“For me, Gaia is about walking the talk, joining the dots between the beautiful venues and activities that operators have developed worldwide and the people who would enjoy and benefit from those experiences. At the same time, we wish to contribute towards making travel a more conscious industry worldwide” – Joanna Tomkins, Founder of Gaia Conscious Travel
Gaia Conscious Travel is an international online travel agency geared at the ever-increasing community of mindful travelers. Founded in 2016 by Joanna Tompkins, Gaia Conscious Travel offers a unique selection of travel experiences that enhances the traveler’s sense of connection with the social or natural environment visited and with themselves. Each travel experience is classified and searchable in categories and also placed under three main collections: People, Nature and Life.
I had the opportunity to interview Gaia’s founder, Joanna, to learn more about the mission behind Gaia Conscious Travel. Here is what she has to say.
Me: Tell me more about your background. You were born in the UK, moved to France and travel has always been a huge part of your life. What has traveling the world taught you?
Joanna: Besides the UK and France, I also lived for 15 years in Spain. Now I have been living in South Africa for 8 years. Life traveling versus holiday traveling has made me flexible, especially as I have travelled from North to South. It has taught me that there is not one way to do things. The industrialised world’s thought patterns have told us that maximization is intelligent, that profitability is the only way, but more ancient cultures are wiser as they have a quintessential and emotional intelligence that allows Gaia to thrive and all beings to be at their fullest. That I have learned from moving South.
On a personal level, at times one can live in the present moment, absorbing past experiences, quietly watch things unfold. On the other hand, when the vibration is high and the life cycle is right, we can dream high and manifest energetically to make things evolve positively for the beautiful planet that we live on. We have the freedom of choice, the responsibility to live that dance.
Me: When did you start Gaia Conscious Travel and what was the inspiration behind it?
Joanna: I could see that there is a gap between what people talk about and their deepest concerns, around their spirituality, their health, their feeling of belonging, etc, on the one hand, and the travel options available. I believe that we can travel taking those life goals with us, gaining more consciousness as we travel and having a more positive impact on the places we visit.
Me: What does the name Gaia mean?
Joanna: In Greek mythology Gaia was the mother goddess who presided over the earth. More recently, the Gaia hypothesis, developed by scientists in the 1970s also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that “organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. Basically, all is connected.
Me: What differentiates you from other travel organizations? (i.e. Describe your focus on conscious travel and your conscious travel principles).