by Travis Day, 20 November 2022
In 2018 I began guiding trips with GoPhilanthropic Travel, creating sacred spaces where travelers could meet some of the world’s most influential change-makers. Our travel experiences were rooted in Listening & Learning, taking time to understand the issues on the frontlines of education, healthcare, and human rights disparities. Each trip was a compelling experience, and we walked away from every location, having strengthened our desires and commitments to create positive changes in the world.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the immediate worldwide freeze on travel, we found unexpected space to consider what the future of travel would look like. Yet the more time we had and the more we wondered, the further we moved away from any possible answer.
During that first year, I joined countless virtual discussions, seminars, and podcasts on what industry leaders were predicting to be the future of travel. Whenever I was asked to introduce myself and share about our philanthropic travel work visiting and supporting grassroots NGOs, I became less and less comfortable referring to our previous work as ‘philanthropic’ travel. The word ‘philanthropy’ carries so much weight and judgment. It was also complicated to summarize the complexities of philanthropic travel – child protection policies, as one example – in a 2-minute time slot. So more and more, I dropped the word ‘philanthropic’ from my entire dialogue about the travel world we had so compassionately curated.
No matter where you look, someone has advice on how you should travel. There’s ethical travel, responsible travel, eco-travel, sustainable travel, meaningful travel, and so on.
All this to say, it got me thinking: Was ‘philanthropic travel’ really our future? Or was the very word limiting us from achieving the truest and fullest experiences people seek? Were we so boxed into an idea that we couldn’t see the full potential of the experiences we wished to create? Thus, I started searching for an idea – a name to capture something more all-encompassing.
Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that describes the guiding beliefs or aspirations that characterize an individual, community, nation, or ideology. As originally used by Aristotle, it referred to someone’s character or personality, especially in the balance between passion and caution. On our life journeys, we are constantly discovering and evolving our ethos.
By way of numerous solo trips around the world and my shamanic journeying practices and study, I began to realize that what I had been doing wasn’t just travel, per se, but it was a journey. Travel is only the physical movement from point A to point B, but the journey – whether yours or mine – lasts a lifetime. Travel experiences are just a few pages in the book of the overall journey – essential pages that, if written with compassion and care, bring us many steps closer to a fulfilling life.
And so, on a whim before coffee one morning, I bought the domain for Ethos Journeys trusting that it would unfold exactly as it was meant to in the future. In reviewing my notes from early 2021, I found this entry that outlines the outlook for my ethos journey at that time:
Fast forward a year or so later, a conversation with my dear friend and mentor, Lydia Dean (GoPhilanthropic Travel Founder and GoPhilanthropic Foundation Co-Founder), found that we were very much on the same page in our desires to expand the concept of travel we would like to design. It was time to step outside the box we had so carefully created to explore the world in a new way, focusing on inner personal growth and endless learning as the first steps in building a foundation for a meaningful life.
When we first outlined the focus areas we would like Ethos Journeys to embody, it was astounding to see how closely those themes connected with the chakras. For anyone familiar with the foundational seven chakras, you will likely recognize the importance of this balance as we constantly work to unblock, harmonize, and create flow through these seven critical areas of our life to optimize wellness and happiness.
At Ethos Journeys, our greatest goal is to offer a sacred space where everyone is respected, honored and supported on their journey. We are developing travel encounters that will reveal truths about the places you visit by creating educational connections to local people, practices, and cultures. We are committed to prioritizing purpose over profit, creating an equal exchange in which local staff and companies benefit from our tourism experience. We also vow to tread lightly in our journeys, to keep things simple and fun, and to always show up with absolute grace.
We are far from perfect, but we will always try to lead by example and campaign for change. By supporting our new small business and choosing an Ethos Journeys immersive experience, you are helping create a kinder, more responsible industry for everyone involved. And you, a worthy human with mind, body, and soul, will also be dreaming your world into being with every step of your journey.
Click here to view a list of Upcoming Ethos Journeys.