Transformational Travel-The Dynamic Duo of Conscious Travel
I’ve recently discovered a concept that I believe to be the travel industry’s best kept secret. Better yet, it has occurred to me that this practice in conjunction with veganism might just be the ultimate cocktail for an enriched, enlightening, and empowered travel experience. Hear me out.
A New Way to Engage with the World Through Travel
Previously, I shared my thoughts on what vegan travel could look like moving forward and how we need to shift our thoughts from sustainable travel to community minded travel.
A concept that is in alignment with these topics and has become close to my heart is transformational travel. It is defined by the Transformational Travel Council as “intentionally travelling to stretch, learn and grow into new ways of being and engaging with the world”. Self awareness and outer awareness are at its core, two elements that also ring true with the vegan lifestyle. At the heart of veganism is food and at the heart of transformational travel is experience, two concepts that are universally human. Food, awareness and experience often coincide, as pointed out by Dr. Matt Ruby, psychology lecturer at La Trobe University in Australia.
He says, “Increasingly, there is evidence that people consider what they eat - and what they don’t eat - to be an important part of who they are, and that food choice and eating behaviour are rich sources of meaning.”
Photo: Woman shopping for food | Vegan | Transformational Travel
As we move into this decade with an opportunity to explore with new eyes and a new mindset, our desire for truly enriching and engaging experiences is ever-present. While transformational travel doesn’t promise a transformative experience, it provides a set of tools that act as a vessel to tap into this way of exploring. To truly understand the parallels between transformational travel and veganism, it may at times be helpful to approach this with the mindset of yourself as a new vegan.
See Yourself as a New Vegan
If you’re anything like me, when you learned the realities of animal agriculture and its effect on our health and the planet, there was no going back. This moment was pivotal in how you would move forward and navigate your life given this new information. Similarly, transformational travel opens up the gates to the multilayered (but wonderful) complexities of travel and how exploring in this way can instill habits in you that change the way you lead your life while inspiring others and honoring the earth.
Two main concepts within the practice of transformational travel are connection and action. Connection can be broken down further through the inner and outer journeys. The inner journey relates to your connection to self while the outer journey refers to your connections with others and the infinite.
Connection to self requires introspection, self awareness and reevaluation of your pre-transformation habits and ideas. For veganism and transformational travel alike, we must examine the barriers that keep us from making the changes we inherently crave. Both are rooted in our desire to create opportunities that will allow us to thrive. Will I be able to go without cheese? Will I still be able to relax on vacation knowing what I know now about travel’s ability to transform me? When we meet the doubt with a firm understanding of our reasons behind making a change, we can confidently move forward, thus reinforcing the belief in our choices. Think of it this way: veganism is to a thriving body as transformational travel is to a thriving mind. Together, you have an elevated state of being.
Photo: Young woman meeting owls | Transformational Travel
You Can Elevate Your State of Being
Connecting to others is all about community and engaging with all of those who are a part of your journey. In the case of travel, this may be your family and friends, travel companions, tour guides, travel agents, or concierges. When it comes to veganism, especially as a new vegan, having access to a like minded community is essential. It is also important not to shy away from the topic with family and friends. Both conversations around transformational travel and veganism have the opportunity to inspire others and plant the seed of thinking differently. They can also generate incredibly thought-provoking discussions with strangers. If you come at it with an open minded and approachable energy, you never know who you are going to impact with your knowledge, choices and experiences!
Connecting to the infinite is about connecting to something bigger than yourself. In travel terms, this may be visiting something geographically vast such as the Grand Canyon or it could be through gaining new perspectives from other people’s points of views. From these experiences, we often feel a sense of awe. Connection to the infinite through veganism can happen in a number of ways - it can be through calculating the figures of how many animals you have saved by being vegan, or it may be that person, resource or sentence that gave you that final push you needed to make the full transition into plant based living. For me, listening to vegan activist Gary Yourovsky’s “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” had such an impact on me that I went vegan overnight. While the awe it generated may have initially come as a result of shock or dismay at my oblivion to industry practices, it ultimately resulted in the best choice I ever made - going vegan. When the right words or environment resonate with you in such a way that you feel overcome and overwhelmed by its amazing power, it is likely you have connected to the infinite.
Taking meaningful action puts connection into practice. It is all about using your power, knowledge and privilege for good. Transformational travel encourages conscientious travelling and choosing travel companies that operate sustainably and fairly. It suggests travellers should be aware of how their spending supports communities and it also asks travellers to consider how they are giving back and positively impacting the destinations they are visiting. Lastly, but possibly the strongest action that unites transformational travel and veganism is to intentionally “do no harm”.
Ultimately, both transformational travel and veganism begin with an understanding and desire to do good. It’s the realization that the true value in experience and lifestyle choice lies in the motivation to cultivate the best version of yourself, make quality connections with others, and embrace the bigger vision.
For more information on Transformational Travel and how it could be implemented into your travels or business, please feel free to reach out to me.
Written by Claire Burt
Vegan Vacations is 100% vegan owned and operated. As a Vegan Travel Agent supporting vegan travellers all across North America, we make Plant-based vacations a reality.