Who are the participants?
We enjoy a diverse range of participants with regard to both age and background. It is not uncommon for a group to include those in their twenties to those in their seventies. Participants come from all over the United States and sometimes from abroad. Typically an event will include mostly singles as well as a few couples. Some of our events are oriented specifically for gay men and/or lesbians and some are open to everyone (men and women, gay and straight). In short, anyone with an open heart and an open mind is welcome.
What is a Spirit Journey and how is it different from typical gay travel?
A Spirit Journey involves conscious travel or movement to a specific place and with a specific intention. It typically includes making a conscious exchange or connection with the places and people visited. Most participants leave with more than they came with, having gained some sort of personal gift by making contact with the mystic beauty and magic of the places and people encountered. Some sites are natural wonders like Sedona or the Grand Canyon, while others are man-made like a Buddhist temple or the Mexican pyramids. Certain sites become important places simply due to the human-aura or energy that is inherent from thousands, and in some cases, millions of people bringing themselves and their intentions to that particular place. On typical vacations or travel, the goal is to "get away", where on a Spirit Journey, the purpose is to "arrive" and connect wholeheartedly with a specific spot on this planet.
This all sounds very serious...
We are frequently asked if gay travel or gay vacations with a spiritual focus are "fun". There are probably two basic answers to this question.
First, there seems to be the conception that taking a "spiritual journey" (whatever that means to you) is "work". Nobody wants to work on a vacation. That's why we take a vacation in the first place, to get "away from it all" for awhile, to escape. We seem to frame the concepts of spiritual and personal growth with thoughts like: "I need to do this" or "I should do that" because "it would be good for me". With those ideas as a background, it's no wonder that so many of us think of spiritual and personal growth as "work". When we're on a vacation, we want to leave all the "need to's" and "should's" of daily life behind us, for at least a short time.
Our personal experience has shown us that the "work" done at a Spirit Journeys event is not "work" at all; it is a joy. You meet and connect with people at a level simply not possible on a typical vacation. The connections you make with others at a Spirit Journeys event adds immensely to the enjoyment of your time away. To be able to sit and have a real conversation with someone; for you to be listened to with genuine interest; for you to listen to others with your heart; the importance of these things cannot be measured and bring a deep sense of fulfillment.
Second, somewhere along the way, we seem to have been taught that in order to be spiritually connected to the world, the people around us and to ourselves, we must act in a "serious manner', almost to the point of being somber, or at the very least solemn.
In actuality, we have found just the opposite to be true. When we are awake and aware of our surroundings, in other words "spiritually" connected, our experiences are amplified and intensified. We are able to experience more of the world around us and experience it at a deeper level. We have found that this amplified experience actually makes our adventures more "fun" because all aspects of our travel are intensified; we can play more, we can laugh more, we can relax more fully and we can even shop more!
Little children are a wonderful example of being "spiritually" connected. They are enthralled with the world around them; everything is new, everything is a wonder. They find joy in all that they encounter; everything is a new toy to play with.
Also, sometimes people confuse the experience of being awestruck as being serious or solemn. When you travel with conscious awareness and openess there can be times when you will be "deeply moved" (awestruck) by something you encounter. It could be the grandeur of a sunrise, the energy felt as you move through an ancient temple or simply a smile from a child you meet at a local market. Personally, even after countless visits to Monument Valley, I am still moved tears while I am there. But these are tears of joy, humility and gratitude.
So, the short answer is, Yes, spiritually connected gay travel and gay vacations with Spirit Journeys are fun.
In fact, they are more fun than you can begin to imagine because they have the power to change your life!
Why do some of Spirit Journeys' events seem expensive?
We always endeavor to keep the cost of our journeys as low as we can because we want as many people as possible to benefit from them. However, keep in mind that a Spirit Journey pilgrimage is not just a vacation. The opportunities we offer are frequently unavailable to the general public. For example, during our Egypt pilgrimage, just two of the things we arrange for are a private visit inside the Great Pyramid and a chance to stand between the paws of the Sphinx. Both of these opportunities have been unavailable to tourists for many years. During our journeys to Peru, we engage local shamans to oversee and administer the use of plant spirit medicine. In Southeast Asia, we work with local tribes to build schools and sink water wells. All of our journeys become extraordinary due to the unique and very special opportunities we offer a Spirit Journeyer.
Our journeys also always include at least one trained facilitator (and frequently more than one). Our facilitators are not just "tour guides" and, unlike guides for most travel companies, our facilitators are compensated for their time. Our facilitators must perform all the functions of a "tour guide", (from making sure everyone's luggage is ready to making sure no one is missing when the bus leaves) plus they need to have specialized training or skills. These skills and training include being adept at sensing and directing the energy of the group, years of studying a specific practice, teaching various spiritual practices or being available to journeyers when "things come up" (as they frequently do during a spiritual quest). A good facilitator will play the energy of the group dynamic like a conductor leads an orchestra, and this adds to an individual journeyer's experience immensely. Our facilitators are a big part of what makes a Spirit Journey, a Spirit Journey.
Do I need any previous experience to participate?
No, you do not. Mostly, you should come with an open mind and be prepared to learn some new things along the way. Some journeys require certain skills like swimming or hiking and we suggest that you be in moderately good physical shape. If a journey has a special focus such as yoga or meditation, all necessary skills are taught throughout the trip to make it enjoyable for everyone. Our journeys are about having fun and learning from one another! Whether you're a seasoned group traveler or have always done it solo, we think you will enjoy the manner in which Spirit Journeys events are organized. We design the itineraries to allow a healthy balance between scheduled group activities and personal time, with careful attention not to over-schedule. From the outset, our events provide meaningful interaction which cuts through superficiality. One comment frequently heard during our events is "I can't believe how comfortable I feel with a group I've just met."
Should I purchase travel insurance?
Yes, travel insurance is always a good investment. Please contact Spirit Journeys for additional information about trip insurance.
How do I obtain additional information about Spirit Journeys?
The Calendar of All Events section of this website lists all our upcoming events. Please contact us via phone or e-mail with any questions or to request additional information. Although we respect electronic communication, we really enjoy speaking to people, so give us a call to talk with one of our staff members or guides.
For additional articles on gay travel, vacations, spiritual travel or gay retreats, go to our Articles page.
For summaries of some of our past Journeys, check out our Past Journeys page.
For other gay travel and vacation resources go to our Other Resources page.
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