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'Transformative travel' is the industry's latest twist on making vacations more meaningful

As the senior director of strategy and impact for the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Christina Beckmann was well aware of the growing demand for ever-deeper travel experiences - what some in the industry call transformational or transformative travel.

After all, she had experienced it herself - not once, but twice.

"I had my first transformation on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon," Beckmann said. "I quit my job, and here I am today."

Her second occurred this spring, when Beckmann, who lives in San Francisco, joined an Antarctic expedition for industry leaders."I've been talking about climate for a while, but after being in Antarctica,...