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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 inauthenticity. So for the PURE Conference 2014 we stripped back the superficial and revisited the fundamentals of transformational travel: Real People, Unreal Experiences.

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

Unreal Experiences are those poignant, pivotal moments that shape who we are and who we could become. An Unreal Experience could be in the form of physical exertion or mental relaxation, a personal connection or a moment of solitude, a cultural education or an appreciation of beauty. It could be something as epic as witnessing the curvature of the earth from Space, or as simple as spending quality time with family.

When Real People have Unreal Experiences, they are transformed – this is the basic formula for experiential travel. Our PUREists are the link between Real People and Unreal Experiences. Catalysing transformation is their life's mission.

For the PURE Conference 2014 we welcomed two speakers who approached our theme from diverse angles – watch their full talks below.



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, 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.

Today, he is one of the most revered and respected travel writers in the world, with an impressive portfolio of contributions to global publications, non-fiction travel works and travel novels. 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).

While currently based in Japan, Iyer professes, "I am not rooted in a place, I think, so much as in certain values and affiliations and friendships that I carry everywhere I go". Who better to begin exploring the relationship between the individual and travel – and to help us answer that crucial question: what makes travel transformational?

Read our interview with Pico here.


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 forged his own path as an enterprising eco-adventurer and environmental storyteller – combining his savvy business sense and enthusiasm for adrenaline fuelled excursions to increase awareness of environmental issues and raise funds for deserving eco-projects.

His philanthropic portfolio includes Adventure Ecology – a network that uses adventure to help inspire people to live more sustainably – and Sculpt the Future Foundation – which awards grants to support sustainable action. But perhaps his most well-know endeavours have been his Arctic and Antarctic crossings – which saw him become the youngest Briton ever to reach both geographical poles – 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 proved to be the ideal speaker to address the way experiences can shape lives and even the environment for the better.

Read our interview with David here.

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