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How to relax and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Western Canada

What's better than taking in stunning scenery, reclining with a glass of wine and absorbing nature's energy from wildlife, snow-covered mountains and roaring waterfalls?

If that sounds appealing, then it's time to plan an adventure to the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada and begin a journey to a healthier, more relaxed you. A popular option for adventure-seeking travelers is taking in the sights and culinary delights while aboard one of the bi-level, glass-domed trains of Rocky Mountaineer, Canada's luxury tourist train company that offers all daylight trips through British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, and Seattle. Here are seven reasons why you'd want to take in Canada's beautiful landscapes by train.

Give yourself an opportunity for self-reflection

Vacationing can be a perfect time for travelers to declutter their minds, one of the tremendous health benefits from vacations. John de Graaf, president of Take Back Your Time, a Seattle nonprofit dedicated to eliminating the epidemic of people overworking in the U.S. and Canada, said travel can be a transformative experience, one that can give a different type of education to a traveler.

The downtime offers an opportunity to reflect and consider decisions that otherwise might remain on the back burner. So along with your sense of adventure, pack a journal or notebook to capture your thoughts and document key moments of your trip.

Find some peace in nature

Nothing gets you in the mood to relax more than calming inspiration from breathtaking scenery. Western Canada has it all: surreal landscapes, riveting canyons, 200 million-year-old volcanic rock, ocean air, exotic rain forests, pounding waterfalls and up close views of the rugged Rocky Mountains.

Whether you're an avid photographer or someone who loves to soak up the moment, these peace-instilling sights are sure to leave you with a refreshed spirit and an album of awe-inspiring photos. Just remember to skip checking your email and put your cellphone on do-not-disturb mode.

Make a cultural connection

Enjoy opportunities to make new international friends and reconnect with old ones who might be traveling with you.

"Travel helps us understand other people better," de Graaf said, recalling advice from his friend, best-selling travel writer Rick Steves. "We connect to cultures, we lose our sense that we know everything and we learn that other people have good ideas, too."

Relax to help your bottom line

Recent medical and employment studies show healthier employees are good for business. "Health is improved for all of the people who take vacations, and turnover is reduced," de Graaf said.

So start planning your spring vacation now. "Letting your co-workers or employees know that you will be disconnecting will offset a lot of stress and actually gains their respect," said Donna Walker, fitness and nutrition specialist for Chicago Athletic Clubs.

Take in new dining experiences

Walker said vacations give travelers time to eat well while relaxing — whether that's sharing a sweet treat or eating coho salmon, which is often prepared in Rocky Mountaineer’s gourmet kitchen. "You likely end up enjoying your food more without that feeling of being rushed," she said. "When you're in that relaxed environment, all the flavors seem to come alive." Warm scones first thing in the morning along with fresh breakfasts, three-course lunches and snacks give travelers a taste of Western Canada’s fresh and wild bounty that’s worth taking the time to savor.

Rediscover your sense of adventure

With a trip such as one on Rocky Mountaineer, wildlife and new adventures are within reach for travelers of all ages who take in uncharted territory, investigate history and yelp in surprise at the sight of a 1,000-pound moose from the safety of a train car.

Make lasting memories

Traveling by rail offers a fresh perspective about your surroundings. Travelers get to see a different side of nature that they wouldn’t necessarily see while driving. On the Rocky Mountaineer, the train rolls next to deep canyons and lush forests.

As a bonus, experiencing something new with another person allows you to make life-long memories and share a deeper connection with your companion. Of course, memories can be made at any age, and sharing post-vacation photos adds to the fun.

For more information about travel options and tours in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, visit www.rockymountaineer.com.

— Graham Gettel, Tribune Content Solutions

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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