For the post-Industrial traveller.
I still remember the days when we used to have to carry around a bag of coins to call forward from a pay phone to our suppliers to confirm our reservations. After a long driving day on windy roads, we could never be completely confident that upon arrival at our hotel the reservation was secure, or that the last minute overbooking would force us to another hotel, or even worse, to another town for the night.
This was long before mobile phones, before mass travel, and the associated desire of wanting to see as much as you can in the least amount of time without genuinely experiencing the journey albeit making great content for social media.
I love the question “Why”… Why do we travel? Why do we choose a particular destination? Why do we leave the comfort of our homes to battle airports and go to all the “must see” places where you will have to deal with the crowd and long lines? Why has travel become so stressful?
I have been leading groups around Spain and Portugal for now over 25 years and have witnessed the transformation of travel.
From the times where our coaches could stop anywhere and the locals would look at us as the attraction, to what we are now witnessing in cities like Barcelona where tourisofobia has emerged and the locals are telling the tourists to go home, that Gaudí hates them.
Personally, I have been insulted in front of my group by a local resident on our way to the magnificent Sagrada Familia by Gaudí.
I sense a fundamental shift in the kind of travel experience people are looking for and this leads us more towards Travel to Transform, also known now as transformational travel which has become to be quite the buzz word lately.
Let’s look at why? Well apart from what I have shared above, transformational travel is much more meaningful. It’s defined as an experience that empowers people to make meaningful and lasting changes in their lives without transforming the places visited. It’s about immersing yourself in the culture and peoples of the places visited. It’s a more authentic way of connecting where it’s not a matter of just seeing a place, but living it. The transformational traveller values more the experience, what can be learnt and what will stay with them after they have returned home. For this to happen it requires that as we explore the places we visit we explore ourselves. Travel has always has the innate ability to transform, it broadens our perspectives and gives us a different outlook on life. Yet often, once we return home we fall into the same routine before we left.
The intention of transformational travel is that the changes experienced are life long, because something inside has shifted so that your outlook on yourself and your world around you changes.
Its power is that it may also inspire you in turn to change the way you interact with others and your environment.
I think people are now searching for something more profound than just themselves.