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Finding Zen in a Lush Jungle

Hacienda Tres Rios Activity

To commemorate the anniversary of our SenseAdventure tour, we’ve invited several travel writers to share their experience and perceptions of this exclusive tour.

Guest post by Cheri Lucas, Janice Waugh, and Rachelle Lucas.

Coming to Your Senses in a Lush Forest in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

In a lush forest, a man instructs you to put on a blindfold. Your world is now black, and you latch on to the person in front of you, meandering deeper into the forest in silence. Suddenly, you begin to pay attention to the subtleties of nature: trickling water, instruments, New Age sounds… Your group has no idea what to expect, but for nearly an hour, your senses are piqued.

Under the hot Riviera Maya sun, you fuse with the elements of the jungle—touching, smelling, and hearing—and eventually feeling at peace with your surroundings (that is, if you trust your guides and simply let go of any worries). This sensory tour is a communal experience where you not only get in touch with nature, but your inner self and the others—companions and strangers—around you.

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Cheri Lucas muses on travel, San Francisco, virtual life, and other obsessions at Writing Through the Fog. She is based in San Francisco, but would rather live a slow, lazy life in southern Spain or on a beach in Mexico. Follow her on Twitter: @cherilucas.

Zen Travel is Solo Travel

Zen can only be experienced solo. Zen is about being totally aware of now – who you are, what you feel in the present. The past and the future don’t matter. Neither do others outside yourself. Whether you are traveling with people or not, Zen travel is solo travel.

I have a mind that dances from one thought to the next very quickly. To keep it in the moment is almost impossible. On my recent trip to the Riviera Maya and the Hacienda Tres Rios resort (a big thank you to them for sponsoring this trip), I traveled both to the present (life was going in far too many directions before I left) and in the present. Two very unique activities offered as part of this all-inclusive resort made this possible in very different ways.

The Sense Adventure Tour
The trip I was on included seven other bloggers. All of us did the Sense Adventure Tour and our response to it ranged dramatically. One person really hated it. Two others didn’t mind it but it wasn’t there thing. A few found it transporting in a meditative way. Me? I found Zen, the present, in childlike delight.

The Sense Adventure Tour is changed for each group but the basic idea is the same. You are led blindfolded through a series of experiences that draw on your sense of touch, sight and sound. You experience earth, water wind and fire through your senses other than taste and sight. I found it magical. Never knowing what was going to happen next I released myself to the process and lived in the present. Zen.

Janice Waugh publishes Solo Traveler, the blog for those who travel alone. She has been quoted in many media outlets including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times and the Toronto Star. The blog offers solo travel stories, tips, safety advice and destination ideas as well as a couple of free ebooks including Glad You’re Not Here: a solo traveler’s manifesto.

Sneak Peak at SenseAdventure

Just a quick note on one of our activities today on the #GoTresRios Tweet Trip, the SenseAdventure tour.  I’ll write more on this later, but wanted to share a quick video that Hacienda Tres Rios recorded for us.  It is something that is unique to this eco-friendly resort and is the type of experience you either love or hate.  I loved it.  It was an opportunity to jump right in and be a kid again.

Rachelle Lucas is a writer, spokesperson, and travel videographer.  She believes the best way to learn about a destination is through its flavors.  Obsessed with travel and food, she collects recipes from her trips and recreates them at home for her blog, Inn The Kitchen.  Growing up, Rachelle’s mother always said, “The world is your home … go explore it.” That probably explains her wanderlust.  She ‘tweets’ a lot, and often times you can follow along her travel adventures on Twitter as @TravelBlggr.

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