In 2016 and 2017, we noticed the rise of experiential travel as the leading trend across countries and generations, where vacationers were looking for ways to blend in with native cultures, interact with the locals, become insiders and feel much more than a tourist. This year, industry leaders are pointing towards a new shift, that of transformational travel. This new trend has a lot to borrow from experiential travel as such but at the same time is looking for ways travel can assist travellers develop, shift in perspective and come back different. Personal growth on the road is what is all about.
Greece has all the ingredients to assist transformational escapes, while you can dig into history, culture, local communities and generations. Our perspective defines the experiences, our connection with what is going on matters, and by setting intention, being mindful and reflective back home, travel then becomes transformational.
From spiritual transformation to changing perspectives please find below 5 locations and ideas to cultivate your mind and soul.
Meditation and yoga retreats
Your connection with nature, under the warm sun, and the bright sunset colors can meet no match in the world. Pick a remote location away from residential and crowd popular destinations to connect with the best that the Mediterranean landscape has to offer to strengthen your body and search your soul. From private islands dedicated to Yoga to mountain farms, there is a wide selection of remote location for some soul searching while at the same time you meet the originals, the unrefined villages and islanders in touch with nature for their survival and evolution.
Active travel: A hero’s run – Athens classical marathon
In 490 BC a giant Persian army invaded the small village of Marathon, which is located near the coast of Attica in Greece. However in the Battle of Marathon that ensued, the Greek army victoriously defeated the Persians, and a young messenger named Pheidippides was sent to Athens to bring the great news of the victory. The young Greek ran the 42 km from the battlefield to the capital as fast as he could, announced his joyous message, and then died. And according to folklore, this is the inspiration for the marathon race we know today. Today the run, follow his steps, his journey to find inner strength and courage to reach his destination.
Meet the insider for a thought-provoking interaction
While visiting the main historical sites is an experience most travellers rarely forget, nothing can compare with a relaxed wine sipping dinner with the best scholars and historians in town who can challenge your knowledge while enriching your perspective in the takings. From mythology to recent politics and history spending quality time with the researchers and challengers especially of the modern history and philosophy is mind blowing in certain instances.
Once the sea cast its spell is difficult to break away, something that the Greek fishermen feel under their skin. They spend endless hours in the blue waters, fighting with nature most of the time to catch the fish of the day primarily for financial reasons but at the same time for the glory and the joy of winning the game of the sea. They grow up with salt graving on their faces, breaking their skin but nourishing their soul and make them wiser. As every day, the sea has something new to tell, totally unforeseen. Follow some of the routes on board of a Greek fishing boat, meet the elderly, hear more stories and fight with sea. When you return your shifted perspective will tell you more.
Dangling from cliffs trying to climb to the top is only for those who seek adventure and who strive for thrilling holiday fun. Tap into your inner strength and courageously yet safely mount those rocks. If you want to be on top of your own world, where you are able to define your own meaning of clarity, a number of Greek islands are your haven.
Maria Nikolakaki is Managing Partner at Beyond Spaces Villas.
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