Known for its healing and transformative properties, Sedona, Arizona, attracts wellness seekers from around the world. It offers an abundance of energy healers, yoga studios, hiking trails and world-class spas. 

Named one of the 10 most beautiful places in America by USA Today, Sedona’s natural beauty includes ancient rouge-colored buttes and spectacular red rock formations.

This natural beauty extends to the skies overhead. It’s recognized as one of the top 20 certified Dark Sky Communities. These are areas around the world that are dedicated to the preservation of the dark night sky. 

On the road to wellness 

Plant life in Sedona

Plant life in Sedona

Wellness travel is one of the fastest-growing segments of tourism, expected to reach more than a trillion dollars by 2030, according to the Global Wellness Institute. Like many travelers, I crave calming experiences and a respite from the confusion and uncertainty hanging over us. Planning this trip felt necessary as I began to feel like I was losing my way.

The combination of retirement and the isolation I felt from Covid had taken a toll. 

While researching Sedona, I discovered a company specializing in designing personalized spiritual retreats for couples and singles. Established in 2002, Sedona Soul Adventures has garnered many awards, including Best of Sedona for Retreats from 2020 to 2022. It hand-picks well-established community practitioners with impressive resumes and reputations. 

It was essential to get back on track, but I needed guidance and stepping stones. The staff at Sedona Soul Adventures seemed to have an intuitive idea of what I needed and arranged appointments with energy healers and bodyworkers. 

Focusing on an inner journey

Focusing on mind and body

Focusing on mind and body (credit: Pixabay)

I booked a four-day solo retreat with the group that would include a combination of Reiki, breathwork, sound therapy, bodywork, massage and coaching sessions.  

I intentionally designed this “vacation” to focus on an inner journey. Visiting luxury hotels and resorts will always remain an integral and enriching part of my travel plans. But this time, I booked an Airbnb. I wanted to cook wholesome meals in a full kitchen and craft a stay that would focus on simplicity and self-exploration.  

Just the anticipation of dedicating time and energy to nourishing and resourcing mind, body and spirit felt exhilarating.

Rediscovering passions and purpose

On my first full day, I attended a transformational life coaching session centered around reconnecting with myself and uncovering my life purpose. Through a series of exercises, guided meditative hikes, and meaningful conversation, I clarified what is most important to me and set intentions to align my actions with my passions.

It helped me realize that I wanted to return to my volunteer work, something I haven’t done since the start of the pandemic.

Finding serenity in Sedona

Hiking in Sedona

Hiking in Sedona

Sedona is a cultural and artistic haven, home to more than 500 artists and 80 unique shops and galleries. I stayed in Sedona for a few days after completing all of my individual sessions for two reasons. First, I wanted to enjoy more of what the city has to offer. And second, I wanted to allow myself the time to integrate the lessons learned before returning home. 

Walking along the main street in Sedona is an adventure in itself. The town offers an abundance of window shopping opportunities and quirky cafes. I took my time browsing through boutiques and galleries and felt more at ease. 

Sedona is widely known as a sanctuary for healing, mainly due to the red rock formations that are believed to be infused with harmony, clarity and calmness. Answers are often found in the quiet and stillness of nature.

And the hike I took during my remaining days in Sedona cemented how special this little piece of earth had become for me. Naturally, I wanted to soak up as much of that dreamy, clay-red landscape as possible. 

Taking home a bit of Sedona

Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Credit: Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Since returning home, I’ve found a greater awareness of my breath and a morning routine that feels sustainable. 

I practice ten minutes of qi gong and go outside, even if the weather isn’t ideal. I’ve realized how vital a journaling practice is to understanding and acting on my priorities. Though it is not yet a daily practice, I am returning to the pages more frequently and regularly. 

Visiting Sedona in the winter allowed me to leave behind the busyness of the city. It gave me dedicated time for self-exploration and exploring the beautiful, inspiring landscapes around me. Moreover, it helped me recenter myself. I returned home with a renewed and balanced energy from sustainable habits and practices. 

What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler? 

  • Sedona is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, surrounded by nearly 2 million acres of national forest land. It is an ideal environment for unplugging and recharging.
  • There are many ways to tour Sedona. These include from the back of a jeep, on horseback, or from a hot air balloon or helicopter.
  • Endless options are available for dining and wine tasting.
  • Sedona is a sacred and powerful place, sometimes called a cathedral without walls.

Take note

  • Planning a trip to Sedona ahead of time is essential. Because it’s a popular tourist destination, advance reservations are highly recommended. According to the Sedona Tourism Bureau, Sedona is beginning to experience “over-tourism” issues. 
  • A free, eco-friendly Sedona Shuttle serves the most popular hiking trailheads from Thursday through Sunday. 
  • A Red Rock Pass is required when recreating on the National Forest land, but it isn’t needed for quick stops (15 minutes max) for taking photos. Passes are available for purchase at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce
  • Sedona is approximately a one-hour drive from the Flagstaff airport. It is a two-hour drive from the Phoenix airport.

Disclosure: The trip was fully paid for by the author.

All photo credits: Ann Nelson, unless otherwise noted.



Read about another kind of travel in Arizona: A Perfect Long Weekend in Prescott, Arizona

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Intentional Travel in Sedona

Intentional Travel in Sedona