Travel In a Creative Community and Live Like The Wind
So many of us suffer comparison or ‘faking it’ - making art/businesses/lives that we think people approve it and ignoring what truly makes us come alive. - Clé Hunnigan
I had a chat with the founder of The Wind Collective, Clé Hunnigan. The Wind Collective is a traveling community and a creative agency. It's a community expressing freedom through travel and creativity. What I love most about this community is what they stand for and how they travel not to escape but to truly discover how to be better, do more and embrace this beautiful place that we call Earth.
They host monthly group travel experiences for the constantly curious, the daringly brave, who have a sense of wonder about the world and know life is too short not to explore it. Every trip is crafted alongside local partners in their destinations in collaboration with a creative team to provide you with an immersive experience from the moment you land to the moment you leave. Bali, Sri Lanka, Cuba and Mexico is just one of the many places they’ll take you.
So Clé, where did your passion for traveling start?
My parents talk about the fact that I’ve been travelling with them since I was in the womb. I grew up travelling with family - and hardly ever the obvious way. Whether it was hiking secret waterfalls with my dad to exploring bustling Caribbean markets with my mom, getting off the beaten track is a part of my family culture. I guess this is the reason I seek lesser known travel adventures - from hitchhiking across Europe (which nearly killed my mom with fear), to free diving underwater caves, to trekking volcanoes.
Could you tell us how all of this started. Where did you get your ideas from, and how did “The Windcollective” go from being just a dream to reality?
In 2012, when I was 21 years old, I had a really bad patch. I had dropped out of law school, was severely depressed and unsure about what I wanted to do with my life. My dad, knowing I needed balance encouraged me to escape the ordinary and go travel. I used Skyscanner’s London to everywhere option and the cheapest ticket I found outside of Europe was to Tel Aviv. I went for 10 days and travelled around the Middle East including Jordan and Egypt for 6 months!
A few years later, I found myself in a similar place - worried about my purpose. I was even more scared of a new dream I had - to build a travel community and a content creation agency that told those stories of wonder and travel. I shrunk away from it for a long time but when I finally took the leap and decided to brand a community as the Wind Collective - it was as if everything aligned. It reminds me of a quote in my favourite book - The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, thats says
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
How did your friends and family react to this idea that may seem “crazy” and “irresponsible”?
Some of my friends and family couldn’t believe my new venture. One of my best friends told me that there was no way I could find long lasting purpose in this and encouraged me to do something more fulfilling. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to him.
My family have been generally quite supportive. It was hard for my mom at first - she was nervous because like most parents she doesn’t want her children living day to day without building something sustainable and in the end suffering. Now she believes its possible! My dad loved the idea from the beginning and is always asking when he can join the company.
What’s your vision for The Windcollective?
I remember how travel was the medium that helped me heal - being out of comfort zone, exploring the world, seeing barriers and ideologies break, learning to love and live with people that couldnt give me anything in return. I hope everyone can experience true freedom.
I believe in the power of creativity. In my years of searching and travelling, writing, photography and filmmaking helped me heal. I believe we were all born to create beautiful futures and make the world a better place in whatever way possible. I want to be a part of creating a space where people embrace their creativity more and aren’t afraid to engage with those parts of being human.
On a more practical note, we’re just getting started. What we imagine is a world renown creative agency that activates content through authentic millennial experiences.
What to you dream about seeing more of in this industry and your personal life?
I dream of authenticity and childlikeness in how we explore and how we create. I remember a time - long ago - that I wasn’t afraid to create and where I didn’t create to please people but instead as an expression.
So many of us suffer comparison or ‘faking it’ - making art/businesses/lives that we think people approve it and ignoring what truly makes us come alive.
That’s it - I dream of a time when we’ll all know what makes us come alive and build that diligently and authentically. When its not about competition but collaboration and bringing out the best in each other. That’s what I hope for those that work/travel with the Wind Collective. That’s the community that I imagine and that’s attractive.
Do you have any travel tips for all of us? Everything from traveling expenses, where to go and how to use our money right?
My best tip is to ‘just go’ - and it doesn’t need to be half way across the world, on a six month trip, running out of money, abandoning responsibilities etc (I speak from experience). Start where you can even if that means exploring the beauty of your own backyard - and if you can ‘just go’ - I’d advise not thinking about it and jumping on to Skyscanner’s “To everywhere” option where you can book yourself the cheapest flight out.
If you’re new to the travel space, I’d suggest travelling with a group. It can really help to explore a new country with a group of people in a likeminded community.
Another travel tip is to get off the beaten track and interact with locals as often as possible. That’s surely where you’ll encounter the most original stories, have the most authentic adventure and make the best memories.
You talk a lot about being free like the wind, what do you mean by that?
When I started travelling, I had my own spiritual journey that led me to Jesus. One of the scriptures from the Bible that inspired me said
“The Spirit-wind blows as it chooses. You can hear its sound, but you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going. So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born and who have truly come alive”
I was inspired by that idea of coming alive, of being free, of loving well whilst exploring the world. Then it hit me, it’s one thing to do that alone but we’re at best when we are with others, encouraging each other and reminding each other of who we can be - those who can truly be free - like the wind.
I know that during all of your trips you host Give Back Sessions. Could you tell us more about this?
On every trip we host a Give Back Session with a local initiative. It is in line with one of our missions which is to be the travelling community impacting local communities. When we visit a place, we gain so much from it in terms of experiencing the culture. The people are a part of that culture. The Give Back Session allows us to give back to those people in time and resources and allows to remember that travel is really all about experiencing the people who make a place.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5 years is not that long but I’ll probably be doing exactly this but 10x more. I’d like to go into defining the model of what a travelling creative agency could look like with co-working/co-living spaces.
I’d imagine that the Wind Collective would be a ‘go-to’ experience company that curates multiple monthly trips for millennials to get inspired and explore their world.
Top of my personal list is to direct a film produced by the Wind Collective and also to start a Wind Collective academy where we can give grants and training to aspiring content creators from all over the world, especially in countries where its not encouraged to go into the creative arts. We want to show that its possible with talent and determination to make a career out of this lifestyle.
The Wind Collective vision is to be a creative and travelling community that is at the forefront of inspiring people to explore the world as a community. Travel and creativity were tools that saved my life when it felt I had no purpose and I truly believe that these same tools with the added element of like minded community can trigger people to live wild and free - like the wind.
Book your next trip with The Wind Collective here.