This one is for San Francisco locals and visitors alike.
Join our CEO Benef for a sunrise meditation and
COO Megan for a photo walk to the Golden Gate Bridge!
Sunday, February 25
Crissy Field East Beach
6:15amPST - Meditation Starts
Need a moment to pause? Breathe? Reflect on the Wisdom 2.0 conference? Relax before a long flight? Get ready for the week ahead? Join us as we watch the 6:46am sunrise with a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the sun rise above the East Bay
Bring warm clothes and something to sit on
WHO ARE WE:
Our CEO Benef is a mindfulness coach on the board of Warriors At Ease, a Certified Yoga Instructor from the Kripalu Institute,
20-year army veteran, West Point grad, and mom of 2
Our COO Megan has spent the last two years chasing sunrises across the globe. You can find some of her Bay Area photos here or via the hashtag #SFMorning on Instagram.
Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
to let us know you're coming!
Contributed by: Benef Verell, CEO
Beneficial, A Mindful Travel Company, is in the processing of creating a private nonprofit foundation, Military & Mindful (M2) which acts as the philanthropic arm of Beneficial.
Below are the goals of the organization:
1. A collaborative space to connect like-minded people who wish to bring mindfulness practices to the military.
2. A venue to educate people about the benefits of mindfulness practices.
3. A place to share the stories of service members and their families who have benefited from practicing yoga and meditation.
4. A site to highlight and spread the word of the great work being done by others bringing mindfulness to the military.
5. A charity that donates to other organizations that bring mindfulness practices to active duty and veterans.
6. A philanthropic organization that sponsors vacations for service members and their families suffering from PTSD.
***Until such time as M2 receives legal nonprofit status, Beneficial will sponsor vacations for service members and their families suffering from PTSD and donate to other charities that bring mindfulness to the military such as Warriors At Ease, Exalted Warrior Foundation, and Semper Fi Odyssey.
Contributed by: Benef Verell, CEO
I’m retired Army and I care deeply about the well-being of service members. I’m also a Kripalu yoga instructor since 2012. I used to think these two things, Army and yoga, didn’t go together and downplayed my yoga practice with my military tribe.
Now I know better.
The mindfulness that yoga and meditation cultivate is exactly what the military needs. The military asks a lot of its women and men and spends a great deal of effort training them in tactical skills, physical endurance, operational readiness, and strategic thinking.
Maintenance of the mind, however, gets left behind. I believe mindfulness improves leadership, the ability to be present in the moment, and the ease of the mind to focus. I know this based on personal experience. I know research on this topic is out there.
Beneficial, A Mindful Travel Company, is a sustainable way of generating revenue to fund research and programs that bring mindfulness, meditation, and yoga to service members starting in basic training.
We connect with inspirational leaders and then design and plan group retreats/vacations for the leader and his or her followers, clients, employees, family, or friends.
Why focus on groups?
Groups provide the biggest return on the investment for our time in planning the trip. We could earn a five or six figure commission on a luxury group trip traveling to Asia.
We use a portion of these proceeds to donate to organizations that bring mindfulness practices to the military; Warriors At Ease, Exalted Warrior Foundation, Semper Fi Odyssey, and eventually our own nonprofit private foundation - Military & Mindful.
How are we earning money to operate the business and pay ourselves a salary if we’re donating some of our proceeds?
We charge a planning fee per person or couple. Planning a detailed itinerary for a group isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, and we value our time. We also offer subscription based services for our expertise in travel and mindfulness teachings; together these fees keep the business lights burning bright.
Why would an inspirational group leader use Beneficial? Couldn’t they just plan it themselves?
1. We’re not working alone. We have an entire community behind us which starts with our host agency, Gifted Travel Network; continues with our consortia, Travel Savers; and includes numerous travel suppliers and travel industry companies.
Many of these time honored and vetted companies only work directly with travel agents. They specialize and operate in all areas of the world providing us access to more knowledge and reliable resources than any single person can find on the internet. For the luxury traveler, it only makes sense to use professionals.
2. We care about people. We genuinely enjoy connecting with and helping people. We know firsthand the benefits of traveling in a group and we work with the group leader to design the best vacation/retreat for that group’s needs and desires. Each trip is its own journey from start to finish. We’ll never come to the group leader with a predetermined trip or package in mind.
What’s in it for the group leader who’s spending their valuable time on the trip?
We negotiate with each group leader to determine acceptable compensation for his or her time. Some may be comfortable donating their time and receiving a paid vacation with a chance to spread their positive message. Others may desire a little more. We do not judge, but look for the best solution based on the individual circumstances.
Our end goal is to help service members, connect with people, plan amazing luxury vacations, and serve happy travelers. Connect with us and share your ideas for group leaders, bringing mindfulness to the military, or just to say hello.
Contributed by: Benef Verell, CEO
With the Winter Olympics starting this weekend in Korea, I’m reminded of the short time we lived there. Seoul, Korea has been one of my favorite places to date. Unfortunately, this was the only city in Korea that I got to explore as we moved back to the States after only six months. Good thing I get to go back to Asia this summer as I will absolutely be making my way back to Seoul at some point. Here are five things I loved about Seoul; there are many, but for brevity’s sake I chose five.
Korean BBQ, Soju, and Cass.
I love spicy food and Korean BBQ does not disappoint. But beyond the food, I enjoy the camaraderie of cooking the food together with friends, trying and tasting all the various side dishes and fresh greens, and catching up with friends. Korean BBQ is a social event often followed by karaoke (not pictured, lol, but another classic favorite).
Well, in this case, I’m talking about one particular Ramen shop in Itaewon about a 5-7 minute walk from Yongsan Army post. This shop is about the size of a one of our bedrooms (not the master) and as I watched the woman prepare the ramen, I noticed she was using regular packaged ramen I could find at any store. However, there is some sort of secret additions, spices, seafood, meats, that make it most definitely NOT the ramen I find in the store. Spicy, flavorful, piping hot, deliciousness in my belly.
The Subway System
It’s very clean and easy to use. Not once did I feel overwhelmed or confused using the subway in Seoul. I did not venture out on the train system, so that may be different. From the previous Olympics, all the signage is romanized characters. However, the Korean language is phonetic, and I was just beginning to memorize all the characters before we left. Which means, I could pronounce anything I read even if I didn’t know what it meant. Good for reading subway or street signs and finding a random English word like banana.
I love wandering the aisles in these open air type markets. I’m not much of haggler, but I did manage to talk down the price of a frying pan. There’s so much to see and really good deals if you look. The department stores are pristine and have women only parking spots complete with uniformed parking attendants. I did quite enjoy Korean fashion and just browsing in general the large box stores (their equivalent of Walmart/Target I guess, but appeared nicer).
We attended both a soccer and baseball game while in Seoul. I was pleasantly surprised with the BYOB custom; which meant I did NOT have to pay $12 equivalent for a beer. I also became intrigued by the organized cheering. Typically soccer and baseball are not sports for which Americans have cheerleaders. But in Korea, the fans for the team at bat stand and cheer led by cheerleaders. The opposing team sits and is quiet and respectful. Definitely different.
I had to throw this in there. I absolutely love getting a chuckle out of signs, posters, menus, etc that have strange translations. Perhaps I can make a living off of going around and offering correct translations. Too funny!
Contact me to plan your vacation to Korea. There’s so much more to see and do in the country and I’d love to design a trip with you.