Most people love holidays. Whether it’s a short getaway or an epic adventure, taking some time out from day-to-day life is refreshing and gives us a new perspective.
But have you ever tried travelling with purpose? This involves going to a destination for a cause, to take part in a challenge or to achieve a goal.
Personally, I love travelling with purpose. The majority of my trips are now structured in this way.
Travelling with purpose gives your trips a different feeling and you get to experience destinations in a different light when there is a goal, or intention, as the driving force.
You could be volunteering, visiting a project, raising funds for a local organisation, attending a workshop, or taking on a charity challenge.
There are many ways to travel with purpose and I want to share with you some of the reasons why I encourage taking on this kind of journey.
It’s not all about you
When you take a holiday for your own pleasure, relaxation or adventure, the focus is on your enjoyment and all the things you, and possibly your travel companion, would like to do.
It’s lovely to be able to do whatever you want and find activities that please you but, at times, you can feel at a loss as to what to do next.
When taking a trip that involves fulfilling a mission, your focus shifts away from your own desires and towards that of the group you’re travelling with and the goal you’ve set out to complete on the trip.
It’s a nice reminder that this life is about more than yourself and fulfilling your own wants and needs. You can contribute to something greater, something bigger than yourself.
There is structure
Travel with purpose can be quite different to travelling for leisure.
Generally, there’s a structured itinerary and you may even have a leader or guide.
If you’re trying to achieve a goal, complete a mission or further a cause, there is usually a program and itinerary to follow.
Even though I like having freedom in my travel plans, I’ve found that it can actually be really enjoyable to let someone else take charge and direct the journey. It allows you to completely focus on the task at hand and just take in the experience.
When taking a trip that fulfils a mission, you’ll find that there’s less emphasis on exploring a region or ticking off all the key sites and more of a focus on the connections you make with others and the experiences you’re taking away.
You’ll be able to really embrace your surroundings and immerse in the culture. Some of my favourite experiences have been chatting with a local and learning about their way of life.
There’s also a lot of time for reflection and personal growth that takes place on these types of trips. You may even come away from it changed or transformed in some way.
If you’re travelling with a group, you’ll have a shared goal and a common reason for venturing out together.
Perhaps you’ve prepared for the trip and taken a similar journey to your fellow travellers before even getting to the destination.
It’s a real opportunity to feel connected to a cause, and to others.
My Great Wall of China trek for MS
Recently, I had the pleasure of travelling with ethical tourism company Soulful Concepts as a tour leader to the Great Wall of China.
The Walk the Wall to Fight MS challenge had two teams travel to China in September and October, who have raised more than $147,000 so far, to support people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Most of these travellers signed up for the trip more than a year ago. They held fundraisers such as bake sales, charity lunches, online auctions and Bunnings barbecues to reach a personal fundraising target of $3,500.
They then trained and prepared for the five-day trek along the Great Wall of China, a Wonder of the World.
It’s a genuine commitment people take on when signing up to this type of trip because it requires time, effort and dedication.
It was a privilege to travel with these participants who had worked so hard to experience this famous part of China, but also to see the connections that like-minded people share when they come together for a common cause.
Personally, I’ve taken on four of these challenges, so I was well versed in the journey involved in these adventures.
Over the years I’ve fundraised more than $20,000 for causes close to my heart and taken on challenges including climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru, trekking to Everest Base Camp and walking among the epic Himalayas of Bhutan.
It’s about working hard, raising awareness for a cause you care deeply about and then taking on a challenge with people who share your values.
Travelling with purpose not only gives you a unique experience, it’s also a wonderful way to see the world while fulfilling a mission that is greater than yourself.
TELL US: Have you taken a trip with purpose? What are your tips for fulfilling a mission when travelling? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.