Sunday, June 29, 2008

Skipping Town Om Style

You know that reoccurring nightmare where you find yourself half naked amidst a sea of strangers? Or, the one where you're actually at sea, in danger of being consumed by a tidal wave? Suddenly, you're pummeled into the sandy bottom, face first, then, caught in a whirlpool of gasping and thrashing. . .

There's also the fortuitous possibility that the two nightmares could merge- so that you're simultaneously being battered by giant waves WHILE in danger of losing your bikini in front of a beach full of onlookers.

And, this might not be a dream at all but, rather, a snapshot of my weekend spent vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, where a glorious day at South Beach went from frolicking in the waves to near naked death trap, forcing me to choose between protecting my life or my dignity. I chose dignity, clutching my bathing suit as a 10 foot wave crashed over me, driving my face into the shore with so little warning that my mouth was open, and I literally ate sand. Yes, the freedom of my hands to brace myself against the waves or tread back to safety would have been helpful, but even ex-lifeguards put a certain amount of credence in keeping a hold of their clothes, because let's face it, an accidental flash is one thing, but losing your suit at sea makes for a long walk back to your beach towel and a possible, very awkward run in with the law.

"I swear, officer; the public nudity was an accident."

Recently a reader of The World According to Om Gal requested that I recommend an active vacation for her and her beau, and with the holiday weekend on the horizon, I thought the topic of travel seemed a timely one. Now, body surfing is certainly active; however, I'm guessing that incidents like mine might provide a bit too much action. Given my track record, I can see how you might question my credibility when selecting athletically enhanced getaways- which is why I'll recommend two pals who specialize in active vacations as resources.

First, my om gal pal, Chanel Luck, a very talented yoga teacher and delightfully adventurous spirit, is leading a trip to Peru later this summer (mid August), where yogis will hike Machu Picchu and practice yoga twice daily. What's more, a portion of the trip supports a local orphanage in Peru. For details, visit Chanel's website.

Second, add a little refinement to your rustic getaway by taking a deluxe bike tour of Europe, where you'll not only cycle through unmatched vistas, but you'll stay at luxury hotels and savor gourmet food and wine. The summer schedule provides a wealth of exciting options, including trips to France, Italy, Switzerland, and more. Local, longtime yogi Andy Levine founded the company. Learn more at the company's website, Duvine Adventures.

Finally, you can take the DIY approach and plan your own active vacation by picking a locale and packing the appropriate gear. My favorite trips include long walks on the beach or through the mountains, yoga on a sunny deck (overlooking the ocean is ideal), and any number of other athletic endeavors (e.g. biking, swimming, running, golfing, etc.). The best resource, here, to making the most of a self-made retreat is a like-minded pal or group of pals.

You may not want to eat sand or risk losing your suit, but all things considered, my weekend on MV was amazing, with lots of walking (a car on the island is a nuisance!), a stellar, solo, outdoor yoga session, swimming, and more. Finding a place to stay can be tricky, which is why (again) I recommend the help of experts like MV Reservations, who specialize in finding vacant rooms on the Vineyard and Nantucket. Of course, the options always broaden for those who embrace the unexpected. If you like adventure and can forgo luxe digs, try camping or staying at a hostel. The Vineyard- believe it or not- has both.

Now, get packing! Word to the wise for my om gals out there? Perhaps include a one-piece suit if you plan to body surf . . .

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