Finding Connection, Inside & Out

Resetting and Recharging the Group Travel Format

Could you use a little personal time to recharge? Do you want to discover the world, experience new things and meet new people? Do the pressures of group travel (constant social engagement, not having enough personal time or space, etc.) prevent you from getting the most out of your travel experiences or stop you from having any at all?

One truth of this world is that there is a bias toward extroversion and an implication that the only way to truly enjoy oneself is to be and act "exciting." We all know how that gets defined in popular culture, no need to spend much time on that here. 

But a truth that is too often overlooked or misunderstood, is that a person can be truly happy and vibrant without being outgoing and "exciting." As most introspective types are aware of, life's quiet moments are full of meaning and joy. But, that can be easy to miss when you're expected to act, or always be with people who act, in an "exciting" way.

This can be all too obvious when traveling with a group of people, especially a group of people you don't know. The masks come out, the expectations set the tone, and the pressure to perform is an overriding force. This can be fun and can also create great memories and stories to look back on. But, not everyone is cut out for that. And, not everyone wants that experience every time. Sometimes, we really wish we could get the benefits of international group travel, without all of this "current social paradigm" stuff stressing us out.

We get it.

We soooo get it. As self-described introverts ourselves, we aim to create an alternative group travel experience; one that encourages connection (to the self, others, nature, culture), awareness (interior and exterior) and health (physical, mental, social) in a balanced way that honors the introvert in all of us.

Not that there's anything wrong with a party. It's just that we don't always want to party. And we certainly don't want to feel forced to party. That's where InnerConnected comes in. Kind of like Seinfeld's Festivus for the Rest of Us, InnerConnected is a Travel Perspective for the Introspective.

After learning to see our own introverted personality types as strengths rather than weaknesses, we decided to create a space for others to embrace their uniqueness as well, while sharing what we love about travel, nature and introspection.

InnerConnected provides a safe space for our travel partners to be themselves, unapologetically. Whether you are an adventurous introvert or an extrovert who wants to explore their introspective side, our trip formats offer a genuine balance of social and personal time.

We find the perfect destination, get to know it intimately, select accommodations that allow for personal space, and create an intellectually-engaging and culturally-connected itinerary, with plenty of flexibility, that celebrates the introspective mindset.

Travel with us for a meaningful experience that fosters introspection, connects you with like-minded individuals, and allows you to discover beautiful places all while honoring your need for balance.

Meet the Founders

Melissa Renzi

Melissa, MSW, LSW, CYT-200 is a licensed social worker, yoga teacher, and the founder of EarthFoodYoga, a company that weaves together yoga, healing food, and outdoor experiences to guide others toward self-care.

People close to Melissa are often surprised when she describes herself as an introvert due to her ability to connect with people and socialize in an outgoing manner at times. Yet, she sees herself as such due to her need for quiet, personal time to recharge after social engagement and preference for small groups or one-on-one, meaningful conversation over large groups and small talk.

Melissa is passionate about the outdoors and has backpacked solo around the world. Traveling alone has provided her the flexibility to take personal time while still offering the opportunity to connect with amazing individuals across the globe--one of the greatest gifts of travel, as she sees it. This is the balance she and her ridiculously self-aware partner, Jason, create with InnerConnected.

Melissa also identifies as the following:

  • ‍Earth spirit and grounded gypsy
  • Self-taught health chef
  • Amateur salsa dancer
  • Expert crossworder
  • Scuba diving mermaid
  • Holistic nutrition advocate
  • Creative event planner
  • Comfort zone escape artist
  • Culture craver

Jason Brashares

A cautiously adventurous 39 year old with an art degree and an easy-going attitude. He is an unapologetically nerdy introvert who thrives on quiet space and alone time and yet he truly values the sense of connection that comes from meaningful conversations. 

His desire for novel experiences and love of mental and physical challenges has led him to spend the last several years building on his "outdoor credentials" and creating a business leading backpacking trips in the American Southwest.

But, he quickly found that the level of social engagement necessary in those initial attempts could come to overwhelm him. And so, alongside his brilliant partner, Melissa, he has co-founded InnerConnected. This new venture has allowed both of them to be creative and find the balance needed, for themselves and for others, in group travel experiences.

Depending on his current state of mind, Jason may also be described as:

  • ‍Graphic Designer
  • Passionate Science Advocate
  • Artist
  • Philosophy Enthusiast
  • Humanist
  • Master-Level Thrower of Frisbees
  • Hard Sci-Fi Aficionado
  • Father
  • Explorer
  • Despiser of Unnecessarily Loud Things
  • Rock Climber, Backpacker, Hiker, and All-Around Lover of Nature