ITINERARIES & THE WILDLIFE

Transformational Travel – The lasting impact of a Galapagos trip

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

“Travel changes you,” wrote Anthony Bourdain. “As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”

What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘transformational travel’? Perhaps you think of a life changing experience for yourself, or maybe a trip that positively impacts the people and place you plan to visit? There is no one correct answer; the key point is that travel can bring about a number of positive changes.

Taking time to enjoy the wonderful wildlife in the ‘enchanted islands’

The lasting impact of travel

A saying that is well-known for good reason is that which says ‘travel is the only thing that makes you richer’. We were reminded of this recently when reading an article by journalist, Uwern Jong, who wrote about his pre-pandemic trip aboard Theory, one of our two Relais & Chateaux expedition yachts.

“Before travel came to an almighty pause, I was fortunate to spend a week cruising the Galápagos,” writes Jong, editor of Out There Magazine. “It was an awe-inspiring journey for many reasons, but mainly because I came home with some fantastic life lessons that set me in good stead for the challenging months to come. It reinforced the power of travel in helping form unique and open-minded perspectives on life, but I also learnt about resilience, strength in community and how to overcome adversity and thrive even when the world seems to be conspiring against you.”

Uwern Jong aboard Theory

Gaining resilience and strength from travel

Something to note is that there’s no pressure to ‘transform’ in a certain way. This is a very personal process. There’s no upper or lower limit to qualify a transformational experience, it could be the smallest shift in your mind or perspective. All we suggest is keep an open mind and you will find you engage with people and a new place in a deeper way.

“Reflecting on my time here,” continues Jong who published his article during the pandemic, but travelled with us in March 2020 just before travel restrictions hit.”…it dawns on me that, beyond the enjoyment of this luxury expedition cruise, I’ll go home with some amazing life lessons. From the swarms of birds (and my fellow passengers), I’ve learnt the power of community, coexistence and camaraderie. From the playful sea lions, I’m reminded to find more fun in my adult life, to indulge my guilty pleasures now and again and to expand my creativity and imagination.”

Galapagos Tortoises on Santa Cruz Island

Broadening horizons and drawing unique perspectives

Travel is a gift that lasts not just during the trip itself, but also lends excitement and anticipation in the planning stage, and stays on in us in the form of warm memories and shared experiences.

Continuing along the line of lessons one can learn from travel, Jong writes: “From Santa Cruz, I realise that patience is a virtue. From the penguins, I contemplate the notion of ‘adapt or die’. This natural order of the world seems all the more poignant in these times. I resolve to go forward with my glass half full, rather than defaulting to complaints about the way things are. Moreover, my time in the Galápagos has reinforced the power of travel in broadening horizons and drawing unique perspectives on life. Yet more importantly, it’s also taught me lessons in resilience, overcoming adversity and even thriving in the most challenging of scenarios. Pachamama, as they call Mother Earth here, doesn’t always play nice, but it is how you adapt and come out of the other side of events – stronger and oftentimes more colourful than before – that really matters.”

Open to your interpretation

Since the whole idea behind transformational travel is deeply personal, we would like to leave you with one other nugget of food for thought, this time from Jonah Leher who wrote in The Observer: “We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.”