Moving swiftly from one year into the next, we can all too quickly forget the importance of a little me time. Whether that’s time to relax, treating ourselves with a shopping spree, or simply delving into a good book.
But how about the chance to really focus on you?
Boost your confidence by learning a new skill or art or delving a little bit deeper into local culture by enjoying a new skill which will last long after your travels.
We have taken part in numerous creative travels on our adventures. And travel is the one way you can easily awaken your senses and discover a flair for something you never realised you had.
Here are seven places to help you discover a new you, be that with a cooking experience, art holiday, learning a new language, or perhaps with restorative break.
Places to go to discover a new you
1. Learn to cook in Thailand
Thai dishes are so tastily authentic it seems impossible to recreate the divine food experiences you can expect on your holidays.
But book a class at the internationally-renowned Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA), in Koh Samui, and in less than three hours you will learn how to create a Thai masterpiece.
If you’re a real foodie, treat yourself to SITCA’s six day cultural immersion course to really discover the art of Thai cooking and culture, with sixty dishes to master from spicy papaya salad to stir-fry.
2. Get arty in France
France’s rolling fields of fragrant, purple lavender and everlasting sunshine all sound worthy of a painting.
If you’ve ever longed to pick up a paint brush, book a holiday to Provence for some real inspiration and a week to paint to your heart’s content.
And you won’t need to venture far to spark some ideas, with cherry orchards, vineyards and olive groves all vying for their spot on your canvas.
Arts in Provence runs summer courses of acrylics, oils, watercolours or mixed media with prices starting at €885 for one-week of tuition including full-board accommodation.
3. Master Spanish in Spain
Learning a language can be tricky, but combining it with a holiday can be a perfect way to learn.
There are an overwhelming number of courses and locations in Spain where you can learn the lingo, but we think there’s something quite special about Barcelona.
Camino Barcelona is located in the heart of the city, so it doesn’t take long before you can practice what you’ve learnt in the classroom out in the real world.
Priding itself on being the city’s only language school offering accommodation, the school has received great reviews and offers real-life scenarios with guided walks to help you perfect your dialect.
4. Snap the perfect photo in Greece
If you have always had a bit of flair with point and shoot cameras, and longed to capture life like a pro, a photography course is a must for a new you.
And if we could handpick one place to do it, it would be Greece. Azure blues, whitewashed buildings and ideal natural light are the sort of picture-perfect settings you can enjoy there.
Santorini-based Ollie Taylor Photography offers tours in May, June and October to help take your skills to a new level, with the opportunity to picture both the iconic and lesser-known island sights at various times of day during a one-week stay on the island.
For something less intense, Shotz Tours offers a one-day private tour of the island to help you find the best places for your compositions, while also brushing up on your photography craft.
5. Treat your body like a temple in India
We often talk about spa breaks and getting away from it all, and a wellness retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas fits the bill. Ananda Spa offers a combination of Ayurveda and international wellness treatments, with numerous therapies tailored to a personalised plan to treat the mind, body and soul.
Centred on luxury, the spa overlooks the River Ganges providing a tranquil setting in which to rediscover your inner self.
6. Learn to scuba dive in the Maldives
The Maldives is one of the most luxurious locations for learning to scuba dive. Plus it’s one of the most colourful, with rich marine life to observe – from elaborate coral reefs to playful dolphins.
With 26 atolls to choose from, diving in the Maldives’ calm waters is more a leisurely drift, so it’s made for beginners hoping to find their feet beneath the waves.
There are countless operators offering diving courses, but you can’t go wrong with the acclaimed Banyan Tree brand of hotels and resorts. Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is home to a PADI Gold Palm 5-Star Resort Dive Centre and a Marine Lab run by certified professionals.
And after a day out at sea, you can relax in your luxury accommodation and toast the new you.
7. Cheese and wine tasting in Italy
Become the expert at your next dinner party after a stay in a beautifully converted 17th century farmhouse in Tuscany where you’ll learn all about olive oil, wine and cheese-making with Go Learn To.
During a three-night stay amid the region’s rolling hills, you will visit the estate’s vineyards and get to taste the delectable fruits of the farm’s labour.
Surrounded by olive groves, orchards and a vineyard, the charming resort setting between Pisa and Volterra is well-positioned for exquisite food adventures.
Planning on doing something different in 2017, inspire us all and share it below.