Crystal Blue Savante is a cultural anthropologist, writer, and adventurer. Originally from Wilmington, North Carolina, Crystal left the USA in 2012 to pursue her dreams of adventure, freedom, and inspiration. Since leaving, she has lived in Mexico and the Marshall Islands. After writing several popular global articles while receiving lifestyle attention as the traveling Enlightened Globetrekker, Crystal started this eco-conscious travel company. Now, after completing three world tours for the company, Crystal has gotten back to her roots of simple life and is currently living in a coconut hut in the raw adventure capital of the world, Africa. Here she runs the operations base camp for Enlightened Globetrekker Adventures. In Africa, Crystal immerses herself in local culture daily, engages in humanitarian work in a small village, and is world-schooling mommy to River, age 10. Crystal continues to travel the world hosting adventure retreats in an effort to share the beauty of humanity, peace of mind, and the vastness of this incredible earth with guests. Her eco-retreats include yoga, meditation, adventure, and humanitarian projects while incorporating environmental respect, beautiful places, and sacred spaces. They are an opportunity for soul re-balancing, de-stressing, inspiration, perspective shifts, fitness, spirituality, and to experience cultural equality.
How do the experiences you offer at Enlightened Globetrekker Adventures give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of the areas where you travel?
Cultural immersion and getting to know a culture at a deep level are core principles of all of our eco-tours. Instead of just visiting a country and examining the people and the culture, we give our guests the opportunity to actually immerse themselves in the culture and to connect with the people on a personal level. The activities to foster this differ a lot from country to country, but we always make sure to include these elements in our tours. In Nepal, we visit a local school and get to know the kids and the teachers, in Guatemala we spend a day with women and help them color garments, in Mexico we help to cook lunch for students of a local school, in Africa we live with a drum village and support their local village projects.
Embedded is the first hand knowledge that our – often local – guides have about the cultures and countries we visit, this makes for a unique experience everywhere we visit. Especially for the children who travel with us, this is a great way to learn early on that respect and love are the things that connect us and that we all have much more in common than we do differences.
How do the experiences that you offer align with your personal philosophy and background?
I am an anthropologist and have lived and worked with Tibetan refugees in India for a long time. What I learned there is that to get to know a culture and to truly understand it, you need to approach it with a lot of respect and love and be open to experience it firsthand instead of just looking at it from the outside. With the tours we offer at Enlightened Globetrekker Adventures I want to open this door for more people to share the love and happiness that this brought to the lives of me and my daughter. Too many people never have the opportunity to really get to know other cultures and countries, and self, and thus miss out on so many great experiences. We want to share awareness, and the love.
What is one detail of Enlightened Globetrekker Adventures that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
For me, one of the most important things happening on an Enlightened Globetrekker Adventures Retreat is not only what actually happens while the people are there, but what happens after. In our daily yoga and meditation sessions, we focus a great deal, on the wellbeing of the mind. I don’t want people to only spend a great time while on vacation, but to take those experiences and apply them to their daily lives back home, in order to see the beauty there also, and to be more present and happy always, no matter where they are.
Many guests do not notice until a couple of weeks later, that they changed their attitude towards life after our trip. It’s nothing that we directly influence, but experiencing other cultures, learning about oneself in meditation, and feeling gratitude and love for simple things again, can make a big change in daily perceptions and in experiencing life.
What is one unexpected piece of clothing or equipment guests should have to maximize the enjoyment of the experiences you offer.
Well, maybe not really unexpected, but I would say the Yoga mat. Daily yoga and meditation are an important component to our retreats, and I always urge everybody to take part in them, even if the guests don´t have prior experience. Whenever possible we have the sessions outside in a beautiful garden or Himalayan valley field with a view, or on a monastery rooftop under the stars – really a very special experience. The candlelight meditation in the evening is the perfect ending for a day filled with adventures – time to put the mind at ease and calm down to be completely balanced, at peace, and ready for something new the next morning. Our guests also have the opportunity to learn a lot about themselves and to learn techniques that will help them cope better with their – sometimes stressful – life at home. All of this good stuff happens on our mat, our sacred rectangular space in the world, free from physical and spiritual dirt. Those who do not have a mat are more uncomfortable in the elements, and lack their sacred tangible space. Because of this, I make yoga mats mandatory on my trips.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
Our trips are not only a journey to a specific place, but also a journey into oneself. Be open and aware to make the most of your time with us. Use this time to recharge your batteries and refill your heart and mind with new and incredible images and experiences – while at the same time learning to take care of yourself and preserve your energy. The retreats we offer are not normal trips that focus only on physical sites. To really take in the full package, you need to be willing to open yourself and go on the journey within as well. Also, to get out of your comfort zone and engage with the natives you encounter on our trip. The level to which each individual experiences this is up to how far each allows themselves to engage, embrace, and love.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
I love the fact that more and more families are travelling – often longterm – with their kids to places that were not necessarily considered family destinations a couple of years ago. I have been travelling with my daughter River for the last five years now, and I cannot emphasize enough the benefits this has had, and continues to have, on her. She is growing up to be a true global citizen, knowing and experiencing different cultures, understanding the planet and all people, and having friends from all over the world. She has already developed such a deep sense of respect for others and is growing up to be a strong woman herself – I couldn’t be prouder. And I just love that more and more families are also deciding to show their children this: that there is a whole world out there that can be explored and adventured, that there is another way to be raised, that this world is big and so beautiful, and that all people are equal and interesting, and that there is love in so many places of the world.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel experience?
Be absolutely open and in the moment. Only then you are going to be able to really experience travel on a deep and meaningful level. Forget about your phone, your emails, leave your camera at the hotel room sometimes and just live and enjoy the moment! The best experiences happen, when you just let go of everything and let the universe take over.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
My business is something that developed from my desire to share our beautiful world, and way of life, with others. It completely comes from my heart, ant I think that is what helps it grow as well. People that travel with us know that our hearts are honest and that we are there to serve, and open up a new way of thinking to people, and that River and I love the countries we visit with all our heart and just want to share our joy in that, as well as our love for humanity. I think that is our secret.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Even when times get stressful, I take time to focus on and center myself. Yoga is something that really helps me with that. Taking those 30 minutes every morning to calm down, find my middle and then start fresh with focus and determination is something that helps me to navigate the sometimes demanding daily life as the owner of a travel company.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided for them.
Many of our guests have emotional reactions to the experiences we offer on our trips. We make sure that the guests get the chance to connect with locals and that makes for many moving encounters. Sometimes people have a very special connection to a place and have waited for a long time to finally visit. When we watched the sunrise over the Himalayan mountains in Nepal, there were more than a couple of eyes that got watery. Because meditation and yoga play such an important role on our trips, many people also rediscover their connection with themselves on the trip .We are in the business of making dreams come true, whether it be exploring a place someone has waited forever to get to and finally makes it, or if it is the inspiration factor of showing them that, like ours did, their dreams can also come true, so to not abandon their dreams, or identity, or balance, or self-worth. Do not forget about nature, do not get caught up in stressors that don’t serve you, and material items that fill a void of one kind, but not the voids that need filling. Just these reminders to reprogram their lives and get back to simple happiness, that we all seem to forget along the way. This enlightenment, so to speak, is very emotional. And we know we are doing our job, when we see guests cry. Sometimes it is even just when it is time to leave their new global friends that they have bonded with so much on the trip. Or sometimes because a places is just so amazingly beautiful. Whatever it is, tears come for a reason, and we welcome them. Our trips offer a sacred space for tears of all kinds.
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