Looking forward to Montebello

Looking forward to Montebello

Looking forward to Montebello

Linda hasn’t travelled since the start of the pandemic.

“I don’t like to live that dangerously,” she laughs. “You don’t need to tell me twice to wear a mask or stay at home. But as soon as I read about Montebello in The Divine Destination Collection newsletter back in May, I knew I wanted to go. I was probably the first person to sign up.”

After a tough three years, which included the death of two family members, and injuring her wrist and shoulder, a yoga retreat that concentrated on stress management and rest and relaxation was the perfect getaway for Linda.

“It was in Canada, so I didn’t have to travel far. I have lots of family in Quebec, so I was familiar with the area. It wasn’t going to be a large group of people, and I knew the Fairmont Le Château Montebello had high standards and would take extra special precautions to keep guests safe.”

Linda had also been looking for a yoga retreat for a long time that spoke equally to the mind, body, and soul.

“Although I haven’t travelled with Allison and Deb before, I’ve been going to their yoga studio  for 10 years – ever since it opened. I knew they had high values and ethics,” she says. “And they know how to throw a great party!

“I’m looking forward to new ideas and new techniques. I can’t wait!”

Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Aux-Chantignoles
vaccination

Time to get on with life

Although there was some pandemonium going through security at the Vancouver airport and no social distancing, Rose was glad she made the decision to recently travel to Ontario to visit her sister.

“I was anxious about travelling – but it turned out to be okay. I’m double-vaxxed, so I thought I just needed to get on with my life,” she says.

Like Linda, Rose’s life had been quite hectic over the past few years as she dealt with some personal challenges. In fact, she didn’t mind the isolation of COVID-19 at first. “When I couldn’t go anywhere, I was relieved,” she said. “But now I’m an empty nester and I work from home. I need to be around people again.”

Rose had started going to yoga retreats before the pandemic and knew Allie Chisholm-Smith. “Allie is so authentic. I always loved her yoga classes.”

So when Rose received Allie’s newsletter and read about the trip to Montebello, she decided to sign up. “I thought it looked interesting, and I love Allie. But after I signed up I thought, ‘Oh no – what have I done?’ But now that I’ve travelled to Ontario, I’m excited.”

Rose is also going to add on a few days to visit Montreal as well as to experience the changing leaves in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. “This is something I am doing for myself. I need to get going and be out in the world again.”

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allie chisholm-smith
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Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience

Allie Chisholm-Smith, who has taught yoga for more than 25 years and studied Ayurveda for two of those decades – a natural approach to health which originated in India more than 5,000 years ago – will be at Montebello to help the group let go of the stress and fear of the last two years and develop strategies for creating balance in their lives.

“We need to build our resilience back up and get grounded,” explains Allie. “We need to figure out who we are, and how we are. A big reason we get sick is because we lose our connection to our spirit. We forget who we are.”

Each day Allie will lead the group through a combination of yoga, conversation, and the opportunity to reconnect with nature to help ease the anxiety they may be feeling and find ways to get back to who they are supposed to be.

“It’s about getting the toxicity out, but also getting the joy out. After all, there may have been good things that happened during the pandemic,” she says.

Mornings will start off with an all-levels yoga session, followed by a restorative session in the afternoon – “like a lullaby for the nervous system,” says Allie.

When we are stressed our systems don’t work properly, as we are focused on the fear or worry that is consuming us. “We need to calm down our nervous system,” she says.

yoga
Fall Forest Bathing
Fall Forest Bathing

Strategies to create balance and feel better

The group will also discuss the Ayurvedic approach to health and learn about some of the simple things they can do to feel better – such as understanding how what they eat affects how they feel. “If you are feeling angry or irritable, don’t eat that chili pepper,” laughs Allie.

Since the leaves will be beginning to change colour at Montebello, it will be a great time to do some forest bathing – which can be described as meditating in nature and really being aware of your surroundings. “Nature helps us connect with ourselves,” says Allie.

“It’s also important to have intentions behind our actions. To be outside and think about the stars. To be present in the moment.”

Besides providing a first step out into the world after almost 20 months of isolation and physical distancing, and a soothing break to help revive bodies, minds, and spirits, Allie hopes the group will come away with strategies to do on their own to create balance in their lives.

“This is about self-knowledge. It’s an ongoing process of finding the right balance of Ayurvedic elements or doshas – earth and water, fire and water, and air and ether – to be who you are supposed to be.”

Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience takes place from Thursday, September 30 to Sunday, October 3 at the beautiful Fairmount Le Château Montebello in the Outaouais region of Western Quebec.

It will be three days of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation – as well as amazing food, great wine, and a few surprises along the way! If you are interested, it’s not too late to register!

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On The Road Again – Well Actually There Is No Road To Churchill

On The Road Again – Well Actually There Is No Road To Churchill

On The Road Again – Well Actually There Is No Road To Churchill

After 18 months of not being able to travel, Allison Frame, co-founder of The Divine Destination Collection, found she had forgotten what to do when she arrived for her recent flight at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“I forgot how to put on my baggage tag,” she laughs. “And even though I was at the airport an hour and half beforehand, I just made it to my plane. International and domestic flights were all going through one gate and there was no NEXUS pre-clearance for domestic flights and everyone had to have a temperature check before heading through security.”

Allison was glad her trip to Winnipeg – where she was going to scout out locations and activities for a possible Divine Destination Collection trip to Churchill, Manitoba – was a short flight, so she only had to wear a mask for two and a half hours.

“Even though Manitoba requires non-vaccinated travellers from other parts of Canada to quarantine no one at either the Toronto or Winnipeg airports asked me if I was vaccinated.”

Winnipeg

A transformed Winnipeg

When Allison touched down in Winnipeg it was suffering from drought conditions since there had been no rain. It was also smoky from the forest fires burning in Northwest Ontario. “It wasn’t the greatest time to visit Winnipeg, but at least there weren’t any mosquitos!”

Allison had gone to university in Winnipeg but hadn’t been back for several years, so she was amazed to find it had transformed into a “really hip kind of place.”

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the bustling Forks marketplace at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and a revitalized Exchange District full of cool boutiques, coffee shops, and great restaurants are just a few of the reasons Time magazine named Winnipeg one of the best places in the world to visit in 2021.

In addition, the Winnipeg Art Gallery has also gone through an exciting renovation and has added a new gallery, called Qaumajuq which now houses the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

“There will be lots to see and do if we spend a day in Winnipeg before and after visiting Churchill, including a must-see appointment with the polar bears at the Winnipeg Zoo’s amazing Journey to Churchill exhibit,” says Allison.

WAG
Fusihimi Inari, Kyoto
Churchill Polar Bears

Visiting the Polar Bear Capital of the World

There is no road access to Churchill, and it is a two-day train ride from Winnipeg. Many Winnipeggers drive up to Thompson and then take a 10-hour train ride to Churchill, but Allison took the two-and-a-half-hour flight from Winnipeg on CalmAir.

Right after touch down in Churchill, Allison took a culture and heritage tour, giving her a great introduction to the history of the area, a visit to the polar bear jail, where bears who wander into town are kept until they can be safely relocated, and a glimpse into some dynamic local art, including Sea Walls Churchill, a series of 18 incredible murals painted on buildings throughout the area.

Divine Destination Collection fans who participated in the Divine Live and Online virtual adventure to Churchill last year, Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh My!, will be familiar with The Lazy Bear Lodge a beautiful log cabin hotel located right on the main drag, as well as owner Wally Daudrich, who is an expert on things polar bear and tundra related.

Besides offering delicious local food such as Arctic char, elk, bison, and wild rice, Lazy Bear Lodge would be home base for the group in between adventures, such as a tour of the Prince of Wales Fort, built 250 years ago on the coast of Hudson Bay as a fur trading outpost, and various trips on land and water to see the local wildlife.

Although Allison enjoyed her trip out on the tundra in a massive all-terrain vehicle and on a large boat cruising the coast for polar bears, the real surprise was meeting the hundreds of curious beluga whales. Wanting to play, they would circle her zodiac boat, and with the help of a hydrophone, she could hear them chattering away to each other. Another time, while she was kayaking on the Churchill River, one popped up right beside her as if to say hello. “It was so beautiful to be in the Churchill River surrounded by these almost mystical “smiling” whales. I was so grateful to have this moment,” says Allison.

Lazy Bear Expeditions also organizes a unique adventure called Beluga AquaGliding where you glide along on a mat with snorkelling gear to watch belugas in their natural habitat. “It was spectacular! All of a sudden a beluga would rise up from the depths and swim around you,” says Allison.

Winnipeg
Fairmont Le Château Montebello

The surprising colours of the tundra

Another surprise was the beauty of the tundra. Since it is above the treeline you wouldn’t expect much plant life. But instead of being cold and stark, it was covered in an explosion of colour with orange lichen and purple fireweed blanketing the surface.

“The trip to Churchill was truly an unexpected delight,” says Allison. “We’re excited to look into the possibility of travelling there for our next adventure, so stay tuned for more details.”

Until then, if you are aching to get away and start travelling again, make sure you sign up for Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience – at the beautiful Fairmont Le Château Montebello from September 30 to October 3 for three nights of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation – as well as amazing food and great wine.

Only one room remains…so Register Now as we will sell out!

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Thank You for Participating in Our Virtual Travel Adventures

Thank You for Participating in Our Virtual Travel Adventures

Thank You For Participating In Our Virtual Travel Adventures

It’s been a truly unprecedented year and a half, and we’re slowly getting back to normal life after social-distancing our way through the pandemic.

Fortunately, The Divine Destination Collection travellers were able to keep their love of adventure alive and explore new lands with two series of Divine Live and Online virtual travel experiences.

“Thank you to everyone for your unwavering support of Divine Live and Online over the past 13 months. What began as a virtual visit to Hunkapi Farms in Phoenix, and a few “Conscious Conversations” on coping in the time of a global pandemic, morphed into monthly exotic virtual adventures around the world,” says Allison Frame, who co-founded The Divine Destination Collection with Deb Niven.

“We are so grateful to our global partners for stepping out of their comfort zones and into the world of virtual travel experiences, and especially to all of you who supported us at a time when in-person travel was out of the question. We will continue to offer virtual experiences that will be in conjunction with upcoming in-person trips.”

Zelda & Mandela
Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Pool
Perfect Group Cathedral Shot - Camino, Spain
Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Aux-Chantignoles
Fusihimi Inari, Kyoto
Churchill Polar Bears
Cherry blossoms and parasols, Kyoto
Rev. Daiko Matsuyama

Two series of unforgettable experiences

Fifty-eight people subscribed to the first Divine Live and Online series in 2020, which took them to South Africa for conversations with Zelda la Grange, personal aide to Nelson Mandela for almost 20 years, and Boyd Varty, who had a transformative experience after spending 40 days and 40 nights alone in the wilderness of the Londolozi Game Reserve, to discussing how the El Camino can change your life with Sue Kenney, who had accompanied the Divine Destination Collection on their pilgrimage in 2019. The virtual session was made extra special with a tasting of fabulous wines from the region hosted by Toronto wine scholar Jessica Chaikowsky.

The visit to see gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda was also a great success. As soon as it was over many participants emailed to say they were packed and ready to go see the gorillas in person!

“Just wanted you to know how fantastic this latest Divine Live and Online Gorilla episode was. In fact, there really are no words to describe the reality of the Up-Close-and-Personal soul feeling of this adventure and the multiple WOW factors,” one participant wrote.

The first series also took participants on some thrilling adventures in Canada, such as a boat ride along Nimmo Bay to explore the Great Bear Rainforest off the coast of British Columbia. And when they visited Churchill, Manitoba, the owner of Lazy Bear Expeditions, Wally Daudrich, streamed live from the lodge in Churchill and regaled the group with the interesting history of the lodge, sustainable initiatives currently going on to protect the area, and loads of stories about encounters with polar bears and beluga whales. He was such a great storyteller that the group could actually picture themselves sitting with him at the lodge over a cup of coffee listening to his endless stories.

As word spread about these interactive and intimate virtual adventures, which continued to offer that unique spiritual touch The Divine Destination Collection is known for, subscriptions increased to 73 for the second series, which just wrapped up on June 30 with a journey to Kyoto, Japan to see the cherry blossoms in bloom and meet a Zen Buddhist Priest.

Not only was it amazing to see the spectacular cherry blossoms, which cover the trees in a magical blanket of pink and white flowers, what made it even more special was seeing many of the ancient streets of the old town of Kyoto so quiet, as they are usually teeming with tourists. It gave the group the chance to truly take in the distinctive architecture and elegant Japanese aesthetic and imagine how life must have been there centuries ago. 

Rev. Daiko Matsuyama streamed live from his Buddhist temple garden, giving insight into the two religions of Japan – Shintoism and Buddhism – and shared the true meaning of Zen and how to bring it into our own lives, especially during COVID. He also closed with a beautiful Japanese prayer.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello
El Refai Mosque, Cairo
Varanasi River Ganges
Galápagos tortoise
Varanasi River Ganges
Galápagos tortoise
Marrakech Souks

Visiting exotic lands with a personal touch

The first journey of this second series was to Egypt to see the Great Pyramids of Giza, as well as to explore an extraordinary part of Cairo where three religions meet. To make the journey as up-close and personal as possible, Divine Live and Online’s partner in Egypt took a film crew with her and an Egyptologist friend as they explored Cairo and the Pyramids and ate at a local restaurant. The partner even admitted on camera that she had never seen some of these areas of Cairo before and was overjoyed to be able to learn along with the group.

Then, when the group caught up with migrating monarch butterflies as they travelled to Mexico from Canada to escape the winter, Carol Pasternak, a monarch butterfly enthusiast, author, teacher, and photographer, who has been raising monarch butterflies for 40 years, joined in on the call to share her knowledge and enthusiasm.

Carol has visited the monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Michoacán twice and showed up with a full monarch butterfly backdrop. Her passion was contagious, quirky, and delightful, as the group watched breath-taking footage filmed just for Divine Live and Online.

After a mystical trip to India where the group floated down the holy Ganges River to Varanasi, where it is believed that if you die there you break the cycle of rebirth and go straight to heaven, the next adventure followed Darwin’s footsteps to the Galápagos Islands.

University of Toronto Professor Barbara Murck, who leads students to the islands on summer study programs, teamed up with Divine Live and Online’s partner in Ecuador, Alfonso Tandazo, to share their soul-expanding experiences of the Galápagos. Both went above and beyond to share photos and videos from their multiple trips to the islands, and there was nothing they couldn’t answer about the flora and fauna – especially the adapted animals who inhabit the islands – and of course Lonesome George, the last of his tortoise species.

The next stop was experiencing the magic of Morocco through the famous Souks, or marketplaces, of Marrakech and a glimpse into the Berber way of life in the mountains.

Our High Atlas Mountain expert took the group through the outdoor market as he picked up supplies, and even filmed himself getting a shave. He then took the group up to a relative’s home to see how bread is baked in a traditional wood-burning oven and went up to the roof for a glorious view of the mountains and a traditional Moroccan breakfast and tea service as he discussed the harvest and the practice of tithing a portion of farming income to the local Mosque.

Making a positive impact wherever we travel

Deb and Allison have a long-standing commitment to making a donation to an important charitable cause in each destination the group visits, and they continued this practice with their virtual adventures.

Here are the charities your subscription fees helped support over the last two years of Divine Live and Online:

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Zelda la Grange:

Relief Life Disaster Management Trust provides physical relief and related support to areas affected by natural and man-induced catastrophes.

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Nimmo Bay:

Sea to Cedar creates place-based programs for healthy ecosystems and communities and enables diverse economic and conservation initiatives for positive, lasting change.

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Boyd Varty:

The Good Works Foundation creates innovative digital learning campuses, responsive programmes and demand-led social enterprises to create an accessible, opportunity-packed world for the next generation of rural Africans.

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Gorillas:

Conservation Through Public Health is a Uganda-based leader in mountain gorilla and wildlife conservation, championing the health of wildlife, ecosystems, humans, and their livestock in and around East Africa’s protected areas.

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Polar Bears:

Helping fund the Churchill Fiddle Stix music program at the Duke of Marlborough School, a school of mostly indigenous children, where extra-curricular activities are difficult to sustain without additional support. Lazy Bear Expeditions has generously matched our donation.

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Egypt:

Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation Awan Heart Centre is entirely reliant on donations and offers free state-of-the-art medical services to Egyptians, particularly to underprivileged and vulnerable age groups.

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Butterflies:

The Monarch Butterfly Fund fosters the conservation of North American monarch butterflies and their migration through healthy ecosystems and sustainable communities.

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India:

Guria is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to fighting child prostitution, second generation prostitution, and sex trafficking in Northern India, as well as achieving freedom worldwide.

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Galápagos:

The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapágos Islands is dedicated to providing breakthrough research to inform conservation actions and inspire humanity to preserve this extraordinary archipelago and our planet as a whole.    

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Morocco:

The mission of the Tamghart Nudrar Women’s Cooperative is to improve the quality of life of women in this rural area and include them in local development. They are currently raising funds for a shop to provide girls and women with the chance to earn an income and gain their much-deserved independence. Our donation has helped them buy and install floor tiles at the shop.

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Kyoto:

The Kodomo Taku-shoku Food Delivery Partnership is a home food delivery service for young families living on tight finances in Kyoto. It also helps prevent social isolation by checking in on families and helping them with assistance if needed.

Galápagos tortoise
Fairmont Le Château Montebello
Fairmont Le Château Montebello

Hooray for the return of in-person travel this fall!

While they enjoyed organizing virtual experiences, Deb and Allison are happy to return to in-person travel.

There are only two spots left for Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience – where the group will head to the beautiful Fairmont Le Château Montebello on September 30 to October 3 for four days of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation – as well as amazing food and great wine.

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. Surrounded by natural beauty that is especially breathtaking in the autumn, it’s the perfect destination to comfortably ease back into the world of travel. Find out more about this great getaway HERE.

You can also 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 until August 15.

Register now by clicking HERE!

Deb and Allison are busy planning the next in-person adventure – so stay tuned for all the exciting details!

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

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It’s Time To Stick Our Toes Back Into In-Person Travel

It’s Time To Stick Our Toes Back Into In-Person Travel

It’s Time To Stick Our Toes Back Into In-Person Travel

REVIVE…A RETURN TO JOY, SUBSTANCE AND RESILIENCE 
FAIRMONT LE CHÂTEAU MONTEBELLO 
SEPTEMBER 30 – OCTOBER 3, 2021

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.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello
Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Pool
Fairmont Le Château Montebello

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.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Aux-Chantignoles
Fusihimi Inari, Kyoto
Fusihimi Inari, Kyoto
Forest Bathing

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.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello
Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Golf
Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Spa Patio
Montebello - Fromagerie

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

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Copyright 2012-2021 The Divine Destination Collection | Powered by Wynford TICO Reg. # 2024965

Next stop – Japan!

Next stop – Japan!

Next stop – Japan!

From the pyramids of Egypt to the shores of the holy river Ganges, Divine Live and Online has helped us escape lockdowns and our socially-distanced existence with virtual travel adventures to fascinating locations around the world.

Coming up on June 30, Divine Live and Online embarks on one last trip for 2021 as The Divine Destination Collection co-founders Deb Niven and Allison Frame take a break from the virtual to start planning actual in-person travel…Yes it’s true!

And what better way to end the successful second edition of Divine Live and Online than with an explosion of cherry blossoms!

Cherry blossoms and parasols, Kyoto
Geisha on Hanamikoji, Gion District, Kyoto
Kyoto Cherry Blossoms by Boat
Maiko-San, Kyoto

The magic of Sakura season

Grab your kimono and order in some sushi – it’s time to travel to Japan to experience Sakura season! Each spring Japan is blanketed in soft pink cherry blossoms, or Sakura, as they are called in Japan, and people from across the country take time for the traditional custom of hanami or flower viewing – where they gather under trees with family and friends to appreciate and celebrate the cherry blossoms. And there’s no better place to experience this unbelievably beautiful spectacle than Kyoto, the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years from 794 to 1868, and filled with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and tranquil Zen gardens.

Cherry Blossoms and Kyoto… Between Bough and Zen will not only give you a breathtaking view of the cherry blossoms, you’ll have the chance to explore both the old quarter and modern sections of Kyoto.

This includes a foray into Gion, a historic section of Kyoto where you might get a glimpse of an elegant geiko, or geisha, professionally-trained performers who entertain guests during meals, banquets, and other special occasions. Even today young girls move to Kyoto at around the age of 15 to learn specialized communication and hospitality skills, along with traditional Japanese arts such as dance and music, to become a maiko, or apprentice, on their way to becoming a full-fledged geiko.

Although Kyoto has a modern side and is home to high tech companies like Nintendo and several avant-garde art galleries and museums including the Manga Museum, you can still find narrow winding streets lit with paper lanterns, or Tōrō, that transport you back in time.

Scotland Experience
Fusihimi Inari, Kyoto
Ryougen-in rock garden, Kyoto

Tranquility and Peace

Of course Kyoto is best known for its many beautiful temples and sacred shrines, such as the Kinkaku-ji, or Temple of the Golden Pavilion with two floors literally covered in gold, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine with its famous tunnel of a thousand bright red torii gates, which is often cited as the most popular place to visit when in Japan. Since shrines are thought to be where gods live, the torii act like a front door, separating the sacred home of the gods from the human world.

Kyoto is also the best place to experience the serene beauty of a Zen garden. These are actually dry landscape gardens called karesansui that are found at Buddhist temples. Instead of flowers and plants, the main feature is carefully maintained patterns and rows of gravel and rock that give the appearance of water. The Ryougen-in Temple in Kyoto has some of the oldest and most famous Zen gardens.

After this intriguing look at Kyoto, you’ll get the chance to learn more about Shintoism, Buddhism and the two religions’ relationship to nature from Reverend Daiko Matsuyama, a Zen Buddhist Priest who’ll join the call live from the Taizo-in Temple in Kyoto. Reverend Matsuyama will also explain how and why Zen Buddhists practice meditation, and how meditation can help us in our daily lives.

This virtual trip to Japan is particularly special for Allison as she attended high school in Tokyo and has been a life-long fan of the Japanese aesthetic. When she lived in Japan she never had the chance to visit Kyoto, so Allison is really excited to add this trip to the great line-up of Divine Live and Online virtual adventures.

Sign up for your Japanese adventure today

If the sight of a bright red Japanese maple tree or the splendour of a cherry blossom bough has ever made you yearn for the chance to visit Japan, don’t miss out on this amazing adventure on June 30. You can register here.

And there is also time to sign up for the May 30 trip to North Africa for Marrakech Expressions… The Magic of Morocco. Known as the “farthest land of the setting sun,” your Moroccan adventure starts with a guided journey through parts of Marrakech where you’ll stroll down winding alleyways to explore the famous Souks, or marketplaces, before venturing up into the High Atlas Mountains to learn about the Berber way of life before joining a family for traditional bread baking and a cup of mint tea.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the new Divine Destination Collection promotional video here.

With more and more Canadians getting vaccinated, there is renewed hope and excitement about the possibility of being able to travel again. Stay tuned for details on the trips Allison and Deb are planning for when travel opens up once more!

Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto
Souk, Marrakech
Galapagos hammerhead shark

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Looking forward to travelling together again

Looking forward to travelling together again

Looking forward to travelling together again

As spring arrived in Toronto, a third wave of COVID-19 came with it, and another stay-at-home order was issued.

The idea of in-person travelling felt almost impossibly far away as Allison Frame sat down to watch a first cut of the new Divine Destination Collection compilation video she had been working on with producer/storyteller Allyson Reid of Chockablock Media.

“I burst into tears,” says Allison.

The video was so full of stunning footage of all the amazing locations Divine had travelled to, along with clips of travellers talking about once-in-a-lifetime experiences that were even more spectacular than they had imagined.

“It immediately brought me back to why we do what we do. We offer something very special,” says Allison. “It was time to get back on the horse and start thinking about travelling again.

“I got my mojo back!”

Elephants at a watering hole. On safari in South Africa - FB
Video Production
Mountain Gorillas Uganda
Churchill Polar Bears

While travel will obviously depend on how fast the world gets vaccinated, and how effectively we get COVID-19 and all its variants under control, Allison and her Divine Destination Collection co-founder Deb Niven are already starting to plan some possible trips for 2022.

“We had been planning a trip to South Africa before the pandemic broke out,” says Allision. “We’re still hoping to do that, with the addition of a side trip to Uganda to see gorillas, but for our first trip we will probably stay in Canada.”

The beauty of Canada’s north had been calling to Allison and Deb ever since the successful Divine Live and Online experience with polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, last year – but that will depend on many factors, such as whether a mandatory 14-day quarantine will still be in effect.

“A trip to the States could also be a possibility – but everything is up in the air right now,” says Allison. “We’ll continue exploring our options and let our travellers in on the details as soon as we can confirm a great location. We know everyone is eager to get back to travelling!”

Scotland Experience
South Africa Group Photo
South Africa Group Photo

GREAT MEMORIES TO STAY ENGAGED AND HOPEFUL

Until then, both Deb and Allison have relied on some wonderful travel memories to keep them engaged and hopeful about being able to explore the world again.

“The majority of the travel memories that have soothed me over this time are from our Divine Destination Collection encounters,” says Deb.

“I have mused wistfully about the Varty Camp in the Londolozi game reserve in South Africa. The safari, and being up-close and personal with the animals, was beyond captivating. Our accommodations, the team at Varty Camp, and the camaraderie with our travellers was off the charts.

“On top of that, words cannot express appropriately how enchanted and spellbound I was by every second of every minute of every day we were in Scotland. Sacred doesn’t even begin to describe the majesty of the scenery and the way we all opened to deeper parts of ourselves individually, and in connection with one another.”

Africa is also a favourite memory for Allison. “It’s a place of great contrasts – from the modern, funky vibe of Cape Town, to the untouched beauty of the bush, and the incredible majesty of sitting on the edge of the great Victoria Falls. It’s the cradle of humanity. Africa changes who you are.”

Allison has also been thinking about the group’s trip to Peru. “We experienced so much – the sophistication of the coastal city of Lima, the serenity of the Sacred Valley and Cusco, and the mystical ceremonial ruins of Machu Picchu that had been hidden for centuries. Then we flew to the Amazon, chartered a small cruise ship, kayaked with the famous pink dolphins, were mesmerized by jungle wildlife and brought children’s school supplies to a remote village.”

MISSING SUCH GOOD COMPANY

While both Allison and Deb are eager to return to Africa, and Deb wouldn’t mind a luxury Caribbean cruise to some of the more out of the way islands like Mustique and St. Barts – what they want most is to be with their Divine Destination Collection travellers again.

Although many have joined in on the virtual Divine Live and Online adventures, Deb can’t wait for that first event when they can get together in-person with their “like-minded brethren.”

“We have such a connection, and I always come away from engaging with each and every one of our fans with an open heart and a warm feeling. We are all seekers and hungry to experience different cultures. We are open to the journey and just love to have fun. We also all happen to enjoy a great vintage. It’s an amazing combination of wonderful personalities,” she says.

“Many of our travellers have been on multiple trips with us, so we have formed strong friendships,” adds Allison. “Their support and enthusiasm, and their amazing sense of adventure, is just incredible. They truly say ‘yes’ to life!”

Simplicity Beach, Mustique
St.Barts
Galapagos hammerhead shark

A MORE MINDFUL WAY TO TRAVEL

Hope is on the horizon with the vaccine roll-out, and while The Divine Destination Collection is working hard to offer some great travel adventures, they are also looking for travel partners that will help them give back to the places they visit.

For example, while preparing for the upcoming April 28 Divine Live and Online experience with their team in Galápagos, Allison learned that they charge a “carbon off-set fee” to each tourist that goes to purchase land in the Amazon to keep it from being destroyed.

“I need to travel for my soul. I really miss the excitement of new experiences and new locations, but the pandemic has given us time to think about our impact on the world, and the need to be more thoughtful and mindful of where we travel and the effect we have,” says Allison. “We need to be kind to Mother Nature and mankind.”

Galapagos land iguana
Varanasi Sadhus

CONTINUING TO TRAVEL WITH DIVINE LIVE AND ONLINE

In addition to the upcoming Coming Back to our own Nature…Galápagos Islands – A Natural Selection, there are two more Divine Live and Online trips planned for this year.

On Sunday, May 30 you have the chance to travel down winding alleyways to explore the famous Souks, or marketplaces, of Marrakech, and experience the Berber way of life in the High Atlas Mountains with Marrakech Expressions… The Magic of Morocco.

Then it’s time to travel even farther east to Japan for Cherry Blossoms and Kyoto… Between Bough and Zen. Besides seeing the beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom, you’ll 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.

And to keep you excited about travelling in person again, be sure to check out the new Divine Destination Collection promotional video HERE .

Cherry blossoms and parasols, Kyoto

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

FOLLOW US:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER:

Do you want to stay up to date on all our latest trips and events?
Subscribe to our newsletter HERE

Copyright 2012-2021 The Divine Destination Collection | Powered by Wynford TICO Reg. # 2024965