12 Countries in 12 Months
Worldview of well-being
There are places around the world where people live happier and healthier than we do in the USA. How are they doing it? Do people even think about their health or are they simply living their best with what they’ve got? What roles do culture and lifestyle play? Embarking on a journey of discovery, I left my home to travel and live in 12 countries in 12 months to find out.
Traveling from South America to Mexico, Asia, and Europe, I met diverse people from different walks of life. To say their wide-ranging views and practices gave me new perspective, would be an understatement. When an indigenous practitioner offered me their remedy, a moment always arrived when I stopped searching. I surrendered to their hands, fully immersed and vulnerable. By doing so, I downloaded each experience and intuitively understood its value.
Beliefs and mindset
From country to country, the differences I found included the cultural disposition toward healthiness and well-being and the types of relief and resources people seek. One thing was consistent: beliefs and mindset play a huge role in how people interpret their circumstances, how they feel, and how they heal.
Outside of the USA, people are commonly viewed and treated as holistic beings where body, mind, and spirit are inextricably linked. It’s a sharp contrast to conventional medicine which views and treats us as isolated parts. I experienced a complement of traditional therapies that offer me a better chance of maintaining a healthy state overall, and recovering from something, by increasing my arsenal of resources and opening my mind to what’s possible.
The USA stands to gain a competitive edge by integrating this broader mindset with its advanced technologies and medicines. So why haven’t we embraced a worldview of well-being and adopted an all-inclusive approach to creating health and wellness? Perhaps a better question is, what’s stopping us from venturing out of our rigid routines and opinions?
What is health and wellness anyway?
Click links for stories and images for photos of each country.
The Vietnamese firmly believe that energy forces and the flow of feng shui harmonize individuals with their environment in order to attain good luck and health. On Easter Island, ancestral Rapa Nui medicine called Papa Ra’au is practiced in the hospital alongside western medicine and it’s curing people from sports injuries to stress conditions. Colombians increasingly consult traditional Latin American healers known as curanderas whose spiritual and herbal remedies fix modern ailments.
The mindset of people living in the Mediterranean is geared to active lifestyle, outdoor activity, and nourishing, home-grown food. Vibrational reiki energy and sound healing channel the body’s natural healing in Japan. Need to focus your mind? Take a meditation class with a Buddhist monk in Thailand to relieve stress.
Inside a small Temazcal—a traditional Mexican sweat lodge, medicinal herbs plus intense heat promote healing through detoxification. Coca leaves (illegal in the U.S.) have been chewed and brewed in Peru for centuries to stimulate a long list of medicinal benefits. The country also grows 4,500+ native potatoes and current efforts to save the world’s favorite vegetable from climate change are helping to preserve the ancient Inca heritage.
Finally, the Asian Iceman is Malaysian and he coaches people on transforming their lives and achieving their goals through ice bath meditation.
Find these stories and more on the blog.