Apart from volunteerism, there is a large number of possibilities to make a journey be filled with purpose, explore deeper, and get immersed in the real adventure of traversing the world.
Here are just some ideas on how you can add meaning to your travel, and enrich your experience in a way that leaves an indelible mark in the destination you visit, and in your heart.
1. Living culture
Getting immersed in the cultural scene and traditions embraced by the destination you visit can give you a glimpse at the very core of the essence of their people, and a deeper understanding of their roots. And this, for many travelers, is fascinating. Rather than studying about a place from a textbook, you get to know their history, customs, tastes and manners first hand.
Learn some phrases in their language, and interact with the locals.
Set new routes, not the usual tourist spots —locals are the best tour guides!
Visit local cafés and places where locals usually hangout
2. Reconnect with nature
Busy lives, large cities, traffic jams… Most of us rarely interact with nature, if not to water our plants, but the source of life itself lies in Nature, and reconnecting with it while you travel is essential. Set a thorough plan of the natural attractions you would like to visit, but be flexible enough to explore those new places recommended by locals.
Swim in their rivers, hike their mountains, admire the fauna that inhabits the place; interact with dolphins in the wild, participate in local turtle protection programs, spot birds in natural habitats, visit botanical gardens, ask for suggestions of local tours that can take you to hidden gems.
3. Learn something new
The real magic of travel lies in all the new experiences you live, new language, new culture, new habits, new landscapes. If you add a little bit of time to learn something new, then the magic is complete.
Look for opportunities. Take a cooking class and learn how to make a local dish, partake in a historical tour of the city, learn local dances, or make traditional handcrafts. There will be plenty of choices if you look further.
4. Support local producers
Most small businesses depend on tourism for their economic survival, and even when spending money on international hotel chains and restaurants partially support the natives by creating jobs, the truth is that a substantial portion of the profits may go to the large corporation owners and not the region’s people.
Book tours with local guides, eat at local cafés and restaurants, stay at independently owned hotels, visit the street markets, buy directly from the craftsmen. These actions will create an even more authentic experience. A local taste.
5. Nourish body mind & soul
Adding meaning to your trip may consider spending some Me Time to restore and reconnect. It is as simple as practicing meditation in front of the sea, doing some breathings on the top of a mountain, floating in the sea feeling the sun on your face, spending some time in silence just absorbing the landscape. You can even book a massage that includes local rituals.
Trips feed not only your body but also your soul. You will return home feeling refreshed and revived: a better version of yourself.
6. Travel solo
At least once a year set out on a trip planned especially for you. Traveling with family and friends is in fact fun and bonding, but solo travel enriches you in a way companion travel cannot. Choose a destination where you feel safe but outside your comfort zone. It could be a week abroad in a rural community, a digital detox, or a camping weekend. Be ready to feel the self-confidence, creativity, and clear mind that will come along.
Have you check-marked those ideas that will make a difference for you while traveling? Great! Now start exploring the many choices out there.