Last spring, after several months of meticulous planning, I set off on a much-anticipated trip to Bali, Indonesia. I was joining digital fitness studio The Class’ Retreatment, a days- long program that focuses on restorative practices, meditation, whole-food nutrition and calisthenic workouts and, this time, was being hosted at Soulshine Bali Resort, in the cultural capital of Ubud.

I had attended the American brand’s Los Angeles iteration of the program, which was hosted by co-founder Jaycee Gossett, at the end of 2022 and wanted to see what kind of sense of renewal I would gain in a more tropical setting. Over the past few years, The Class has become known for its blend of workouts and mindfulness techniques—a combination that I found transcendent during my time in Los Angeles and served as a powerful motivator when the time came to book this trip.

While in Bali, I took part in traditional local ceremonies at the water temple in Ubud and ran through rice-paddy fields. Early on, I could already tell that the retreat would both be restorative and encourage deep personal growth. This type of travel—that is, travel geared toward health and recovery—is not unusual for me, but it has also become part of a broader trend in the wellness industry. Today, people are seeking both individual and communal experiences that prioritize mental, physical and emotional well-being. Retreats like The Class’ offer a guided framework that can be appealing to those seeking a “hard” reset through an immersive process.


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The retreat at Soulshine was a luxury option, but the demand for experiential wellness tourism is pushing the industry to branch out into various locations, types of activities and clientele. Take B.C.’s Tofino Resort + Marina, which immerses guests in the region’s lush nature and has a number of wellness offerings, including a wood-fired floating sauna that’s surrounded by trees. For even more adventurous types, there are places like The Ranch, a popular destination spa in Malibu, Calif., that offers a week-long program centred around guided hikes, plant-based eating and spa treatments. And if you go to one of The Ranch’s other locations, you’ll find that it’s curated and inspired by the city or region it’s in.

While I love these types of wellness trips and am delighted that they are becoming more popular, I also know that there’s an important conversation to be had about what we take away from them. Many of us leave with new practices that we hope to incorporate into our routines and everyday lives. But the reality is that this can be difficult to achieve outside of the utopian setting of our time away.

Actually integrating these newly formed vacation habits into our lives back home requires adaptation. At the end of a trip, I like to take some time for introspection and ask myself a few questions: Which experiences from this trip served me best? What would this practice look like if I continued it at home? Will it fit into my already established wellness routine? After all, only you know what’s best for you—and what’s realistic.

And that’s what’s important to remember: A week-long retreat can be amazing, but none of us lead lives where we can easily keep doing what we learned in an idyllic setting away from our responsibilities. What I experienced in Bali is impossible to recreate in Montreal, and that’s not something to feel guilty about. After a trip like this, just try to create space for these new habits in any way you can—that’s the best thing you can do to care for yourself.

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