Modern travel is shifting gears. Gone are the days of travelers booking a hotel on the beach to recharge; here to stay are trips taken as a necessary vehicle to find ourselves and those answers to the important questions that we all have about life.
A rising number of travel agents are now helping clients personalize their vacations to regroup and work on the frustrations they feel in their daily lives. This can encompass a range of personal issues including strengthening family relationships, improving work-life balance, or overcoming a midlife crisis. It is not unusual to use travel as a “time-out” from daily life and as an alternative way to improve mental health.
David Prior, who promotes travel-as-therapy, is providing a respite from life with his members-only travel club.
“So many of our early clients came to us looking for a total reboot,” Prior says. “And our answer for that is to go way beyond the spa and the hiking vacation—to skip the five-day boot camp resorts and do something far more creative and meditative.” Learning a new skill in its place of origin, he says, is a particularly good strategy. “It’s the idea of using your hands to get out of your head.”
On the same wavelength is serial entrepreneur Bobby Genovese. He’s been buying, running and selling businesses for more than three decades. Among his companies is a luxury vacation property venture he founded back in 2012.
For his clients that need a sabbatical, Genovese explains: “The idea behind the properties is that a family or a group of friends can go, and wherever the destination, they are able to really live an unbelievable experience, be serviced to the nines and have the best time ever.”
A lifelong equestrian and champion polo player, Bobby Genovese wanted to create a vacation destination that would appeal to people who share his love of horseback riding. For this reason, he established Ocala Ranch for those who simply enjoy saddling up and hitting the trails.
“Engulfing yourself in nature is an ideal way to regroup and to find the answers about life that you are looking for,” says Genovese.
Unlike traditional vacations, modern travelers are booking trips based on what they want to learn—not where they want to go.
“I’ve been traveling this way for myself for many years,” explains Tom Marchant, co-founder of the luxury travel club Black Tomato. “The most valuable things that I’ve brought back from my travels are the lessons that I’ve been able to apply from other communities into my daily life.”
He created Bring it Back, a diverse collection of mission-driven itineraries that travelers can custom-tailor based on personal goals and challenges.
“I constantly see people wrestling with frustrations that they need to unpack, and they just don’t feel like they have the time,” Marchant says. “There’s nothing wrong with using your travels to recharge on the beach, but they can also be a brilliant vehicle to find those answers to the fundamental questions that we all have.”
The path to finding your purpose can be a challenge, but it is also unique to every individual. Whether you plan a 3 month trip to backpack across Europe or a week at a remote island, travel may be the best medicine for self-discovery.