A new scientific study came out following people who had recently been on resort vacations and those who were meditators who had been on meditation retreats. The interesting thing is that the beneficial effects on their bodies, though similar, were different. And meditators seemed to have the longest term benefits. Their immune responses and ability to resist stress were stronger for a longer time than those who had simply greatly relaxing vacations.
Here's an article that gives a simple overview of the research -- interestingly enough, in Money Magazine.
So how about Meditation Vacations? Going somewhere where the goal is intensive meditation WHILE in a beautiful resort. It happens. I just went to one, and am hoping that once I get over the jetlag, I'll find my resistance to stress much higher.
But HERE'S THE PART NO RESEARCHER STUDIED: I caught 10 poems in 5 days while on my meditation-vacation-retreat at the South Carolina coastline. My normal pace is maybe five poems in a month. Clearly, the inspiration index was through the roof on a Medtiation Vacation. The Muse was hanging out on those beaches and patios, under the oak trees and at my buffet lunches and dinners. All I had to do, it seemed, was feel a stirring of idea, pick up my phone, and dictate. Of course they're all rough drafts, but THAT MANY POEM DRAFTS in five days is unparalleled in my life.
So roll it all together -- resort vacationing, meditation as a focused slowing down, and writing! I've been on active vacations three times as long in which I didn't get either as relaxed or inspired.