From the hypnotic Whirling Dervish to Holi, where India welcomes Spring, and the art of Burning Man, colorful festivals can be where we literally move together, learning about each other's culture through ritualized dance and other play. That's where Joie de Vivre Hotels founder, Emotional Equations author and avid world traveler, Chip Conley, is placing his next bet anyway. "The more virtual we get, the more ritual we need," suggests Chip Conley.
New Movement to Melt Boundaries Between People Around the World
In fact Conley is dedicating the next decade of his life to creating a community where we participate in at least one festival a year, and share our experiences. Pledge: "I want to become more culturally curious and will attend at least one festival this year."
His Fest300 launches on July 10th, and he's recruited kindred spirits who share his belief in "profound travel." Art Gimbel, his editor-at-large, for example, "stumbled upon a mountain village celebration in Guatemala near Lake Atitlan that changed his life", writes Conley. The magic happened when Gimbel was moved from observing locals to joining in their dancing. He feels that, "these festivals are living museums of cultural history." While, at age 52, Conley has already visited 55 countries, Gimbel, now 36, has been to more than 72. Already, in planning for Fest300, Conley became AFAR magazine's festival correspondent.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." ~ Augustine of Hippo
Where Will You Go Play?
When Fest300 launches you can peruse a growing registry of festival descriptions, and fill short profile to be matched to the festivals that may most match your interests. Membership is free. Each week, new festivals will be added, until 270 have been covered, then Fest300 will crowdsource the last 30, inviting members to submit their favorites for consideration.
Conley hopes to generate for others, what sociologist Emile Durkheim called "collective effervescence": "the positive experience of losing oneself in a group ecstatic moment." From food to outdoor adventure and medical procedures, traveling to pursue a special interest has been an increasingly popular way to move past the observer role of "just" taking tours by bus or ship and to actually get connected with a culture in a more personal, fun and meaningful way.
I'm sure that those who flock to the Sturgis Road Rally in South Dakota are somewhat different than the 100 million who gather for China's Harbin Ice & Snow Festival, yet you will probably find kindred spirit as you participate. I, for one, would like to see one of the 10 Ligers that remain in the world. They are a cross between a lion and a tiger.
Adventurers like Matt Harding and Chris Guillebeau have popularized the notion of travel for the pure joy of exploration and adventure. Conley wants us to have the opportunity to share adventures with those we meet at festivals. Perhaps you will discover a new interest or, like Matt, share one of yours, with others, in a place very different than where you live.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." ~ Mark Twain