EVERY TIME I’VE TRAVELED ABROAD, I’ve learned something new about myself. That’s the essence of why I travel — I want to transform, I want to grow, and become a better person because of it. The only thing I’m sure of when I’m at home is that I’m comfortable. But when I’m allowed to go out of my element and see the world in a different way, I’m able to understand the transformative power of travel.

I was offered the chance to read Looptail well before I knew I’d be working with its author, the founder of GAdventures, Bruce Poon Tip. The book itself is partly autobiographical, partly a successful business guide, and partly a piece of literature that, once I had finished, had me scouring the internet for the next trip that would change my life.

Currently, I’m helping to facilitate a speaker series featuring Bruce for the New York Travel Festival. I’m super stoked to hear him speak about Looptail in person, because as I interviewed him over the phone, I felt immediately humbled. This is no stodgy Donald-Trump-of-a-businessman. He’s not an, “I’m all peace and love and hippie-dippie, but I only fly first class” kind of an eco-tourism leader.

Bruce is a man who has created one of the mot successful sustainable tourism ventures in the last decade — and yet, we talked as though we were old friends, comparing notes about our most recent travels.

As a writer, I often wonder what inspires other writers to create, especially those who set out to conquer the highest of literary honors — a book. Not just an eBook, either (which doesn’t hold any less esteem), but a hard-copy, hold-in-your-hands-and-smell-the-pages book. Bruce’s first publication became an overnight success and was prominently slated on the New York Times Best Sellers list for several weeks.

“I’m not a ‘writer,’” said Bruce. “It’s anti-me to be so ‘open.’ Over the course of the last five years, I’ve done a lot of public speaking…I consider myself a great storyteller, and I knew I had a story to tell. When I met Our Holiness in April of 2012, and saw his level of giving, it inspired me to get over my own privacy issues, and make an impact on people.”

Bruce approached the writing of the book from a 21st-century perspective: A large percentage of Looptail was created on his phone, using apps such as Evernote.

“I typed up my inspiration using one finger, on planes, trains, in the backseats of cars — I’m grateful for magical editors, who helped shape my thoughts and ideas. It’s not like I was writing a book about a school for wizards — it was my life that was pouring out of me.”

What I appreciated most about Looptail was Bruce’s ability to write about his life, his passions, and his philosophies, while circling back to the business aspect of it all. It doesn’t read like a complicated economic textbook, nor is it so abstract that his purpose gets lost in his words. It’s a perfect melding of thoughts, ideas, and theories, which provide insight for readers as to how Bruce was able to build GAdventures into a company that currently services over 100,000 travelers a year.

Bruce’s personal favorite aspect of Looptail includes “the issues about happiness in the workplace, and creating freedom.” He spoke about the death of Human Resources, and how this traditional business department “doesn’t fit into my vision of social enterprise.”

“Managing, and punishing superstars for the poor performance of a few, is a disease in companies today — people spend so much energy on underperforming. Businesses should focus on managing an environment where people can create happiness. Happiness drives performance. Recruiting should be about making your company culture your brand.”

He explained to me his “Field of Dreams” theory, which I am fully aligned with, and have experienced myself.

“If you build a great company,” he said. “The right people will come.”

It’s a philosophy I know has made GAdventures the admirable company it has become, and a business every traveler wants to be a part of. Bruce has reminded the tourism industry that its primary purpose should be assisting people in getting to know other cultures.

“Today,” he told me, “you don’t have to leave your living room to go on vacation anymore. If you want the comforts of home, stay at home. If you go to Africa and need all the comforts of home, just stay where you are, and watch National Geographic.”

He knows the only way to help others feel a greater appreciation for what they have at home is to put things in perspective for them through small group travel experiences.

“Out of the 40 poorest countries in the world,” he said, “tourism is the biggest economy driver. Tourism has the ability to change lives. Putting money into the local economy, helping to create local jobs — travel can be, and should be, mutually beneficial. People think travel is just transformation for the traveler. But it can transform the people you interact with, as well.”

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Bruce Poon Tip will be speaking on transformation and travel at the New York Travel Festival on April 27, 2014. Click here for more details, and register for your chance to hear his inspirational talk.

Matador will be sponsoring future events featuring Bruce in New York City and San Francisco; keep checking back for more details, and click here to check out Looptail for yourself.