Every Wednesday over the next four weeks, RoomsXML’s Mark Luckey talks about how bringing home the experiences you have is another way to ‘travel to change the world’.

‘Empowerment tourism’ describes a person going somewhere and implementing permanent change. Spending money stimulates economies but invested money – the real focus of empowerment tourism – changes the world positively and permanently.

I’ve been lucky to be associated with some great organisations where our funds and knowledge made a difference. I hope our focus on education, protection and health means that the contribution of myself, my family and my business associates makes sustainable change.

In the scale of things, these changes are insignificant. Let’s be real. To those 50 schoolkids it’s a great thing, but 50 schoolkids in a country like India with a population of 1.2 billion, until one of them becomes Prime Minister… you get my point.

For me, for my world, it’s the changes that happen when I come home, changed from my travels, that are the game changers.

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I have written numerous articles about India. A long rambling document recounting my first visit to meet my business partners in 2004 cemented our relationship . That first trip blew me apart emotionally.

I brought home a better understanding of family. At 21, I moved out of home as quickly as possible, but I saw the Indian culture bring people into their household with every successive marriage and generation.

Their family time wasn’t watching some crap unreality TV show, it was in the family room discussing everything from how to handle crazy Australian business partners (me) whilst sharing business wisdom across generations. It’s not to criticise my own upbringing but it gave me a different perspective which positively influenced me as a son, a husband, a father and a brother.

In January 2017, Olivia Nysse wrote a fantastic article “begging people to pack their bags and go” to India and to shift their reality. She quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr:

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”.

The science is in and as per the article by Shaun Busuttil, travel changes our personality.

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The emotions, the smells, the sites and the feelings create such a profound change in our perception that we see the world differently when we get home. A virtual change. Whether as shallow as a perception or a drive to act differently in our home environment, travel has changed the world . The one that matters most to every individual.

Our world .

I’ve had many friends speak great reverence of the “Camino de Santiago”, a network of Pilgrim routes stretching across Europe to converge on the tomb of St James in north-west Spain. Every year hundreds of thousands of people, in groups or individually, walk the trails.

They will come back changed. But how? Why ? I’m not content with someone’s story. It’s important to not just recount but to understand. To use that knowledge to build better and more meaningful itineraries that give our customers the chance to #traveltochangetheworld.

How does this change people? In both mechanism and effect? We need to understand both to make great holidays.

Over the next two weeks I speak with Mona Tannous, Manager of Sultanate of Oman Tourism in Australia and New Zealand who has walked the Camino Trail in both 2015 and 2016.

How did an emotional impact overseas change you?