If the thought of lounging by the pool or reading trashy beach novels all summer makes you antsy, it may be time for an active vacation. While it’s totally possible to keep your health on track by land, sea, or sky, sometimes you might crave a more intense outdoor experience.
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits of the great outdoors: recent studies indicate that just getting out into natural environments can easily and immediately improve your mood. So even though vacation takes you away from your gym routine, you may be pleasantly surprised to find how great hiking, biking, swimming, or snorkeling make you feel.
We asked five of our most adventurous One Medical providers to share their favorite travel destinations and what makes each spot so special. While their answers span the globe, all five locations offer breathtaking outdoor venues for strenuous sports, leisurely walking tours, and everything in between. Get some international inspiration from their top picks:
“Nepal is a place that lives in my heart and soul. Trekking through the villages and the stunning scenery of the Himalayas is a life changing experience. The people are among the loveliest, warmest people I have met, and behind the fluttering prayer flags that adorn all of the houses, the stunning mountains tower above, offering a majestic perspective.”— Jackie Yaris, a Los Angeles doctor.
“Jordan is a great, overlooked destination for an active vacation. From the desert of Wadi Rum to the shores of the Red Sea, there is hiking, horseback riding, swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, and yoga to fill your days!”— Erica Matluck, a San Francisco naturopath and nurse practitioner.
“One of our most memorable and adventurous trips that we took together was to Guatemala. We were able to spend time in the city of Antigua with its beautiful architecture, travel to spectacular Lake Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes in the Highlands, make our way through the bustling open markets of Chichicastenango, and hike through the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal, deep in the rainforest, climbing its towering stone temples. We loved the culture, the history, the beauty of the country, and the great kindness of the people there.”— Kevin Fell and Longhang Nguyen, Sunnyvale doctors.
“Iceland is the perfect destination for anyone interested in outdoor adventures and pushing your physical
and mental limits! It is one of the most geologically active and diverse locations, with active volcanoes, massive glaciers, stunning waterfalls, hot springs and geysers, and miles of pristine wilderness close to the Arctic circle. Icelanders are gracious hosts and proud of their heritage, and happy to guide you on horseback, kayaking, across crevasse-riddles glaciers, and trekking near active volcanoes. We traveled 130 kilometers on horseback into the Highlands, staying in shepherd’s huts during the ‘midnight sun’ in July.”— Meg Scott, a San Francisco nurse practitioner.
“One of my favorite places that I visited is Peru — the challenging four-day Inca trail hike culminating with reaching Machu Picchu was truly magical.”— Zeljko Milovanovic, a San Francisco doctor.