What IS Spiritual Tourism, Anyway?

spiritual tourism zen monkees

It’s not a new idea, really, the idea of traveling to find yourself. Many adventurers throughout time, young and old, have set out on quests around the world to quench an inner thirst in bravery-testing experiences, and using those experiences to apply deeper meaning to their lives.

In fact, travel for deeper meaning is an older concept than our world’s current model of modern day tourism: vacationing on white sandy beaches, drink in hand.

In our busy westernized world, we work hard and “play” harder, vacationing to escape an exhausting schedule. Often, though, these very vacations become exactly what we were trying to get away from in the first place, with a busy itinerary and unfulfilling shopping escapades, and people feel that they need a vacation from their vacation! It can be a draining cycle.

Traveling for deeper meaning is making a comeback, however, and this is made obvious by the huge amount of yoga and meditation retreats being offered, and the terms eco-tourism and voluntourism gaining mainstream use. In fact, 2013 saw the first ever international conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development, held in Vietnam and hosted by the UN World Tourism Organization.

The term spiritual tourism is definitely on the map, and for good reason: tourism is a huge source of income for countries worldwide. The focus on spiritual tourism brings a different group of tourists; traditionally these people are more culturally focused and ecologically aware, making tourism a sustainable and uplifting experience (and anyone who has experienced trash covered beaches filled with angry westerners can see why this is a welcome shift!)

So how are we going to do it? For us spirituality is a lens through which we see the world. All of life, viewed through this lens, is mystical and majestic. We have had “religious experiences” in nightclubs, and deeply profound “a-ha moments” while brushing our teeth; finding deeper meaning for life is our goal both on and off the road, so traveling is just another perfect excuse to explore even more. And while we will definitely be visiting awe-inspiring temples and participating in various religious pilgrimages, our goal is to show even some of the more common moments in a beautiful light.

We are not perfect (unless you count the fact that everyone is perfect), and we try not to take ourselves too seriously- even the Buddha laughs! We are turning our outer journey into an inner journey, and vice-versa.

We hope we will inspire you to do the same.

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