When the co-founders of Buddha Travel set out to find and form a community of people who are interested in “A Path to Conscious Living Through Travel,” we knew that the idea of traveling to another place to transform your life was becoming more needed, but we weren’t aware of just how important and widespread the concept has become. It seems trivial to say that the pursuit of a more conscious life is a “trend,” but when the idea of transformational travel makes it to the pages of Vogue and Forbes, it’s time to take notice.
At Buddha Travel, we focus first on inner transformation, believing that it is easier to achieve when you have the opportunity to travel to inspired destinations that enhance your experience with natural energy and immersion into other cultures.
Other travel organizations see transformational travel as an adventure first, with inner change as a consequence of the travel experience. For example, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) has conducted research to demonstrate that transformative experiences are actually one of the top motivating factors when travelers choose an “adventure” trip. According to ATTA, “In the past couple years, the term “transformation” has been used to describe what consumers seek from the goods and services they purchase. To delight today’s consumer, nothing short of a transformative experience – one that leaves a lasting change or impression – is required. The push for transformation is expressing itself across industries from health and wellness and fashion and yes, even travel.”
Vogue reported on the “trend” early in 2017, suggesting that transformational travel is the next level following “experiential travel” that has become popular over the past several years. According to their article, “transformational travel is the next evolution. It has similar elements of experiential travel, but taken a step further—it’s travel motivated and defined by a shift in perspective, self-reflection and development, and a deeper communion with nature and culture.”
Every trend has its downside too, and travel providers may rush to market with offerings that promise “transformation” while actually just re-packaging an itinerary with a bit of yoga or “spirituality” thrown in. Buddha Travel Retreats and Experiences have been created to focus first on educating and immersing its guests in the elements of a conscious lifestyle, providing a personally curated experience to achieve it under the guidance of trained teachers and Masters, and ensuring that every Buddha Travel guest returns home with a set of guidelines for maintaining and deepening the conscious lifestyle after the retreat.
In addition to communities like Buddha Travel, there has even been a group formed to support people who want to transform, called the Transformational Travel Council. Buddha Travel endorses their suggestion that people “travel like HEROs: With Heart, Engagement, Resolve, and Openness. By doing so, our perspectives of self, others, and the world shift, and our actions and behaviors become more conscious, intentional, and purpose-driven.”
Pure Life Experiences, which is a global marketplace for experiential travel products and services, released a Travel Trends Report earlier this year about the increasing demand for transformational travel. They define it as “An immersive, perspective-shifting itinerary that challenges and inspires the sophisticated traveler on a deeply personal level, creating emotion through the powerful medium of storytelling and transforming their life for the better.”
Pure’s Travel Trends report from 2017 reflects the concern that people who seek a true change must be diligent in seeking the right kind of transformative offering. The report concludes, “Yet as the world becomes better connected and global tourism industries boom, there is a growing false economy in promoting cultural experiences that, while labeled as ‘authentic’, are in reality as contrived as any resort. So how can we distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic? For Condé Nast Traveler’s Paul Brady, “it’s about the access you can get, the spiritual connection a place offers”. Editor-in-Chief of Travel Weekly, Arnie Weissmann, agrees that transformation travel is about the “interior journey”, calling it “as individual as people.”
We invite you to start your curated interior journey with the guidance and nurturing of Buddha Travel.