And why I think that’s good for humanity.
Over the past few years, I have seen a huge shift in travel. Not only has it become easier and safer to travel the world because of smart phones, 4G, Wi-Fi and Google Maps; people have also shifted how they travel. Many don’t want to just take a vacation anymore, they want to have an experience and they want to create a connection with people.
To be upfront about this post, the people and companies I am about to talk about are all companies I have worked with personally, but I am not being paid by any of them to write this post. Most of them I have been a photographer/videographer for their trips, but a couple I just came along as a participant. This is not an exhaustive list of companies that are out there because I know there are many more, but I just want to give you a feel for this new industry.
To address this new trend for retreat based travel, there are many companies popping up who cater to the market, although some use a different term than “retreat.” One such company is Surf Yoga Beer (SYB). Based in New York City; they run fitness adventures around the world that include surfing, yoga, and of course socializing; hence the beer. When all the people on a trip have a common goal, such as working out in SYB’s case, the group’s bond grows stronger and faster than if they were just traveling together to some resort and partying.
SYB always includes an additional aspect other than just fitness to bring the group closer together; they always include a “boat day” which strengthens the bond even more. There is something special about being on a boat for a day with other people that brings people closer together. I’ll let you in on a secret about what it is that creates this bond, it’s the close quarters combined with fun! Fun is the most important aspect, without fun, why are you there? Check out our Sayulita, Mexico trip below.
The owner of SYB, Mantas Zvinas, has seen the trend grow so much that he recently created a brand new company called Tones Escapes, with the same fitness concept but at luxury resorts around the world, I can’t wait to check it out!
Another twist on the retreat market includes full sailing adventures. Live Sail Explore, an NYC based company run by Armin Kadic and Jeremy Lee, creates U.S., Caribbean and European based sailing adventures. They get together a group of like minded people and head out to sea for a week of island hopping. Their most recent adventure was in Croatia where they rented two catamarans to sail from Split, Croatia, to Hvar and the island of Vis. Here you can see us hanging out on one of the boats in Komiza.
I was lucky enough to be a part of this trip and document it along the way. It was truly a unique experience and I didn’t realize until afterwards how valuable sailing would be to create a bond and practice team work. When you are sailing, it is each and everyone’s responsibility to take care of the boat; from keeping it clean, keeping everyone safe, and docking it into port. I had such a great time learning to be a part of the crew, and it definitely was a special experience that you don’t get on a normal vacation. You can check out our on the YouTube video below.
Fitness and sailing trips are one aspect to this new industry but another new trend includes retreats where you actually network with other business professionals and learn real world skills. I just returned from Bali, Indonesia where I was created videos for Miles Beckler’s Abundant Circle retreat. Miles and his wife Melanie, run an online business and within the past year Mile’s created his own YouTube channel to share his knowledge with the world.
Miles’ feels that it is his purpose and his passion to bring entrepreneurs together so last year he created the first Abundant Circle retreat in Phuket, Thailand. It was a great trip last year but this year in 2017 he upped the stakes and had the event at a beach front villa in Bali, Indonesia. The group was limited to 10 people and created an even tighter connection among the participants than the year before. Check out our Abundant Circle Bali experience below.
From talking to the participants of the these Abundant Circle retreats, the cost of attending can quickly pay for itself. One of the participants, Willo, mentioned to me that after last years event, the concepts she implemented based on recommendations she learned at the retreat more than paid for the cost of attending. Not only that, she now has a network of entrepreneurs she can count on in the future for feedback on her business.
Personally, I know I have already been leveraging the Abundant Circle community as I plan to release my first product and can’t wait to meet up with them again next year.
The last but not least company I want to talk about is Web Work Travel, the brains behind the Nomad Cruise. In 2015, Johannes Voelkner discovered a cheap deal to travel from Europe to South America by cruise ship. He wondered if anyone else would be interested in traveling with him so he posted in one of the nomad communities about the deal ended up with 100 other nomads on the first journey across the Atlantic ocean.
About 6 months after their first cruise, I discovered an advertisement for cruise two leaving from Cartagena, Colombia to Portugal. I decided to book my journey and when I departed on my first Nomad Cruise in May of 2016, I was very excited. I didn’t want to just travel by myself, I wanted to meet new people and learn from them.
I heard about this idea of being a “digital nomad” a few years earlier, and truth be told, I already was one; I just had a full time job at the time. I saw how it was possible to work remotely on my laptop, no matter where I was in the world. But being around other digital nomads on this cross Atlantic journey definitely gave me the inspiration to create the lifestyle for myself. I even ended up creating a funny video about what it is to be a digital nomad on that first journey which you can watch here:
So why do I think these retreats, or adventures, or whatever you would like to call them are good for humanity? Well they bring people together and give each person more confidence. And they create connections that would be difficult in the normal pace of daily life, while giving you something to reflect on when you return home.
Just this past week my friend Alex led another retreat in Nicaragua with a bunch of our friends and here is what one of the participants, Alexandra, had to say:
“I was pretty nervous coming on this trip in the beginning, feeling like I didn’t really know anyone and uneasy that I would just be a tag along. The first day I was pretty shy and to myself (by my own doing) but as the days progressed I felt more and more at ease and not only welcomed but letting myself be welcomed. I was in the cab to the airport this morning and Jack asked me “who do you feel you connected with the most on this trip?” And as I went on naming people I realized “holy s***” I had a connection to each person, even just the small alone moments of a quick conversation. Its trips like these that make me think and do my personal self reflecting once I’m alone.
The inspiration of hearing and seeing everyones lives they live is inspiring me to take the steps I need to change my life and have my own personal metamorphosis. Thank you all for being so welcoming.”
It is the people and the moments that make these retreats special and bring us closer together as people. That’s why I think this new trend for retreats is special and important to the world, and that’s why I think it is special and good for humanity.
“After a year and a half of travel, I have decided to start leading my own retreats. The first one will also be in Croatia next year. There will be special early bird pricing through the month of December and a special discount if you found the trip through reading this blog post, so be sure to become a fan on medium and follow me on Instagram @thegingernomad if you want to join us on my first retreat next year in late May. I promise it will be something special, more information to come.”