Last updated on May 18th, 2022
Living the life of your dreams
By Carolyn Ray, Publisher, JourneyWoman
Women’s Travel Wisdom is a five-day travel and wellness retreat designed to empower women through travel, presented by women’s travel leaders JourneyWoman™ and Girls’ Guide to Paris and Beyond. Drawing on the wisdom of 13 best-selling authors, life coaches, activists, award-winning photographers, entrepreneurs and travel experts, speakers will share their wisdom and life experiences to help travelers see the world through a different lens.
Keynote Speaker: Carolyn Ray
Carolyn Ray believes that women will save travel and the world. A passionate traveller, at age 50, Carolyn sold or donated all her worldly possessions to travel full-time after a transformative trip to Kenya with her daughter. In 2019, Carolyn acquired JourneyWoman, the beloved women’s solo travel publication founded in 1994 to empower women as the primary decision-makers in travel. She is a board member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Travel Media Association of Canada.
In August 2021, Carolyn acquired New Zealand-based WomenTravel.info to connect women to women-owned safe, women-friendly tours, retreats and accommodations, creating the largest resource for women’s travel in the world. Trained as a CTI Co-active Coach, she actively mentors emerging leaders and supports female entrepreneurs as a SheEO Activator and is ranked as one of Canada’s top 100 female entrepreneurs on the PROFIT/ Chatelaine W100 list.
“As women, I think we feel a shared urgency to make our world better,” she says. “We look at the women around us, and wonder – how can I empower that woman? What skills do I have that I can teach? We’re lifelong learners – always ready to step in, step up and make sh*t happen. We thrive not on traditional measures of success, but the journey itself.”
What will women learn from you?
At our five-day retreat, Carolyn will share her wisdom on living the life of your dreams.
She says: “Three years ago, I made a radical decision – to rid myself of my worldly possessions and travel the world. I became the downsizing queen and slimmed down from a three-bedroom house to a few boxes and my backpack. Finally, I had achieved my dream – to live where and how I wanted. For the first time since I was 24, I was free. I rented a furnished apartment in Toronto and started plotting my travels.
Then JourneyWoman came along After 30 years of consulting, I stepped into a whole new career of travel writing. My first press trip in March 2020 to Cuba ended on the eve of the pandemic. I stayed near home for almost two years, discovering Ontario. In summer 2021, I started travelling, feeding my need for adventure, connection and curiosity. In August, I went backcountry horseback riding in Banff. In September, I discovered the PEI Camino. In October, I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. After that, I couldn’t stay put. At the end of October, I left on a one-way ticket to Mexico.
I knew life in Mexico would be bumpy, but I decided that the risk to my own well-being outweighed all else. I just couldn’t sit another day feeling like I wasn’t living life on my own terms. I came back to Toronto last week to get my booster shot and plan my next move.
Five things I’ve learned:
1. Set your intention and then let it fly
2. Trust your intuition and see where it takes you
3. Invite the world in (and leave the TV off)
4. Don’t deny yourself joy
5. Act with integrity, even when no one is watching
I will always be grateful for this time. My faith in people has been restored, their kindness and generosity. I’ve had experiences I never would have had, had I stayed home – exploring archaeological sites, cenotes, the ocean. I feel reconnected to myself, and to the world.
My life is so much richer than it was three months ago. Not only did I learn Spanish, I feel like I discovered the soul of a country, reasserted my own independence and rediscovered my essence. This is what travel does for me. It fills my soul and enriches my life. Muchas gracias, Mexico. 🇲🇽
How have you learned from the wisdom of others?
Describing herself as a ‘late bloomer’ by all accounts, Carolyn grew up without many strong female role models but discovered them later in life.
“The one exception is my Nana Jean, who I lived with when I was in my 20s and she in her 70s,” she says. “She was a teacher and lifelong caregiver for her younger sister Evelyn, who contracted polio at age three. From her, I learned about faith, kindness and generosity, and doing things because they are the right thing to do.
My other role model is my 21-year old daughter Alyxandra, who always inspires me to go beyond what I think I’m capable of. There’s no harder challenge than being a single mom and a woman in business. When I am faced a challenge, I think of her, knowing she’s watching and learning from my actions, I work harder to be a better person.”
Women’s travel Wisdom keynote speakers include Lola Akinmade Åkerström, Doni Belau, Diana Eden, Brenda Holder, Caren Osten, Debbie Phillips, Carolyn Ray and Loung Ung.
Workshop leaders, including Amanda Burgess, Robyn Griggs-Lawrence, Nora Livingstone, Shawna Robins and Krista Stanley, will provide practical tools to help women travel with intention, incorporating mindfulness, wabi-sabi, animal conservation and Indigenous wisdom.
Attendance is limited to 80 women. Learn more at www.womenstravelwisdom.com.
Join Caren Osten, Carolyn Ray, and Doni Belau on February 9 as we discuss the Power of Positivity & Mindfulness
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 7 PM EST and 4 PM PST
More than ever, right now we need some positive thinking and mindfulness to get ourselves through the day, am I right? Caren Osten is certified in positive psychology as well as a life and career coach who writes regularly for the NY Times among others. Caren will be speaking at our Women’s Travel Wisdom retreat in the fall. Join us for this mind-awakening webinar as we discuss how our thoughts affect our lives in big ways.
Sign up here!