In our modern and tumultuous times, “transformation” is somewhat of a buzzword. We have politicians who make sweeping claims to transform civil society and we have life coaches who tell us they can transform our lives—as long as we give them our vote or our credit card number. But here at Authenticitys, we believe that for lasting and powerful transformation to occur, it has to come from individuals going through internal and empathic life-changing experiences.
As our founder Elena wrote late last year,
“Travel is for me the one activity that has the most value in terms of experiential learning and peace-making possibilities. Empathy can’t be taught in a class, it must be lived.”
Empathy and learning leads to the kind of transformation that means something. Indeed, that’s why we’ve build a platform to facilitate connected and dynamic experiences in foreign places for our users. We strive not only to create spaces where experiences are happening—but also spaces where transformation powered by internal change organically arises.
Even though transformation is a word that’s overused, as a phenomenon it’s more necessary than ever. With more and more people locked in their social media echo-chambers and long-held modes of thought, it is vital that we create more and more ways for people to realise that connection is key; we need to recognise that as humans, we all come from and go to the same place. If we don’t, the consequences we’ve already begun to see will only get worse.
Studies shows that travel is a more popular and effective way to fuel transformation than within. Research coming from the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and East Carolina University shows that,
“more than any other motivating factor, adventure travellers are seeking transformative experiences.”
Meanwhile, the shift to the experiential is changing the global economy at large, as Joseph Pine wrote in his book about the experience economy:
“The world has indeed become more intentionally experiential. Yet one point needs to be repeatedly emphasised: this all represents a fundamental shift in the very fabric of the global economy. Focusing on goods and services alone leads down the road of economic austerity.”
So, what does this all mean? If goods and services alone leads to the emptiness of capitalism, what alternative can we provide?
The central focus should be on how we can use travel and other mechanisms to drive transformational change coming from the core of individuals. This usually can’t happen online, in a classroom, or by buying a materialistic good. It has to come from feet-on-the-ground experience where we interact with something we otherwise would ignore if we didn’t leave our front door, our city, or our country.
While travel is the best way to experience this, it’s also true that travel is not always possible for everyone. Creating more experiences within our own borders is meaningful too. As a Danish television experiment showed recently, we need to stop putting people in boxes.
“There are those we share something with, and those we don’t share anything with and then suddenly there’s us.”
It may sound rather cliché, but there is more that brings us together than we think. That is what travel is so good at making us see. There are so many traits that humans share: basic things like a need to sleep, eat, and breath as well as a tendency to feel lonely, the need for connection and excitement, a sense of achievement or failure when things go right or wrong. No matter what our values are, these are the experiences we need to start sharing at home at abroad.
We hope to be part of driving this emphasis on personal and meaningful transformation in the travel sector.