Find Your (Higher) Purpose

Earlier this year, we asked our Oprah Daily Insiders to name the one thing they would do for themselves if time and resources weren’t a barrier. An overwhelming number of you put travel at the top of your wish listand we heard that loud and clear. We understand that you get the many tangible and intangible ways travel changes your perspective on the world and on your life. The way the lift you get from even a weekend road trip with an old friend can get you through a long winter.

In the words of Henry Miller, One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

So why, when push comes to shove, is it so hard for us to pull the trigger? One factor might be that we have a hard time prioritizing ourselves instead of everyone else in our lives, to see travel as a pillar of selfcare rather than just a nicetohave.We also know that we all have sometimes crippling fear around making the wrong decision about where we should go and where we should stay, a.k.a. what’s worth our precious time and money.

Which is why we decided to debut the Hotel Owards, which spotlights the hotels and wellness resorts that can transform, teach, and serve as catalysts for becoming, in the words of Oprah herself, the person you were always meant to be.” 

These properties touch on every aspect of self-care: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, even sensual. As with all things travel, we wanted to balance the aspirational with the tactical. Sometimes transformationalmeans finding a place that unites three generations and keeps everyone happy and wellfed. Sometimes it’s a treatyourself spa weekend with your closest friends or a family vacation before your last kid heads off to college. And sometimes it’s a solo hike with a barrel sauna waiting for you at the end (and not a whisper of wi-fi for miles). We believe the right trip at the right moment and with the right people can feel like a year’s worth of therapy, meditation, and salsa lessons packed into just a few days. 

What follows are 68 of our favorite escapes in and near North America for 2024. From a working ranch in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming to an ashram in the Bahamas, one of these trips could change your life forever.

Juniper Lodge at Juniper Preserve, Bend, Oregon

The spa treatments at this 104-room, fourstar lodge, tucked within a 20,000-acre federally protected juniper forest overlooking the Cascades, dabble in Ayurvedic, Japanese, and Western therapies, but it’s the more unique wellness offerings-yoga in a tepee, ecstatic dance in an ancient lava cave-that leave guests with a renewed sense of purpose.


Originally published July 1, 2024: