Reconnect Travel

The Portuguese talk about a sense of 'saudade': a melancholic yearning, often for something you can’t quite put your finger on. We know the feeling, because there’s a dawning realisation that as we speed ever faster into the future, we often forget to check the rear-view mirror to consider what’s been left behind. As and when we in the West do stop to admire the view (or lift our heads from our devices), we might notice that the skills we took for granted for generations have been lost in a relative heartbeat. So, if you ever feel you’ve become unplugged from the natural world, or that there are some practical skills that you really should have in your locker, then it’s time to embrace our new concept: Reconnect Travel.

Reconnect Travel is a close cousin of the growing 'granny skills' movement - aimed at preserving our grandparents' skills such as jam making or knitting - but specifically with a travel angle. Navigating by the stars, starting a fire in the wild, how to remember and retell a gripping yarn; skills as wide-ranging as herding animals or reading the weather, foraging or knowing the medicinal properties of the local flora. These were the sorts of learned skills that pretty much everybody once possessed, and which in turn gave people a profound connection to their surroundings. Without these skills, appreciation of our life-giving planet is, inevitably, diminished. That can't be a good thing.

We at Original Travel realise that a revelatory and rewarding sense of reconnection will likely look different to different people, so we can suggest a wide range of activities and experiences around the world. You might want to tap into a deep-seated desire to tell stories or make music. If so, we can curate a visit to a community where they still transmit wisdom and shared history across the generations through story-telling, singing or dance. Similarly, you might want to make a more meditative reconnection, in which case we can tailor-make a trip to a place where spirituality (rather than specific religiosity) is still part of daily life. Or you might want to learn how to live off the land. After all, while the concept of 'exploitation' has an almost universally negative connotation nowadays, sustainable exploitation of the natural environment has helped every species on the planet, humans included, survive and thrive for millennia. We can suggest places where you can learn to forage, hunt or grow produce before learning the basics - or more - of how to make the staple foodstuffs that human communities have lived off for generations. After hundreds of years these recipes - for the likes of bread, cheese, cider - have been honed to perfection, and you can pick up those skills and in turn pass them on.

The good news is that these and more skills are still being practiced on a day-to-day basis and in a thoroughly authentic way in locations across the globe. These places aren't museums, or preserved in amber; they are organic, evolving communities that just happen to be changing at a slower pace or to have chosen an entirely different path to Western norms. So, if you think you might be suffering from saudade, here's how to Reconnect.

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Harriet, Frances, Ollie and Charlotte C are our 'Reconnect Travel' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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