The world is a kaleidoscope of colours. Some may argue that it got stripped back of its brightness a couple of years ago. But for those who continued to travel and explore, every natural landscape and destination has remained a beacon of hope and positivity.
Looking back at the last two years, it is no wonder that so many of us have yearned to escape to places that are doused in tranquility and contentment. To an oasis where our everyday worries dissolve, so that we finally reconnect with ourselves, our values, and the things we hold most dear.
In this respect, you could argue that there is so much more to travel, isn’t there? When you think about the psychological impact it has on human beings and the way in which it shapes our future experiences, health and decision-making.
For us, this is exactly what makes-up an ‘escapination’. A term that we have recently coined at Smiling House Group, which encapsulates the value of well-being, nature, and human experiences in travel.
We’re sure escapinations will lead travel trends in 2022; and it is up to travel professionals like us, to continue the conversations and ample stories that communicate this – in the best way possible.
Granted, there are many negative connotations of the word ‘escapism’. This is mainly because of the clinical definitions associated with it, many claiming that escapism is a means of running away from reality, and burying your head in the sand.
In the context of travel, the idea of escapism is quite different.
There is a beautiful quote that perfectly sums this up: ‘We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”.
This idea that life is too short and the world is fantastically enormous. Months of isolation have taught us that there is so much to see in the great outdoors – and if this helps us travel into a more positive state of mind, then surely it is more than worthwhile?
Because ‘escapism’ does not just mean eloping from the real issues of life. As human beings we can escape to so many more meaningful things. We can escape to a calmer mindset, we can escape to a more productive workspace, we can escape to a place that fuels our purpose, or we can simply escape to more time with our family.
ESCAPISM IN TRAVEL
Some people read books to escape, others watch films or lose themselves in movies.
These activities create an experience called narrative transportation, the feeling a person gets when they are being ‘carried into’ a story by absorbing a particular type of medium. Remember the last time you read a great story, and visualizing yourself in the same situation as the main character? This is what narrative storytelling is. It is a subconscious form of escapism and it is why people are drawn to it over and over again.
While narrative transportation is pleasurable, it only connects with some of a human being’s senses. A travel experience, however; (where a person can touch, taste, and smell their surroundings) takes this form of escapism to a whole new dimension.
Therefore, satisfying the common desire to ‘escape’ with travel and travel experiences instantly makes obvious sense.
An insightful article on Forbes explains how there’s a growing body of scientific evidence that shows how travel is good for your mental health. In the same article, it is claimed that according to the latest Expedia Vacation Deprivation Society, a whopping 91% of American travelers say that vacations help them ‘hit the reset button’ on stress and anxiety.
Not only this but traveling to new places that are very different to a person’s day-to-day settings, has been scientifically proved to maximize the brain’s neuroplasticity. Unfamiliar surroundings help the brain escape to a sense of adventure and take itself off autopilot. This is just a small glimpse of how travel fuels escapism; and how escapism benefits people in a number of ways.
Every traveler will have their own personal view of the ‘perfect escapination’.
A first choice might be the white beaches of St. Barts, where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Or perhaps the snow-capped mountains in the Swiss Alps, where the skyline is no less spectacular than a night view of the galaxy. Regardless of what a traveler’s unique preference is, it is the duty of travel professionals to not only design experiences that fuel escapism – but to communicate this to their audiences well.
Gone are the days of amenities being the first (and only) priority. Travel professionals will now need to think beyond this.
How will a traveler immerse themselves in the culture of their chosen destination? How will they connect with nature and wildlife? And how will they then share these stories of travel escapism to create a positive ripple effect for both themselves and travel providers?
Even the researchers at Harvard Medical School have noticed the increased markers of ‘neuroinflammation’ (otherwise known as ‘pandemic brain’), causing people to feel fatigued, and in desperate need of a physical and psychological escape. We now exist in a time where wellbeing is at the helm of travel more than ever – meaning escapinations is a trend that is here to stay.