A centuries old tradition is re-shaping travel: a way of taking time out that offers the possibility of transformation. What could transformational travel to the sea be?
What we think when we think of travel is undergoing a transformation. The conventions of the most aspirational of all holidays, of first-class plane seats and opulent five-star hotels, are changing, almost unrecognisably. More and more travellers are redefining the very essence of travelling into deeply meaningful, human experiences.
Holidays are moving far beyond the superficial. Travel is about embarking on a journey not just to new places, but to new and deeper understandings of ourselves.
Image credit: Abbi Hughes
In a spirit that’s akin to slow travel, it’s all about savouring everything the journey and the destinations offer. Unhurried connections with landscapes, mingling with different cultures, all while keeping a thoughtful eye on our environmental footprint. Transformational travel struck its biggest chord yet in 2023; that’s only going to continue.
While this concept in name might sound new, it taps into the core of human exploration – ingrained in our shared history for over 5,000 years. Across diverse civilisations and cultures, the quest for self-betterment, renewal, and reflection through exploration has been constant.
Drawing inspiration from ancient Greek and Buddhist traditions, travel was considered a means of engaging in contemplative practices for self-examination, leading to inner peace and a fulfilling life.
In the 17th and 19th centuries, European elites took extended journeys across the continent not just for leisure but to broaden their knowledge and cultural awareness. Fast forward to today, many of these traditions have remained. In India, those who worship the sacred Ganges river go trekking across the Garhwal Himalayas to Gangroti to see the origin of the revered river.
Image credit: Abbi Hughes
The magnetic allure of water, waves, and coastlines continues to pull travellers to the sea, more and more to seek solace and personal growth in serene landscapes.
Coastal havens offer a rejuvenating escape, and Cornwall stands as an uncomplicatedly refreshing destination for unhurried holidays. It blends natural allure, therapeutic retreats, cultural richness, and many outdoor activities – perfect for those seeking transformational and slow travel experiences.
In any season, the sea can be a sanctuary from the routines of life.
Staying steps away from sandy shores, children have the freedom to feel the sand between their toes and run wild across open shorelines whenever they choose.
A long-overdue getaway with friends, is only made more memorable with the promise of evenings filled with scarlet sunsets stretched across endless horizons.
Image credit: Jess Buckle, Pexels
Any number of new experiences also await that could be transformational in their own way, from preparing oysters fished using the centuries-old practice of sail and oar for the first time, or seeing a pod of dolphins playing in the waves out at sea.
Transformational travel can take many forms but at its core is simply about being more open to our surroundings and to change, from inspired epiphanies to just thinking differently about something.
Nothing inspires quite like awe. And there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring experiences within some of Cornwall’s most revered sights.
The colossal rock formations at Bedruthan Steps are rooted in the local myth of Cornish giant Bedruthan who used these rocks as stepping stones to travel. This stretch of cliff path, walked with the accompaniment of crashing waves, stirs something in any who see it.
Image credit: Carsten Ruthemann, Pexels
Further west, a smaller, yet no less powerful, legend shaped granite rock into a coastal monument to transformation. Rowena Cade left her life in the Cotswolds in the 1920s and set about transforming the cliffside at the Minack headland into an open-air theatre. Inspired first by a local production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and then plans for a fitting follow-up: The Tempest.
Image credit: Lynn Batten
For some, getting closer to the natural wonder of our coastal landscapes comes by being more mindful through activity. A yoga class practised outdoors takes on a whole new, meditative form.
Classes run across Cornwall’s varies landscapes, from a routine in the lush hilltops of Trelights, near Port Isaac and St Endelion, or a class overlooking the playful sand and surf of Newquay’s Fistral beach.
As for getting closer to the local culture, any travellers arriving on Cornish shores between February and March 2024 can visit the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro to take in a thought-provoking rollick through what it is to be Cornish in our modern world: Seamus Carey’s One & All.
Opened up to minor or major transformation, this year’s travels may lead to more than you expect. In the hills, stones and seas of Cornwall’s coastal wonder, there’s an equal measure of transformative possibilities – as there is for the meaning of transformational travel itself.
Be transformed by coastal wonder in 2024.