There is a shift in people’s mindsets. If you observe closely, you will notice that people are becoming more mindful, no longer content with being on autopilot nor wanting to succumb to an unsustainable lifestyle that pushes for bigger, faster, cheaper.
We for one are overjoyed that people are consciously waking up to the world. And one area in particular that we’re delighted to see transform for the better: travel.
Conscious travel is the direct result of mass industrial tourism, holiday packages and inauthentic travel encounters. Increasing numbers of people are tired of the standard travel itinerary. Driven by the need for authentic experiences, conscious travellers are seeking meaningful and enriching travel experiences, preferring to see the world not as a tourist, but through the eyes of a local.
Furthermore, travellers want to tread the world lightly, conscious of their eco footprint and preferring to preserve the world, rather than destroy it.
So to help the conscious traveller take the journey less travelled, we’ve put together this list of exciting barely-visited destinations that are sure to captivate the imagination and trigger a visceral yearning to explore.
This former communist country was isolated for much of the 20th century and much of the country has been largely untouched and unexplored. Albania offers a remarkable array of unique attractions, well-preserved local customs, and abundant natural beauty in its pristine beaches and stunning mountain scenery. It offers the ideal adventure for the conscious traveller looking to get off the beaten track.
Considered one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities, where vast numbers of pilgrims voyage across the country to the ghats of the River Ganges to cleanse their sins and cremate loved ones, Varanasi is not for the faint hearted. A collision of colour and chaos, this Indian city can be overwhelming and unapologetic in its sensual ferocity. However if you’re looking to forge a new path and discover a reflective quality and mental strength you never knew existed, Varanasi is the right destination for you.
Poland’s capital continues to reinvent itself and is no longer content to be judged by its dark and sordid past. Yes history likes to remind us that the city has been invaded and destroyed time and again, but what history forgets to tell us is the resilience and pure grit of its people. Warsaw has pushed through, fast becoming a mindful traveller’s indulgent playground with its diverse population, inconsistent architecture, hedonistic nightlife and creative arts scene.
This country is for the travelling truth-seeker who cares about place’s story as much as the sights itself. Despite the media’s stereotypical depictions of Iran as a dangerous and ominous place, the opposite is very much the truth - and the kaleidoscope of highlights are surprisingly many. It boasts an ancient history, hospitable people, colourful bazaars and crowded tea houses against a backdrop of desert.
Between the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic Ocean lies the remotely secluded, untouched wilderness of Faroe Islands, a self-governing territory of Denmark with a population of just 50,000 people; most recognisable as the place where many Game of Thrones’ scenes were filmed. Natural beauty is in great abundance here. With its cascading waterfalls, lush greenery and picturesque villages, this is a destination for the minimalist traveller who favours the stillness of the natural environment over noisy urban crowds.
Being in the contemporary art scene ourselves, we have long suspected this Belgium city to be a front runner in European design, with its focus on serious style regardless of the cobbled laneway you find yourself in. Antwerp offers the avant-garde traveller a delicacy of medieval architecture, cool crowds, atmospheric supper clubs, vivid fashion and a thriving entertainment scene. Should be on the bucket list for any conscious creative.
There is a travel trend emerging and it is this: accommodation as the new destination. While the place is important, what’s as equally important is the setting. In Maderas Village in Nicaragua particularly, the beach landscape takes a seat to this boutique resort and its commune village vibe, influenced heavily by the carefree nature of the eclectic hipsters you find within: artists, photographers, yogis, surfers and designers.
Conscious Travel Tips
Before you set off on your conscious adventure, just remember:
- Be mindful on your journey
- Immerse yourself within the culture
- Learn the local customs
- Get to know not just the place, but the people too
- Support local artisans by purchasing their merchandise
- Offset your carbon to negate environmental impact