Can quality time with some of Morocco’s leading design visionaries reignite your creative spark? Will batá drum lessons from a rising star in the Cuban musical vanguard inspire you to turn your personal passion into a profession? Black Tomato, a luxury travel outfitter with a knack for disrupting the status quo, thinks so—and is poised to propel you toward such personal epiphanies via a new collection of singular journeys.
Bring It Back, a set of seven new trips unveiled today, offer intrepid travelers fresh perspectives on perennially thorny subjects like work/life balance, family relationships, and healthy eating, via immersive itineraries in Cuba, Denmark, Ibiza, Iceland, Mongolia, Morocco, and Peru. The common thread amongst these far-flung, disparate sojourns? All aim to engender bona fide life changes that endure long after the trip ends.
Tom Marchant, cofounder of Black Tomato, calls Bring It Back a “personal passion project” rooted in his own travels, whereby he’s assimilated alternative points of view on life’s myriad quandaries into his ongoing routine. “I think travel is a vehicle for producing answers to a lot of questions,” he says. “We all face challenges in our daily lives—whether they be around our relationships with health, food, family, or work—and it’s often hard to find a solution when you’re caught up in the fray. So we set out to identify those communities and cultures that have really interesting takes on these fundamental human building blocks.”
Each Bring It Back trip is tailored to a specific mission—like a yen for a boost in creativity, the theme of the 10-day Morocco itinerary. A day in Marrakech begins with breakfast with Islamic and Moroccan architectural specialists, followed by a private tour of the ancient medina. A bespoke, hands-on workshop with ceramic, brass, or textile artisans is on the agenda too, as well as dinner with the founders of the Emerging Business Factory (EBF), Marrakech’s first private startup incubator. In signature Black Tomato style, accommodations are appropriately awe-inspiring: you’ll spend a night at the dazzling Terre Des Étoiles in the Agafay Desert, where you’ll ponder the challenges of creating a sustainable, design-conscious desert camp with the owner. The schedule also includes a Zellij Islamic pattern design workshop in Fez, and a photographic tour of Chefchaouen focused on the importance of color in Morocco’s acclaimed “blue city.” (A 10-day Bring It Back itinerary through Morocco starts at $6,254 per person, based on two travelers and excluding international flights.)
The array of cultural experiences Bring It Back encompasses is sprawling. In Peru, those seeking a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle will feast on traditional Pachamanca and Huatia meals—cooking styles that date back to the Inca Empire—and try their hand at artisanal fishing in the Peruvian coastal desert to learn the secrets of the country’s rich marine biodiversity. In Mongolia, those keen to improve their familial relationships will spend time with the nomadic communities of Bayangobi, where extended clans live in close quarters—including one family that trains racehorses, which you’ll be invited to ride in the surrounding larch-forested mountains. And in Ibiza, those committed to a newfound quest for wellness will have a private macrobiotic chef at their disposal, and enjoy private daily yoga and meditation sessions in locations that showcase the island’s dazzling natural landscape.
With Bring It Back, Black Tomato aims to create a new paradigm of “transformative travel,” a buzzy industry catchphrase whose growing ubiquity (much like the dreaded “authentic”) threatens to dilute both its meaning and impact. And a transformative experience, in a travel context at least, is ultimately defined entirely—and rightfully—by those who have been transformed, and those who aspire to be. Yet regardless of its arguable overuse and potentially murky definition, the appetite for this kind of travel continues to snowball. A March 2018 report, The Rise of Transformative Travel, from travel industry intelligence expert Skift, cites a 2017 survey of 1,350 people that found 54 percent of respondents ranked the importance of transformative travel as 7 out of 10 or higher, while 52 percent said they place increasing value on it. A follow-up Skift survey of 500 people conducted last year took a deeper look at how travelers consider these experiences, and underscored the opportunity for travel brands and providers in this emerging arena. The findings revealed that 32 percent of consumers have had a travel experience that’s transformed them in a positive way, while another 24 percent have not, but would like to. Meanwhile, the Global Wellness Summit named transformative travel a key trend in its 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report, noting, “Travel experts now argue that ‘transformational travel’ is the evolutionary wave, which doesn’t discard the focus on authentic experiences, but takes it to a deeper emotional level.”
And while transformative travel certainly won’t be the last Big Thing to shake up the trend-hungry travel industry, Marchant says the current Bring It Back menu is only the beginning of Black Tomato’s plans to offer genuinely life-altering adventures. He and his team are already working on a new itinerary in Japan themed around the intersection of entrepreneurism and creativity, where, for example, travelers will spend time with a world-renowned graffiti artist who’s expanded into art and music to glean some valuable business (and life) lessons. A journey to India is also in the hopper, which will offer insider access to an acclaimed charitable trust focused on the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan. The goal: to inspire clients to reassess how they can enable real change through philanthropy in their own communities.
“We’re living in an age where people are much more open than ever to embracing opportunities to truly better themselves,” says Marchant. “The role travel plays in helping them along on that journey is only going to grow.”
The Hottest Company In Luxury Travel Takes Transformative Trips To The Next Level – Forbes