People Places Gastronomy

Meaningful impact through travel experiences

Interview - Meredith Stark
Images - SanBrite & Indagare


As society becomes increasingly conscious of the detrimental effects that travel can have on the environment and local communities, it is becoming more important to consider ways to make a positive impression through our journeys. In this article, Meredith Stark, Director Brand & Marketing at Oostwegel Collection, interviews two leaders in the field of regenerative travel experiences, Indagare Travel and SanBrite. She asks them about their motivation, impact and future plans. 


Indagare, founded by Melissa Biggs Bradley, is a membership-based luxury travel agency and media company that combines curated content with high-touch service. Think of them as that insatiably curious friend who loves to share the best-of-the-moment travel intel, while leveraging a global network.


What does conscious travel mean to you?

As someone who has had the privilege of working as a travel “professional”, for nearly 30 years, both as a journalist and as an experienced curator, I have witnessed massive changes. Some of these, like greater accessibility to travel, are welcome, but many, like the environmental impacts of over tourism and the degradation of natural habitats, are seriously worrisome. Conscious travel is being aware of the impact of your actions and then taking steps to ensure that your travel has a neutral or, better yet, positive effect, not only on the environment but also on the communities and cultural heritage of the places you visit.

How do you inspire members to make better or more sustainable travel decisions?

All of our small group journeys incorporate elements of impact. For instance, all of them are carbon neutral, but they also include preservation and community empowerment initiatives. On our Antarctica and Galapagos trips, contributions to scientific research are included, as are interactions with leading environmental scientists. Our magazine and newsletter feature articles with valuable tips on how you can travel in a more responsible manner. We encourage readers to make eco-friendly choices like taking a train instead of a short flight, opting for extended stays in destinations and supporting local businesses, family-run restaurants, crafts stores, and eco-sustainable hotels. 

How do you foster a meaningful travel experience for your members and travellers?

I believe that one can be shaped by their journeys, especially if they have the opportunity to make connections with locals who give access to their unique culture and heritage. By making global alliances we see how our lives and traditions differ, but also how much we human beings have in common. Travel is a great demonstrator of the adage: ‘we are more alike than we are different’. For this reason, our journeys emphasise interactions, whether that is taking a surfing class in Costa Rica, meeting a gorilla researcher in Rwanda or spending the afternoon with an art collector or master restorer in Antwerp.


"We encourage readers to make eco-friendly choices like taking a train instead of a short flight, opting for extended stays in destinations and supporting local businesses, family-run restaurants, crafts stores, and eco-sustainable hotels."
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Jacques Tillmanns-Foto Focus-37.jpg

SanBrite is an agricucina situated in the heart of the Ampezzo Dolomites. Founded by husband and wife, Ludovica Rubbini (General Manager) and Riccardo Gaspari (Chef), the establishment is home to two restaurants, El Brite de Larieto and the Michelin-starred, SanBrite, alongside Piccolo Brite dairy farm and the unique pop-up dining experience, Brite Mobile. Originally farmland, the estate still raises cows and pigs that produce ingredients for dishes served in their restaurants, allowing guests to experience local flavours and homely aromas through traditional cuisine. 

From regenerative gastronomy to human conversations, their mission is to use their unique location to bring more people into the discussion about sustainability. This is one of many reasons both restaurants have been awarded the Michelin Green Star, a highly regarded recognition for their sustainable practices and the many investments they have made over the years. In addition to this incredible offering, in 2021 they launched Genesis, a four-day event concept designed to connect guests with nature, through deep exploration of the exceptional local environment. Extending this idea, Casa Genesis holds smaller events throughout the year, each in celebration of either fire, water, earth or air. 


What does conscious travel mean to you?
Conscious travel is one of those concepts that is becoming increasingly popular and its pervasiveness leads to some very disparate meanings. For us, conscious tourism goes hand in hand with sustainable tourism. Travel must become an experience, first and foremost, of knowledge and growth through direct contact with the culture and traditions of the place hosting the experience, without ever forgetting such basic concepts as respect for and protection of the environment. 

How do you foster a purpose-driven, meaningful experience for everyone included?
The right communication and the right words are the main tools that allow us to raise
awareness with our partners. It is important to be able to find the common points that allow us to make this network very solid, cohesive and based on shared values. Every person who joins the event (be it a guest, a chef or sponsor) becomes part of this big family, made up of conversations and an exchange of ideas and opinions.

What are your future goals or aspirations in furthering sustainable practices in your culinary endeavours?
The future is a realm of limitless possibilities, waiting to be explored. Our narrative is composed of new chapters, each one representing projects that are grounded in reality but aimed at exceeding expectations. Our founders hold a deep desire to give back to their community and to those who visit our restaurants. Every day, we strive to promote our cuisine's history and sacrifice. Our most profound commitment is to advocate the concept of Regenerative Cuisine, with the hope that it will no longer be considered the practice of a few, but the habit of many.