It’s Time To Stick Our Toes Back Into In-Person Travel
With COVID numbers going down in most of Canada, the US & UK, and vaccinations on the rise, the stars seem aligned to leave the world of virtual adventures behind for a while and get back to planning in-person travel.
“We know a lot of our loyal travellers can’t wait to travel again, and we feel the same way,” says Allison Frame, who co-founded The Divine Destination Collection with Deb Niven. “We’re so excited to plan our first travel adventure in almost a year and a half.”
For their first foray out into the world of physical travel, Deb and Allison knew they wanted to stay in Canada.
“We thought staying close to home would be a good first step back out into the world. We are all still a bit shell shocked from the pandemic, so it’s important for people to feel comfortable as they come out of isolation and ease back into travelling,” she says. “We also wanted to support the Canadian economy after a tough year and a half.”
So while the first post-pandemic trip will be slightly more lowkey than the usual Divine Destination Collection experience to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable as they dip their toes back into travel, rest assured that it will still be a unique adventure combined with the outstanding luxury and added spirituality that Deb and Allison are known for.
TESTING THE WATERS
Entitled Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience – travellers will head to the beautiful Fairmont Le Château Montebello for three nights of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation – as well as amazing food, great wine, and a few surprises along the way!
Located between Ottawa and Montreal on the banks of the Ottawa River, the historic Fairmont Le Château Montebello is the largest log chalet in the world. At 90 years old, is it filled with rustic elegance, gourmet fare, and luxurious accommodations – all centred around its famous lobby fireplace, which is the place to meet for an afternoon cocktail or evening nightcap or to sit cosily and read a book.
While it is only five hours by car from Toronto or one hour from the Ottawa train station, Montebello is a world away from the city lights. Located in the Outaouais – a region of untouched natural beauty that is breathtaking to behold at any time of the year, but especially in autumn when the changing leaves fill the forests, trails, and cycling paths full of fiery colour – this will be our oasis from Thursday, September 30 to Sunday, October 3, as we come together to rediscover the joy of experiencing new adventures, meeting new people, and connecting with each other again.
FROM ANXIETY TO SUSTAINED CREATIVE JOY
Upon arrival, the adventure kicks off with a cocktail reception on the mezzanine overlooking the fireplace lobby, followed by Le Chez Chic group dinner in Aux Chantignoles, Le Château Montebello’s celebrated dining hall.
Besides meeting the Executive Chef, who will describe each course of the deliciously inspired menu which features a bounty of local Outaouais ingredients, the group will be introduced to Allie Chisholm-Smith, who has taught yoga for more than 25 years and is a specialist in Ayurveda, a natural approach to health which originated in India more than 3,000 years ago.
Over the two days, Allie will lead gentle and restorative morning and afternoon yoga sessions to help release the stored tension of the last year and a half and help reset our nervous system and rebuild our resilience.
Allie will also take the group through two special Ayurvedic workshops. What’s My Dosha? on Friday morning explores how the three elements, or doshas, we are born with to help us navigate through life – kapha (earth and water), pitta (fire and water), and vata (air and ether) – can get out of balance. Ojas, the subtle energy of kapha, which is based in love and connection, is particularly affected when we have vast amounts of change, disruption, grief, and instability in our lives, as we have experienced during COVID.
The next morning during Anxiety from an Ayurvedic Perspective, Allie will delve into how we can reduce the anxiety we have been feeling over the past year and a half. In Ayurveda, anxiety is labeled as “indigestion of the mind” and is caused by an inability to process the stimulation and events of our life. Allie will help us explore how simple solutions, like how and what you eat, can help overcome anxiety.
Then later that afternoon, Allie will host a forest bathing or Shinrin Yoku journey. Widely accepted in Japan as an essential ingredient of health and well-being, forest bathing is about reconnecting with the natural world to help us grow and heal wounds. And don’t worry, it doesn’t involve taking off your clothes or dipping into a cold pond!
On a recent Instagram Live session with Allison, which you can find at @traveltddc, Allie described forest bathing as meditating in the forest, and how even touching the bark of a tree can help ground us when we feel we are spinning out of control. Making contact with nature changes us, she says.
The aim of the yoga sessions and workshops is to give the group “tiny ways in which we can make a difference in our own lives,” says Allie, as we pull ourselves out of the fear and uncertainty of the past year.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE, CELEBRATION, AND SAFETY
Besides a gentle journey of self-reflection and self-knowledge, this fall’s escape to Le Château Montebello is also full of celebration and fun – a return to experiencing joy in life.
There will be a flat-bottomed pontoon boat cruise along the Ottawa River, Canada’s second-largest waterway, complete with a picnic lunch, and the opportunity to play a round or two at the hotel’s picturesque golf course the best in Quebec and in the top 100 in Canada. The hotel is also offering our group a discount for spa treatments at its award-winning spa.
In addition to bonfires out on the hotel grounds, and sugar shack treats, the adventure will feature an exclusive au revoir “Simply Divine” Garden Party on the hotel terrace with gourmet cuisine and wonderful vintages.
Of course, there will also be ample opportunities to explore the many trails and bike paths that cross the countryside, as well as stroll through the streets of the charming and historic French-Canadian town of Montebello.
Most importantly, you can have peace of mind knowing that The Divine Destination Collection always puts your health and well-being first. Besides adhering to any changing government COVID lockdowns or travel restrictions, the Fairmont Le Château Montebello follows the strictest COVID safety precautions.
You also have the ability to cancel with a full refund up until August 15.
In addition, if you decide you don’t want to drive – The Divine Destination Collection can arrange your transfer from the Ottawa train station to Montebello for an additional cost.
“We are so excited to get back together with our community of like-minded travellers,” says Allison. “I know many people are eager to connect again. Let’s ease back into travelling together.”
There are still a few spots available, so click here to register for Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience.
And there is still time to register for our final virtual adventure of the year on June 30, Cherry Blossoms and Kyoto… Between Bough and Zen. See the famous Japanese cherry blossoms in bloom, visit ancient Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, and meet a Zen Buddhist priest who’ll share his wisdom around meditation and the Zen way of life.
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