Designing a Heritage Journey to your child’s birth country continued.

Here we go again!!

My last two newsletters have been information oriented in order to help you best decide what type of Heritage Journey works for your family. The first one was about the fears and concerns that prevent some parents from planning a trip to their child’s birth country. The second one was about different types of heritage trips that are available to adoptive families and how they operate. This week’s newsletter continues in that vein …

Travel concepts that make a difference in a Heritage Journey.

When planning a trip to visit your child’s birth country, you should not only consider the size of the group you want to travel with and the places you want to visit, but what you desire to gain from your experiences. A Heritage Journey can be life-changing for your family. Being intentional with your planning will maximize the benefits.

There are several travel philosophies that can add depth and purpose to any trip and many companies that specialize in these types of travel. For instance:

A philosophy that is being explored by many travel companies today is Experiential Travel. Experiential Travel is the antithesis of pre-packaged tour groups or one-size-fits-all itineraries. Experiential Travel is the notion of using travel to create memorable and powerful experiences that enrich a traveler’s life and improve the way he or she connects with loved ones and the world. Travel experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level. The principles of Experiential Travel can be employed in a number of ways and on many different types of trips including adventure, cultural, natural, or spiritual. The demand for creating experiences rather than traditional site-seeing tours is driving travel companies to look at designing itineraries in an entirely new light.

Another concept that is coming of age in the travel industry is the notion of Transformative Travel. Similar to Experiential Travel, Transformative Travel is simply, travel that fosters positive change in an individual or family.

In his article, The Therapeutic Benefits of Structured Travel Experiences (2011), Dr. Jeffrey Kottler, PhD asserts that “no other human activity has greater potential to alter your perception of the ways you choose your life” than travel. Dr. Kottler also says, “particular types of travel experiences (namely adventure-based activities) can produce transformative, permanent changes.”

And in her article, Transformative Travel, An Enjoyable Way to Foster Radical Change (2010), Susan L. Ross talks about specific types of travel that foster change. A few that she mentions are heritage travel, adventure travel, service learning and cultural immersion.

Experts in this field of study agree that travel can be transformative and they have identified several factors that contribute to the likelihood of positive transformation through travel. Some of the factors that have been identified are:

  • Designing a well thought out, intentional trip that takes into consideration the needs of each traveler.

  • A novel destination that takes the traveler away from known experiences and outside their usual sphere of influence.

  • Activities that stimulate contemplation and emotion.

  • Embracing the unknown (facing adversity, challenge, discomfort, fear).

  • One-on-one intercultural experiences involving in-depth interaction (cultural immersion).

  • Post-travel activities like journaling that help each traveler reflect upon and find meaning in their travel experiences.

In next week’s newsletter, I will wrap up this series of informative notes with my own Ah-ha’s of Planning a Heritage Journey – the secret sauce! Look for it next Thursday!

When you are ready to explore the world with your family, please schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session with me at I’d LOVE to help!

My best to each of you,

Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >>

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