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From Cancer Survivor to Wellness Travel Advisor: My Story of Healing and Empowerment - ZNG Cruises and Retreats, Clearwater, FL

From Cancer Survivor to Wellness Travel Advisor: My Story of Healing & Empowerment

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 months ago. It is devastating news. However, I was “lucky” enough that they found it early at Stage 1. I had options for treatment; and I decided to take the most radical route to ensure it was never coming back. I’m still recovering; and I’m surprised at myself at how well & positively I’ve taken the whole thing. Even though I’ve cut down a little bit in my business to take time to heal, I keep at it because I don’t want to fail this time.

This is the third time in my life I’ve faced serious health challenges. I’ve also struggled with mental health. Last time I dealt with it, was several years ago, and I had to close my business. It was embarrassing to say the least. There is so much stigma about mental health. I used to do a lot of networking in person; and I couldn’t keep the façade any longer. I disappeared from the world for a few years.

Despite all that, I’ve had the support of family and husband; and have also received excellent medical care. I’m thriving. One of the things that have helped me thrive in the middle of treatment is taking yoga classes. Yoga is very centering. It is the practice of YOU & no one else. YOU are YOU & the space is created just for YOU.

When I decided to change careers from being an aesthetician to a travel agent, I did it with all intentions in mind. As an aesthetician, I worked wholistically. Not only did I treat the skin, I treated the whole person, taking into consideration my clients’ nutrition & lifestyle. Yoga was one of the “treatments” I often recommended for them.

At the same time, I love to travel. I’ve visited five continents; and I have also studied various languages. I consider myself a world citizen. Along with my passion for travel, I also have a passion for wellness, so it was no brainer to become certified as a Wellness Travel Advisor.

As a Wellness Travel Advisor, I have connected with wonderful people who also love wellness and yoga as much as I do. I have curated several yoga retreats with varying purposes, around the world. Some of the retreats emphasize mental health, others emphasize movement of body, yet others meditation, and self-care. I make sure that the destinations are conducive to healing, whatever that may look like. The retreat must be in a natural setting, of course. The retreats, aside from their yoga offerings, also provide opportunities for hiking, meditating by a river, healthy meal options, cooking classes, and much more. However, my mission is also for people to learn about the country they are visiting, so I also help my clients book pre or post retreat tours that are optional, but highly recommended.

There are also many people who don’t necessarily want to take a yoga retreat specifically. But they do need to connect with nature to decompress from daily stressors and detox from the digital world they live in. I can help my clients find balance in their travels by recommending nurturing destinations. It is important to take care of oneself while traveling.

Through my own experiences with breast cancer and mental illness, I found my calling as a Wellness Travel Advisor, helping others find solace, balance, and self-care through wellness travel. I hope my story serves as a reminder that even in the face of life’s greatest challenges, there is always hope, strength, and the potential for transformation.

Article written by:

Monica Grajales

I consider myself a world citizen because I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 5 continents and explore a variety of cultures, environments, and lifestyles. I am here to help you in your travels!
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