Travel is about expanding the limits of our minds in the most transformative of ways. The most important journeys in our lives transcend the physical and stay with us far longer than their duration. On your next journey, learn how to look at things in a different light.
Words: Marianne Françoise Dick
While it’s certainly comfortable to stick to what we know, challenging your perspective or being challenged by others is an invaluable experience that can intensify our relationships with ourselves and others. In our 40 years, we’ve learned that it’s in those moments that we grow and change, usually into kinder, more thoughtful people. Expanding your horizons can create a significant and positive shift, but to do so you must challenge your current outlook by exploring different environments and cultures, engaging in different opinions and opening up to new ideas and beliefs.
Feel a world away from home and escape the stresses and demands of everyday life in the Treehotel in Sweden (pictured above). Sleep amongst the treetops in sculptural pods, including a UFO and giant bird’s nest, all suspended above the ground. It’s the seventh room, however, which is perched high in the pines, that offers the most breathtaking views, especially when the neon swirls of the Northern Lights paint the sky. The surroundings alone are enough to inspire fresh thinking, but the adventures on the ground can also challenge your perceptions of self. Learn about the Sámi people’s heritage, traditions and culture including reindeer herding, which is both a way of life and a key source of income for many. Return with a greater appreciation for the power of nature and the magnitude of the universe, while new knowledge about the Sámi culture will bestow you with many new forms of expression.
Marrakech makes us immerse ourselves in the unfamiliar – a fantastic way of encouraging exploration and viewing the world in a completely different way to usual. French visual artist Jean-François Fourtou wants you to do this more than ever at the Dar El Sadaka, which has brought to life his surreal visions. Delve into the playful and surreal among wild sculptures of giant ants and bees that perch in peculiar places, and proportions that are subverted with giant furniture and reverted by an upside-down house that will leave you with a multitude of questions and possibilities. It might help you discover a solution that you hadn’t considered possible, or plant the seed of a weird and wonderful idea. We must say yes to the unknown if we want to continue to enrich our perspective.
The enigmatic Bhutan Insights journey leads adventurers through the otherworldly landscape of the Himalayan foothills, through pine-clad valleys and along crystal-clear rivers, and into Aman and COMO lodges. On the pilgrimage, you’ll pass the intricately built pagoda-like stupa of the cherished Chorten, which was built to bring peace, and finish at the magnificent Taktsang Monastery, a spiritual stopping place that clings to the side of a cliff. By putting one foot in front of the other, you can reconnect with nature, culture and feel the transformative power of the abundance of spirituality that can be found in this sacred place. It might encourage you to reflect on your own morality or the forces beyond our control – reminders of how precious our lives really are.
Experience is one of the most powerful ways of instilling lasting knowledge, and incredible moments can create everlasting bonds between families. In Bali, you can learn about indigenous culture alongside your children through meaningful mini journeys at Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Excitement and intrigue bring to life the spirit of Ubud with jungly hikes, morning yoga, and local arts and crafts. The day of learning continues after sunset too, with a night-time retreat that discusses nocturnal flora and fauna around a mesmerising campfire. These enlightening moments teach the next generations about the power of an open mind, and there’s no doubt that this experience will remain in the hearts of families for years to come.
Moving around a kitchen is a small journey, but can have a big impact when you’re in someone else’s shoes. The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort in Costa Navarino, Greece celebrates the joy of the everyday through cookery lessons with local women. The tangy and herbaceous flavours of fresh cheese and wine will not only awaken your palate, but your cultural awareness too. Learning the invaluable processes of making such delicacies – the backbone of a community – reveals a rare insight into the workings of a centuries-old community, of precious traditions passed down from generation to generation. For years to come, it will only take the taste of an ingredient to transport you back there, and awaken your perspective once again.
Embarking on unfamiliar and, at times, daunting experiences expands our understanding of the world long after the adventure is over. On the plains of Montana, a truly magnificent opportunity awaits. At The Ranch at Rock Creek, take in the epic landscape from the basket of a hot air balloon. You might never feel as light, free and vulnerable – a combination that reminds us just how vast and complex the world is beyond our own. Here at the ranch, it’s all about the bigger picture. Riding lessons and cattle drives allow you to sample the great American farming life, before the memories of experienced cowboys are shared around a flickering fire.