What is transformational travel?

These trips will change you. And they’ll change your life.

Over the past few years, and long before the advent of Covid-19, there were curious murmurs about the emerging trend of transformational travel. Like ‘experiential’ travel before it, it’s a buzzword; but it’s a buzzword that contains an incredible grain of truth. These are trips that empower an individual to make meaningful, lasting changes in their life. It goes beyond the bubble of the ‘travel experience’ itself, and helps you to bring that experience back to your everyday life.

Over the years, we’ve thought long and hard about what this really means to us. What the contours and shades of ‘transformation’ actually describe, especially when change itself can be so subjective – and so difficult to pin down.

What follows then is our take on transformational travel, and some exciting examples of transformational trips that you can take with us.

Rappelling in Alaska

Rappell down glaciers

Orca in Alaska

Watch for orcas swimming in the water ahead

Transformational travel. The long and the short.

Trips that will ‘change you’. But isn’t that true of every journey we make, no matter how long or short? Two nights in Rome that inspire you to embark on a new creative venture. A weeks-long trek through the mountains of Rwanda that transforms your understanding of nature and the world around you. And this is really the nub of transformational travel, its curious centre. That transformation happens whenever you travel with an open mind, and an open question.

Of course, it’s possible to refine and engineer a trip so that it creates the conditions for transformation to take place. And that transformation itself might be unscripted, unplanned; a moment of intense emotion on the top of a mountain. A subtle thought that percolates weeks after we’ve returned home. In any eventuality, these ‘transformational’ trips are often mighty and dramatic. They are defined by their multiple contact points with the unfamiliar and the unexpected. And ultimately, travel itself is only the catalyst for something inside you, the traveller. It is a tool to empower and excite – the precursor to the transformation itself.

So while it might feel like sculpting in water, there’s a real art to putting these trips together.

Examples of transformational trips

So what do we mean by transformational travel, exactly? Perhaps something like this.

Bring it Back

With Bring it Back, we created a series of trips that are designed to answer some of life’s biggest questions. They’re primed to resolve creative blockages and to ignite new ways of thinking. In Peru, you’ll learn to reconfigure your relationship with sustainability. In Iceland, you’ll learn first-hand from the county’s entrepreneurs about using your landscape and its history to become more versatile and better able to weather adversity.

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Find yourself beneath Iceland’s aurora borealis

Few natural phenomena so profoundly help us to orient our place in the universe than the aurora borealis. In Iceland, the northern lights offer a scintillating backdrop for solo and group travellers to experience; venturing out into the Icelandic wilderness.

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Altai Mountains on the border with Mongolia

A nomadic journey across the Mongolian steppe

Journey to Mongolia’s wild west for an incredible and unique nomadic experience. You’ll stay in ger camps with local nomadic families, set against the vast landscapes of the Bayan-Olgiy region. This remote area of Mongolia that lies close to the border with Russia and Kazakhstan is still untouched by mass tourism and honest to its cultural roots and traditions, with hunting with golden eagles still very much alive.  During your stay here you’ll learn how to master the art of hunting with these majestic birds on horseback, a thrilling, ancient practice that few people get the chance to experience.

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Walk face to face with gorillas in Rwanda

What does it feel like to look back 10 million years? How will you react once sitting within feet of the Great Apes as they peer back at you? You can’t be sure before you go. One thing that is for sure though: a single journey into the jungles of Virunga can change your life.

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Receive a blessing in the floating villages of Lake Titicaca

This isn’t the capital. It’s not the beach town everyone goes to. This is the home of the Uros, a community that predates even the Incans. They say they’ve been here longer than the sun itself when the earth was dark and cold. They live high in the Andean mountains, on the shores of Lake Titicaca where Totora reeds are bedded down one atop the other until they’re stable enough to build entire communities on.

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Travelling for transformation?

We’ve brought together some of our favourite unusual and transformative trips – from Mongolia to Papua New Guinea.

Find out more