By Ella Chase Hyland and Michelle Langdon
The Importance of Intentional Travel to Create “Wellthy” Experiences
“The wealthiest place in the world is not the gold mines of South America or the oil fields of Iraq or Iran. They are not the diamond mines of South Africa or the banks of the world. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. There lie buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, bestselling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.” —Dr. Myles Munroe
Wealth. The perceived pinnacle of success. But for those have been on the receiving end of financial abundance (regardless of earned or inherited), know that this is far from true. In fact, in many cases, it muddies the waters of a “successful” life, as the lines have been blurred by which to measure satisfaction. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder and discovering that you’re on the wrong wall.” We believe that financial gain alone is the wrong wall.
We started Wellth Works and redefined the term wealth for ourselves after having climbed the ladder on the wrong wall. We are both asset recipients, Ella from a longstanding multi-generational family and Michelle from a family liquidity event in her lifetime. We each received a level of financial benefit from family situations and leveraged it independently, creating successful lives as historically defined by money, career, and title. And yet, we both still felt dissatisfied, looking around at the top and wondering what was missing.
Exposed to a variety of life’s challenge including marriage, divorce, and lost loved ones, we each came to realize that we are guaranteed only a small amount of time in this life and a lot of choices. After meeting in a smoky cafe in Bolivia on a year-long Intentional Travel adventure in 2016, we each set out to define a new way and make intentionally aligned choices. It was during this 30-country voyage that we began to explore a new definition for a fulfilled, abundant life. We created and launched our company Wellth Works based on the premise that money is only one ingredient to an abundant life. Wellth Works offers people (families, individuals, and specifically the rising generations) a new framework for meaningful, successful living.
Wellth = Financial + Health/Wellbeing + Significance + Contribution
As is the culturally accepted norm, financial wealth is fairly straightforward. While there are many benefits, money can also be correlated with increased loneliness and higher rates of anxiety and depression. Wellth Works’ goal in working with clients is to help them see that financial success is important and not the only endgame.
Health includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. These are often taken for granted until there is a problem and financial abundance is not a guarantee to solve them. We support families and individuals to take a more holistic look at health, providing tools and conversations that help people access a foundation of sound physical, mental, and emotional health. As longtime yoga practitioners and meditators, we enjoy weaving concepts we’ve learned from around the world to broaden out the definition of health and well-being with our client collaborations.
How do you derive your place in this world? What are your values, ethics, morals? The need for individual significance is inherently universal, and yet little time and energy is spent considering this component. For some, it may show up in generative ways, such as pride in parenting and taking on leadership roles in areas that they value.
How are you paying forward and not just giving back? Wellth Works defines contribution broader than philanthropy. How do you give of your time, talent, and treasure? What in your life can you do or give that makes a direct positive impact on another? Contribution doesn’t have to be on a global scale and provides meaning and purpose not just for the person engaging in the activity but also for the intended recipient.
Wellth and Travel
One way to activate this framework is through travel. Wellth Works leverages Intentional Travel, primarily with the rising female family leader. A study by Harris Group found that, “72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things.” We have traveled to 90+ countries and know intimately the positive effects of travel on creativity, empathy, and interpersonal relationships. And science backs this up: “We found that when people had experiences traveling to other countries it increased what’s called generalized trust, or their general faith in humanity,” Professor Adam Galinsky of Columbia Business School states, “When we engage in other cultures, we start to have experience with different people and recognize that most people treat you in similar ways. That produces an increase in trust.”
Intentional Travel is creating an experience wherein families travel with a purpose — they set out with a clear intention to create new memories, build family bonds, or experience and learn something about their heritage or an issue important to them. And infused with these experiences is play, fun, exploration, and bonding in a way that advances alignment for the family system.
This is not your all-inclusive resort holiday. We’re not talking about your typical week in Aspen or on Bora Bora, but an experience here or abroad that is immersive, new and purposeful, about experiencing and creating a new conversation.
We help families use their typical and traditional vacation time and use it more intentionally. For one family, this looked like planning a trip to the Galapagos because they valued conservation, reversing climate change, and actively looking to better understand our impact on the Earth. For another family, this meant planning a trip for the children to return to the source of the wealth creation in the mining communities of West Virginia to really understand and gain some appreciation for how their grandparents and parents lived a different life.
For us, Intentional Travel can also be close to home and can take place in just a day or an afternoon. A trip to the science museum, the art gallery in the neighborhood, or the park nearby where people gather to play sports. The goal is to create experiences that build shared memories, increase connection, sprinkling in fun and play in a way that supports family bonding and cohesion.
And while the wealthiest place on earth is not one specific location, as Dr. Myles Munroe reminds us, we can certainly utilize Intentional Travel as an avenue to see the world and help us fulfill our potential in a life “Wellth” lived.
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Michelle Langdon and Ella Chase Hyland established Wellth Works in 2016, after a year of intensive global research and development aimed at bringing global tools and resources to multi-generational families of influence. The Wellth Works team has deep, personal experience in multi-generational wealth, providing a unique vantage point to address challenges across the spectrum. Michelle is a G2 asset recipient and experienced the dynamics of building, growing, and ultimately selling a family business, as well as the consequences of such a decision. Ella is a G6 asset recipient from a hundred-plus-year family and has seen the burdens and blessing of complex, multi-generational preparation and transfer. The team has a collective 25 years of experience in behavioral economics, diplomacy, international conflict resolution, negotiation, and closing multimillion-dollar deals with both Fortune 500 executives and billion-dollar privately held companies. Both founders deeply believe in experience through travel as a great equalizer and game changer for personal and professional enhancement. Collectively Ella and Michelle have traveled to over 90 countries enjoy sharing their insights and lessons learned to families and family offices of all sizes. Find out more at www.wellth-works.com, call 202.780.9107, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.