Welcome to Far-Flung Lands: Transformational travel for curious families
Hi there! I’m Victoria and you can read more about me here.
The aim of my blog is to inspire and inform parents who, like me, view travel as an opportunity for children to acquire skills and knowledge through first-hand experiences. I like to look beyond the traditional family-friendly resort, theme park and ‘fly-and-flop’ beach holiday to far-flung lands where kids can be safely removed from their comfort zones and immersed in cultures significantly different from their own. Why? Because I believe this is how children (and adults!) learn best.
What I hear I forget:
What I see I remember:
What I do I understand.
The Art of Family Travel
Based on ongoing research (some of which you can find here), I have developed (and continue to fine-tune!) my own family travel philosophy for transformational travel experiences. Comprising the following 6 components, I’m naming it The Art of Family Travel.
Update! Lonely Planet cited The Art of Family Travel as a helpful extra resource in this article: Why are family vacations so important?)
1. Journey to far-flung lands
To shift mindsets, it helps to put some distance – both mentally and physically – between ourselves and everything we are familiar with in our world. We need to leave our comfort zones and discover what lies over the proverbial rainbow …
Take a look at some far-flung lands (where the skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true!)
2. Do your homework
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
— Dr. Seuss
I believe you and your family will have a deeper appreciation of your holiday destination and a more meaningful experience if you know a little bit about where you’re going in advance. In addition to my destination guides I also share my favourite books, movies, recipes, music, websites etc to inspire and educate both children and parents prior to, and during their family vacation.
3. Spend time in nature
In today’s fast-paced, device-driven world, we are increasingly disconnecting ourselves from nature as well as each other. As David Attenborough once said, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”. If our children are to be the future caretakers of this world, then it’s imperative that their love for nature and wildlife is strong and sincere, and that means getting outdoors and into the wild from an early age!
Furthermore, a mountain of research points towards the restorative benefits of nature and the impact it can have on affect and cognition. Spending time in nature is also one of the most powerful ways to boost mental and physical well-being. One thing that you’ll find in all our destination guides is a healthy dose of nature and wildlife.
4. Let’s get physical!
Getting physically involved in something turns a passive observation into a hands-on experience. It also helps connect you to your surroundings and, much like any mindful exercise, helps you become more present. Remember to push those boundaries and step out of comfort zones; you may be surprised by what your family can accomplish together!
5. Learn from the locals
Adventure travel is as much about cultural experiences as it is about physical, adrenalin-pumping activities. Talk to locals, discover what they love about their country and gain an insider’s perspective on everything from fashion, food, music and the arts, to environmental issues and politics. As with physical pursuits, cultural adventures should also push personal boundaries and comfort zones.
6. Reflect upon your experiences
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
— Dr. Seuss
Experiential travel is all about actively engaging with your environment and learning through first-hand experiences. Transformational travel takes this one step further by adding a post-trip step: Reflection. This step encourages you to make sense of your experiences and to reconsider your perspectives and beliefs about the world and yourself.
Examples of reflection activities include:
- Writing (e.g. journals, poems, newsletters, blogs, drama scripts, presentations)
- Art (e.g. painting, photo albums, scrapbooks, a carnet de voyage, performing a play).
- Making YouTube movies
The aim is to leave you with something more than photographs and memories. This could be heightened attributes (e.g. open-mindedness, tolerance, appreciation, creativity) or new commitments (e.g. giving up plastic straws, spending more quality time with the kids, learning the tango, taking up wildlife painting or perhaps learning how to replicate delicious local dishes at home). Think about what puts a spring in your step during your travels and how you can add a little more of that to your everyday life.
How can you guarantee a transformational travel experience?
I can’t! And I don’t! A transformational experience isn’t something that can be packaged and sold like a hotel upgrade. An enriching, life-changing experience depends very much on your mindset, how willing you are to learn from your experience and how open you are to change. What I’ve outlined here is simply a family travel philosophy based on research, feedback and personal experience. I also partner with tour operators who share a similar philosophy and passion for experiential and transformational travel.
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”
— Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory