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What is Transformational Travel?

Transformational Travel welcomes the sense of adventure and unknown that comes with authentic, un-canned travel, and embraces the viewpoint that when travel is undertaken with clear intention and an open mind and heart, we can trust that whatever comes to us- sun or rain, ease or challenge, the expected or the unexpected- is a gift that contains exactly what is needed for the next step on our path.

Conventional adventure travel and tourism is often approached as a way to collect experiences, in the same way that we collect material goods- something to check off a list or to capture as a possession in photographs or memories, or a diversion and distraction from our everyday reality. All too often, travelers hold on to a pre-determined sense of self as a reference point for ‘normal’, watching their experience as one might watch a landscape go by from the comfort of a first-class seat on the train, knowing that they will eventually be deposited back where they started, with nothing changed but the passing of time.

To approach an experience from the viewpoint of transformational travel, however, is to be willing to be changed by the experience, a willingness to jump from the edge of known territory, giving ones self completely to the experience so that whatever unfolds is taken as gift, and whatever is ready will shift.

Transformational travel is a powerful way to shift the course of one’s life. As humans, we tend to get stuck in patterns of identity, of self-beliefs, and the external habits that reinforce those. To connect with our true nature, with the part of us that is deeper than our history, personality, or current circumstance, the part that is undeniably compassionate, truthful, and oriented to the greater good, we must interrupt our patterns, become unflinchingly present with ourselves and our environment, and open to the possibility of something greater than our small story of ourselves. Travel allows us to cross the lines that create the illusion of difference- whether that be class, gender, culture, language, geographic home- and recognize the true nature that lies in everyone.

The Bigger Picture . . . .

We live in a world that highlights our differences. The differences are fascinating and endless- language, skin color and physical traits, ways of thinking, cultural practices and beliefs, the landscapes that shape us- they are what make our world such a rich and textured place to explore. But differences are like the choppy surface of the ocean- so many waves and currents and different conditions, yet underneath is a vast realm that is the same in all human beings- our true nature, which is ultimately good, compassionate, and whole.

Differences are what make travel fun- we are constantly thrown off balance by the intersection of our ‘normal’ and the reality of what is right here, right now. But the illusion that these differences are absolute is at the root of so many of the struggles of the modern world. Difference is all too easily objectified into an ‘other’, and it is far easier to exploit, ignore, or even go to war with an ‘other’ that appears inherently different from the humans in our immediate lives. After eons of global culture that has fostered aggression through an emphasis on difference, our planet is longing for humans to recognize our shared condition, our shared human-ness, our true nature. Travel that highlights only difference is missing this golden opportunity.