This quest for deeper meaning in our lives and deeper connections with our world has finally seeped into the travel industry. “Experiential travel” became the travel trend of 2016. Rather than just visiting far-flung locations, vacationers were looking for ways to tap into native cultures, meaningfully interact with locals, and feel like far more than a tourist. In a world heavily disconnected by technology, we humans are trying to find better ways to connect and find authenticity. So where does a thoughtful traveler go from there? What’s next?
Industry leaders have now been coining the phrase “transformational travel” as the next iteration for 2017. It is similar to experiential travel, but taken a step further. Transformational travel is travel motivated, but defined by a shift in perspective, self-reflection and development, and a deeper communion with nature and culture. Today’s culture is device- and pace-driven and we are disconnecting from ourselves, our relationships, nature, and culture. But transforming ourselves, we have found is still not enough to change the world. We have the power to help others as consumers, so we have the responsibility of bringing global awareness to travel and putting it into action. This is what “sustainable tourism” is all about.
Travel is transforming our world and transforming business. Here are a few travel brands that are leading the pack in re-thinking consumer’s engagement with travel:
Imagine this, you’re in Athens but its not your typical holiday. You get up at the crack of dawn to travel the outskirts of the city to a temporary structure erected for Syrian refugee families. You help interview and distribute supplies, and get a chance to hear firsthand from the father of a family struggling with becoming refugees and leaving everything they own, while helping to work hands on.
The second half of your journey is your “deep dive”. Where you relax on a nearby island through sound meditations, singing, and physical release through yoga. You join in during group conversations around the dinner table chatting about your impactful experience, how you can better understand it, and how you can help the real issues at hand using your own passions and skillsets.
That is what Journey is.