By: Jonathan Kalan, Co-Founder, Unsettled.
Last May, on an immersive journey designed for entrepreneurs and shapers of the travel industry, I met Jake Haupert. A veteran of the travel industry, he’s dedicated the past two decades of his life to pushing the boundaries of adventure travel.
Yet it wasn’t just his background of fascinating companies and epic adventures that impressed me. Nor his genuinely open, honest, and curiosity-driven personality that made him easy to share ideas with. It was his bold vision for the future of travel, and his passion for shaping it, that triggered something deeper. It helped me realize, as a strong vision should, that we weren’t alone in our journey of building a values-driven company aimed at transforming the way we live, work, and travel. That there was a movement brewing, and Unsettled had a role to play.
As we sat down at a cafe in Tel Aviv, Jake outlined for me his vision for the Transformational Travel Council, a collective of businesses and organizations who understand the powerful and delicate environmental, cultural, social, and emotional impact tourism has on the individual traveler as well as the destination.
If you’ve been lucky enough to join an Unsettled experience, or perhaps have been simply following us for long enough, you’ll know that we believe that life is a journey, not a destination. This journey is most often marked by the transformative moments, big and small, that evolve our sense of self and our ever-shifting role in this world. The awe-inspiring experiences we encounter, the bold risks we take, the unexpected places we discover, and most of all, the people we meet, are all drivers of change.
At Unsettled, we deeply believe in the power of travel, when taken with an intentional mindset, to be a powerful catalyst for these moments of personal transformation. If you’re open to embracing the unknown, travel can – and should – challenge you, stretch you, surprise you, push your boundaries and grow you in limitless ways. We’ve seen this on over 100 experiences and with thousands of participants who’ve joined us over the years.
And so, when we were asked to become an Ally of the Transformational Travel Council, a true collective of businesses and organizations that are prioritizing and pioneering the “how” and “why” of travel over the “what” and “where”, it was an absolute no brainer.
We share the same mission of the Transformational Travel Council – to make travel more ethical, emotional, equitable, and ecological – and are honored to join a coalition of businesses and organizations that share in this ethos.
One of our guiding principles at Unsettled, which we share with all participants on the first day of an experience is to “leave no trace, only a positive impression.” This goes for physical footprints as well as the way we interact with locals and the culture of our surroundings. We see ourselves as mindful travelers as opposed to tourists. We see travel as more than an end in itself, but rather a tool for personal and global transformation.
Another guiding principle of ours is to “participate”. In other words, to be an active creator of your experience, not a passive consumer. It’s why Unsettled experiences are considered co-created, community-driven experiences. Everyone who joins us shows up, brings their full selves, and contributes to each others’ journeys in ways big and small.
Some might say “Transformational Travel” is just another marketing buzzword in the travel industry, like greenwashing in the corporate space. We disagree. We believe it is not only a way of traveling, but a mindset and approach for operating a business that positively contributes to the travel industry, a roadmap for intentionally curating experiences, and an approach to inspiring and facilitating personal journeys that last a lifetime.
We are proud to be a part of the Transformational Travel Council and the emerging transformational travel industry, and are excited to continue shaping this movement.
Learn more about the Transformational Travel Council, and their partners, at https://www.transformational.travel/.