Travel can be much more than visiting a new destination. It means creating a holistic journey that not only creates opportunities for unique experiences, but fosters change within you. The following 5 steps will inspire the inner journey and challenge you to travel like a nomad, no matter the destination.
1. Answer Your Call to Adventure
"We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves..."
The first step in having a transformational journey is to understand your call to adventure. What is the call to adventure, you ask? Based on doctoral research from our own Michael Bennett, Ed.D., it is discovering the "intrinsic motivation to travel, grow, and transform." Further, it is "driven by the desire for a career-change, or [they] are going through a life transition—birth, death, divorce, retirement, etc., or [they are] experiencing a general feeling of discontentment in life that is inspiring them to go seek out something new in their lives!" This research, which is showcased on the Transformational Travel Council website, clearly demonstrates the events that can lead up to discovering a call to adventure.
While this research provides a great benchmark, it's also helpful to ask questions that promote self-discovery, including:
- Why do you want to travel?
- What actions / events led up to this decision?
- What's inspiring you to seek change in your life?
These questions can help define for the traveler the type of journey and experiences that lie ahead. What matters most is having the courage to answer the call to adventure.
2. Travel with the Right Mindset
More Than Picking a Destination
Once the call to adventure has been answered, the next step towards a nomadic journey is creating the mindset for the perfect journey. A perfect example of this is from Pico Iyer's Why We Travel, in which he describes the foundation for a transformational journey. "Travel is like love ... mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end." By being in the right mindset, travelers can experience transformation in their lives as a result of travel.
To help achieve the right mindset, we often ask a series of questions during our travel design process to encourage this:
- How do you need to act in order to gain the most out of this experience?
- How can you travel with a more open mind and heart?
- What can you let go of (relationships, job transition, etc.)?
By having a completely open mind before and during your journey, travelers will be able to feel a heightened sense of presence, which will foster unexpected experiences, thoughts, and feelings to occur.
3. Fully Immerse Yourself
Be Open Wherever You Go
Along the journey, opportunities for adventure and life-changing experiences can be abundant. It is a matter of staying open to these experiences and being willing to engage in them that can foster transformation.
Engaging experiences are often culturally or physically focused — either shifting perspectives by the changed social behaviors and thinking of a particular group or physically demanding, pushing boundaries beyond your normal limits. These can take many forms during a travel journey, whether it be an cooking lesson to create an authentic dish, witnessing a tribal ritual, or hiking up to see Machu Picchu.
Immersing yourself fully in experiences can shift perspectives and help bring new light to undiscovered areas of your life. As Michael Bennett, Ed.D., shared "Comfort zones are pushed. Boundaries are redrawn. Perspectives shift." Pushing yourself while traveling can create a new way in which you view the world.
These experiences can form the foundation for reflection take place during and after meaningful conversations.
4. Engage in Meaningful Conversations
Conversations Can Promote Change
By engaging with people in meaningful conversation during a trip with an open mind, heart, and eyes — and with the right mindset — can inspire more perspectives to shift. These conversations and interactions can form the foundation for transformation during a journey.
It's important to note that these meaningful conversations can occur with local people as well as those you might be traveling with. Both groups possess their own unique perspectives, and as such can provide new ways to think about challenges and how to conquer them. In addition, these people can also take on either the "helper" or "antagonist" roles, either fostering challenge within your own life or helping to overcome challenges.
To make the most out of these meaningful conversations and interactions, it's important to take time to reflect on them, as they can inspire change.
5. Take Time for Reflection
The Final Step in a Nomadic Journey
The purpose of the journey will often times be purely personal; needing an escape from life, seeking new adventure, looking for inspiration for life-change or for other reasons. Whatever the purpose, taking time to reflect on the experiences you've had and what you might do differently as a result of those experiences is an important part of the nomadic journey.
Wellness and "slow" travel can offer the space for reflection - making time to take care of yourself, not rushing through cities to see all of the sites, creating space and time to have meaningful experiences and reflection. As Michael Bennett puts it, "... In other words, the traveler is able to reconnect to their true self. Once reconnected to Self, travelers create a vision of the life that they aspire to and developed a plan for making vision a reality." Taking ample opportunity for self-reflection can spark new ideas for new aspirations and life-changing ideas.
By answering the call to adventure, creating the right mindset, immersing yourself fully in meaningful interactions and experiences, and taking time to reflect on these things, travel will shift perspectives and change lives. We hope that through this concept, you will be inspired to experience this new way of travel and be able to change your life for the better.