Our Philosophy: The Art of Travel
Imagine Adventures is committed to designing small group journeys that balance in-depth cultural discovery, group camaraderie, and plenty of free time to explore destinations according to your individual interests and desires. Our groups are kept small to allow for the flexibility and freedom that often contribute to valuable insight gained from an authentic travel experience.
Your comfort and enjoyment is an important aspect of travel. We dedicate ourselves to selecting accommodations that best meet our standards of excellence in quality, service and convenient location.
We seek to offer safe experiences that relax, nurture and rejuvenate you — body, mind and soul. Our tours involve an array of activities including educational courses, recreational programs and sightseeing excursions to historical, cultural and architectural landmarks. We feature opportunities for you to explore sacred sites, encounter spiritual teachers and participate in traditional ceremonies. And, we include cultural performances in music, dance and theater for your appreciation along with regional cuisine for your enjoyment.
Our tour leaders are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and love to travel. Their interest in sharing experience, understanding and information with you will truly enhance the scope of your adventure.
We encourage sustainable tourism that appreciates the values and needs of the cultures and people we experience. While our small group approach to travel allows personal interaction with local people, it also ensures direct economic benefit to local businesses and communities. Our general use of public transportation reduces fuel consumption and pollution. Most of our accommodations are locally-owned establishments. Imagine Adventures engages local guides to further support small business people and their families. And a portion of the profits from each trip is directed to a local organization providing either economic or environmental sustainability for the country we visit.
In a real sense, when you travel with Imagine Adventures you choose to be a pilgrim instead of a tourist. Peter Lamborn Wilson, describes the difference between tourism and the art of travel as this:
Something of the real difference between pilgrim and tourist can be detected by comparing their effects on the places they visit. Changes in a place–a city, a shrine, a forest–may be subtle, but at least they can be observed. The state of the soul may be a matter of conjecture, but perhaps we can say something about the state of the social.
Pilgrimage sites like Mecca may serve as great bazaars for trade and they may even serve as centers of production (like the silk industry of Benares)–but their primary “product” is baraka or mana. These words (one Arabic, one Polynesian) are usually translated as “blessing,” but they also carry a freight of other meanings.
The wandering dervish who sleeps at a shrine in order to dream of a dead saint . . . seeks initiation or advancement on the spiritual path; a mother who brings a sick child to Lourdes seeks healing; a childless woman in Morocco hopes the Marabout will maker her fertile if she ties a rag to the old tree growing out of the grave; the traveler to Mecca yearns for the very center of the Faith as the caravans come within site of the Holy City the hajj (pilrgim) cries out “Labaika Allahumma!“– “I am here, O my Lord!”
All of these motives are summed up by the word baraka, which sometimes seems to be a palpable substance. . . The shrine produces baraka. And the pilgrim takes it away. But blessing is the product of the Imagination–and thus no matter how many pilgrims take it away, there’s always more.
In fact, the more they take, the more blessing the shrine can produce (because a popular shrine grows with every answered prayer). To say that baraka is “imaginal” is not to call it “unreal”. It’s real enough to those who feel it. But spiritual goods do not follow the rules of supply and demand like material goods. The more demand for spiritual goods, the more supply. The production of baraka is infinite.
By contrast, the tourist desires not baraka but cultural difference. The tourist consumes difference. But the production of cultural difference is not infinite. It is not “merely” imaginal. It is rooted in languages, landscape, architecture, custom, taste, smell. It is very physical. The more it is used up or taken away, the less remains. The social can produce just so much “meaning,” so much difference. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The modest goal of these words is to address the individual traveler who has decided to resist tourism. Even though we may find it impossible in the end to “purify” ourselves and our travel from every last taint and trace of tourism, we still feel that improvement is possible.
Not only do we disdain tourism for its vulgarity and its injustice, and therefore wish to avoid any contamination . . . by its viral virulency–we also wish to understand travel as an act of reciprocity rather than alienation. In other words, we don’t wish merely to avoid the negatives of tourism, but even more to achieve positive travel, which we envision as a productive and mutually enhancing relation between self and other, guest and host–a form of cross-cultural synergy in which the whole exceeds the sum of parts. . .
We suspect that even though travel in the modern world seems to have been taken over by the Commodity–even though tourism seems to have truimphed–even so– we continue to suspect that other pathways persist, other tracks, unofficial, not noted on the map, perhaps even “secret”. . . smugglers’ routes for free spririts, known only to the geomantic guerrillas of the art of travel.
As a matter of fact, we don’t just suspect it. We know it. We know there exists an art of travel.”
Peter Lamborn Wilson, “Caravan of Summer” from Common Era: Best New Writings on Religion (White Cloud Press, 1995).
About our Moroccan photographs
In 2006 photographer Rory Finney was a member of our World Sacred Music Festival tour. Through his camera, Rory captured the heart and soul of Morocco and we are grateful for his permission to use his photographs on our web site. Most of the images of Morocco are from Rory and all photographs are copyrighted © 2008 by Imagine Adventures.