2017’s Biggest Trends
f you haven’t seen this hashtag yet, you will soon. As Vogue recently forecasted: #transformationaltravel is destined to be a major theme this year.
Of course, by any other hashtag the Divine Living Community has been doing this for years! Part of why entrepreneurs like us choose the location-independent lifestyle is exactly because travel can be so powerful in opening up our perspective and creativity, leading to deep transformations.
Because we’re on a conscious path in life, it’s also no surprise that many of us have already tapped into this trendy level of travel. We always seek to process and learn from our experiences because at the end of the day, we’re all about growth.
How do you open up and allow your travels to change your thoughts, your outlook and your approach in life? The difference is not so much in the trip itself, but in the reflection and the return. While it helps to be present and open in the moment, it’s all about how you’re applying what you saw, heard and felt into your thinking moving forward.
To give you my take on how I do transformational travel I’m sharing a behind-the-scenes look at my adventures in Africa, which have changed me in ways I didn’t even know to ask for. As you’ll find, it’s often the little details and the unexpected encounters that happen when the cameras aren’t rolling that have the greatest impact.
I booked my ticket to Africa with a fairly blank slate of expectations. My outlook was optimistic and I was excited to see someplace new. But I didn’t foresee that my time here, however brief, would be so profound.
First of all, this trip completely transformed my connection with nature. Going on safari and seeing these ecosystems that have been self-sustaining for thousands of years provided me with a deeper reverence for the earth. I’m now bringing that awareness home with me and looking for ways I can have a more positive ecological footprint.
Beyond the climate, my eyes were opened to the level of impact the people of the world really need from women like us. And at the same time, my perspective was widened to the fact that America isn’t the only place where interesting things are happening. I know for my global readers, this is a bit of an eye-roll because yes, you’ve all been here for a long time since way before our country even existed.
But I’m just being honest. I’m proud to be an American, though I may have absorbed too much of the story that we’re the greatest country on earth, leaps and bounds ahead of all the others. I’m getting now that while there are a lot of wonderful things about America, there are many great things about the rest of the world too.
One of the sweetest experiences of my trip happened while we were at Giraffe Manor, just outside Nairobi. (Read my full story on the Manor here.) Very simple, yet very lovely, the manor is a sanctuary for humans as much as it is for giraffes.
The vibe of the manor alone was transformative. There were no locks on the suite doors, yet a feeling of total safety. Wake up calls were a simple knock on the door, somehow more relaxing than the ring of a telephone and you know what, it worked!
The giraffes were of course incredible, but I have to say the staff had an even more profound effect. The curiosity and care with which they greeted me at breakfast was enchanting. They would look me in eye with such warmth and ask with genuine interest, “Did you sleep well?”
When I told them “yes,” they responded kindly, “Welcome back.” This slayed me! In that simple phrase was all this meaning, like I’d been off in dream land and here I was, back to my life, gifted with a new day.
Their excitement was infectious. I left feeling like, this is the attitude I desire to have about every day. I want to wake up and remember that it is such a gift to be back home again, living life to the fullest. It’s a spirit that I’m consciously carrying with me moving into 2017.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Sometimes, you don’t even know you’re ready and you certainly weren’t expecting to run into the teacher where you did.
I met mine at a customs office on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. We hired a private charter to take us from Nairobi to the Grumeti Reserve, where we would be staying at Singita.
I was mildly annoyed that the plane would have to stop along the way at a dusty customs office so we could deal with the trivial process of stamping papers. Little did I know, I had a very important lesson to learn on the tarmac.
As we got off the plane, a svelte young African man greeted us with total elation. The way he looked at me, it was as if I was his mother who he hadn’t seen in 17 years. I have never seen someone so excited to see a stranger, so I was almost startled by his warmth and energy as he shouted “Hello!”
I quickly opened up, said hello and asked, “What’s your name?” It took me a couple of tries, but then I got it. “Mikele.” I didn’t expect he could get any more chipper, but when he heard me say his name—you needed sunglasses—he was beaming.
I was moved to meet such a happy soul of a human being. It showed me how much I was taking for granted. Here I was on this trip of a lifetime, annoyed to be stopping at the border. Meanwhile Mikele, working a job few would find interesting, was creating this amazing level of joy out of nothing, and sharing it so generously with everyone who crossed his path.
As much as technology can be life changing, what you discover on the road far surpasses anything you can find on google. After all, the unpredictable, spontaneous nature of travel opens you up to what you didn’t even know you needed.
I came home from Africa with new values. After meeting Mikele, I was inspired to bring an even brighter energy and excitement to every person I meet. Even though I’m a naturally warm, outgoing person, I know now that I need to honor each new client or person just for being who they are.
I think all human beings are ultimately about growth, expansion and the up-level, and travel can be a gentle yet profound way to teach you what you need to know. It will always show you the places your mind needs to be opened and the ways you need to be more humble or more grateful.
So if you’re in search of new understanding this year, I highly recommend you take your own trip of a lifetime. Wherever you go, I think there’s always the opportunity to open yourself up to transformation. I’d love to know, how would you make sure to apply what you learn after your next trip? Let’s talk in the comments.