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As the proverbial notion of a ‘bucket list’ gains momentum, the concept of experiential travel is in danger of being tainted by egotism and ostentation. In direct response, we’re stripping back the superfluous and going back to basics: PURE’s 6th Edition will celebrate ‘Real People, Unreal Experiences’.

‘Real People’ are open-minded and unpretentious; they have a thirst for knowledge, a strong moral conscience and a desire to explore. Real People reject mundane and stuffy traditional constructs of luxury in favour of meaningful, life-enriching experiences.

Whether it’s something as epic as witnessing the curvature of the earth from Space, or as simple as spending time connecting with family, ‘Unreal Experiences’ are those poignant, pivotal and deeply personal moments that shape who we are and who we could become. Unreal experiences speak of a deeper understanding and previously undiscovered possibilities.

For the PURE Conference 2014 we welcome two speakers who approach our theme from different angles: Pico Iyer takes a philosophical standpoint, exploring the relationship between the individual and travel; while David de Rothschild analyses the link between adventure and motivation, discussing how this can be harnessed and utilised for the good of the planet. With all the ingredients accounted for, we expect it to be nothing short of transformational.

The PURE Conference 2014 will take place at 4pm on Monday 10 November at the Palais des Congrès and is open to all registered PURE delegates.


Conference 2014


Born to a philosopher and political theorist father and a religious scholar mother, deep thinking is in Pico Iyer’s genes. Although hailing originally from India, his parents moved first to Oxford (where Pico was born) and then to California in pursuit of his father’s career; Pico thus spent his adolescence hopping back and forth across the pond, working his way from one scholarship to another at Eton, Oxford University and Harvard.

After graduating and beginning his career teaching writing and literature at Harvard, Iyer took his pen in hand (as Walt Whitman would say) and made the jump into journalism. Today, he is one of the most revered and respected travel writers in the world, with a catalogue of contributions to global publications that would make any well-respected journalist weep, along with the agglomeration of non-fiction travel works, travel novels and well over 40 introductions that make up his impressive portfolio. As a public speaker, Iyer has made appearances everywhere from Ivy League universities to the world-renowned TED stage, and is one of the few people in history to have conducted an on-stage interview with a Dalai Lama (the fourteenth, to be exact).

Read our interview with Pico here.

Conference 2014


With a name like Rothschild, you could be forgiven for mistaking David for a financial mogul, but the youngest member of the clan has bucked the family trend and turned his hand to an altogether alternative career. Once a junior Olympian horse jumper and music merchandiser, he has now made his name as an enterprising eco-adventurer and environmental strategist – combining his savvy business sense and enthusiasm for adrenaline fuelled excursions to increase awareness of environmental issues and raise funds for deserving eco-projects.

Perhaps his most well-know endeavours have been his 100-day Arctic crossing – which saw him become the youngest Briton ever to reach both geographical poles (he previously traversed the continent of Antarctica, one of only 14 people ever to have done so) – and his 8,000 nautical mile Pacific voyage aboard Plastiki, a pioneering sustainable catamaran made from reclaimed plastic bottles. With his adventurous nature, challenger spirit and dedication to making a difference, Rothschild is a perfect example of the way experiences shape lives – and the ideal second speaker for the PURE Conference 2014: Real People, Unreal Experiences.

Read our interview with David here.

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