What is Transformative Travel?
The core of transformative travel is renewal — renewal of your creativity, your confidence, your motivation, and your sense of purpose.
Through transformative travel, you can tap into your ideal self, spark inspiration, and restore your passion for life.
As much as I love long-term travel, that is not what this is about. This is about using whatever time you can take away to renew yourself. Travel can transform your life, but you have to make the effort to engage deeply in your experiences and take the time to reflect upon them.
The Four Pillars of Transformative Travel
There are four pillars to finding renewal: mindfulness, compassion, hope and playfulness. The combination of these four pillars nourishes your mind, body and soul. The best part is that these four things are easy to come by in your travel experiences. The key is being aware of when to embrace these opportunities for change.
Mindfulness is perhaps the most important, and most difficult, aspect of finding renewal. Thankfully, we often find mindfulness easier when we travel, because everything is so new and stimulating to us.
The best ways to practice mindfulness when you travel, and in your everyday life, is to meditate and keep a journal. Of course, mindfulness is about being aware in the now, but meditating and keeping a journal will help you get better at noticing when you are being mindful and when you aren’t.
While we talk a lot about self-renewal through transformative travel, it is not all about being self-focused. Selflessness and compassion for others is a huge part of renewing ourselves, improving our own confidence and sense of self. Practicing compassion will continue to boost your relationships and increase your happiness long after your trip.
This can be as simple as leaving your judgment at home, treating everyone you meet with respect when you travel rather than carrying around distrust. Or it can be more engaging, finding ways to get involved or volunteer at your destination. Even just taking the time to learn about local issues can enrich your mind and give you a new perspective. You may just find a new cause you are passionate about or an issue you can do something about even after you return home.
Travel has a way of opening our minds and increasing our positive thinking. If there are areas of your life where you feel hopeless, tackle them head on when you travel. Is your endless work inbox plaguing your mind? Make it a goal to unplug and disconnect from the internet for part of your trip. Feeling unfit or unhealthy? Challenge yourself to go on a multi-day hike, or spend part of your trip at a yoga retreat.
When we get stuck in our routines and habits, we also get stuck in our patterns of thinking. Most of the time, we have the power to turn around the things that we aren’t happy with in our life. Often, the biggest hurdle is changing our perspective.
Fun and playfulness are just as important as being mindful and compassionate. Transformative travel does not mean you have to spend your whole vacation in a serious state of meditation. Part of feeling refreshed and renewed is the energy that comes from doing things that you enjoy. This is also a good way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try something new and exciting!
Transformation After the Trip
The trip is only the first part of transformative travel. You will come back from your trip feeling energized and renewed, but it takes continued effort to keep these positive changes in your life.
Once you’ve learned to incorporate the four pillars of renewal in your travels, it’s time to carry those values over into your everyday life. Read more about mindful living and how it can help you continue to grow after your trip is over.
After an incredible experience spending a month traveling solo around New Zealand, I spent the last couple days of my journey in the Far North, where I finally found some time to reflect on my trip as a whole and my first experiences as a solo traveler.
In retrospect, these last few days were some of the most important and enriching days of my journey, ones that I would look back on for guidance numerous times in the following years.