Jessica's 2014 Year in Review

icelandWow, another exciting year has passed by. This one was roller coaster of events and emotions. I would like to share my highlights of 2014 with you…

Firstly, let's start with work. I am loving my job as a Wellness Travel Advisor at Renshaw Travel. This is an avenue Carly (my sister) and I have been pursuing together for the last 3 years. We get to be creative and entrepreneurial which is a lot of fun and very rewarding. We launched this website, www.luxurywellnesstravel.com, earlier this year for The Renshaw Wellness Collection. I have been busy writing all the articles for it which I really enjoy.

In addition to our office in my favourite place in the world, Kitsilano, the world is my office so I was able to have some wonderful work travel experiences; I visited Maui, New York, Montana, Iceland, Greenland and Mexico.

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Greenland with Quark Expeditions

Greenland-resizeIn September of 2013 I was flying back from London to Vancouver. It was a clear day and I was able to see out of the window to the vistas below for the majority of the flight. As I peered out the window I noticed the amazing, never ending glaciers of Greenland. I looked out in wonder and thought, “who goes there? Can anyone travel there?”

Fast forward to September of 2014 and I am traveling to where?….. Greenland!!! I was traveling with the leaders in Polar Expeditions, Quark Expeditions. I boarded the 100 passenger vessel in Akureyri, Iceland and we were off for a trip along the East Coast of Greenland. Traveling with Quark was lovely experience as I was in company so many well-travelled people. The ship was full of doctors, scientists, and modern life explorers who came from countries all over the world. Since most of the guests had travelled to Antarctica before and had experienced the Drake Passage, the one day sailing to reach the fjords in Greenland was nothing for them, however, I felt better lying in my bed for the crossing of the Denmark Strait. Once we got into the fjords though I had no problem with the sea as the water was calm.

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Use it or Lose it: Physical Activity Promotion

physical activityAfter growing up as an athlete, studying kinesiology, working as a personal trainer & volleyball coach before my current career in Wellness Travel, you can see that my passion and expertise lies in the realm of physical activity and physical activity promotion. I live by the motto “Use it or Lose it”, in regards to aging and physical abilities. If we continually move our bodies and train our muscular system and nervous system we can continue to do the things we love to do as our life progresses.

Since the early 1900’s our advancing automatic technology (automobiles, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuums etc.) has taken physical activity out of our lives which has then allowed us more time to be productive??? Or sit and eat? So it is important for us to have a daily exercise routine. Something that allows us to reach just the minimum requirement of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.

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Kamalaya Holistic Wellness Spa: Koh Samui, Thailand

kamalaya beach 03-resizeKamalaya Koh Samui is a multi award winning wellness Sanctuary and Holistic spa ideally located amid a tropical landscape on the southern coastline of Koh Samui, Thailand. With lush tropical vegetation, ancient boulders, cascading streams and 1.5 miles of idyllic private beach, Kamalaya’s natural setting is an integral part of each guest’s experience. Centered around a monk’s cave that once served Buddhist monks as a place of meditation and spiritual retreat, Kamalaya’s essence is expressed in its name, ‘lotus (kamal) Realm (alaya)’, an ancient symbol for the growth and unfolding of the human spirit. 

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Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice

hot springs - resizeAs I walked through the Keflavik airport I noticed a sign, “why burn coal when you have fire?” This reiterated what I was most excited for about travelling to Iceland….. Hot Springs!  Iceland was never part of the original landmass Pangea and was formed all due to Volcanic Activity, similar to the Hot Spot under the Hawaiian Islands. So where there is Volcanic Activity there are hot springs with healing powers all around the country!

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Corporate Wellness Program at The BodyHoliday: St. Lucia

Cabana Body HolidayAre you feeling over worked, stressed and want to regain a sense of balance in life? To help combat this increasing and largely hidden phenomenon, The BodyHoliday has designed the Corporate Wellness Programme all with you in mind.

The Corporate Wellness Programme is a 15 hour training programme (spread over five mornings) that has been designed specifically for those wishing to take more control of their lives and establish a better work/life balance. It aims to broaden the psychological belief systems of participants and enable them to discover their passions, strengths, skills and talents in life and utilise them to their full potential.

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The Blue Lagoon: Balneotherapy in Iceland

The geothermal water of the Blue Lagoon orignates 2,000 metres below the surface where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities. The Blue Lagoon was originally an accidental by-product of this process.Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon was once just a pool that formed from the waste water of Svartsengi. In 1981 people started bathing in the waters as they realized its healing powers for treating skin conditions like Psoriasis. Then in 1992, The Blue Lagoon Company was built and opened a public bathing facility.

 The waters of the Blue Lagoon are deemed with healing qualities. On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals, before emerging at a soothing 38 degree Celsius. Perfect for a relaxing and re-energising bathe. The act of bathing in water for its healing qualities in order to treat disease is known as Balneotherapy. This type of therapy is used to treat arthritis, skin conditions and fibromyalgia.

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Don't look to be the Richest in the Graveyard

When I was young I loved playing the “Game of Life”; a board game where your path in life was up to the random chance of a spinner. One would get a career, get married, have kids, win Nobel prizes, buy a house, suffer a tree falling on their house, then kick themselves that they didn’t buy the house insurance and in the end all the players would end up at the White Mansion. Since in all games there is a winner I was usually confused at the end of this game, who won? Was it the person with the most kids? Was it the person who finished first? Was it the person with the most money?

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World Sporting Events

Emirates Football Wouldn't it be incredible to see Tiger on the Prowl at the Masters? Experience centre court at a Wimbledon Final? Participate in the spectacle of the Super Bowl? How about viewing a Champions League game at Emirates Stadium?  

Through my trusted industry contacts I was able to experience the later September 2013 in London. This was a dream of mine since I was a young child to watch an English Premiere Team play live. I was shocked when I was able to get tickets for an Arsenal vs Napoli Champions League game on the day of the game. This only happened because of who I know.

As a member of Virtuoso, the world's leading luxury travel network, I have the ability to get you access to the world's leading sporting events. Whether you are looking for tickets or you are wanting something as exclusive as playing with a pro at Augusta give us a call. 

Ananda in the Himalayas: India

Ananda Yoga Ananda is a luxury wellness spa located in the Indian Himalayans. This peaceful and tranquil destination spa is located near the city of Rishikesh, which is India’s spiritual centre. Rishikesh was made famous by a visit from the Beatles in 1968. Ananda spreads across 30 acres surrounded by Sal forest and the holy Ganges River.
Why would you choose a destination spa for your vacation? The whole emphasis of the vacation can be placed on wellness and a change in lifestyle. This time is about finding new energy in an all nurturing environment while consulting with health experts in order to achieve personal goals such as detoxing, weight loss, relaxation or rejuvenation. In addition to the 8 wellness packages Ananda Spa offers, this Himalayan bliss is a great place to end a North India Itinerary.

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Mashpi Lodge: Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Mashpi Lodge: A luxury cocoon in the clouds in Ecuador´s biodiverse Andean cloudforest


"A mere three hours' drive west of Quito, Mashpi Lodge is redefining the forest experience in Ecuador and South America. It lies within a private reserve that protects a small piece of one of the world's most important biodiversity hotspots for future generations and the enjoyment of sophisticated and inquisitive travellers. The award-winning lodge received its first guests in April 2012."

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Ecuador: Ama La Vida

Jungle Forest EcuadorEcuador is a jewel of a country located on the middle of the Earth. This country, about the size of the state of Oregon, is home to 14 million people, 25,000 species of plants and 1663 species of birds. As seen in its name Ecuador (Equator) is host to the closest point to the sun which is located at the top of Chimborazo Volcano. Ecuador is made up of 4 distinct regions. They are the Amazon, the Andes, Pacific Coast and Galapagos Islands. All areas are distinctly different and are special in their own way.

Frog MashpiI was on a Virtuoso Study Tour and I was traveling among 12 other travel advisors from across North America. Unfortunately the Amazon rainforest was not a part of our itinerary but I did visit the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest. This is a 3hr drive out of Quito, the nation’s capital. In the cloud forest I stayed at Mashpi Lodge. This is one of two Virtuoso Properties in the country. Mashpi Lodge is located on a biodiversity reserve. Ecuador’s biodiversity is a major reason why it is so beautiful. As soon as I entered the forest it felt like I was in the movie Jurassic Park.

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Cross Country Ski Trips

Cross Country skiing is a sport that most people can learn at anytime. Anyone, regardless of their age or stage of life can enjoy the benefits. It improves your balance, keeps you aerobically fit, it works all the large muscle groups in your body while it helps you stay mobile and active. The sport has long been popular with all ages as it is easy on the joints, with no impact and little risk of hurting yourself. In other words it is perfect lifetime sport. There are two types of cross country skiing: classic skiing which is what most people think of when they think of cross country skiing and skate skiing which is a newer version of nordic skiing. While both types of skiing improve your fitness and help you stay fit for life they come with their own benefits. I recommend starting by learning to classic ski and add skate skiing as you become more proficient and comfortable on the snow.

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'Treetox' at Chewton Glen: New Forest of Hampshire, UK

Chewton Glen Relais Chateaux luxury hotel treehouseChewton Glen is a Luxury Country House Hotel & Spa located in England on the edge of the New Forest National Park. This Relais & Chateaux property is 90 miles (approximately 2 hours) from Central London by car and is situated in one of the richest historical parts of England. At Chewton Glen you will stay in one of the glorious contemporary Treehouses which are set high on stilts in a wooded valley.

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