AFTER OUR FIVE-YEAR GLORIOUS JOURNEY came to a screeching halt in 2020, we figured it was time to turn inside.
We've helped scores Discover and Feel the Azores, a driving vision for the MINUVIDA AZORES operation of lodging, outdoors experiences and retreats since 2015. But all along we wondered if that was all we were doing or could do. We started noticing that what people really need, now more than ever, is to turn inside, awaken their consciousness. Elevate.
So, after many in-confinement stream of consciousness sessions, we ultimately settled on a new vision (the why) and tweaked ourmission (the what and how). We evolved our look and are set on changing travel. (We kind of had plenty of time to do all this...)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVOLUTION (ABRIDGED)
Welcome to our new symbol and logo. It not only signifies the volcanic peaks of São Miguel island at sunrise, along with their lakes, but it also shows that much more lies below the surface, inviting the journey inside. The shapes can either signify A for Azores, M for MINUVIDA or even MVA for MINUVIDA AZORES. Our website is also now more focused with a clear message, plus more interactive features. (Just navigate this site to learn what we're talking about.)
Travel can be much more than getting away from it all. It can also be about opening our minds to new worlds and new ways, taking the time to listen to our true selves, to turn inside.
We are therefore pleased to announce that our vision is now ELEVATE CONSCIOUSNESS.
To Elevate Consciousness through Travel, through Mindfulness, through the Journey Inside. We feel strongly that travel can be much more than getting away from it all. It can also be about opening our minds to new worlds and new ways, taking the time to listen to our true selves, to turn inside.
With that, we are still helping you Discover and Feel the Azores, but that is now part of the how, or our mission. The why is to Elevate Consciousness. You'll see that we are developing new, immersive themed experiences to connect you to all your senses through food, mindfulness and the wondrous nature of the Azores, probably the main reason bringing you here in the first place.
"The Azores has achieved EarthCheck Bronze Benchmark, with a goal of becoming a world-leading sustainable destination," the official announcement from EarthCheck reads. EarthCheck is the world’s leading scientific benchmarking certification and advisory group for travel and tourism, so this is a big deal.
MINUVIDA AZORES rejoices with the Azorean government and its "Green Team" for the great accomplishment. We are an official underwriter of the Azorean Sustainability Charter, the document that sets forth the types of initiatives that led to this award.
Awards and recognition are nice and all but the real proof is in what's happening on the ground. It's not just a shiny plaque or marketing speak.
At MINUNIDA AZORES we've made it our mission to promote responsible, sustainable travel. You're probably tired of hearing about how we serve only local and in-season products, encourage short showers, lights off, drinking from the faucet, etc., etc.
There's more to sustainability and responsible travel than a pretty picture of a wild beach.
But this stuff is important. Every single thingyou do has a potential impact.
We want comfort, we want choice, we want convenience, but are we aware of the impacts of our choices?
Back in our little corner we worry about mass tourism taking over. How can we remain authentic and pristine while making tourism a sustainable and viable economic engine?
For us, sustainility is our way, not a business model or marketing strategy. It's about being sustainble in all its facets, including supporting the local economy, paying fair wages, reusing and making things last longer (the traditional hospitality industry replaces every single appliance, piece of furniture, etc., on a schedule so everything always looks brand new). We encourage our visitors to engage in responsible, sustainable travel by providing immersive experiences with context, and yes, by telling them why that matters.
As hard as the Green Team is focusing on obtaining the Silver Certification in October let's focus harder on being truly responsible and sustainable travelers.
So, join us in our little revolution. Let travel be a journey of (self) discovery.
The word is out. The Azores are under pressure to ensure they remain a sustainable destination. This Condé Nast Traveler article titled "How the Azores Will Hold Off Crowds and Stay a Natural Wonder" tackles the subject. But the title wouldn't be complete without the addendum "We Hope".
Well, so do we.
We are not waiting around for sustainability to become a reality here. As the article points out, the volume of summer crowds are already disconcerting to some, including us. The government has capped the number of hotel beds on the islands to 20,000 (we're already passed halfway) – hence the mad rush in hotel building. Yet, they come. And nobody will turn them away. Who's going to "say no" to economic growth; a cash cow of potential orange golden era proportions? Let the past be our counsel.
MINUVIDA AZORES isn't primarily driven by the profit motive. We have a strong vision and are ever tweaking our mission to bring to the Azores the kind of person who wants to Discover and Feel the islands, not the "beach to cocktail" crowd the article mentions. While the crowds may be blessed with sunny weather and yes, a beach with beautiful sunsets and warm water when they descend on the islands courtesy of more direct flights from June to September, ultimately those are not the ideal visitors. They're part of a fad of sorts in the age of Instagram. We don't want the Azores to be a fad.
"Be more conscious, waste less, conserve more, reuse and make things last. Appreciate the beauty that is. Turn inside and turn off the exterior stimulus."
Who we really welcome (and hope to inspire) are conscious travelers. Traditional tourism tells us travel should be a fantasy. Travel should disconnect us from daily life, we should be pampered, indulged, do, do, do. Maybe we're doing it all wrong. How about if travel allowed you to connect more, to a place and to yourself? To be pampered by clean air, green hills and the deepest blue ocean? To indulge in healthy, local, in season culinary delights? What about if all you had to do was to turn off your devices, take fewer selfies, have shorter "must see, must do" agendas and and really be here?
Doesn't sound like your traditional vacation? It isn't.
And maybe you will return home with increased awareness, be more conscious, waste less, conserve more, reuse and make things last. Appreciate the beauty that is. Turn inside and turn off the exterior stimulus.
This is where we're heading. This is the type of travel we want to cultivate.