WHAT DOES SPIRITUALITY HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
To some people the idea of traveling in luxury while taking a spiritual journey seems mutually exclusive.
The path to enlightenment must involve hardship or discomfort – like traveling to an ashram, sleeping on a mat, and eating bad food.
Allison Frame and Deb Niven disagree. Their careers in the incentive travel and meetings business have given them a taste for luxury travel. But both are also seekers – open to exploring new ways of connecting with themselves and the world around them.
Why couldn’t they mix both luxury and spiritually in an exciting travel adventure?
“We had reached the stage in our life where we and/or our friends had achieved all those things society says we are ‘supposed to have’ – marriage, children, a satisfying job, a house, a car, etc. Yet for some there was still something missing,” says Allison.
So they decided to create a safe, comfortable way for people to stick their toe into a new type of journey – one that would take them around the world, but also offer the opportunity to explore the spirituality of different cultures, landscapes, and ways of life.
But it would be a journey that could still involve a heavenly bed and really great food!
What is a spiritual journey?
Allison admits spirituality can be a loaded word. And it can mean something totally different to each person.
To some it is the exploration of higher powers, such as partaking in a shaman ceremony in Peru. To others it is experiencing the mystery of nature while foraging for mushrooms in a forest replete with beautiful fall foliage. And to others it can be more introspective – perhaps sitting by the fire in Muskoka and immersing themselves in a good book.
“It’s whatever touches you. Whatever gives you a sense of peace,” Allison explains. “It could be reconnecting with yourself, or your partner. Or connecting with new people or a new culture. It’s about breaking down barriers.”
Because spirituality is so personal, none of the spiritual activities are mandatory when you take a trip with The Divine Destination Collection.
You decide whether to take part or not – and there is always an alternative experience awaiting. For example, on a recent trip to Arizona, guests were given the option to take part in a horse whispering experience. The opportunity to interact and connect with these majestic horses, was a revelatory experience to some – while others opted for a different type of revelatory experience – one that dazzled their taste buds as they took on a food tour of Old Scottsdale.
In fact, even when visiting an ancient site, such as Tulum in Mexico, guests have the choice of taking a historical tour, or they can explore the site with a guide who can explain the spiritual significance.
Over the last few years The Divine Destination Collection has taken guests on a variety of spiritual adventures.
They have watched a sacred Hindu ceremony in a temple in Bali, visited “thin places” in Ireland where the veil between this world and the eternal world is thin, and cleansed their bodies and souls in a traditional “temazcal” sweat lodge in Mexico.
For Allison, one of the most profound spiritual connections was when The Divine Destination Collection travelled to South Africa – the cradle of civilization. “At first I couldn’t understand why I was so emotional,” she says. “Then I realized, this is where we all come from.”
Seeing wild animals in their natural habitat also had a huge impact on Allison. She still remembers what it felt like to be surrounded by a herd of elephants as the huge animals walked right up to the jeep and began exploring with their trunks.
“Africa changes who you are.”
Where to next?
The Divine Destination Collection’s next trip, to walk the Camino in northern Spain, will involve a different sort of spiritual adventure.
This six-day walking mediation will be a personal journey to challenge oneself and reflect on how the Camino is a lot like life – it can be beautiful and joyous when you are walking by beautiful fields of yellow or quaint villages, and then can turn grueling as you make your way uphill in the pouring rain.
“It will push you on an emotional level,” says Allison. “There is no avoiding yourself on a six-day walk.”
Next fall’s trip to Scotland will be full of ancient religious sites, both Christian and pagan. On a recent visit both Deb and Allison felt the power of several energy vortexes – areas of high-energy concentration. “It really gave us a sense of place – and where we fit in,” says Allison.
Want to learn more?
For some great bedtime reading, Allison and Deb recommend Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, by National Geographic as well as Sacred Earth: Places of Peace and Power, by Martin Gray.
“Travel transforms the traveller” says Allison. “Travel helps you become more open, more curious, more tolerant, more inspired, it gives you the opportunity to truly see that we really are all the same. All in all, I believe that travel makes you a better you.”
“And if you feel something is missing, take a leap. Give spirituality a try. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone, opening your heart and feeling gratitude.”
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