A Rising Trend: Transformative Travel
Expansion has always been part of human behavior and history, launching us forward intellectually, politically, spiritually, emotionally, and industrially. Generally, humans have an innate instinct to travel and discover. Whether backpacking in South America or flying to a nearby state, tourists now more than ever are broadening their horizons, taking new risks, and stepping out of their comfort zones. Every year consumers are desiring more from their purchases, prioritizing experiences over real-life products. In the last five years, within the tourism industry, there has been a large focus from travelers on experiential tourism, or travel that allows consumers to walk in the footsteps of locals. This includes eating local food, exploring nature, interacting with natives, and trying new excursions. However, with the rise of millennials entering the workforce, the tourism market is experiencing another shift of consumer buying preference focused on personal discovery and expanding consciousness. There is an unmet demand for consumers who are putting more value on self-improvement, wellness-based products, exploration experiences, and sustainable travel. The tourism industry has to now cater to experiences that go beyond immersing in local culture and instead is aiming to transform the individual by offering psychological, behavioral, emotional, and mental benefits through reflection and self-growth. Therefore, giving birth to Transformative Travel.
What is Transformative Travel?
Traveling is about departing from home and daily routines and taking pleasure in searching for something new. However, traveling goes beyond the physical location and the movement elsewhere, it is about undergoing deep cultural experiences through developing hearts and minds. This allows the traveler to shift their mindset from passively engaging with the world to actively changing and interacting with it. Still, many people are too consumed in technology, or too in a rush to understand the true experience. Travel benefits individuals that live presently, understand their observations and ask themselves why they are there in the moment. These individuals view travel as an art or craft, united with curiosity, respect, consciousness, and a profound involvement of life. Participation is a huge aspect of this type of travel, pushing the journeyman to come to the destination with attention and intention. Instead of waiting for something to happen, the traveler marches forward to meet the experience halfway with a positive mentality.
Transformative travel is intentionally traveling to stretch, learn and grow into new ways of being and engaging in the world. Transformative travel teaches the individual to become a stronger, more expressive, and respectful traveler with the capacity to encourage others to move forward consciously. This form of tourism couples experiential travel with the concept of self-growth, mindfulness, and personal discovery. The goal is to positively transform and enhance the traveler’s life by gaining a deeper understanding and meaning through immersing in a new culture. A big component of transformative travel is recognizing our disconnect from nature, culture, personal relationships, and native communities. With transformative travel, we are given the chance to be open-minded, look within, and become a catalyst of consciousness and connectivity to ourselves and others. This type of experience is perfect for tourists who are looking to gain more from their journey than relaxing on a beach or eating new cuisines. Transformative travel requires the individual to embrace self-reflection, taking the growth that they have undergone during their travels forward into their everyday lives. However, to create real impact, travelers must act beyond improving themselves and focus on bridging this awareness and experience to others around them. By closing this gap and encouraging the trade of knowledge and wisdom, transformative travel aims to expand beyond the self and focus on the global mindset.
Transformative travel is a very open concept with many routes that lead to new forms of enlightenment. Although the process of this type of travel is formulated, the outcome of the trip differs for all participants. The first step in transformative travel is stepping into the unknown, answering a call to action to experience something new or unique. This is the stage in which the traveler comes into the experience with an open mind ready to receive any lessons they might stumble upon along the way. The second step of transformative travel is overcoming obstacles, allowing yourself to step outside of your usual routines and comforts, and broadening your perspectives. By trying something new, whether it be mental or physical, travelers can not only learn new skills firsthand but encounter new realizations about themselves, their careers, their relationships, etc. The third and final step is considered the return, in which the traveler ends their journey, reflects on their experiences, and embraces the positive change. This step is the most crucial because a lesson or observation is naturally produced through the experience, allowing the individual to pass down this knowledge and insight onto others. Although transformative travel has a large focus on improving the individual, its true importance and impact lie on how the changed individual impacts others and those around them going forward.
Therefore, whether with a group or solo, planned or unplanned, transformative travel changes the journeyman and generates a long-term, positive impact within themselves and beyond. Understanding oneself and the world is a curial factor that characterizes humans. Especially with the pandemic, now more than ever, people are motivated to experience, connect, and self-improve. Transformative travel has offered an outlet for these individuals to reflect and heal. The benefits of transformative travel individually are extensive, including:
- Improving mental health through reflection
- Physical health through physical activity
- Focusing on revaluating priorities
- Letting go of past traumas
- Reexamining careers and passions
- Re-balancing personal beliefs
- Finding solutions to problems
- Breaking away from bad relationships
- Learning to love oneself.
Choosing your Journey
Don’t know where to start? There are many different ways to go about your transformative travel experience. Ask yourself: Where would I like to go? Maybe there is somewhere you have been dying to visit, or an activity on your bucket list you have been wanting to check off. It can vary from traveling somewhere far and exotic to a simple camping trip nearby, but the main requirement when choosing your location should be putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Hotels and resorts have also begun offering immersive experiences, from snorkeling to cooking classes with many of these programs focused on holistic wellness and personal growth.
We recommend that you plan less! When a trip is planned, there can be time restrictions that limit your ability to immerse yourself in the experience and authentic culture. Turn off your electronics, don’t let the bombardment of media messages cloud your mind. Allow yourself to engage emotionally and mentally to learn something new about yourself. Lastly, we recommend journaling your experiences before and after your journey, allowing for more in-depth reflection.
Consider your Impact
Although Transformative travel is about your journey impacting you, take time on your journey to consider how you are impacting the world around you. By practicing sustainable tourism, you could support goals such as protecting the ecosystems, minimizing climate change and plastic usage, and supporting developing communities that rely heavily on income from tourism. Try to use sustainable forms of transportation, buy local, support green hotels, and respect the world around you.
The Transformational Travel Council (TCC) is a company composed of businesses and organizations that’s main focus is to improve the way society coincides, behaves, and impacts the planet through transformative travel, shared knowledge, and growth in consciousness. Their mission is not just about transforming self, but society from the inside-out, one place and soul at a time. TCC recognizes our ability as homo sapiens to want to connect and discover the world beyond our homes. However, the organization acknowledges the disconnect and separation that has emerged in society, with individuals focusing more on what is happening on their phones than each other, experiences, or their impact on the environment and communities. Therefore, TCC’s solution is to promote an intimate experience that couples experiential and immersive travel with personal discovery and growth to lead to natural and mutually beneficial lifestyle choices.
Despite the impacts of Covid-19 on the tourism industry, travel plans, and basic connectivity, TCC still is pushing to create a safe space for travelers to build community, connect, and inspire each other. TCC will be hosting the world’s first global, virtual travel festival (via Facebook), “A New Dawn in Travel,” on Thursday, March 25th, 2021. The organization will host speakers, creators, industry experts, musicians, and TCC associates and allies that will operate for 24 hours across four different time zones. They will speak on current obstacles the industry is facing, such as travel and privilege, indigenous tourism, community-based tourism, and transformational destination. This event focuses on the benefits of transformational travel on impacting destinations and local communities by offering insights into these real issues and offering actionable solutions that bring a new outlook to the tourism industry.
EVENT LINK: https://www.transformational.travel/a-new-dawn-in-travel-virtual-festival
Please let us know about your Transformational Travel Experience in the comments below!