Hello, lovely! As you know, I am a bit obsessed with transformation (did the phoenix give it away?). Everything I do in my life since my close call with death is from the angle of transformation. That’s where transformative travel comes in!
Why is everyone so obsessed with transformation?
There are only two things that are promised to us in life – change and death. They are both completely out of our control, but there is a way to make it less painful. Who here is a control freak?
No matter how much I fight the title, it is me. I am it. We are one.
I have fought change and pain my entire life and suffered immensely from it. From staying in a loveless marriage for the kids when I was young to my body and mind being broken from my accident and the painful path to healing.
Once I started accepting change, the pain that naturally came with it started to lessen. Coming at change with a perspective of transformation rather than fear changes everything. Voluntarily changing for the better leads to even better results.
Vacations not doing it for you?
Have you ever gotten back from a vacation feeling refreshed, but still feel that something is missing? Sure, sipping cocktails while lounging by the beach is great for relaxation and a tan (if you’re into that, I prefer my pale, pasty look).
A few days back to the day to day grind, it’s like the vacation never happened. Transformative travel changes all of that.
But what is transformative travel?
It’s not just a new trend in travel or a buzzword for a certain trade-marked self-help program. Transformative travel is all about experiencing a meaningful change – a shift in perspective, mindset, or mentality that leads to a change in your outlook on life. BBC.com describes it as “Transformational travel is more than just a buzzword. It’s helping ordinary travellers tap into the true power and privilege of travel as a force for change.”
I used to be a country counter (as much as I could be as a teenager and single mom) ticking off destinations and sights on my bucket list. The experiences were fun, but felt shallow in the end.
Transformative travel is different because it encourages travelers to immerse themselves in local communities and lifestyles, trying out new experiences, and getting out of their comfort zones. But it’s more than just a trendy shift in travel styles. Transformative travel is rooted in the belief that travel can be healing and therapeutic. It can give travelers a chance to reflect and contemplate, leading to a greater self-awareness and growth.
My first experience with transformative travel.
Looking back, I would say that my first experience with transformative travel would be when I went on a solo trip across the ocean to Ireland. It was my first time traveling solo and the first time across any oceans – daunting to say the least. Murphy’s Law was ever present during that trip. My sense of direction was shot. I wrecked my car, had my flight canceled three times, and ran out of money.
To the right is the picture of the sign indicating it would be easy to drive off the cliff. One tire was dangling off the ledge while I was stopping my heart from pounding out of my chest.
I absolutely wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. Epic adventures, a ridiculous amount of challenges, and knowledge were the results that I treasure to this day. This is the way I want to travel. Bored with the traditional vacations I had in my youth, this was a breath of fresh air and reminded me that the world is so much bigger than I thought it was.
The impact of transformational travel on my life.
Five years after my accident and one trip later, I truly realized the impact and transformation that takes place in my mind, body, and soul when I travel. There was no going back to traditional vacations ever again.
In short, transformational travel isn’t about what you do during your travels. It is more about who your personal journey and who you become. It’s about making positive changes in yourself that impact your daily life. It’s about returning from a trip with more than just a tan – a new sense of purpose, a clear direction, or a renewed self confidence.
So how can you embark on a transformational travel journey?
Participate in immersive cultural experiences.
By immersing yourself in local customs, traditions, and culture, you can gain a deeper understanding of a destination and in turn learn more about yourself. Look up local festivals to take part in and celebrate with them. Sign up for a cooking class to learn a local cuisine or dine with a family nearby. Letting lose when invited into a traditional dance even when you don’t know any of the steps. People watch at a local coffee shop when you don’t have the opportunity or the jet lag is too much. Expanding your horizons not only broadens your world view but your personal growth as well!
Interact with the locals.
A true connection with its place and its people can make a vacation truly transformative. Speak to the locals. Don’t be afraid to ask them about what a day in their life looks like or what they are passionate about. Ask to interview a local about the location.
Building these authentic connections can result in a greater appreciation for the culture and traditions, while also imparting new perspectives on your own life. It’s these true connections that leave a lasting impression, creating cherished memories and a desire to return to these special places.
Best ways to find immersive cultural experiences.
Personally, I have found great success with Viator and EatWith. Viator allows you to book a variety of different experiences like art & culture, classes & workshops, food & drink tours, outdoor adventures, sightseeing, and more. Culturally immersive experiences are literally at your fingertips. EatWith connects guests with friendly, hand-selected hosts for unique, immersive experiences from the comfort of their own home.
Think of challenges as an opportunity for growth.
Let’s be honest, traveling can be messy! From lost luggage to missed connections, the spectrum of challenges that come with traveling is endless. But what if I told you that these challenges can be an opportunity for growth?
Hear me out, when things don’t go as planned, it’s easy to throw a tantrum or panic. But these unforeseen obstacles can make you more resilient, patient, and open-minded. When faced with a difficult situation while traveling, think of it as a chance to foster your problem-solving skills and test our limits.
Survival skills such as navigating unfamiliar streets in a foreign language or pushing your social boundaries to make friends with locals can lead to a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, these challenges provide valuable insight and life lessons that can also be transferred into your daily life back home. Let’s face it, these stories make for the best travel memories!
When to begin transformative travel?
Begin by embracing the unknown and challenging yourself to try something new. You can even do this in your own backyard or with a road trip. Get off the beaten path, indulge in local cuisines (even if you think you won’t like it), interact with locals, or volunteer in the community at your destination. When you leave home, open your mind, and detach yourself from your comfort zone, you’ll find yourself experiencing life in a new and enriching way.
Which way will you begin transformative travel today? Comment below!