Kylie Chenn, of Acanela, joins Chris and Jerry to talk about this unique company. Inspired by incredibly talented artists in third world countries to share their talents with the world, Acanela offers a wide variety of itineraries, including trekking, adventure, culinary, and photography, to India, Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe, and other world-wide destinations. What sets her tours apart from others, is the ability for the tour members to actually participate with these artists as they cook, design, and paint. Her culinary tours allow tour members to learn to cook local cuisine in homes and with noted chefs in the area. Her unique Artisan Expeditions incorporate instructional classes from local artists, giving them a means to monetize their skill. You'll enjoy Kylie's sense of humor, dedication, and love of introducing tour members to these rarely-offered opportunities.Read More
We sat down with Kylie Chenn, the Director of Operation and Strategy (aka Founder and CEO) of Acanela Expeditions to talk about combining influencers and paid social to maximize your reach and return. Having built and scaled Acanela from her time at BYU to a brand that now teams up with major brands and has been reviewed and partnered with all the publications below, Kylie gives great insight into the best ways to mix influencer and paid traffic together.Read More
Airports and airplanes are germ central. The good news is, they don’t have to be! Airports are full of travelers that have been from one end of the globe to the other, making way for germs to follow in their footsteps. Taking precautions before you leave your home and again when you arrive at the airport is a guaranteed way to lessen your chances of bringing germs home with you on your return flight.Read More
Traveling solo can be one of the most thrilling experiences you encounter. It takes a little bit of courage and a little bit of planning to ensure you are both safe and able to navigate your way through a new country.
What can be scary (or even a little daunting) is taking that leap of faith and seeing the world through your own lens. Of course these days, we can support our travels by keeping connected with our loved ones and checking in at each stop. When you’re traveling solo, keep these tips in mind:Read More
Iceland has become one of the world’s top travel destinations, and with good reason. It’s a land of never-ending wonder. From milky, turquoise lagoons to bubbling geysers and rushing waterfalls to sprawling, grassy hills, the natural beauty is unmatched. If you’re planning a trip to this breathtaking country, or even a journey to Northern Scandinavia, packing can be overwhelming. Here’s a list of all the essentials you won’t want to forget!Read More
Christmas—a time for family gatherings, festive cheer, and good food. More than 160 countries in the world celebrate Christmas, each with their own unique rituals and culinary traditions. From Peru to Italy, check out how these 8 countries like to feast on this special day!Read More
One day a member of our team suggested that we start doing giveaways, which I thought was a brilliant idea — and one that felt very feasible at the time. Ultimately it was this idea that started our company on a journey of nonstop growth.
Here’s the magic word, giveaways.Read More
From the shores of Tangier, Morocco, it appears you can reach out and touch the sprawling hills of Andalusia—Spain’s southernmost region. A short 30-minute ferry ride across the glistening Strait of Gibraltar, where Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea meet, is all that separates these countries. The proximity between Morocco and Andalusia makes for a unique history full of shared culture and cuisine. There’s no place quite like this special corner of the world, and it’s a must-see destination for every traveler. Explore the wonder of where Europe and Africa meet.Read More
Say Hello to Stephanie, our Sonoma Sweepstakes Winner! As I sit here drinking my Pukka tea, which was served all weekend at the Yogascapes retreat and they supplied us with special goodies, I am reminded of one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on.Read More
This November Brooke and Scott had the opportunity to travel to Punta Islita, Costa Rica as the winners of our Acanela Costa Rica Sweepstakes in partnership with PINCHme, Shopstyle, Newser, Brit & Co, Vinepair, and Rank and Style. They had the experience of a lifetime, and were gracious enough to share their story with us!Read More
Our Largest Sale of the Season!
We are excited to announce our Acanela Top 10 Travel Experiences 2018, a list that highlights all the top destinations, activities, and experiences for this upcoming year! Take advantage of largest sale of the Season with exclusive DISCOUNTS on ALL of our 2018 Top Travel Experiences! SAVE up to $1000 on each of our trips using the Exclusive Codes shown below! In addition, we will be donating 2% of all revenue to our local Artisan communities in an effort to help alleviate poverty around the world!
1) Safari in Africa
Botswana Safari: Embark a journey through the wild landscapes of South Africa, Zambia, & Botswana. Experience the culture, animal life, and stunning landscapes of three of Africa's most beautiful countries while visiting breathtaking locations such as Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, and the Okavango Delta. Feel close to the heart of the savannah while staying at some of the most beautiful safari accommodation Africa has to offer. Botswana Safari - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
Tanzania Serengeti & Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: The Serengeti is one of the world's most sought after safari lands. It is home to some of the largest numbered animal herds and indigenous tribes in all of Africa, and is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site the Serengeti boasts numerous lakes and rivers, the Great Rift Valley, and the world's largest caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater. The Serengeti is also within easy reach of Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar Islands, the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Embark a journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda - home to the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the mountain gorilla – now one of the rarest animals on the planet. There are nearly 800 mountain gorillas in the world and more than 450 of them reside in Uganda – mainly found in the epic Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Still one of the world’s best kept natural secrets, Uganda in home to pristine lakes, majestic mountains, and some of the most incredible wildlife in Africa. Tanzania Serengeti Safari & Uganda Gorilla Trekking - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
2) Morocco to Spain | Two Continents in One!
Morocco: Few countries hold as much dreamy fascination for travelers as the beautiful country of Morocco. Desert fortresses rise out of the sands of the Sahara. Sapphire oceans caress white sandy beaches. The purple peaks of the Atlas Mountains glitter with snow. Visit Morocco to see all of these sights and more. Behind every city wall is an adventure in art, architecture and cuisine. The winding alleyways of the Medina give way to the bustling souks, tent after tent filled with brightly colored silks and baskets of spices. Morocco is made up of four different areas: the Sahara desert, full of Berber towns and oases; the Atlas and Rif Mountains, perfect for hikers; the plains which are home to the imperial cities of Marrakesh and Fez; and finally the sandy coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, graced by small beach towns and the cities of Rabat and Casablanca. Morocco Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
Spain: Andalusia ranks as the largest region in Spain, stretching south from the sunny cities of Cordoba and Grenada all the way to the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Andalusia embodies the classic image of Spain to the fullest, from the flamenco dancing and bullfighting to the flamboyant nightlife and ancient architecture. Andalusia also boasts many delicious foods, offering travelers a chance to stimulate their palettes while exploring the region. Andalusia Spain Culinary Tour - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
3 & 4) Culinary Journeys to Greece & Italy
Greece: The islands are the main characteristic of Greece’s morphology and an integral part of the country’s culture and tradition. Greek sovereign land includes 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 islands are inhabited. This is a truly unique phenomenon for the European continent.The Greek Islands are known for its volcanic-sand beaches, whitewashed buildings, blue roof tops and crystal-clear waters. You will have an adventure of your lifetime exploring ancient ruins, different islands, outdoor water sports and more! Santorini Greece Culinary Tour - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
Italy: Set amid some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, these five ingeniously constructed fishing villages can bolster the most jaded of spirits. Rooted in antiquity, Cinque Terre's five villages date from the early medieval period. Monterosso, the oldest, was founded in AD 643, when beleaguered hill dwellers moved down to the coast to escape from invading barbarians. Riomaggiore came next, purportedly established in the 8th century by Greek settlers fleeing persecution in Byzantium. The others are Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola. Much of what remains in the villages today dates from the late High Middle Ages, including several castles and a quintet of illustrious parish churches. Cinque Terre Italy Culinary Tour $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
5) Northern Lights in Iceland & the Arctic
Iceland: At a place where two continents quite literally brush up against each other, Iceland is a dynamic land of fire and ice. Get up close to natural wonders as you make your way through lava tubes, observe active volcanoes, and watch for whales off the coast. From geysers to glaciers, the elements are on full display in Iceland. Walk atop a glacier in Vatnajökull National Park, and visit the iceberg-dotted Jökulsárlón lagoon. Relax at the famous Blue Lagoon with geothermal water. Stroll along the black-sand beaches at Reynisfjara, and visit waterfall and glaciers everyday! Iceland Nothern Lights Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
6) By Rails & Waterways through Eastern Europe
Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary: Unlock the lesser-known, picturesque side of Europe with this expedition combing cityscapes, national parks, and rolling countryside, while exploring then in depth along the way. Learn about the complicated history of Eastern Europe while sampling delicious local cuisine, visiting majestic castles and fortresses, and exploring pristine national parks. Travel by train through the countries of Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary while stopping along the way to explore pristine mountains, traditional castles, and wineries. Enjoy food and wine tours through Prague, Slovakia, and Hungary as we dine on delicious Eastern European food. Explore the lesser-known Tatra Mountains in Slovakia as we explore and coe to understand the developing eco-tourism in the area. Enjoy daily discussions with local artisans who will help you engage with a new place and new traditions and turn them into memories, stories, and photos that will last a lifetime. Eastern Europe Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
7) Southeast Asian & Indian Temples
Thailand, Cambodia, & Vietnam: What better way to experience Asia than a dedicated culinary tour to savor its tapestry of tastes, colors, and smells? This culinary expedition is specially designed for gourmet enthusiasts with an appetite for cooking, eating, and adventure. Explore Bangkok’s streets as you discover diverse Thai curries, prepare noodle soup alongside the top Vietnamese chefs, and mingle in the Cambodian market crowds as you select local spices. Visit the beautiful Ankor Wat Temple in Cambodia (one of the new 7 wonders of the world), tour local floating markets and ancient fishing village, and take a boat ride through the Mekong Delta & rice fields of Vietnam. Southeast Asia Culture & Cuisine Tour - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
India: Welcome to India, home to prestigious maharajas, majestic forts, glittering palaces, and divine cuisine. Rajasthan (Northern India) is a land of sand dunes, jungle, camel trains, wild tigers, glittering jewels, vivant colors, and succulent curries. The tranquility of the old cities, the bustle of ancient bazaars, and the lively culinary scene – have more than enough to offer. Dive deep into traditions, history, and great food. Kerala (Southern India) is famed for its delightful people, tropical scenery, and delicious food. On our culinary and cultural journey we will be exposed to a diversity of experiences. We will dine on succulent coconut curries, seafood straight from the Malabar Coast, rotis and naan hot out of the tandoori oven, spiced vegetables, sweet lentil dishes, and an assortment of meats doused in delicious masalas. India & the Taj Mahal Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
8) Cherry Blossoms & Ramen in Japan
Japan: Kyoto & Tokyo are exceptional destinations for those who truly want to discover authentic Japanese cultures. Museums, shrines and temples, cuisine, theater and shopping all merge at your doorstep to offer a seemingly endless choice of diversions. From your centrally located hotel, you will find famous sites such as the Fushimi Inari Jinja Shrine, the Kiyomizu Temple, and Nijo-jo Castle are only a short walk away. Your home for this week is also strategically positioned to take full advantage of the professional kitchens where you will cook during your stay. Led by an expert chef, you will be exposed to a variety of culinary and cultural highlights designed to fully immerse you into the Japanese way of life. Kyoto to Tokyo Japan Tour - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
9) Macchu Picchu & the Amazon | Peru
Peru: Join us on an epic adventure through the Amazon Jungle and across ancient Aztec & Incan ruins where you will learn how to capture the culture, history, and landscapes of Peru on camera. Climb Machu Picchu at sunrise, visit the bustling markets of Ollantaytambo and Pisac, experience a home stay in an isolated Incan village, and canopy walk through the Amazon jungle. Travel with some of the best trekking guides and local photographers that Peru has to offer. Peru Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
Ecuador: Join us as we adventure to the Equator, visiting Quito, hiking Mount Cotopaxi, and visiting the diverse nature reserves of the Amazon jungle and the Galapagos Islands. Learn how to capture the culture, wildlife, and landscapes of Ecuador & the Galapagos on camera. This is a fantastic opportunity to make memories of a lifetime & develop a photo portfolio of your own that can be proudly shared with the world. Ecuador Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
10) Crossing Drake's Passage to Antarctica
Antarctica: Join Acanela on an amazing journey to the 7th Continent. Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and this expedition offers you the chance to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where nature creates the rules, her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal. Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through crackling sea ice like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, and navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights and exhilarating adventures, and will create memories to last a lifetime. Antarctica Expedition - $500 Off with code "BLACKFRIDAY"!
Congratulations to one of our sweepstakes winners, Stephanie Sturgeon who won a 3-day Acanela x Yogaescapes retreat in Sonoma Valley, California. She just completed her trip this August and is excited to share her story with you.
Throughout the end of the year and into next year we will be featuring the stories of our sweepstakes winners who have embarked out on trips with Acanela and our Partners over the course of the past couple months. Hopefully their stories will inspire you to continue your travel aspirations and one day will also travel with Acanela.
There is a well known ancient Japanese tale about a tea master and a samurai. Centuries ago, there was a tea master who served a great lord. The tea master was able to perform the tea ceremony to such a perfection that the lord was awestruck by his skills and bestowed on the tea master the rank and robes of a Samurai warrior. One time while traveling with the lord, the tea master encountered a Samurai warrior and offended him by pure misunderstanding. Because of the robes, the tea master was wearing, the Samurai warrior thought he was also a Samurai, only to find out he was a mere tea master, it only angered the Samurai warrior further, so he challenged the tea master to a duel the following day. Terrified by his inevitable failure and death from battling a trained Samurai, the tea master accepted his fate turned to his master and asked to learn how to die with the honor of a Samurai. The lord replied, “I will teach you as you request, but before I do so, I’d like to ask you to perform the way of the tea for me one last time.” The tea master agreed and started the ceremony. He performed the ceremony with such confidence, tranquility, grace, and honor, all the fear disappeared. Instead through his every move he perfectly demonstrated the true peace and humility within him just like a true Samurai warrior does. “There you have it.” The great lord smiled and said, “No need to learn anything of the way of death. Your state of mind when you perform the tea ceremony is all that is required. When you see your opponent tomorrow, imagine that you are about to serve tea for him. Salute him courteously, prepare yourself for the battle with the same serenity as you did when preparing for the tea ritual. Draw your sword and hold it high above your head, gaze into your opponent’s eyes with the same concentration as you have while preparing tea. Then you are ready for combat.” The following day, the tea master followed exactly as the great lord instructed. The Samurai warrior was astounded by every move and even the gaze of the tea master, he bowed respectfully and, asked for forgiveness and retreated from the battle without even raising his sword.
Chao-Do in Japanese means the way of tea. Similar to martial arts and any other forms of art that’s considered a Do, to study this art, it is more than the study of tea or the ritual, Japanese tea ceremony and the art of tea has very deep philosophical meanings as well. For one to become a master of the tea ceremony, it takes years of disciplined practice, even a whole life time of true dedication and devotion to become a true master. Aside from mastering the rich knowledge of the art of tea, mastering the art of tea ceremony is also a practice of unlocking one’s inner peace or Zen if you will.
The ceremony I booked at Camellia (the flower location) consists of three parts. Introduction of the tea ceremony, watching the teacher making tea, and learn how to make Matcha ourselves. The tea house is tucked away in a quiet alley near the Kiyomizu-dera. There were 3 other girls from Saudi and myself booked the first appointment on that day. As soon as all parties arrived, we were led to one of the tea rooms in the upstairs. Authentic tea rooms are very small, only consist of 4 and a half tatami mats, and can only fit maximum 5 guests. The entrance to a tea room is only 60cm high and wide, why? Because everyone in a tea room is to be equally respected. For one to enter the tea room, one must bow in order to fit through the door to get in. The Same rule applies to even Kings or Queens, for obvious reasons, you’ve gotta bow to even get through the door. So now you know, if you ever see a tiny door in a shrine or a temple, you now know that’s a tea room behind that tiny door. Quickly we sat on the cushions placed on the tatami mat, cell phones silenced, minds quieted, we were ready for the ceremony to begin.
The teaching began with some brief background introduction of the tea ceremony. One thing I found interesting and rather mind boggling was the Sensu- Japanese folding fan used when taking a bow as a symbol of respect. Here is a funny notion, this fan is never to be opened and only to be carried and placed in front of you or on you while taking a bow. If it’s hot in the room and you had to use a fan, bring another one. You just can’t use this one.
In the teaching of Cha-do, there are four principles of Chado, 和（Wa-harmony): a sense of oneness with nature, people, and the utensils. 敬 (Kei-respect): respect for one another in the tea room, as well as the utensils. 清 (Sei-purity): in a formal tea gathering, everyone attends the ceremony must purify oneself before entering the tea room. Similar to the purification ritual people do before entering a Shinto shrine. One must enter a tea room with clean hands, a clean mouth, and a clean mind. 寂 (Jaku-tranquility): the essential purpose of practicing the way of tea, or attending a tea ceremony is to find one’s inner peace like a form of meditation if you will. Coming from the busy world outside, after entering the room, this space is for one to quiet down the mind and eventually reach the tranquil state of the mind. What I found rather profound was this. Jaku is the point in one's training and practice where a level of selflessness is reached. While on the one hand, it is the ultimate goal, on the other it is the beginning once again. A true master reaches this highest level and then putting the ideals of harmony, respect, and purity into practice, begins again with a fresh and enlightened heart. At this point, the endless possibilities of life can be realized. This tranquility is far from the stillness and nothingness we interpret. It is a dynamic force of one’s innermost being that infuses the practice of Tea and gives significance to the tea ceremony, and a deeper understanding of life.
The interesting thing was, as soon as Norie began the tea ceremony, I lifted my camera and got myself in position ready to shoot, but it didn’t take long before I lowered my camera and just purely focused on watching her. I began to be so drawn to her, drawn to the way she moved, the steps she took while making the tea. Her movements were swift, gentle, yet even to the smallest details of her motion was….. significant and with purpose. It wasn’t just her, it was the unity of her and the utensils she held, the room we were in, and the presence of the four of us strangers.
Because I sat closest to the scroll that was hanging in the room, supposedly the seat of the guest of honor, (thank you very much :)) I got to have the tea prepared by the teacher. Honored indeed I felt when Norie presented me with the bowl. I held the bowl with my left hand, hugged the side of the bowl with my right hand (which is the right way to hold a tea bowl, FYI). I took two big gulps and finished the tea quickly. Instantly, I felt the caffeine kicked in. It was some powerful stuff if you gulp it down like that, just a friendly warning. In the end, as instructed, I lifted the bowl up and slurped to get the very last drop of the tea as a gesture to pay my compliment of how delicious the tea was. The tea was so creamy and thick with a very rich flavor. Took me by surprise considering it was made by hand not some fancy powerful espresso machine. We were told is the thinner form of Matcha called Usucha, there is another type, which is called Koicha, it’s much thicker with a paste consistency and much more flavorful. Usucha is meant for individuals to enjoy, where Koicha is meant to be shared because of its thick consistency.
Now we have watched the teacher making tea, it was our turn to make tea. We were each given a bowl and a Chasen (the tea-whisks).
The process of making the tea is harder than I thought. Kneeling on the floor, body up straight, with one hand holding the bowl, the other holding the tea-whisk. You see, all that vertical (has to be vertical only, as instructed by the teacher) whisking motion was all in the right wrist, also considering the posture I was in, which was awkward, not to mention I was whisking in a small shallow bowl, with firmness, precision, and as much grace as I could manage. It truly is an art, to make a bowl of beautiful looking tea with the right consistency and the creaminess, and to do so beautifully, and effortlessly.
While we enjoyed our own cup of creamy Matcha tea with some sweets, the teacher closed the session with the explanation of the hanging scroll on the wall and the philosophical meanings behind the decorations in the room. For each gathering, a different scroll is hung, a different flower arrangement is prepared to create a particular theme. For this one, the scroll reads “無心“, meaning empty mind or free mind. A message from the host, “spend each moment in life with a clear mind free from fear, anxiety, and desires.”
Before our departure, the teacher shared one last Zen philosophy, “一期一會“, meaning “once in a life time opportunity”. Each encounter happens only once in our lives, and each encounter happens in its own unique way. Even in the same tea room, everything about each gathering changes, the room decors, the guests, even the state of being of the same host. So as nature intended, everything in life changes, so treasure each moment in life, as it only happens once in a life time.
As a foreigner, it might take me more than a life time to have a full understanding or even a good grasp of Chado. But from this short 30-minute encounter of the art, I think it’s a rather beautiful thing for one to never fully understand it, instead to continue discovering the art and the endless philosophy behind it. Because as that Zen phrase states, each tea ceremony is once in a life time event, so is everyday life. Each moment can evolve organically and each moment can change its own course so differently from the previous moment to the next. And that is the beauty and the fun of life. It is an once in a life time opportunity for us to live and appreciate each and every moment. Appreciate it with a free mind clear from fear and anxiety, ready to create the next moment from a brand new you!
Jenny Cadwallader is a photographer and traveler. Follow her blog Espresso Yoga Traveler.