The antithesis of the relaxing beach vacay, Chosen programmes, or experiences as they call them, are fitness and wellness retreats for those who want to escape, de-stress and re-centre. The fully-planned programmes have a different itinerary every day that includes everything from daily yoga, cliff-jumping and canyoneering to cooking classes and talks from carefully selected Chosen experts.
With a name like Chosen it does sound a little pretentious. Its founders, Robin Connelley and John Stanton derived its name from a Japanese word which means “to challenge”. And just when you thought it’s a cross-cultural, exotic sounding pun they were going for, you learn that participants are screened. You’re not just a traveller, you’re an applicant. If you do get to join a programme, then you are indeed a chosen one.
Is this a little elitist? No, not when you consider the fact that you will be stuck with a group of strangers for a full week. If you trust the people at Chosen to put together a phenomenal programme, then you’ll also have to trust that these wellness “matchmakers” can successfully group like-minded people together.
Participants are said to be those who “strive for excellence personally or professionally”, which could mean you’ll be in the company of Type A crazies — if you’re not one yourself — who’ve rah-rahed their way through a Spartan obstacle race at some point in their lives. So maybe this isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’ll be the kick up the butt everyone needs occasionally.
Chosen started in 2013 offering luxury adventure retreats in Bali, but it has recently expanded to include New Zealand, Iceland and Guatemala. What do these destinations have in common? They’re stunning locations with loads of reasons to get out of bed for a rejuvenating and possibly life-changing retreat; all done in the lap of luxury, where you get to stay in private villas and have helicopter transfers to exclusive locales.
In Bali, where the first Chosen experiences were organised, participants live in their private seven-villa property in quiet beach town, Canggu, known for its amazing surf. It’s where you could opt in for a water awareness programme with former Olympic swimmer, Australian Michael Klim, for example.
With the addition of the three new destinations, you can sign up for a volcano adventure and lifestyle optimisation week in the Guatemalan highlands, an adventure experience in Iceland’s Golden Circle, or an adventure skills and organic nutrition week in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Find out more at Chosenexperiences.com