Setting the itinerary for adventure!

Setting the itinerary for adventure!

SETTING THE ITINERARY FOR ADVENTURE!

From the highlands of Scotland, to the beaches of Bali and the game reserves of South Africa, The Divine Destination Collection manages to create the perfect blend of luxury and adventure – along with a unique touch of the spiritual – with every trip.

SO HOW DO THEY DO IT?

The secret sauce turns out to be a whole lot of experience, blended with a generous sprinkling of trusted colleagues around the world, and topped off by a big helping of curiosity and imagination.

“It all starts off with a decision from our Travel Advisory Board on where our next adventure is going to take place,” says Allison Frame, co-founder of The Divine Destination Collection with friend and business partner Deb Niven.

“Creating the Divine-by-Design Travel Advisory Board was one of those Aha! moments,” says Allison. “We thought – why not include the traveller before the travelling actually takes place!”

Deb and Allison present about eight options to the Travel Advisory Board, which is made up of like-minded travellers, ensuring each selection fits in with their signature style – five-star luxury along with a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual dimension.

“Spirituality and hotels are our two anchors,” says Allison. “We do a lot of research on destinations that have a sacred or spiritual pull. Then we make sure the accommodations are outstanding.”

PUTTING THE DIVINE INTO THE DETAILS

With the Travel Advisory Board’s help, an amazing destination is selected – and Deb and Allison start putting the itinerary together for an unforgettable trip.

Since both women have been involved in the corporate meetings & incentive travel business for years, they have a lot of experience to draw on – as well as a large Rolodex (do we still use that word?) full of valuable contacts from around the world!

It always helps to have someone on the ground with local knowledge of how to get around, what to see, and where the best restaurants and hotels are.

That’s why Allison & Deb bring a local Destination Management Company or DMC onboard. They help find unique accommodations and experiences that are impossible to find without a local connection.

“Yes – there are actually DMCs in almost every country around the world! And the great thing is, once they find out how different we are, they are really inspired to dig even further to find more unique & spiritual elements in and around their destination.

“We tell them what we are looking for, but we also ask them for ideas. That’s because we always want to add in a few surprises to delight our guests on every trip,” says Allison.

THE REALITY CHECK

Of course, when something looks great in a photo or on paper, it may not always turn out to be as good in real life. So, Allison and Deb actually take a trip ahead of time to test out all the luxury accommodations, fabulous restaurants, and incredible adventures they are considering for the itinerary.

“It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it,” laughs Allison.

And this reconnaissance mission (aka site inspection) always pays off. For example, for their trip to South Africa, Allison were intrigued by the idea of enjoying a gourmet meal while travelling through the countryside and game reserve on a beautiful antique train from the 1920s.

But when she showed up for the train it was late, and then, instead of a delightful meal accompanied by spectacular scenery, the train stopped on the track and dinner was served onboard a stationary train beside a busy road.

Not exactly the elegant, historical adventure they were hoping for!

To make sure all the food, amenities, and service add up to a truly luxurious and outstanding experience, Deb and Allison stay a night at each hotel – and visit the list of exceptional venues they have lined up for the trip.

“We want to try out all the new and up and coming restaurants & venues – the places that are really generating a buzz,” says Allison. “That’s another reason a good DMC comes in handy – they can often use a connection when it’s hard to get in.”

One of the highlights of the trip to Ireland a few years ago was the opportunity to dine with a local family, and the group is going to feature this experience again when they go to Scotland.

“We use our contacts to meet really interesting, fun people to host a meal. It ends up being a night full of great local food and wonderful conversation – a real window into how people live – and an experience you couldn’t get by travelling on your own.”

Local contacts also help the group navigate through the sometimes confusing travel and customs procedures in different parts of the world.

“In Zambia, as soon as our plane touched down, our DMC was there to collect everyone’s passports and quickly move us through customs & immigration. As a matter of fact, we were at the hotel relaxing and having drinks on the lawn when our fellow passengers on the plane finally arrived,” laughs Allison.

NEXT STOP – THE SACRED SOUTH OF FRANCE AND THE MYSTERY OF MARY MAGDALENE

Allison has already completed the site inspection for next spring’s South of France adventure.

An important part of the trip was speaking to experts in the legend and lore of Mary Magdalene, who is believed to have come to France after the crucifixion of Christ.

“I learned about places she was said to have been, preached, and where she has said to have healed many,” says Allison. “It was like the Da Vinci Code. It was fascinating!

“We also learned a lot about the excellent food and wine in the South of France. I never really cared for Rosés before – but now I’m a convert!”

Stay tuned for the exciting itinerary to be revealed in September. This is a trip you won’t want to miss!

TIPS FROM ALLISON FOR CREATING YOUR OWN ITINERARY

Do your research

– Whether you are looking for the high-end travel of Condé Nast Traveller magazine, or the rough and ready adventures in the Lonely Planet guides, learn as much as you can about your travel destination.

“That also includes checking out travel blogs, reading reviews on Trip Advisor, and talking to anyone you know who has been there.”

But most important, have an open mind

– “Say yes to it all!. That way you will always be surprised and pleased.”

“And if you are up for a great adventure, but just don’t have the time to plan – think about booking a private group trip with us. “We’ll reveal the magic of the destination in a way you never thought possible,” promises Allison.

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Home From The Camino

Home From The Camino

HOME FROM THE CAMINO

Last year we spoke to three travellers who were journeying to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela with The Divine Destination Collection to ask how they were preparing for the trip, and what their expectations were. As promised, we have caught up with them after the May 2019 trip to find out what they experienced.

A SPIRITUAL PORTAL

Jenny Grajpel has always been attracted to exploring the spiritual side of life, so it was the spiritual aspect of the Camino that had really called to her – and it didn’t disappoint.

“I was aware that the Camino was a spiritual portal, or area of high energy concentration – so I knew what to expect and I was open to connecting to it,” says Jenny. “I experienced beautiful insights, transformation, and clarity.”

Jenny also loved the group experience. “I didn’t have to think about things. Everything was taken care of from the moment I was picked up – meals, hotel, transportation. And the standards were very high. I loved being pampered with such outstanding food and wine.

“I remember backpacking in my 20s and spending so much time looking for a place to stay and figuring out where to eat. So I fully understand and appreciate the effort put into all the arrangements.”

The highlight of the trip for Jenny was travelling by horse on the last day of the Camino. “It was wonderful to connect with the horse and see things from a different perspective. After we dismounted, we had a superb lunch in a meadow with wine, rice, seafood and Serrano ham – then we walked the last leg of the journey into Santiago.”

WALKING WITH OTHERS

Kathy Zurla had an idea of what the Camino was going to be like from books and films, “but until you physically experience the Camino, it is completely different,” she says.

“The beautiful Galician countryside, architecture, historical pilgrim stories, and all the different weather elements. It was continually magical.”

A big part of the magic came from the diverse group of people she travelled with on the adventure, says Kathy. “Many had insights into the spiritual side of the journey, pointing out how to allow your heart to stay open to the adventures and signs that can occur along the path.

“I don’t normally have these opportunities in my everyday life, so it allowed for new personal learning and self awareness experiences.”

Although Kathy trained for the trip by walking five to seven miles a day, she says the 100-kilometre trail wasn’t incredibly strenuous. “It’s very doable, even without training.”

A yoga instructor was also on hand to lead the group through stretches first thing in the morning and at the end of the day’s walking to help avoid sore muscles.

Kathy says the trip was extra special for her because she was joined by some lifelong friends from school in Tokyo. “We were like kids again. We relived those Tokyo days and what that meant to us going through life now. Our friendships were made even stronger after walking and experiencing the Camino together. The trip also allowed for making new friends as the group all got along so well together.

“I’m happy that I didn’t go into this trip with a lot of expectations. I allowed myself to experience each day as it happened. The Divine Destination Collection also added the luxury element, which was an extra layer of wonderfulness! This trip truly exceeded any hope I may have had – it was fabulous!”

OVERWHELMED BY HISTORY

The physical challenge of walking 100 kilometres is what led Victoria Worley to the Camino – but she ended up finding it less taxing than she expected, even when carrying a 10-pound backpack. “It was peaceful walking each day,” she says. “You had the whole day to get to your destination. There was no rushing.”

Leaving the world behind and focusing on herself is what Victoria found she enjoyed the most. “You wake up, eat breakfast, and walk. You don’t worry about anything but your own happiness, and how you chose to live your day.

“I never used my phone except to take photos. I never checked my email. It was like being a child again.”

Victoria admits the first day was a bit overwhelming because of the unknown journey ahead, but connecting with the group made all the difference. “I walked with a different person each day. They were all ages and from all walks of life. Whether they knew it or not, everyone had so much to offer me.

“All you had to do was walk and be with yourself, or listen to someone. It makes you so self-aware. I felt I could be who I really am.”

Victoria felt overwhelmed again at the end, when the group made the final walk to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

“Three hundred years ago someone was walking this route. People have been walking this for so long. I was overcome with emotion at the significance of getting to this spot.

“It was a great 10 days. I’d go again in a heartbeat.”

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Deb’s travel tips – interesting lessons learned from a lifetime of travel adventures

Deb’s travel tips – interesting lessons learned from a lifetime of travel adventures

DEB’S TRAVEL TIPS – INTERESTING LESSONS LEARNED FROM A LIFETIME OF TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Deb Niven, who co-founded the Divine Destination Collection with Allison Frame, has gathered a lot of handy tips from planning high-end executive travel programs for some of the biggest companies in North America, as well as from her own private journeys.

Like the people who have been drawn to the Divine Destination Collection trips to exciting and exotic locales like Bali, Peru, and South Africa, Deb craves luxury as well as a touch of the spiritual in all her adventures. She also likes to be comfortable and prepared for her trips.

PACKING YOUR BAG

“I’m a roller!” laughs Deb. “If you roll your clothes you can make the most of the space in your suitcase.” Deb says she only uses packing cubes when she is moving from place to place, as this keeps her suitcase organized – otherwise packing cubes take up too much space.

Four things Deb always packs:

  1. Essential oils, such as lavender to put in the bath or on her pillow to help her relax.
  2. A first aid kit that includes natural remedies such as arnica to relieve muscle and joint pain.
  3. A folded rain poncho to slip in her bag – “Cuz you just never know!”
  4. A pair of comfortable walking shoes that can take Deb from touring the sights during the day, to going out for dinner at night. “That means leave the sneakers at home.”

MAKING THE BEST OF A LONG FLIGHT

There is nothing worse than sitting near a crying baby on a long flight overseas. While Deb says she sympathizes with the parents, she blocks out the hollering with noise cancelling headphones and loads up her iPad or phone with podcasts she’s been meaning to listen to, or the latest blockbuster movie.

Although a lot of people seem to think it’s okay to get on the plane wearing their baggiest sweatpants and oldest concert t-shirt, Deb says you can stay comfortable by choosing an outfit with no buckles or zippers, and wearing slip on shoes to make going through security a breeze.

If possible, try to get up and move around once in a while, or do some in-seat stretches for circulation. While there is no definitive research on how much you should move around while on a plane – standing up or stretching once an hour is a good idea. “You can also throw a pair of support socks in your carry-on bag to stop your ankles and feet from swelling, and make sure you drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated,” she says. 

BEAT THAT JET LAG

Some people are able to fall asleep the minute the plane takes off, but others find it hard to sleep on a plane. That’s why Deb always tries to get a good night’s sleep the night before she leaves on a trip.

“If you arrive at your destination in the early morning, get out into the sunshine and take a brisk walk to acclimatize,” says Deb. “I find it’s important to stay up until a reasonable hour the first evening to get adjusted to the new time zone. If I need to take a nap, I make sure it is for no more than an hour or so.”

BE READY FOR ADVENTURE WHEN YOU LAND!

Make sure you are ready to start exploring as soon as you arrive by doing your research ahead of time so you have a good idea of what’s available to do and see. Download map apps to find your way around, and speak to the hotel concierge to learn about more interesting places to visit.

“It sounds corny, but I’m a big proponent of the ‘Hop on Hop off’ bus tours,” says Deb. “It’s a great way to get the lay of the land and find out if you want to return to certain spots later in your trip.”

ADVICE FOR BEING PRESENT – THAT MEANS NOT THINKING ABOUT LIFE BACK HOME!

Don’t let what’s going on at work or home get in the way of enjoying yourself.

Make sure you set your watch and any devices to the time at your destination. This prevents you from thinking about home or the office. Then turn data roaming off on your phone so you have to make an effort to retrieve emails by connecting to WiFi. It’s also a good idea to set a time and date that you will connect with home to cut down on interruptions to your trip.

“But most important, truly immerse yourself in the destination,” says Deb. “Explore, connect with locals, try food you have never had before, and practice a few phrases of the local language in shops and restaurants. Take advantage of every opportunity and say YES to adventure!

READY FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP?

Check out the Divine Destination Collection’s upcoming trip to Scotland in October. Called Mists, Mystics and the Whisky Trail, you’ll travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh with stops at a variety of magical places in between. Take a look at the full Scottish itinerary and click on the Book Now button to register!

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Hold on to your kilt! We’re travelling to Scotland this October!

Hold on to your kilt! We’re travelling to Scotland this October!

HOLD ON TO YOUR KILT! WE’RE TRAVELLING TO SCOTLAND THIS OCTOBER!

We have announced the exciting itinerary for a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland this October from the 2nd to 10th.

As always, the trip will be full of luxurious accommodation, outstanding cuisine, incredible adventures, and unique spiritual experiences.

Called Mists, Mystics and the Whisky Trail, we’ll travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh with stops at a variety of magical places in between.

Our Scottish adventure starts the moment we touch down in Glasgow. We’ll get a first-hand look at the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands on the way to Loch Lomond, Great Britain’s biggest lake, which is situated by the majestic Ben Lomond, one of Scotland’s most famous Munros, or mountains.

WHERE LUXURY MEETS THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Then it’s on to Fort William where we’ll be staying for two nights at the Inverlochy Castle (a Relais & Châteaux Hotel), a beautiful 19th century castle nestled in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. The scenery is so beautiful that in 1837 Queen Victoria spent a week there sketching, painting and writing in her diary, “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”

The next day will be spent indulging in your choice of classic Scottish pursuits – from clay shooting and archery to sheep dog herding – or jumping on a gondola to check out the view from atop Ben Nevis. You can also opt for a nature walk by the Highland Glen and Loch Leven, or a bike ride along the Caledonian Canal. You’ll discover why Fort William is known as the outdoor capital of the UK, as there is no shortage of waterfalls, trails and forests to explore.

The next morning we’ll venture further into the Highlands and on to the Inner Hebrides towards the Isle of Skye – a journey that will take us into the mystical side of Scotland.

We’ll travel first class in the iconic Jacobite Steam Train, enjoying tea and scones as we pass by such famous sites as the Glenfinnan Viaduct, – nicknamed the “Harry Potter Bridge” after the Hogwarts Express travelled over it in several movies – on your way to Mallaig to board the ferry to Skye.

ONWARDS TO SKYE

Situated off the west coast of Scotland, Skye is known as The Misty Isle, home to dinosaur fossils, abundant wildlife, and Clan castles, as well as “thin places” – where it is said the earthly veil is pulled back to reveal where heaven meets our world.

While on Skye we’ll stay at the delightfully shabby chic Skeabost Isle of Skye Hotel, which was originally built in 1871 as a fishing lodge. The wonderfully named River Snizort runs through the grounds of this charming 18-bedroom hotel, and you can find two small chapels associated with St Columba, the first Christian missionary to Scotland, on an island in the river.

The first night we’ll gather in the hotel’s own chapel, which is now a private dining room, for a fireside dinner complete with music by the local talent.

The next day Skye is yours to explore. You can hike down to the fairy pools, filled with water in an other-worldly shade of blue-green that is believed to have healing powers, or visit the many local artists and artisans who live and work on the island.

No matter what adventure you decide to embark on, we’ll end up at the Talisker Distillery, Skye’s oldest working distillery, for a private whisky tasting of its alluring, full-bodied single malt. Then it’s off to the award-winning Three Chimney’s Restaurant for lunch.

In true Divine Destination Collection fashion – there might be a surprise or two waiting for you during your stay on Skye.

OUTLANDER FANS REJOICE

The following day we’ll travel back to the mainland for our next stop on the itinerary, the famous five-star Gleneagles Hotel (a member of the Leading Hotels of the World), a magnificent countryside estate in the heart of Scotland that was described as a “Riviera in the Highlands” when it opened its doors in 1924. It also has the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars.

But before we get to Gleneagles there is a real treat in store for Outlander fans. We’ll stop at the Culloden Battlefield, the site of the 1746 battle of Culloden that brought an end to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite rebellion and was featured prominently in Outlander. We’ll then move on to the mystical site of Clava Cairns, a prehistoric cemetery full of passage graves and cairns – mounds of rough stones built as memorials and landmarks. These hallowed grounds were the inspiration for Craigh na Dun, the ancient stone circle where Claire travels from 1945 to 1743.

Once at Gleneagles you’ll get the chance to try your hand at falconry, or play a round on one of the hotel’s championship golf courses – one of which, the PGA Centenary Course, hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup.

In the evening you’ll go back in time to the roaring 20s as we transform the hotel’s American Bar into an exciting underground speakeasy…you’ll need a special knock to enter and enjoy the thrill of partying during prohibition.

THE ROYAL TREATMENT IN EDINBURGH

The last two nights are spent in Edinburgh, at the city’s most prestigious address – No. 1 Princes Street. This is the incomparable Balmoral – A Roco Forte Hotel, known as the grand dame of Edinburgh.

Only in Edinburgh can you feel part of history as you walk along the cobbled alleyways of the Old Town with Edinburgh Castle looming overhead, then venture into the Georgian splendour of the New Town for a shopping trip full of all the most luxurious and posh brands. To get a real sense of what it is like to live in this enchanting city, we’ll get the unique opportunity to dine with a local family and experience some delicious home-cooked Scottish cuisine, a dram of two of the finest local whisky, and some great conversation.

A special treat awaits on the last day in Edinburgh – a private visit to the stunningly beautiful Rosslyn Chapel, the setting for the final scene in Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. Then it’s on to experience Edinburgh Castle and raise a pint or two at a local pub before an exclusive farewell evening aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.

You’ll feel like you are in an episode of The Crown as you sip champagne in the State Drawing Room before strolling through the ship – it’s all ours this evening – to see where Charles and Diana honeymooned, and then enjoying an elegant dinner fit for a king or queen, complete with Scottish dancers. You are truly in the Footsteps of the Royals!

ARE YOU READY TO GIVE INTO THE CALL OF BAGPIPES, ROYAL HISTORY, AND SOME OF THE MOST HAUNTING LANDSCAPES ON EARTH?

Take a look at the full Scottish itinerary and click on the Book Now button to register!

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We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

WE’RE ALL IRISH ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY – WHY NOT VISIT IRELAND AND SEE WHAT YOU’RE MISSING!

We all like to say we’re Irish on St. Patrick’s Day – so instead of raising a pint of green beer and toasting the emerald isle – why not plan a visit?

It must be the luck o’ the Irish, because the Divine Destination Collection has a luxuriously curated trip to Ireland just waiting for you. With a minimum of 15 friends and family you can book a five-day private group trip that mixes music, food and history with some incredible one-of-a-kind adventures.

It all starts off with two days in Dublin, the home of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and the band members of U2.

You and your group will stay at the elegant and historic Shelbourne Dublin Hotel, where the Irish Constitution was drafted in 1922 by Michael Collins and his colleagues.

Overlooking beautiful St. Stephens Green, Ireland’s best known Victorian public park, the Shelbourne is close to the great shopping of Grafton Street, as well as the vibrant nightlife found along the banks of the River Liffey, which flows through the city. There is also a genealogist on call at the Shelbourne to help you find out if you have Irish blood!

RAISING A PINT

How can you visit Dublin without dropping into a pub or two for a pint of Guinness?
To make sure you get an authentic pub experience you’ll join in on a pub crawl where musicians playing traditional Irish instruments such as the bodhrán accompany you while you venture from pub to pub.

The next night your group will descend into the 12th Century Crypt of Christ Church Cathedral for a private cocktail reception, complete with a haunting performance of medieval music and a chance to ring the church bells.

After Dublin you’re off to spend two nights in Ballyvaughan, County Clare, where you can expect some delightful surprises awaiting you as you check in to the Gregans Castle Hotel, a stunning 18th century manor house.

During your visit you’ll also enjoy a truly unique way to experience the kindness, hospitality and good humour of the Irish by dining with a local family for a wonderful, home-cooked meal and some good “craic” – the term the Irish use to describe fun conversation and storytelling.

THE SPIRITUAL SIDE

Another great adventure awaits with a ferry ride to Inis Mor (Inishmore), the largest of the Aran Islands and full of windswept beauty and Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic monuments and artifacts. To make sure you get the most out of this experience your group will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who can point out the historical as well as the mystical.

In fact, the opportunity to learn about the spiritual and the mystical is what makes a trip with the Divine Destination Collection truly different from any other journey, and Ireland won’t disappoint.

Ireland has many “thin places,” where it is said that the distance between this world and the next is paper thin and you can catch a glimpse of the divine and forever see the world in a new light.

Some of these thin places include ancient sites such as the Hill of Tara where Gods once lived, St. Brigid’s Well, which is known for its healing powers, and Newgrange, a Stone Age monument and tomb that is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt.

A DEDICATION TO LUXURY

The other feature which makes a Divine Destination Collection trip remarkable is the dedication to the most luxurious accommodations and amenities.

Throughout this Irish adventure you will stay at some of the most beautiful and unique hotels Ireland has to offer, which includes the Shelbourne in Dublin, the Gregans Castle Hotel in Ballyvaughan, and the regal 5th Century Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate in Shannon, the ancestral home of Gaelic Royalty. That is where you’ll spend your final night after an enchanting private garden party, complete with Irish sing-along, held beneath the stars in the castle’s walled garden.

This trip is a great way to bring a group of people together to celebrate a milestone anniversary or a special event such as a 50th birthday. If you are travelling alone or in a smaller group, the Divine Destination Collection plans to offer this trip again in the near future.

In the meantime, if the Celtic fascinates you, learn about the Divine Destination Collection’s upcoming trip to Scotland this October. Bagpipes and a nip of great Scottish whisky might just be in your future!

Have a look at our Ireland itinerary. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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Meet Sue Kenney our Spiritual Guide on the Camino

Meet Sue Kenney our Spiritual Guide on the Camino

MEET Sue Kenney OUR SPIRITUAL GUIDE ON THE CAMINO

In 2001 Sue Kenney was enjoying a successful career as an account executive in the Telecom industry when her life suddenly changed.

She was downsized, without any warning.

“I was completely shocked,” says Kenney. “I knew I had to do something. It was important for me to figure out what I was doing in my life.”

Kenney had seen a television program about walking the Camino and decided an 800 km walk might help her figure out what to do next. “Walking is meditative and walking forward while thinking lets you leave things behind,” she says. “You are able to let go of things.”

Spending six or eight hours a day in nature can also be healing. “There is freedom and joy in being outside,” Kenney says. In Japan, there is even a practice called shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, that believes trees have a direct healing effect on the mind and body.

“Just being around trees puts you in an optimum state of mind. You think more clearly and things come up that you never thought about before.”

Since that first walk in 2001, Kenney has encountered a lot of trees along the Camino. She has walked the trail 25 times, including one particular route that she has travelled 17 times – but she says no journey is ever the same. “It is a different journey because of the people you are with, and how you have changed,” Kenney explains. “It’s very organic.”

Travelling to the Camino with the Divine Destination Collection

This May, Kenney will be joining the Divine Destination Collection as they travel to Spain to walk the Camino. As the group’s spiritual guide, she will share her experiences with the group and give them some tips on what to look out for along the way – but at the same time, she will be careful not to divulge too much about the journey ahead. “I don’t want to tell them too much, or tell them what to experience,” she says. “I’m not creating their journey for them.”

Although most people tend to focus on the beautiful Spanish countryside when thinking about walking the Camino, Kenney says this trip is about people. “We are all being called to walk together in a group we haven’t chosen,” she says. “We’ve been brought together to experience this trip as one, as well as an individual.”

Kenney says it is also important to approach the Camino with an open mind. “You have to open yourself up to the possibilities – to meet people from other countries, and to meet the villagers along the way. It changes you.”

While walking the Camino can be a physical challenge, it is not only about testing yourself, or pushing your limits, says Kenney. You are walking in honour of the other people who are walking the Camino, as well as those who have travelled the Camino before.

In fact, while you walk the Camino you collect stamps in a special passport called the Credencial del Peregrino, as proof that you have walked the distance necessary to obtain your official Compostela or Certificate at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago. With this certificate, you are written into the history book of the Camino and join the millions of pilgrims who have made this special journey.

When is it best for you to walk the Camino?

Like Kenney, many people make their first trip to the Camino after a life-changing experience. Some make the journey after losing someone close to them and are lost about how to carry on. Walking the Camino is a way to honour their loved one.

But the journey can also be a way to celebrate a special occasion or anniversary.

For women, a milestone like turning 50 means their children are finished school and now it’s time for them to do something for themselves. Since the Divine Destination Collection takes care of all the arrangements, they can really focus on what they want to get out of the journey.

But no matter the reason, people just seem to know when they are ready to take the journey, says Kenney.

A barefoot journey

Not only does Kenney love to walk the Camino, but she also loves to walk it barefoot!

“Some people call me the crazy barefoot lady, but I’ve always loved to walk barefoot.” she says. “It makes me feel stronger, and more aligned.

“I especially like to walk barefoot on the forest floor. It’s the perfect moment to reconnect with nature. It’s a powerful experience”

While the Divine Destination Collection group won’t be required to take off their shoes, Kenney will walk some of the way barefoot, and help train those who want to try a portion of the Camino barefoot.

“It starts with walking barefoot around the house and doing things outside like gardening while barefoot. It’s important to strengthen your ankles,” she says.

But whether they walk barefoot or not, Kenney guarantees the group is going to have fun.
“They are going to experience something special and be part of a story that has been passed on.”

To learn more about Sue Kenney and her adventures on the Camino, you can visit her website at www.suekenney.ca

If this journey calls to you, register now as there is only 1 room left…

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