Photo: Indi Samarajiva via Flickr
Everyday life can be stressful and demotivating at times, and during these times we often turn to holidays as a break from the daily tasks and our somewhat mundane routine. However, there is a new type of travel experience out there that is becoming increasingly popular. We’re talking about transformational travel – the kind of trip that is so much more than just seeing someplace new, but rather about changing who we are and how we live as a result.
You may ask then, what exactly is transformational travel? Well, the Transformational Travel Council defines the experience as one that empowers people to make meaningful changes to their lives. It’s about taking a purposeful approach to your travel choices, whether that’s through a physically demanding challenge or working with communities to build schools or homes.
There are three primary elements to transformational travel:
1) Traveling with intention or purpose
2) Engaging in a physically or mentally challenging trip, or a cultural experience
3) Taking the time to reflect or pursue meaning-making activities
If you can find or create a trip that combines all three of these elements, you’ll for sure have a mind-blowing and unforgettable experience. The goal at play here is that travelers will be able to process their experiences and turn them into lasting actions in their everyday lives. Often these are solo trips and sometimes they require a mentor, perhaps in the form of a life coach or maybe a yogi or spiritual guide at a secluded retreat.
Benefits of transformational travel
There are clearly countless benefits to travel, but in this form, the results are a little different, and a little bigger. From helping us to disconnect from work to take us away from the daily stresses of life, be it a looming deadline, colleagues or technology, transformational travels sees a definite shift in who we are when we return home. Traveling in this way helps us to live with more purpose and pursue mindfulness, providing a totally different perspective on cultures and ideas from around the globe.
You’ll develop a stronger sense of self too, because traveling helps us to understand what we’re actually capable of outside of our cubicle, and gives us more time to reflect on our lifestyle choices. What’s more, travel opens us up to the opportunity to build lifelong friendships with the people we meet along the way. In order for a trip to be considered transformational travel, the traveler ought to return with a sense of improved or enhanced perspective, to feel as though they pushed their comfort zone, and that they gained lessons or skills that they didn’t arrive with.
Ideas for transformational travel
Every transformational travel experience is different from the next, dependent on the person, the place, and the purpose. The key to transformational travel is giving yourself the time and space for unplanned experiences and exploration of your given location; it’s only through exploring a place and connecting with locals in this way that you really get to know the new place and its culture properly.
Before you decide to embark on a trip like this, it’s a good idea to set an intention, such as trekking through a particular part of a destination, identifying and preserving indigenous flora and fauna, or helping to produce something of value within the community.
Yoga retreats are one of the best forms of transformational travel as they combine all three elements of this mode of traveling. These destinations’ purpose and intention will be through wanting to find inner peace and calm, and they educate and inspire through cultural experiences and physical activities, as well as providing the opportunity to reflect through activities such as meditation and, of course, yoga. There’s a sense of accomplishment and learning that comes from yoga retreats that’s incredibly valuable to anyone hoping to make lasting, meaningful changes to their lifestyle.
Traveling to a destination that’s dramatically different to your home life is another great example. These immersive trips give you the chance to really experience a culture and its people to the full. Whether you choose an ecotourist trip of conservation or a wellness retreat, trips like this to beautiful destinations such as Mozambique and Morocco prove that you can combine serenity and sustainability. Conservation trips that help to protect and support the planet are a great option for not only having a positive effect on the traveler but also providing value throughout your journey as well.
For many, the purpose of the trip is taking back the control of their health through a wellness retreat, or to unplug from the bustle of everyday life and constant technology with meditation, journaling or creative writing workshops. Whatever the intention, transformational travel is incredibly personal and can be created with your particular needs, purpo, es and goals in mind.