Most of us dream about jetting away to sunnier places on holiday. Travelling to new places or returning to favourite ones is a way to lift yourself out of everyday life and recharge your batteries. Visiting sacred sites or places of natural beauty can make your travel a spiritual experience. But you don't need to trek to the sacred temples of India or climb the awe-inspiring mountains of Tibet for the trip to be spiritual; you can begin your spiritual journey much closer to home.
How to spiritual travel
The best way to begin a spiritual journey is to find a particular place where you feel relaxed and can step outside of your daily routine. This could be a local beauty spot, two minute's walk from your front door, or it might be half an hour's drive away beside the sea, or perhaps a famous UK landmark. Research your local area and visit as many of its places of interest as you can. These could be woods, rivers, cliff top walks, monuments, churches, stone circles, castles and historical buildings.
When you visit a place, take a moment to stop and really look at your surroundings and appreciate the beauty of nature. Ask yourself: how do I feel in this place? Do I feel at ease here? Do I feel a sense of peace? Try to tune into the energy of the place. You can do this by closing your eyes and meditating for a few minutes - or as long as you like. If the energy of the place resonates with you, you should feel a calming sensation or, an uplifting sense of happiness. Always be aware of your safety; it is better to take another like-minded adult along with you if you're visiting a secluded spot.
Places that hold spiritual energy
Some spots are naturally brimming with spiritual energy: water, woodland and other similar locations are the perfect places to tune into your spirituality. Visit your local version of the natural energy centres listed below.
Water: Flowing water, such as a river, fountain, waterfall or the sea, resonates with spiritual energy. The sound and action of its flow is the movement of clear, pure life force. Listen to its soothing sound or watch the light dance across its surface.
Fields: Being surrounded by green grass and the beautiful, delicate flowers of the British countryside has a calming effect on the body and mind. Stretch out and relax, taking in your surroundings, or enjoy a gentle walk to awaken your senses.
Woodland: The forest is nature's sacred place. As you walk under its canopy, consider that some of the trees have been alive for hundreds of years and reflect on our ancestors' and pagan belief that the trees have their own spirits.
Sacred places: Ancient places of worship hold on to the energy and intentions of the people who have focused their hopes and wishes there over the past centuries. If you open your mind and heart enough, you can tune into these amazing echoes from the past.
Try a walking meditation
To tune into the energy of a place, you could try walking around it while practising this meditation. During a walking meditation you keep your eyes open and your awareness on your surroundings.
1) Stand still in a safe, quiet spot in your chosen place. Close your eyes and let all thoughts of everyday life filter out of your brain. Take as long as you need to do this.
2) Open your eyes and begin to walk around your chosen place. Take in your surroundings - the shapes, the colours, the scents and the sounds. Be present in this moment only. Don't allow any other thoughts to enter your head; only allow sensations and appreciation for the nature around you.
3) Observe the teeming wildlife around you - plants, animals, insects, birds. Watch them scurry about as they have done for and will continue to do for thousands of years. Consider that you are just one part of this bigger picture. Put your worries and concerns into the perspective of this eternal cycle.
4) Take a moment to return to your normal state of consciousness before you walk or drive home.
Spiritual places in the UK
Here are just a handful of some of the most famous spiritual places in Britain.
Most famous of the many Prehistoric stone circles dotted around the British Isles. Latest research suggests that it was a centre of healing and worship for the ancient Britons. A place for many tribes to come together in the ancient world, Stonehenge is still a place of great religious significance for modern pagans.
It is a place laced with myth and legend; the last outpost of the Druids who were holding out against Roman occupation. It is full of traces of their culture and earlier ones in the form of burial chambers, standing stones and other sacred sites.
Clinging to the edge of a cliff on the north Cornish coast, the ruins of this castle couldn't be more atmospheric. Believed by some to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur, it also features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde.
Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian, Scotland
Linked to the tales of the Knight Templar’s and the Holy Grail, this place of worship is said to have mystical secrets carved in code on its walls. Some people believe it is the hiding place of a spiritual treasure or the key to unlocking the secrets of life.
Navan Fort, County Armagh, Northern Ireland
Thought to be the most important monument of pre-Christian Ireland, researchers believe it was a place of worship, and legend says it was founded by the ancient Irish war goddess, Macha.