The first time I travelled alone, I had a minor anxiety attack. I mean, yes, there are countless testimonials of how you just miraculously find yourself when you’re alone in a completely different country. But that would entail getting lost and — at the risk of sounding like an urban drone – I didn’t want that, especially not if I was going to be alone.
So I decided to plan. I drew up an itinerary filled with activities.
Scenic day tour? Check.
Wine tasting? Check.
A list of cafes to visit (reviews thoroughly combed through, of course)? Check.
Bars and restaurants recommended by blogs and travel magazines? Check.
But my list still had pockets of time undeclared. Now what?
That was when I stumbled on a chocolate and patisserie school at my destination.
I’d always dreamed about having a dessert empire to call my own, and they offered short day-courses. It was a no-brainer. One thing led to another and soon I managed to squeeze in a chocolate appreciation masterclass and a soap-making course. (I would have taken even more classes if I’d had the budget!)
As it turned out, I had to swap one of the classes, because I discovered at the last minute that my favourite rap artist was in town. But I thoroughly enjoyed myself nonetheless. There’s something magical about actually doing something you’ve always wanted to do, instead of simply dreaming about it.
The whole experience inspired me to be more conscious of chasing my passions back home, too. Turns out, you don’t really have to get lost to find yourself or at least what you’re passionate about.
So, where do you go to learn? Here are a few recommendations for fellow passion-seekers.
Massage, Meditation and Yoga Classes in Bali
Balinese relaxation is really in a class of its own. Specific rituals and techniques are deeply rooted in age-old beliefs and traditions, but the result is universally accepted as calming for the body, mind and soul. The next time you’re in the country, make it a point to bring some of the good vibes home. A simple massage, meditation or yoga class will take care of that easily enough.
Cooking Class in Thailand
Exotic, vibrant and tasty – Thai cuisine will definitely ignite any cooking ambitions you might have. A cooking masterclass is super fun and a popular tourist activity. Chances are you could easily arrange for one at your hotel. More serious gourmands can opt to attend established culinary schools, which offer short day courses.
Patisserie and Cake making Class in Paris
There’s no place like France to learn the sweet art of pastry making. While you won’t become a world-renowned pastry chef overnight (these guys train for years!), but you will be inspired to whip up a dessert or two when you get back to your own kitchen. Some of the world’s top pastry schools are located here, as are the most accomplished pastry chefs, so you can be assured you’ll be learning from the very best.
Barista training in Melbourne
You simply can’t go wrong with a barista training course in a place where people take their coffee very seriously. Sample your way through cafes, then pick your coffee education. Will you master the perfect espresso shot, a perfectly frothy flat white or Instagram-worthy latte art?
Flower Arranging Class in Japan
Ikebana is the art of flower arrangement, dating back 500 years. It well and truly is an art, requiring a delicate balance of size, shape and colour. A course in it will surely allow you to pick up a thing or two about aesthetic quality and Japanese culture.
Another popular activity in Japan is to book a tea ceremony. The tea master conducts a formal ceremony while you sit on tatami mats, serving you tea in the traditional Japanese style.
Also popular is to learn how to have a full Japanese makeover, into an oiran (courtesan) or with full makeup and a kimono. As you are tucked into your outfit, get some insight tips about proper kitsuke, including how to adjust various elements of your new garb. You can then wander the streets of Japan in your kimono!
Cocktail Masterclass in London
Pub culture is big here, but trendier, more upmarket bars and restaurants have always been an important part of the London dining scene. Over the years cocktails have become increasingly popular as an indicator of creativity and flair among top dining and drinking spots around the city. You don’t have to learn how to mix to appreciate a good tipple, but it sure does add to the fun.
Gelato-Making Class in Italy
Is there truly a right way to enjoy gelato? Well, no harm in maximising your gelato experience, at any rate, especially considering how you’ll be tempted with the sweet dessert at every Italian street corner. Gelato appreciation is really just one big gelato tasting session, perfect for, well, everyone. More intensive gelato-making courses are available at renowned schools for prospective business owners.