Spoiler alert - it can be done!
Hey there! I’m Tara, the founder of Conscious Travel Collective. After years in the travel industry, and loving the opportunity to connect travelers with the world, I was troubled by an important element I felt was sadly lacking. This element for me is what makes travel so special - real connection! Connection with places, through the people that live there. So, with much intention, I started Conscious Travel Collective to offer folks travel that connects, with luxury experiences at a reasonable price, with sustainability and ethical travel practices leading the way. Thanks for stopping by!
Hey Friends, Tara here! I want to share with you a huge shift that occurred for me while spending a few months away from home. This is a story about timing, connection and the unexpected power of finding community.
I’ve been “on the road” for the last two months connecting with our friends in Spain and Croatia, and making new friends in Colombia, Slovenia and Italy! It’s such a joy to spend time with people I deeply admire, who engage with life from a place of total alignment between heart, soul, and passion fueled professional endeavors. Let me tell you something else, they are a lot of fun!
My usual MO for meetings, or scouting trips, is to cram as much into as short a period as possible, then head home totally exhausted so I can get back to work.
I know what you are thinking, sounds way out of alignment for a business leader that believes in the power of connection above all else – and you’d be 100% right – but that is the sad truth of how things had been going for me, and also the “norm” for travel companies.
For the most recent trip I arranged things quite a bit differently, for a few reasons:
First- to slow down. I don’t know about you, but I’m better at my work when I’m rested, fully present and available to open up to connections with my team, and for meeting new people.
Second - spring is a great time to be in Europe as it’s still mostly “off season”. Meaning our CTC partners are available to connect, resulting in many hours long lunches, leisurely discussing life, passions, and sharing what we are excited about in our businesses.
Third – the experience. Anyone else out there a bit envious of digital nomads? I am! I love having a home base, but I’ve glamourized the nomad lifestyle in my mind, and wanted a taste of what it's like to live/work in a different country. I spaced a week of meetings and conferences with a week of staying put in one apartment, trying the nomad thing at a very beginner, non-committal way (haha).
Finally - to reduce my European flying footprint this year to a single roundtrip.
I’m so freakin’ grateful for the opportunity to slow down the pace of traveling for meetings. Plus, it happened to be a total game changer, leading me to making the very best connections for Conscious Travel Collective travelers – something I credit to being in the right mindset and fully present. (more on how this was possible below)
In the midst of growing from all these incredible connections, I was also experiencing being away from home for quite a while, and even with a dream job and amazing team, I’ll be real…. it gets a bit little lonely.
Little did I know, even without any home base, not much connection to my friends and family, and far from the routines that keep me grounded, I’d feel super supported and in complete integrity with myself.
You might be wondering, “but how”?
So glad you asked! Much to my own surprise, it was mostly due to new community I had joined just days before I left home!
Let me back up.
You probably already know that connecting with people is the central theme of travel for me, and what we use as our North Star when creating itineraries for Conscious Travel Collective travelers.
We like to say the best way to connect with places, is through people. I was heading to Europe with a schedule full of priceless opportunities to meet in person with our dearest travel amigos & amigas - these are the small business owners who are the heart of our trips - the local guides, and hoteliers, destination experts, wine producers, farmers, artisans and chefs! (Lucky me, I know!) With my schedule alternating from a week of hanging with these amazing people to a week solo, in a little apartment just trying to live a normal life. “Normal” for me looked like cooking meals at my temporary home, working, chatting with travelers, maybe scrolling Netflix, all the usual stuff. I didn’t anticipate how much the combination of my early bedtime and the time difference back in the states would mean it was hard to talk to friends and family. After a total jackpot of social time, with really soul filling humans, my in-between week was spent alone, and felt extra lonely.
But here’s the little miracle of timing and serendipity that I hadn’t planned on. A few weeks before leaving I joined a virtual group made up of women business owners. It’s kinda like a really amped up support group, with weekly experts and trainings. I joined seeking to grow as a leader, and to help steer the ship at Conscious Travel Collective so we can serve our travelers, team and our mission to the very max.
And yeah, all that happened!
But something unexpected happened too. I, along with the other women of the cohort, we all become really interested and invested in each other, beyond our "business selves", but as full humans. In our 2-3 times per week accountability check-ins, we got super vulnerable, sharing current happenings in our business, but also in our internal lives – our fears, programing, societal constrains and judgements, and our dreams. It was a beautiful space!
As I went deeper into a long period away from home, alternating between busy but lonesome weeks, and weeks of meeting new people in hopes of growing the company's network, there was an incredible grounding and supportive constant. The women in the cohort generated a loving energy that lifted me up. I felt held by their support. Even when I was alone, I felt them rooting for me. Yes, for the business, but mostly just for me!
They were rooting for me to show up in the ways I set out to – fully present, rested, empowered, authentic!
They were rooting for me to find that balance I was after.
They were rooting for me to be brave, ask the difficult questions, and listen to my inner wisdom.
They were rooting for me to enjoy the process, and have fun, to fully appreciate this opportunity by not needing to hustle every moment away.
They were rooting for me to tap into the intuition that would lead me to the right partners for CTC.
They were rooting for me to say "no" to the opportunities that weren't right, without guilt, shame, or self-doubt.
Each day when I joined the community was my opportunity to reciprocate. In this circle, the energy just continued to grow. When rooted for someone else, I felt it reverberate right back to me. This community unlocked something in me. We gave each other permission to go after and celebrate internal victories. It wasn't about scoring a deal or hitting a milestone (although we celebrated those too) it was about recognizing what felt true and integrating that into our professional life. Just showing up with integrity was a success.
Their support gave me the boost I needed to feel my best, when I could have otherwise felt pretty isolated. It was a wonderful feeling.
Not to say I didn’t feel lonely, I did. I missed home, and that community of friends and family. But in the space that would have otherwise been empty, my online community became a hub where I could connect, offer and receive encouragement, and feel completely supported. This long trip away from home might have felt a bit lonesome, but I never once doubted my decision to be away because I knew it was in complete alignment with the mission of this business. Furthermore, I came to see how a commitment to authenticity was the reason this trip was turning out to be such a success. If not for the support from these special women, I suspect the loneliness could have turned into doubt, and who knows what kind of turn the entire trip could have taken.
The funny thing is, I hadn't joined the group looking for community. I was there to gain skills for my business. However, I learned just how much a supportive community is necessary if I was to be the best, truest version of me - for the business, and for me too! I believe that mindset is a critical factor in being the kind of business leader I want to be, and thanks to their loving encouragement, I could fully believe I was on the path meant for me, and step into the opportunity with total authenticity, as the best version of me.
And because of this I saw the best possible outcome.
Community + connection + supporting womxn for the win!
For those wondering about the community I'm speaking of, I’m excited to introduce you to wmnsWORK. A 12-week long accelerator focused on womxn founded and led travel businesses. wmnsWORK, which is also womxn founded and led, is the incredible brainchild of its founder, Iris Serbanescu. A champion for gender equality in tourism entrepreneurship, Iris is also a total rockstar in the world of B2B partnership developments. The mission of wmnsWORK is to "help women and non-binary folks build thriving tourism businesses through education, mentorship and peer support."
Mission accomplished in my book!
This experience opened me to the reality that online communities can be incredibly fulfilling. Did y’all know this already?
Maybe I'm way late to the party, but I had not experienced a community online that evoked this kind of feeling. Big credit goes to the people behind the community. Iris and her freaking awesome team, like Janice & Claire, crafted this space with so much intention and led through authenticity and heart. Huge credit too to those who showed up for vulnerability, and the offering of love and acceptance. These beautiful souls brought their heart centered intentions, came together, and created a kind of magic. And I completely love them all!
I'm home now and have settled back into my lovely in-person community of friends, family and support networks. I missed these people, and it feels really sweet to be home. But I still have room for more connection. Honestly, after having the kind of exchange I experienced with wmnsWORK, even if I didn't have room, I'd find a way to make space, because I want more of that. I want more of the me, that showed up in that space. And I want to be in the cheering section for other brave souls seeking a deeper connection to themselves, this life, and each other. Community, much like love, need not be bound by distance or difference, with the right space it will blossom.
Do you have a place for exchange, uplift, support and love that lives online?
Let us know!
You can email me at hello@ConsciousTravelCollective.com, or and follow Conscious Travel Collective on IG or FB. We’d love to create a list to add to this blog for those searching for their safe place to stir up magic in others and unearth their highest self to let it loose in the world!
The author of this blog is the Founder of Conscious Travel Collective, Tara Busch.
Hey there! I’m Tara, the founder of Conscious Travel Collective. After years in the travel industry and loving the opportunity to connect travelers with the world, I was struggling. Part of what troubled me was the absence of a critical element, one that makes travel so special - which is genuine, reciprocal, authentic connection! Connection with places, through the people that live there. So, with much intention, I started Conscious Travel Collective to offer folks travel that connects. We design luxury experiences at a reasonable price, with sustainable, ethical travel practices leading the way.
For more on our approach to private travel head over to our homepage. We are so happy to welcome you!