Journey to Wellbeing

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Competition overview

The benefits of travel on our wellbeing are well known – it’s good for our bodies, minds and souls. So to raise awareness, Titan would like you to enter its Journey to Wellbeing competition. Simply share a great travel moment by either writing (no more than one 500 words), through photography (jpeg only), or via video (no longer than 30 seconds) demonstrating how a travel experience brought extra zing into your life. Did you find renewed purpose and inspiration from your journey?

Share your experience with us and you could win a ten-day Journey along the Danube with Prague for two aboard Titan's exclusive 4* river cruiser, the MS Serenade 1. Titan's VIP door-to-door travel service will whisk you to the airport for your flight to Munich where you transfer to join the stylish ship for a relaxing river journey from Passau to Nuremberg, enjoying first-class cuisine along the way and culminating in two days in Prague.

Learn more about the benefits of travel to our health and wellbeing by visiting our blog.

Latest competition entries

float, float on
by steve cope

The Serenity Bottle

By Hilary England

Words did not come and my companion didn't need them anyway. We stood on the frozen snow and gazed up at the blinking umbrella sky above, and were both moved to tears as silence filled the air. We contemplated the vast expanding universe, this incredible planet within it, the ancient mountains that surrounded us and our own significance, or lack thereof.
It was the third night of our four day back country ski tour in the French Alps, something we'd been talking about for several years and which we finally achieved in 2016 with the help of our very capable guide. Back country ski touring is physical; attaching special skins to the underside of the skis allows you to walk up hill on them; up valleys and over cols that are not serviced by ski lifts. With luck, after a four hour push up, you are rewarded with a field of virgin powder down - for about 3 minutes. 'What is the point?' cry the downhill speed freaks. The point is that you get away from the thrum of the chairlift, the clatter of the queues, the shrieks of the children, the film this, post that, selfie-time, stress of the resort and get back to the country, to the snow covered wilderness, where there is no 4G and peace prevails.
Nico, the capable guide, has lived in this valley all his life and respects these mountains, their beauty and danger. He is a man of few words, preferring to let the scenery speak for itself. He smokes roll ups, carefully storing the butts in a little tin to avoid littering the mountains. For him, taking two middle aged women on a back country tour, sleeping in mountain huts, is slightly removed from the normal run of things. He over estimates our fitness, but waits patiently for us to catch up. At each rest there is another spectacular view for which superlatives have been exhausted, so we all say nothing.
After three days we are unanimous in our joy at just being in the environment. We are happy in each other's silence, we want to bottle the serenity and gulp huge draughts from it when we're back in the real world.
Some mountain huts are hosted, in others you make do. For this final night we were making do. On the stove Nico produced French onion soup, to his mother's recipe, and we produced a couple of bottles of wine from the depths of our packs. Warming by the fire and in the light of the candles, the three of us ate the soup, drank the wine and shared our emotional thoughts on the experience of the trip, our love of the mountains, and the pleasure in absolute silence.
Back home, I gulp from the serenity bottle regularly; I make time to enjoy my local environment which holds its own beauty and each day I seek out, and take pleasure in, some silence.

Still Dreaming

By Margaret Goatley

We woke to a hot sunny morning in the Rhone valley in Switzerland.Having had rain the previous day, we knew that we must make the most of this promising day.

We had already explored by car and on foot several of the delightful side valleys near to our base so perhaps a little further afield today.

On consulting the map we found an interesting looking road winding up into the mountains and leading to a small town called Leukenbad, presumably a spa.
Reference to the guide book confirmed this.

The road was lovely with great views and having safely survived encounters with construction lorries and the Post Bus we arrived.

As the weather was still set fair, we opted for the outdoor lido.The water was beautifully warm and boyant and after swimming around for a while I turned and floated with my eyes closed against the glare.

When after a few minutes I opened them ,I was hit by the beauty - Brilliant blue sky with little high clouds, mountains all round the town, their tops covered in fresh snow,sparkling brilliant white; below that fresh green alpine meadows surrounding the old houses of the town - magnificent.All this and at the same time the warm water, hot sun and a gentle breeze from the mountains

"When I am an old lady with aching joints" I said to my husband "we must come and stay up here. It would be perfect - balm for the body and the soul."

Now I am old with arthritic knees. We have never managed to go back but it lifts my spirits remembering the perfect day spent in those idyllic surroundings.

(This entry supersedes my previous entry which was a draft submitted in error)

float, float on

By steve cope

Venice, city of a million dreams, was my home for a wonderful week. The fantastic streets wove their magic on my wife and myself, finding the occasional shaded oasis of tranquility to enjoy a refreshing spritzer, all made for a relaxing time.
Meals in the square, perfect, a concert played on antique cellos, divine, but what really made the city for me was so simple, there were no cars.
Other highlights included watching those huge behemoths of ocean liners thread up and down the main waterway whilst listening to the gentle slap of water.
Even our return to reality was fun in a high speed water taxi.
Even my dog had a Zen moment when we returned

The ups and downs of life!

By Hayley Dunphy

For my husbands 59th birthday, I booked us a tour to the west coast of America. It was to be extra special because I wanted to say thank you to the man who has supported me, and loved me when I was in so much pain. I had booked the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, I thought he was going to back out as he is afraid of heights but I managed to get him on board. Once we had landed he wished the flight was longer. I was so proud of my man that day, I don't think I will ever get him in a Hot Air Balloon although I wouldn't mind trying to get him on the glass platform at the Grand Canyon. Bring on the next adventure.

Italy gave me my legs back

By Derek Clements

Shortly after I had received my second replacement hip I decided to take a holiday to Italy on which I misguidedly imagined that I would be recuperating from my latest operation by watching the countryside pass slowly by the windows of my coach. How mistaken I was! Although we travelled some quite long distances in the coach somehow we always seemed to end up in a town or city where the only way to explore it was to walk either up or down its steep narrow streets. Although painful at first the Tour operators earned my eternal gratitude for more or less forcing me to restore my patched up limbs to their former flexibility if not quite to their former endurance level. A complete restoration of both mind and body!

The wonderful Italian lifestyle

By Laura Goldsmith

How wonderful it was to be in Tuscany and Florence,
The wonderful people and excellent food,not to mention the giant raviolli and super chianti
I wish I could end my days living in Italy

Fun in the Sun, Australia
by joanne thomas

101 Countries

By Jill Hall

Great Britain is certainly my favourite place to be, but having the chance to explore so many places in the rest of our world has given me so many reasons to realise how lucky and fortunate I have been. Climate and politics colour our views, and visiting over one hundred different countries, and numerous islands, gives a different perspective of nationalities.
People in some countries have been dealt a really rough deal, and in the main are kind and friendly towards foreigners, even though they are very impoverished. I feel quite ashamed of how they are treated sometimes.
I am writing this from San Pedro in the Atacama desert in Chile. This morning we drove for two hours in the dark to reach an area high in the Andes Mountains, which was full of hot geyser activity, overlooked by high snow covered mountains. When the suc came up it was quite magical, and an experience not to be forgotten. We are travelling on to Easter Island for some more unforgettable memories.

A Perfect Moment.

By Claire Bassett

There was a perfect moment when the sea and the sky almost merged. There was hardly a ripple to be bathed in the ethereal light and I forgot I was on the North Sea.
I could tell you so much more about that boat trip from Seahouses in Northumberland. How the hundreds of nesting seabirds had painted the stark grey cliffs of the Inner Farne a more cheerful white. How the plump grey seals sunbathed en masse on the dark seaweed covered rocks of Longstone Island. Most were too content to even give us a second glance but one show off kept himself a rock apart and played to the passing crowd. How our little trip boat moored up in an idyllic cove just past the seals and with a heightening sense of anticipation we set off on foot to explore the rocky wilderness. How I sat in the shadow of the towering red and white striped lighthouse evoking the spirit of that great Victorian heroine Grace Darling, who must surely have once sat in the very same spot. How I saw puffins for the first time, bobbing up and down in the sea like childrens bath toys, so tiny when I had imagined them from pictures to be so huge.
So many memories but the one that I especially treasure came as we left the magical Farne Islands behind us and headed back to the mainland in time for tea. Gazing across the endless water came that perfect moment when earth and heaven seemed to meet - touching eternity. I can still conjure up the feeling of peace from that one holiday memory.

Fun in the Sun, Australia

By joanne thomas

My husband and i finally got or honeymoon 10 years after our wedding! but it was worth the wait. A trip of a lifetime to Australia, we toured walked, explored, and most of all had fun in the sun!

Travelling by Train is Comfort, Economical, Fast and Safe
by Juliet McArdle

The Secret to Wellbeing
by Sara Holden

Travelling by Train is Comfort, Economical, Fast and Safe

By Juliet McArdle

Travelling by Train is Comfort, Economical, Fast and Safe. This sign at a Station in between Hua Hin and Bangkok sums it up.

We'd booked a car to take us straight from Bangkok airport to our luxury hotel in Hua Hin, well it was easy and only £45 for the 100+ mile journey but once the batteries had been recharged during a relaxing week in Hua Hin where doing something energetic was walking to a street food stall or finding another cocktail bar it was time to relax some more and let the train take the strain. We visited the beautiful old Hua Hin Station to buy tickets a couple of days before hand where we were given a choice of travelling on a 3rd class non air conditioned journey of 5 hours which would cost 40 baht (about 90 pence) or a 2nd class air conditioned journey of 3 1/2 hours which would cost 412 baht (about £9). We handed over 824 baht!

On departure day a Tuk Tuk delivered us and our luggage back to Hua Hin Station where we quickly found a shady spot and waited for the 16.01 service to Bangkok which had begun its journey some hours earlier in the South of Thailand. It arrived absolutely on time and there were lots of smiling staff around who lifted our suitcases onto the train - already so different from travelling in the UK!

The train was busy but we had allocated seats which were fairly comfy airline style and I sat next to the window and we were on our way. Almost immediately a smiling hostess arrived and we were offered an icy cold drink and a little package labelled "Smiling Sweet Pastry". I opened mine and tucked in - it was just as described on the wrapper - the sweetness was possibly a mixture of pumpkin and marzipan - yet another food in Thailand totally unlike anything I've eaten before.

There was no buffet car on the train but sometimes we'd stop at stations and Food vendors would jump on the train and quickly go up and down the carriages selling their wares. I bought some little coconut cakes wrapped in coconut leaves - talk about eco friendly packaging! My husband bought soft, not yet ripened monkey nuts (we think).

Other than that it was just a case of sit back, relax and watch the world go by, the scenery was just fascinating and was a real glimpse into the life of the Thai people, starting in the sunshine of the countryside then gradually, as the sky got darker, the scene was more urban as we approached Bangkok.

We then arrived, on time, at Bangkok Hua Lamphong Station and more friendly faces helped us with our luggage and we were on our way to our hotel in Bangkok for the final part of our fabulous Thai holiday.

Stretching from Crete to Goa

By Alida Bedford

Crete is very different, with its harsh landscape and dramatic scenery. it is the land of the Minotaur, which greets its visitors at times with extremes that challenge the unwary.

I chose this place, the Practice Place, to get away from a job that had made me ill. I needed a new direction, inspiration to cleanse and heal. The demands of teaching are cruel to the system, but the rewards are often attractive.

WE had two possible Yoga teachers, who used to be a couple until recently, we later discovered. Mine was Derek, described i a Sunday travel article as 'a Greek God'. yet he was an ordinary man once you got to know him. He inspired all types of people to take up Yoga to improve their well-being, from stressed out executives to body-worn builders.

I started to learn Astanga yoga, which has a form learnt progressively. I loved it despite some of the seemingly impossible asanas that took me beyond the safe Hatha classes I went to. Astanga has a flow you grow into, bit by bit. It changes your body completely through 1,000 practices.

Outside the class I mixed with others and tried a range of activities. I learnt Tai Chi on a platform in the rocky landscape, learnt how to do the Butterfly with an Olympic trainer and shared a room with Zoe the singer swimmer and recent MBA graduate. She was overwhelmed by Derek; I felt shy when I spoke to him. He had a charismatic presence and a kind soul. Only in later years did I understand the wisdom he had about his life journey.

We had healthy food in abundance, freshly prepared from locally sourced organic produce. We packed our lunches after breakfast, then went our own ways until the evening meal. I swam across the bay and compared notes with Zoe. Sometimes I swapped massages with a group of women practitioners. All our meals were taken outside on a large open area overlooking the sea.

Two weeks later we had to return to the lives we came from. I said my last goodbyes at Gatwick. A few days later the new academic year started. someone noticed i had lengthened out. "I've started Astanga yoga," I explained. "1,000 practices - new body."

Some months later I had a communication from Derek. He would be running a teacher training programme in Astange in Goa, in January 1997. I immediately knew I had to go, but how, with a mortgage to pay and a steady job to support it? The answer came from the College as one by one colleagues were diagnosed with cancer. I decided not to be the next one. I told my secret to just one colleague, planned and waited. At the end of the College year I left my job, bought a round the world air ticket and paid for the course in Goa.

The Secret to Wellbeing

By Sara Holden

Our journey began on a cold, dark January night when I met my old friend and former teaching partner. We'd both been teaching for a number of years and decided it was time to give something back, to experience teaching in another country, one where perhaps the children were not as fortunate as they are here in the UK. We spent the evening googling volunteering projects and we were quickly lured by the tropical paradise of Thailand...the land of smiles.
A few months later, we exchanged three weeks of our summer holiday to teach Thai children the gift of the English language. The warm, humid heat hit us as we left the plane. Surrounded by natural beauty, we found a little beach bungalow just a couple of minutes from the main town of Kao Lak. This would be the life...teaching all day and spending the early evenings around the pool!
On our first day, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the children. They were so grateful for each and every lesson. It seemed the children who had what appeared to be so little, actually had a lot as they were truly happy.
Resources were limited and facilities were poor. The heat was debilitating and it was much harder to teach in such conditions than we had anticipated. We enhanced the planned lessons we were given by adding songs, dances, games and actions to every session. All our energy and enthusiasm was shared with the children and they loved the lessons.
When we left the children cried and we felt like we had made a difference if only a small one. They had shown us that there are always reasons to be grateful.
Once the placement was over, we were fortunate enough to go elephant trekking through the rainforest, visit spectacular waterfalls, religious temples and floating villages. It was truly the journey of a lifetime – one I will always be grateful to have experienced.
Our trip to Thailand became a journey to well being for me because I learnt that the secret to well being is giving to others; in this case, it was our time and lessons to the children who were so eager to learn. Life isn’t about what you have but what you can give. The people of Thailand gave their smiles and gratefulness and taught us the true meaning of life.


Enter the competition

For ideas on creating the perfect travel journal entry visit the Titan blog.

If you wish to enter via post, send your essay with your name, address, phone number and email address if you have one - to:

Titan Journey to Wellbeing competition, Titan Travel, Titan House,
Crossoak Lane, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 5EX

Closing date: Midnight 28 February 2017

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My perfect journey

Have you thought about what kind of traveller you are and the kind of trip that would bring you the most fulfilment? Well, take our easy My Perfect Journey quiz to find out. If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a Titan Travel journal, enter your email address to participate in the draw.

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Q1: What stamp would your passport have next?

USA and South America