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Nature Experiences and Personal Fulfilment: Emerging Trends in Luxury Travel

New(ish) research from Skift reveals a couple of interesting emerging trends among luxury travellers.


Millennials, also known as Generation Y, those of us born in the early 80s, are discovering that in an age of overstimulation, the blissful isolation you find by retreating into nature is the true luxury. Clearly, they’ve never seen Boorman’s Deliverance.


Through technology, human beings have never been more connected, but there’s a good argument that this same technology is also, at least in part, responsible for a disconnect with the natural world. Your average millennial can learn how to navigate a smartphone within seconds, but can they identify the different trees, or birdcalls in a forest? If they were shipwrecked on a desert island, could they build a shelter, hunt for food, or light a fire to cook it? I know how long I’d survive, and it’s a depressing thought.


Running toward nature, arms outstretched


Retreating into nature, those words I just used above, is kind of a misnomer actually. Millennial luxury travellers aren’t retreating, they’re running toward nature, arms outstretched. Wilderness immersion is a thing now. To learn bushcraft skills, like how to forage for food, find your way around using the stars, or how to catch a fish with your bare hands, these courses can have waiting lists of months. People sense that a connection has been broken, and maybe it worries them (see preppers) but more likely they see it as a wholesome form of de-stressing, and perhaps even a way of giving meaning to lives that can often seem relentlessly scheduled.


Self-built shelter

Nature’s luxury bolthole; image source


Which brings us to luxury travellers’ desire for personal fulfilment. See, the concept of experiential travel has been around for a while now. Doing and remembering something is better than owning something valuable, and then always worrying about losing it. Bespoke experiential travel has lost its exclusive label, and those who can afford it are now looking to level-up, to transformational experiences.


Self-sufficiency and rope-twirling


How many of us can honestly say we are the person we always wanted to be? Curated travel experiences are now seen be some as personal wish fulfilment, helping us change ourselves, upgrade our skills, personalities, and outlook on life. That might mean sunrise and sunset stretching on a deserted beach with an international yoga guru. It might mean one-on-one lessons with a Michelin-starred chef. It might involve learning self-sufficiency and rope-twirling on a working Texan cattle ranch.


Buffalo ranch

Oh yeah; image source


What does all this mean for luxury travel brands? It means looking at the experiences you sell, and how they can meaningfully, honestly, help your clients on the road to reconnecting with nature, and personal development. It means looking at the destinations, and the accommodations, that you offer and finding opportunities for zoning out and switching off in areas of pristine natural beauty. It means looking at escapism as an end in itself.