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The Healing Power of Retracing Your Steps

Have you ever heard “These Foolish Things”? The song recounts a long list of sights, sounds, and objects that conjure up memories of loved ones. Take a listen here.  With a nod to this popular standard, go back to that restaurant you enjoyed together. Return to the hotel. And if, for you, this idea involves getting into nature, consider the enormous emotional benefits I write about in Passed and Present that stem from being outdoors (Forget Me Not #85).

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Commemorative Travel: The Latest Trend In Vacation Planning

What do you call a trip that speaks to the desire to celebrate the memory of loved ones in the company of others who are drawn to do the same? I call it Commemorative Travel.

Previously on my blog, I revealed five destinations around the world where travelers can spend time away from home remembering and honoring the family and friends they never want to forget. Just as we build trips around caring for endangered animals, jumping out of airplanes, and building schools in developing countries, Commemorative Travel is another kind of specialized adventure. This type of vacation allows us to design itineraries to strengthen our connections to the past.

In Passed and Present, I reveal a number of Forget Me Nots that can deepen our connections to loved ones through travel. In fact, I write an entire chapter of travel ideas! Below are several destinations, and if you’d like even more, please email me at allisongilbert@allisongilbert.com.  Please write “More Travel Ideas” in the subject line. OK, let’s share some of these opportunities.

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Top 5 Destinations to Remember Loved Ones

As I write this post, a Blizzard Watch is in effect for New York City, and a large section of the mid-Atlantic is bracing for a “potentially paralyzing” storm. This kind of weather makes me fantasize about heading someplace warm and drives me to think about travel in general.  Ecotourism. Adventure travel. Volunteer tourism. Specialized travel allows us to build entire trips around particular needs and interests — caring for endangered animals, jumping out of airplanes, building schools in developing countries. Why not plan a vacation around honoring our connections to the past?

What do we call a trip that speaks to the desire to celebrate loved ones in the company of like-minded people? Let’s call it Commemorative Travel.

Nearly every culture has a unique way to remember and celebrate loved ones who have passed away. Below are my top five travel destinations where you can weave acts of remembrance into an already awesome and fun vacation.

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Daily Beast: Motherless Daughters and Parentless Parents Trek to the Andes to Aid Orphans

When author Hope Edelman and I started planning a trip that would take 16 of our readers to Peru to work in an orphanage and hike the Andes, we ignored concerns about bringing together a group of women who didn’t know each other and convinced ourselves it was a great idea. Our confidence bubbled up partly because our readers share an important bond that links them to each other and us: We’ve all lost our mothers, and many of us have lost our fathers, too. It also seemed like an exciting way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hope’s pioneering book, Motherless Daughters. But mostly, we just took an enormous leap of faith. Continue Reading