Keeping balanced during difficult times

Keeping balanced during difficult times

KEEPING BALANCED DURING DIFFICULT TIMES

PROTECTING YOUR MIND AND SPIRIT AS WELL AS YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH

Whether you are in self-isolation because you have been travelling abroad, or practicing “social distancing” – we are all feeling anxious, stressed, and somewhat fearful due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, public health experts have outlined what to do to keep ourselves safe and help stop the spread of the virus.

We need to wash our hands often (using soap and water for at least 20 seconds), cough and sneeze into our elbows, and avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth – which has proven to be harder than most of us thought.

We have also been told to avoid non-essential travel and gatherings, and keep a distance of two metres (6 ft) away from other people.

“But along with your physical health, it’s also important to take care of your mind and spirit during these uncertain times,” says Allison Frame, co-founder of Divine Destination Collection.

TAKE TIME TO BREATHE

It turns out the more you stress, the more you decrease the functioning of your immune system. That means you will be more susceptible to all viruses.

Harvard Medical School says that yoga, meditation, and controlled breathing are proven ways to relax during stressful situations like the current COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, if you’ve always wanted to try yoga, maybe now is the time to give it a try. Harvard also says that trying new activities can be a welcome, healthy distraction, and many yoga studios are offering free online classes.

This could also be the time to read that book you’ve never had the time to pick up before. Many public libraries offer online books, and there are many other free online resources, such as Open Culture, as well as free online learning courses.

To help people stimulate their minds while in isolation, several famous cultural institutions are offering free online art and entertainment. For example, New York’s Metropolitan Opera is streaming live performances, and you can even take a 360 degree virtual tour of a US national park without leaving your couch.

CONNECTING WITH EACH OTHER AND OURSELVES

Besides giving us online access to books, art, and information – technology is keeping us connected and making our forced isolation more bearable.

“Technology has helped bring our humanness back,” says Allison. “We are reaching out and checking in on each other. I know I’ve been more in touch with my family and friends than when I could go out and see them.”

Even without technology, people are finding innovative ways to connect while keeping a distance, such as the now famous video of Italians singing together from their individual balconies shows.

And since we can’t go outside, this is a golden opportunity to look inside, and connect with ourselves.

“We have the time to look at how we have been living our lives, and examine what is important to us,” says Allison. “Instead of looking outward for validation and trying to keep up with others, it’s a chance to flex our spiritual muscle and get back to the basics of what makes up a good life.”

TRAVELLING DURING THE CRISIS

While travel is an important part of many people’s lives – especially the people who have gone on adventures with the Divine Destination Collection – it is not safe to travel out of your country right now.

Besides the possibility of contracting COVID-19, many countries have put travel and border restrictions in place. Airlines are cancelling flights and suspending service, and new restrictions are being imposed with little warning. As a result, there is a real chance you could become stranded and unable to come home.

“This is a very fluid, ever changing travel environment,” says Allison. “It may be best to contact your airline or tour operator to find out your options for cancelling or postponing your trip. Many airlines and hotels have revised their change and cancellation policies to make it easier for customers to alter their plans and resume travel when this crisis has passed.”

If there is a bright spot, it could be the fact that some of the world’s most beautiful travel destinations are getting a break from tourists and having the chance to rejuvenate.

It has even been reported that the usually crowed canals of Venice are now clear enough to see fish and dolphins!

“After this crisis passes, and we are able to travel again, I hope we will learn from what has happened, and appreciate the opportunity to visit other countries, cultures, and people – and do a better job of taking care of each other, and our world,” says Allison.

STAY HEALTHY AND HELP OTHERS

These are uncertain times, so it is especially important to get your information about the evolving COVID-19 situation from reliable sources.

You can look to the World Health Organization for accurate information on the global situation and the latest, most effective health precautions. Their website is continually updated to provide protective measures based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. It also includes an informative section on myth-busters, such as the fact that cold weather and snow cannot kill COVID-19, and the latest flu vaccination does not protect you against the virus.

To learn more about what the COVID-19 virus is, how it works, and how important it is to do the right things so you don’t get the virus and pass it on to others – take a look at this video featuring Dr. Peter Lin, a family physician from Toronto.

“Get your information from trusted sources, keep washing your hands, don’t touch your face, avoid gatherings – and remember to look out for each other,” says Allison.

“Reach out to friends and family, check in, and have a truly fun and meaningful conversation with them. If you know a senior, or someone with a medical condition that prevents them from being able to go out for groceries, buy a few extra items and leave it at their door. By showing kindness and consideration, and helping each other out, not only will we get through this, but we will have the ability and opportunity to change the trajectory of where our world is going, and change the way we live in it going forward.”

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Escape the cold and snow with a trip to Mexico’s beautiful Mayan Riviera

Escape the cold and snow with a trip to Mexico’s beautiful Mayan Riviera

ESCAPE THE COLD AND SNOW WITH A TRIP TO MEXICO’S BEAUTIFUL MAYAN RIVIERA

The Divine Destination Collection has just the remedy to beat the winter blues – a meticulously curated trip to the Yucatan Peninsula that will warm both your body and soul!

With a minimum of 15 friends and family, you can book a six-day private group trip that mixes lounging on pristine, white sandy beaches with jungle excursions, historical outings, and the best of Mexican cuisine – while enjoying the comfort and luxury The Divine Destination Collection is known for.

To make this adventure even more special – you’ll have the unique opportunity to visit a Mayan community to experience ancient traditions and spiritual ceremonies. A highly sophisticated civilization that thrived in both Mexico and Central America from 1800 B.C. to 900 A.D., the Maya are credited with developing astronomy, calendars, and hieroglyphic writing. They are also known for building elaborate pyramids, temples and palaces – all without metal tools.

MEXICO: MAYAN MYSTERY REVEALED

The journey begins with a Welcome Beach BBQ and mescal tasting at the spectacular Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa, your home for the first three days.

This luxury resort is located on the jungle-lush coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and is close to some of Mexico’s most famous historical sites, such as the El Castillo Pyramid at Chichén Itzá, as well as the local food and folk art markets and vibrant nightlife of Playa del Carmen.

The hotel spa is famous for its healing Mayan rituals and was built to align with the stars to create a positive energy flow. Many of the exclusive spa treatments use local ingredients, such as chocolate, honey, and Mayan herbs.

EXPLORING SECRET UNDERWATER CAVES

While at the Belmond Maroma, you’ll have the chance to take part in some spelunking, and explore the mysterious underwater caves of Rio Secreto, the Secret River, a natural underground river that was only discovered in 2007.

You’ll also feast on outstanding Mexican cuisine throughout your stay, including a private garden courtyard meal at the Aldea Corazon Restaurant. Even though the restaurant is in the heart of the bustling resort town of Playa Del Carmen, the tree-filled courtyard will make you feel like you are dining out in the jungle.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE ONLY JUNGLE EXPERIENCE IN STORE FOR YOU!

You’ll venture into the actual jungle with a visit to a local Mayan village to take part in an authentic Mayan ceremonial evening. 

A local Shaman will show your group how to purify and renew the mind, body, and spirit in a Temazcal, or sweat lodge, and you can also take a cleansing swim in a cenote, a natural sinkhole or pit created by a collapsed cave ceiling and full of clear, fresh water. Since cenotes were the only source of water in the jungle, the Mayan people considered them sacred.

This special evening finishes off with a delicious traditional Mayan meal prepared by the local villagers.

NEXT STOP – THE BANYAN TREE MAYAKOBA

Next stop on the itinerary is the incredible Banyan Tree Mayakoba, an AAA Five Diamond luxury beach resort also on the coast of the Mayan Riviera. Thanks to a carefully maintained ecosystem that includes freshwater lagoons and mangroves, natural dunes, and intricate coral reefs, the resort is full of native fish and bird species.

After learning about Mayan traditions, culture, and archaeology at a special breakfast presentation, our expert guest speakers will take your group on a private tour of Tulum, an UNESCO World Heritage site known for its ancient Mayan ruins. 

Lunch is at the celebrated Oscar & Lalo Restaurant, which has a beautiful tropical jungle garden, fresh seafood, and authentic Mexican and Yucatecan cuisine. You’ll also be treated to a personal Mayan horoscope reading before hopping aboard a boat to cruise the waterways while enjoying cocktails and canapés.  

MAKE IT MAYAN!

Besides lots of free time to explore the beautiful Banyan Tree Mayakoba grounds and beach, you’ll get the chance to learn how to make some of the resort’s delicious Mexican treats at a fun, pop up “Make It Mayan” Cocktail Party. Tucked into a private tropical nook, you’ll find out how to make their divine guacamole, zesty pico de gallo salsa, and fabulous margaritas.

The Mayan Mystery journey culminates in grand style with an exclusive dinner in your very own 10,000-year-old cave surrounded by living stalactites and stalagmites. How’s that for a memorable finish to a fantastic trip!

Mexico: Mayan Mystery Revealed is a great way to bring a group of people together to celebrate a milestone anniversary, a special birthday or a customized retreat. If you are travelling alone or in a smaller group, The Divine Destination Collection plans to offer this trip again in the future.

In the meantime, if history fascinates you, learn about The Divine Destination Collection’s upcoming trip to the Sacred South of France, the Mystery of Mary Magdalene. There are still a few spots left, so click here to learn more.

To find out more about group trips to Mexico, check out The Divine Destination Collection’s Mexico trip page and contact us at info@divinedestinationcollection.com or by phone 647-918-0113 if you have any questions.

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The incredible food and wine of the South of France – What to look forward to this June

The incredible food and wine of the South of France – What to look forward to this June

THE INCREDIBLE FOOD AND WINE OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS JUNE

This June The Divine Destination Collection will be uncovering the 2,000 year-old legend of Mary Magdalene’s journey in the South of France – but an equally exciting part of the adventure will be exploring the world-renowned wine and cuisine of the region.

The food from the South of France is truly like no other thanks to a moderate climate of almost constant sunshine, hot, dry summers, and mild winters. As a result, fresh fruit and vegetables are available year-round, and the region’s close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea ensures there is always a bounty of amazing seafood to be had. (Click on the name of the various dishes for fabulous recipes to try)

While ratatouille, a hearty vegetable stew, is probably the region’s most famous dish, there are many other culinary treats awaiting you when visiting the South of France.

Cassoulet is a slow-cooked dish of duck, sausage, and beans, which takes time to prepare properly. It gets its name from the deep, round earthenware pot it is traditionally cooked in – called the cassole. It is especially popular in the town of Carcassonne, the first stop on The Divine Destination Collection trip.

Marseilles, another stop on the trip, is famous for bouillabaisse, a fish stew made from the amazing variety of fish that is caught locally, such as red rascasse, sea robin, and European conger. But what gives this dish its distinctive local flavour is the seasoning, a combination of Herbes de Provence, garlic, onions, and tomatoes.

WHAT EXACTLY IS HERBES DE PROVENCE?

This tasty bundle of herbs is used in many regional dishes. Although not always the same mixture, it is usually made up of basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme. You’ll be able to buy a bundle when we visit one of the local markets in Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence, and Lourmarin, where a sprig of lavender is often included to add a touch of colour.

While visiting the markets you’ll also have the chance to pick up some navettes. These are boat-shaped cookies that commemorate Mary Magdalene’s voyage to France from the Holy Land. Traditionally orange-flavoured, some local bakeries also make the cookies in other flavours, such as chocolate and lavender.

DON’T FORGET THE WINE!

If you think rosés are often a bit too sweet, you’ll love the dry rosés of the region, and their beautiful pale, orangey-pink colour. The South of France is believed to be the largest producer of rosé wines in the world. The wines are made from a variety of local grapes, and are the perfect accompaniment to many regional dishes, especially bouillabaisse.

The South of France is also the home of Blanquette de Limoux, which historians believe is the world’s first sparkling wine. In fact, ancient records show that the Benedictine monks at the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire were making it in 1531, long before the first Champagne was produced.

OTHER GASTRONOMIC SURPRISES AWAIT YOU

In addition to sampling delicious specialties from the South of France – and lots of great wine – The Divine Destination Collection has many other one-of-a-kind gastronomic delights in store for you.

This includes stopping to feast on fresh Bouzigues oysters in Sète, a picturesque town on the Mediterranean coast. We’ll even visit an oyster farm to get a first-hand look at the unique technique for harvesting these delicious, slightly nutty-tasting shellfish.

Another highlight is a visit to one of the famous Châteaueuf du Pape vineyards for a wine tasting and light lunch. Located near the town of Avignon, the first Châteaueuf du Pape vineyards were actually planted by the popes who built a château there in the 14th century for their summer residence.

To contrast the splendor of the papal château, we’ll take a detour to a monastic retreat in Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume  for a traditional home-cooked meal, complete with wine made by the monks. Located near a naturally eroded grotto in Saint Baume where Mary Magdalene is said to have lived, it will provide a glimpse into the lives of the Dominican friars who continue to preserve this place of devotion.

MORE AMAZING DINING EXPERIENCES

A number of exclusive dining experiences, along with meals at award-winning restaurants, are also on the itinerary.

One surprising gourmet twist is the “Hint of Italy” dinner at La Bourdasso, a family-run Italian restaurant near Carcassonne, where they make their own buffalo mozzarella and grow the wheat for their delicious homemade pasta.

A few days later, in Aix-en-Provence, we’ll be treated to “Dinner with the Stars” – Michelin stars, that is – where we’ll get the chance to indulge in a gourmet extravaganza at some of the top-rated restaurants in the world.

While in Aix-en-Provence, we’ll be staying at Hôtel Le Pigonnet, an enchanting 18th century mansion, and a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The stay will be made even more special with an exclusive “La Vie En Rose” evening in the hotel’s beautiful garden. Delightful, regional specialties and local rosés will be served al fresco while the songs of Edith Piaf fill the air.  

We’ll bid au revoir to Provence with a final, incredible French feast in the chapel of Domaine de Saint Bacchi, a gorgeous private villa built on the grounds of a Roman temple dedicated to Bacchus, the god of wine. The chapel dating back to the 9th century attracted pilgrims who believed the nearby water springs had miraculous healing powers.

IS YOUR MOUTH WATERING YET?

There are still a few spots left for the trip to Scared South of France, the Mystery of Mary Magdalene. Click here to learn more.

Unique travel experiences... where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet!

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Copyright 2012-2019 The Divine Destination Collection | Powered by Wynford TICO Reg. # 2024965

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