New age spiritual tourism is gaining pace in wellness travel. In the quest of wellness, millennials are emphasizing spiritual enrichment on the go. Spiritual tourism is one of the four major travel trends this year as reported by travel booking websites. Packaged spiritual vacations like Spiritual Heritage or Heal Your Souls marketed by travel portals are seeing heavy bookings. Experts believe this trend is here to stay.
Spiritual tourism is being more preferred over religious tourism. Crystal healing, meditation retreat, energy healing, astrology, tarot readings and breathwork and yoga sessions for mind-body harmony are finding more takers in this form of tourism.
This new age shift to spiritualism is being observed even among fresh college grads to C-suite executives who are turning away from traditional religious rituals and embracing spiritual practices.
Spiritual tourism and religious tourism are often taken as similar but both are not the same. Spiritualism may have nothing with religion whereas religions emphasize spiritualism to grow a certain faith and values. Spiritual tourism is often looked upon as a form of cultural tourism where people generally travel domestically or abroad to visit spiritual places.
This may include mosques, temples, churches and other religious shrines or natural environments like parks, gardens, caves, rocks and other hidden nooks. The objective is to fulfill the needs of body and mind by nurturing gratitude, calmness, forgiveness, inner peace and other traits to enjoy a better quality of life. Some people look for spiritualism in religious sites while some may prefer locations devoid of religious tinge.
The shift to new age spiritualism – A quest for better self-realization:
Millennials’ special attractiveness towards spiritualism can be viewed differently. People born and brought up amidst a specific religious culture like Buddhism, Christianity or others feel that religious texts and rituals do not represent them or their beliefs completely. A gap exists between their self-belief and those texted in different religions.
The world has changed fast and would continue to do so. Millennials are bombarded everyday every minute with apprehending recession, uncertainty of future, climate apocalypse and global political conflicts thanks to the extensive usage of social media and internet.
People are more or less dwelling in a state of mental unrest with no satisfying answer. Age-old religious beliefs and practices are constantly being challenged. People are seeking time off from all of these external disturbances for soul searching.
A Pew survey in 2017 observed a growing craze of millennials representing themselves as “None” when enquired of their religious affiliations. They may be atheist or agnostic but feel comfortable to claim themselves to be more ‘spiritual’ than ‘religious’. They are looking for consecrated places to be with their own self and be intimate with a special theme. It can be exploration of historical places, different cultures or nature.
Spiritualism is a great stress reliever:
Spiritualism teaches giving back before accumulating. Spirituality is a trait that puts human beings on the highest pedestal. Only the true seekers of spirituality can be the masters of their destiny. Spirituality means accepting life as it is meant to be not the way we wish to shape it.
Highly acclaimed persons achieving tremendous success in lives have knowingly or unknowingly tread this path of pure spirituality. They have understood before accumulating something for self it is important to give back something more to society and community. The journey to spiritualism creates a give and take equation making people more eager towards contribution than personal accumulation. If a person can accept the philosophy of giving, much of his/her stress is reduced.
How new-age spiritualism is contributing to wellness travel?
Pursuing wellness is a journey, not the destination. Wellness travelers are seeking to address the interdependence and harmonious existence of mind, body and spirit through the journey of spiritualism. They are looking for the perfect mind-body balance and peace through yoga, meditation, visiting religious sites, taking to alternative medicine and various other activities.
It can also be like spending few days in a hotel or retreats lazing and listening to Vedic chants. Traveling itself gives a new feeling but in spiritual travel, it is of a different level where you can get the essence of mindfulness rejuvenation.
Destinations famous for spiritual culture are thriving with new-age spiritual tourism:
It is difficult to disentangle spiritual tourism from wellness tourism given the multifaceted approach of the former. New age wellness seekers are choosing activities authentic to a specific destination to make the best of spiritual tourism. It is something exciting and miraculous. It gives the opportunity to have a different feeling away from home.
Yoga, meditation, traditional medicines, energy healing, sound healing and other forms of spiritually inclined wellness activities have its roots in Asian countries. These are widely popular in western countries as well. Trained practitioners and professionals are engaged in various wellness retreats catering to the wellness requirements of millennials. Despite this, the source countries in Asia like India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Japan etc. are witnessing the proliferation of the new-age spiritual tourism as wellness travelers get the authentic experience.
Rediscovering the old trend:
New-age spiritualism has some linkage with the past. If we look back to the hippie culture when young westerners flocked to Nepal and India for religion-oriented spiritual upliftment. Psychedelics used to be a great accompaniment to this new wave of spiritualism. This group embraced spiritual journeys far away from home to detox their mind from the stress of modern life and materialism.
What we see today is a more refined form of spiritual tourism where travelers ranging from common people to celebrities and high level corporate officials are opting for this special type of tourism to step up their wellness. It may include a few body and mind-healing activities or simply a laid back vacation in a tranquil and serene location.
They often seek customized packaged meditation tourism that includes mediation, yoga, spa and trekking sessions to bring perfect unification of body and mind to get the spiritual realization.
The Himalayas have been famous for spiritualism where Hindus and Buddhist sages have achieved enlightenment or nirvana from petty worldly pains thousands of years ago. Millennials are keen on studying the Hindu and Buddhist philosophy of mindfulness meditation and yoga to get the essence of spiritualism.
Does spiritual tourism metamorphose millennials?
Yes, to an extent. Chilling out in silent resorts, monasteries or any other natural surroundings gives an opportunity to reflect, meditate, contemplate and rediscover life’s missions and visions. Without religious strings attached, spiritual tourism has a mass appeal. Spending considerable time in a spiritual ambience, millennials hardly would like to give up the newly-developed habits which would be transformational in the long run.