Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Close your eyes. (No, I’m not going to make you meditate.) Picture your last vacation. Maybe it was a beach getaway. Or a ski trip. Or a backpacking trip abroad. Since we’re in 2020, maybe it was a road trip. No matter the destination, how much can you tell me about the history of the land you visited or the people who call it home? The local culture or its traditions? Do you still feel a connection?
To many, a vacation equals an escape. We flee the confines of our own lives and get to live new ones, if only for a week or two. We return home forever changed, but then seemingly assimilate back into our routines, the hustle, the grind. What would happen if we became more than merely a visitor, but a humbled traveler honoring each destination with utmost respect and care?
That’s how our Leader, Breanne Kiefner, is changing the game with her sustainable travel and wellness company Root Adventures. It’s an adventure travel company for like-minded folx hungry to see the world from a new (and profoundly life-altering!) perspective. The team dreams up personalized itineraries on all seven continents for travelers looking to connect with local cultures and the land that surrounds them in the most authentic and respectful way. Or, solo travelers can join one of their curated adventures and meet a cohort seeking something more, too. During all trips, travelers learn how to minimize their carbon footprint.
Breanne’s path began with adventure. After selling her belongings, she spent six months backpacking through Latin America, discovering the richness of new cultures and living in South America thereafter. Breanne built Root Adventures from the ashes of personal struggle with postpartum depression. She found healing in connection, which quickly became the cornerstone of her brand.
In changing the way we travel, Breanne believes we can change how we view ourselves, too: “I think there’s a real problem with the idea of wasting all these carbon credits to go sit on the beach and come back as the exact same person who left. It’s always been my number one focus to really dive in, and explore the local culture, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, because with a company like mine, you have all of your needs met in terms of safety, so that allows you to break down a little bit and be a little bit more vulnerable.”
During a Root Adventures trip—each is led by a local, knowledgeable guide—you might cook an authentic meal with a local in Guatemala, hike the Inca Trail in Peru, or swim with sea lions in Mexico. With each unique experience, Breanne builds a common thread connecting you to your destination: its history, traditions, and vibrancy.
This connection extends to domestic travel, too: Breanne’s mission promotes a better understanding of our fellow travelers in life. “As a country who is so divided racially, I see an opportunity for us to build more connection through curiosity, and I think if we can start to look at domestic travel similarly to how we look at international travel, then we’ll be able to understand the hurt and pain of indigenous people in our country and just have more compassion for one another, prioritize climate change, and prioritize others as opposed to just ourselves,” Breanne says.
Root Adventures also invests in wellness; trip leaders have a background in mindfulness, transformation, and nurturance. And a wellness program is next for Breanne, with the sole focus of inclusivity: “I always come back to that idea of inclusivity: inclusivity of people with different abilities, inclusivity of different races, inclusivity of different upbringings … Now, I’m creating a wellness program that is going to be for everyone,” Breanne states.
While the world rebounds, Breanne has paused trips until it’s responsible to travel. In the meantime, she’s writing an anti-racism children’s book about exploring the outdoors, featuring her son Henry, who is white, and her friend’s son Sam, who is Black. She hopes to bring awareness to the difference in each child’s lived experience and emphasize the ongoing work that must be done as an ally.
When we’re passionate about our business, it shows up in every aspect of our life, and our values fuse with our mission. “Root Adventures is me, and it is an avenue for me to make my mark on the world, but also to become my best self … For me, the most important role any human has is to reduce the suffering, including my own suffering, and I think I can do that with Root Adventures,” Breanne says.
At the end of the day, we’re all looking to create a better world. Breanne’s company mission emphasizes that: In preserving the planet we’re honored to inhabit and helping us travel with intention, Root Adventures cultivates a grander connection to Mother Earth. And that can sustain us more than a beach day ever could.
To learn more about how Breanne is revolutionizing the way we travel, visit rootadventures.com.
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