were once a haven for the town's outcasts. They have now been restored and many have been converted into "spiritual" hotels where visitors can come to clear their heads and find a bit of spiritual rejuvenation in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Amish Country, Pennsylvania

Photo: Lancaster by: roger4336 flickr - Courtesy:

Sure, you've heard of the Amish and their rejection of technology, horse-driven buggies, and stellar wooden furniture. But if you've ever been more curious about their way of life and wanted something more than a reality TV show to enlighten you, there are a number of opportunities for you to actually experience Amish life with a farm stay near Lancaster. You'll milk cows, collect eggs, learn about life on the farm, and get an excellent opportunity to detox from many of your regular guilty pleasures.

6. Sweden and Norway

Photo: Sweden by: Rollofunk flickr - Courtesy:

Both Sweden and Norway have fantastic Right of Public Access (or "Right to Roam") laws, which essentially mean that, as long as you pick up after yourself and take care of nature, you can camp almost anywhere you want, any time you want. This has led to the concept of "wild camping," in which people set up their tents in the middle of the deepest wildernesses of the region -- a perfect way to detox from just about everything.

Ready to get started on your detox adventure? Start planning your trip on