5 of the most MANA-inspiring places on Earth

These days there is about 5 Bajillion lists telling you where to go, and why… This is another list but we are happy to go a little bit deeper and offer specific information, for specific places all for the purpose of finding your MANA and checking back in with yourself.

Based on our (the MANA team’s) personal, global travel experiences. Here are 5 of the most MANA-inspiring, meditative and truly healing places on earth:

Route 500 through the Black Forest - Image credit:  Culture Trip

Route 500 through the Black Forest - Image credit: Culture Trip

The Black Forest in Germany

MANA location GPS coordinates: 48.727850, 8.248993

One of the more bite sized road trips in Europe, the Route 500 wiggles through the Hansel-und-Gretel-inspiring Black Forest South from the Posh hamlet of Baden. We recommend hiring a car and exploring the endless maze of logging tracks to lead off the main drag and deep into the woods. A good place to base yourself is Geroldsau. You’ll find plenty of cute, affordable guesthouses and Airbnb’s in this area. The best time to go MANA hunting here is just as the weather starts to cool off and the first snow may be falling around early December. Dress warm.

Note the train in the bottom-left corner - Image Credit:  Skidlararlinjen

Note the train in the bottom-left corner - Image Credit: Skidlararlinjen

Åre, Sweden, during off week in holiday season.

MANA location GPS coordinates: 63.399605, 13.076510

Swedes love vacation time as much they love a good old set of rules. During winter this means that ski villages maintain slopes, run lifts and wait tables that are more or less left empty in the gaps between locally-prescribed holiday time around Christmas and New Years. Check school schedules before you go to make sure you get the in-between weeks when everyones back at work/school and you’ll have blissful, first-track experiences on nearly empty ski slopes in Åre. The bonus of the very Hogwarts Express style train trip, overnight from Stockholm, is a perfect way to kick your brain into MANA-mode. Pack proper snow gear it can be colder than -20ºc there.

Looking out from the Ruins to the Birdman Island - Image Credit:  JourneyWonders

Looking out from the Ruins to the Birdman Island - Image Credit: JourneyWonders

Orongo Ruins, Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Chile

MANA location GPS coordinates: -27.189170, -109.442899

Having spent some time here I can honestly say no other place on earth has shuddered my very core like Rapa Nui. There’s an energy there that can’t be put into words. The Orongo Ruins site gives you a glimpse into the cultural heart of the Rapa Nui people. It is a permanent monument to the conflict of old and new belief systems there which eventually fractured the small and fragile community. Sitting on the cliffs looking out at 5000km of nothing but ocean in every direction will no doubt make you notice your own presence. You will find your MANA here amongst the Moai. Flights operate from Santiago Chile and Tahiti.

On the way to the caves - Image credit:  Weareexplorers

On the way to the caves - Image credit: Weareexplorers

Red Hands Cave, Glenbrook, NSW Australia

MANA location GPS coordinates: -33.780520, 150.593661

Not too far from Sydney is a special place where you can really feel the energy of the Darug people. You will also find one of the oldest art galleries in the world. From Sydney it’s a full day out but well worth the jaunt. Catch a train and have a pre-hike feed in cute, cafe-filled Glenbrook then head into the national park on foot. It’s a solid 3-4 hours walking to get from town to Red Hands Cave and return. Once there you will feel connected to the old residents as you find your ancient hand-twin amongst the prints on the wall. Don’t forget to announce your arrival, stating your name and reason for being there. It’s polite according to the locals. You won’t see them, but you’ll feel their friendly presence for sure.

Lake life in Kananaskis sunshine - Image Credit:  RockiesFamilyAdventures

Lake life in Kananaskis sunshine - Image Credit: RockiesFamilyAdventures

Bow Valley & Barrier Lake, Kananaskis, Canada

MANA location GPS coordinates: 51.048265, -115.023015

Kananaskis doesn’t enjoy the same touristic trampling as it’s more famous neighbour Banff. The quieter, more open mountains of Kananaskis Country will make you feel so very small - in a good way. The best time to be there is during early Autumn, as the leaves start to turn and the trees become a rainbow of greens and reds and bounce reflections off the turquoise lakes and clear blue skies. Definitely take some bear spray and keep an eye out for Moose Bucks who will be very horny and very defensive as they search for girlfriends before the winter hits.