It is kind of a known way of travelling, typically associated to backpacker travelling in South East Asia. I have an increasing number of friends who are trying to escape from their everyday life (typically in tough periods) for 3 to 6 months or more, just to have some time away with themselves and figure out what is really important for them in life. Bali, India, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam are typical preferred by these travelers, who’s age range from 25 to 60. There is a good chance that such lads are coming back home with a fisherman look (suntanned & bearded) practicing yoga and being vegetarians. Well at least that’s the modal character of a soul searcher trying to adapt back to big city life or just kissing good bye to it forever.
Travel to a new skill
Have you heard of the muay thai boot camps in Thailand, where they make you suffer few hours a day for 2-3 month with the reward of coming back to your real life ripped like a kung fu warrior and never being scared again by the big guy in the pub? Well that’s just one of the options you have if you want to spend few months of your life away from home, returning with a totally new skill. Visiting certain monasteries for an intense language course is another such formula. I am sure traveler creativity has all figured it out already and one can become a sushi chef, coastal lifeguard, or sailing instructor in few weeks or month of intensive training in exotic locations.
Movie locations catcher
Probably Paris did not need the DaVinci Code to promote itself, unwillingly however several locations within the French capital that featured in the movie (like the Saint-Sulpice chapel) became known and visited by hundreds of thousands of DaVinci Code enthusiast. Same goes for the clay houses where a few shots of the Star Wars were taken back in the 80's in Tunis (today The Sidi Driss Hotel, in Matmata), the locations of the Jaws in Massachusetts or even the Nothing Hill in London.
This is still a very niche kind of segment but I recon it is growing in volume and importance as the Asian travel market is becoming increasingly significant. Somewhat similar is the sport fan travel. Football games or even stadiums within the English Premier League and the Serie A of Italy are becoming pilgrimage sites for thousands of traveling fans annually.
Let’s be honest, probably you thought about how’d be like to live a few centuries back for some days? Waking up as a knight in the age of Arthur the Lion Heart, or as Robin Hood? Eventually Maryann or another princess in the royal court? Well if not than you must have had a very different childhood than most of the people I know. Or, the only thing you thought about is how’d be like to live 50 or 100 years from now in the future. Well, not too bad either. I am actually not aware of places who offer the full experience of living like centuries ago or decades ahead, but I bet there would be a demand for it. Obviously the future one would rely on the known master pieces of sci-fi literature and the creativity of attraction designers. So I expect that not too long from now there will be castles and the villages that specialize in taking you back or forward in time not only for the hour (as museums do) but for a few days with no cheating.
Eco neutral travel
Have you ever wondered how much environmental damage you do when climbing your SUV on top of a mountain or taking your family to ski? Probably not and that’s almost all right. But think for a second what it would take to go for a weekend holiday and plan everything such as your ecological footprint would be neutral. I.e. the net environmentally impact of your visit is nil. Think about what you do during a trip and you’ll see that it pretty much take a Homo Sapiens to stay almost neutral. Probably there would be very few travelers interested for such type of recreation, but anyways, it was worth the thought.