What’s The Hype About Transformative Travel?

Is It Any Different From "Experiential" or "Authentic"?

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Transformative travel is the new buzzword being used by the travel industry lately, replacing “experiential” and “authentic”, but what exactly is it and what exactly does transformative travel have to offer?  

First of all, let's uncover the commonly stated difference between experiential travel and transformative travel.

Many of us have tried experiential travel at some point, whether bush walking in Australia, visiting an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka or experiencing a wine tasting festival with the locals in France. These types of holidays focus on providing us with some awe-inspiring experiences and memories that we'll treasure for a lifetime, some more than others.

Transformative travel focuses on shifting perspective on life through new experiences and allows you to connect with local communities, nature and ULTIMATELY yourself. Think of helping to plant trees in the rainforest or joining a yoga commune in India and you get the idea. They are and can be experiential travel but if it induces changes within you to live life differently on your return home, it’s transformative.

“The real work of an expedition begins when you return”- Louise Arner Boyd

Our own LeanPac®, over 40s, travel survey (Watch this space! Results coming out soon!), shows that 9 out of 10 travellers (including our own well-travelled lean team members) have not had a “life changing experience” from their travels. We are not entirely sure why this is but the lean team surmise that some people are more “transformable” than others, or it can be partly due to the age group, where most may have “found” themselves. Or, we may not have embarked on the correct trip to “find” ourselves yet, in which case, the below prompts may be interesting reading.

Is Transformative Travel For You?

So, does transformative travel really have something to offer or is it just another way for travel companies to get us to part with our hard-earned cash? 

Knowing if transformational travel is for you very much depends on your reason for travelling. We are always looking to grow and develop as a person and see life from the perspective of others, but if you are looking for more intense and emotionally charged experience than the answer may be yes, they may have the potential to offer you something a normal holiday won’t. 

However, these types of trips can often carry a higher price tag but the service is totally tailored towards a market wanting to gain something more, which requires a bit more effort and emotional engagement.

For those of you that like the sound of transformational travel, where “Why” and “How” is more important then “Where” and “What”, here are a few ideas of just what’s on offer right now at locations around the world. 

Work On Your Wellness – Mind & Body

If your mental and physical wellbeing is something you want to work on during your next break, then there’s a plethora of remote locations that offer intensive wellness programmes that go way beyond the offerings of your standard spa escape.

Sunrise yoga, mindfulness sessions and (raw) food nutrition coaching sessions are just some of the things you can expect to see from this type of transformational travel break in remote locations such as Patagonia or off the beaten track of South East Asia. For the more invigorating fitness experience, multi-active escapes from aqua-fit in Greece, Bollyrobics in India, triathlon-fit in Thailand to the challenging sheep farming in Ireland. Or, why not total therapeutic indulgence and at the same time fitness torture of the six senses in Oman with a mountainous backdrop? 

Social And Environmental Responsibility

Not just a gap year activity, some transformational holidays focus on giving something back to local communities and include helping to build schools, assist in educational initiatives and even helping to conserve our natural environment. 

Popularly available in Africa and Central America, these transformational escapes are empowering and inspiring and a great idea for groups who want to make a difference. 

So if you're looking for a break where you'll bring something more important back than handmade souvenirs, maybe transformational travel should be on your agenda.