Looking for transformative travel? Keep these six stages in mind

After a winter that was chilly, Americans are hungry to travel. Passport offices are overflowing with applications. The month of July saw airlines booked and operated the most amount of flights since the pandemic started in the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. A record number of people have visited national parks in the U.S. national parks this summer, following a 28% decrease because of the pandemic.

Why do we go on the road at all in the first place? What’s the attraction of the road?

As an instructor in religion in the fields of psychology, culture and religion I research experiences that fall between all three. In my studies on travel, I am struck by the unsolvable paradoxes of travel: A lot of us want to escape in order to experience the moment We rush to our destinations to slow down; and we might be concerned about the environment however, we create carbon footprints.

In the end, many people wish to be transformed upon returning. It is commonly seen as”a “rite of passage”: routines where people are separated from their usual environment, go through a transformation, and come back rejuvenated as well as “reborn.”

Travelers are not only focused on their own interests. The desire to travel may be a fundamental human characteristic that I discuss in my latest book however, the ability to travel is a privilege that could result in a price for the host communities. The tourist industry and academics alike are looking for ethical travel that minimizes damage caused by visitors to areas they visit and on the people they interact with.

The media flood tourists with tips and suggestions on where to travel and what to do. However, to achieve the more fundamental goals of transformative ethical travel The “why” and “how” need to be considered more deeply.

In the book “Just Traveling: God, Leaving Home, and a Spirituality for the Road,” I studied travel tales in the sacred scriptures as well as research conducted by ethicists, psychologists, sociologists as well as tourism scholars, economists and economists. I believe that meaningful travel should be recognized not as a three-step ritual, but rather as a six-step practicethat is based on the most fundamental human experiences. The phases may repeat or overlap in the same trip in the same way that the journeys twist and turn.

1. Anticipating

The journey begins well before departure, when we plan and research. However, anticipation goes beyond logistics. The Dutch appropriately refer to it as “voorpret”: literally, the anticipation of pleasure prior to.

What people think about and how they will react for a given scenario can influence their experiences, either for good or worse – especially in the case of prejudice. Studies in psychology, for instance have proven that when children are more likely to anticipate co-operation among groups, it may decrease their biases toward their particular group.

However, phenomenology, which is a subfield of philosophy that examines the experience of humans and their consciousness, stresses the fact that anticipation is “empty”: our conscious plans and expectations for the future can be fulfilled or shattered by a future event.

In this regard travelers must be open to uncertainties as well as disappointment.

2. Leaving

The experience of leaving can trigger feelings of sadness that are connected to the first experiences we have of separation. The styles of attachment that psychologists research in infants, that determine how secure people feel within their relationships, remain informing our lives as we grow older. These experiences also influence the ease with which people are comfortable when they are exploring new places and leaving their home and the way they travel.

Certain travelers depart with excitement, whereas others are hesitant or feel guilty prior to the excitement and relief of leaving. Be aware of the phases of travel may help deal with anxiety.Traveling has increased dramatically since the start of COVID-19’s pandemic. For many, going on trips can trigger stress and anxiety, as well as excitement. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News via Getty Images

3. Surrendering

Travelers aren’t in control of their travels When a flight is delayed or a vehicle malfunctions and the forecast for the weather promises sunshine, yet there is a steady rain for hours. In a certain degree they must surrender to the uncertainty.

Contemporary Western culture tends to view “surrendering” as something negative like hoisting the white flag. However, as a concept of healing surrendering can help people release their inhibitions and discover a sense unity and a sense of belonging with other people. The perfectionist discovers that changing their itinerary does not necessarily mean less travel and releases the fear of failing. A person who has an innate sense of self-reliance becomes more vulnerable as they are treated by strangers.

Indeed, certain psychological theories suggest that the self is seeking surrender in the sense of freedom: breaking down the barriers that protect us and gaining freedom from the attempts to manage one’s environment. Adopting this perspective will help people cope with the fact that life could not go according the plan.

4. Meeting

Meeting, the fourth stage of traveling is an opportunity to explore oneself and other in a new way.

Every culture has its own unconscious ” rules of recognition,” their traditions and customs that are ingrained in their way of thinking. This makes it difficult to create intercultural connections. With both unconscious and conscious stereotypes, travellers may perceive certain individuals and locations as dangerous, uninformed as well as sexual and hosts might consider travelers to be rich and apathetic.

To go beyond these stereotypes, it is essential that travelers pay attention to ways to cause tension in their conversations – such as knowing what subjects to steer clear of, for instance and adhering to the dress code of your local area.

In many areas of the world, these problems are exacerbated due to an era of colonization that means it is more difficult for people to connect in genuine ways. Colonial perspectives still influence Western stereotypes of groups that are not white to be foreign, dangerous and insignificant.

The process of overcoming these obstacles requires an attitude that is known as the culturally humble and is much more and more than “cultural competence” – simply having a basic understanding of another culture. The ability to be humble helps travelers answer questions such as “I don’t know,” “Please help me understand” or “How do I proceed?” …”

5. Caring

The act of caring is to overcome ” privileged irresponsibility” that is, when a person doesn’t acknowledge their privilege and accept responsibility for their privilege or fails to acknowledge the other’s inability to enjoy privilege.

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It is irresponsible to travel when they do not take note of injustices and inequities they encounter or how their travels can contribute to the ever-growing global climate catastrophe. Morally, “empathy” is not enough. Travelers must seek the act of solidarity as a way in ” caring with.” It could be employing local guide services, dining at family-owned eateries and paying attention to the resources such as water and food that they consume.

6. Returning

Travels aren’t always over, and returning home may be an unsettling experience.

Returning to a place can trigger the opposite of cultural shock If travelers have a difficult time adjust. However, that shock may be lessened as travelers are able to share their experiences with others, remain connected to their destinations, deepen their knowledge about the area and its culture, plan for the possibility of a return trip, or become involved in the causes they learned about during their travels.

I believe that pondering these six phases can help bring about the kind of awareness needed to create a more ethical, sustainable travel experience. Additionally, during a time of epidemic necessity for mindful travel that puts host communities first health and well-being is apparent.

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