When Chelsea Brown first travelled to Jordan in 2017, it was to support a Canadian refugee initiative. But, while she was there, she also did a little exploring on her own and was immediately captivated—partly by the place, but mostly by the people. She hung out with curious children in bustling streets on the outskirts of Amman, had serious sit-downs with women working on the frontlines of the refugee crisis at the United Nations, and dined with Jordanian NGO ambassadors, television-show hosts, and fashion designers. The whole time she found herself thinking, “Everyone should have experiences like these.” And, as of October, they will.
Brown, a Toronto native, avid volunteer, and vice president of a boutique consulting firm, already had a glimmer of an idea for a company in her head—one that would combine the best elements of travel, global citizenship, and human connection. “I really wanted to come up with a way to bring people together, to inspire an inclusive network of people united by their sense of community and compassion,” she says. “Through new, unexpected connections, personal storytelling, and immersive experiences, I believe it’s possible.” This has become a mission statement of sorts for her new travel and lifestyle company, Millie, which officially launches this fall.
The adventures are geared towards women only, and the goal is to provide intimate, authentic travel experiences on every journey for groups of 10 to 12. Brown has returned to Jordan four times since her initial visit, laying the groundwork for a travel experience like no other. (The first trip to Jordan will be in October with more to follow in 2019.)
The itinerary will include the best in luxury travel fare: hiking in the stunning archaeological site of Petra; sleeping in an elegantly appointed Wadi Rum bubble tent in the desert; snorkelling from a sailboat on the Red Sea; and unwinding in a mud wrap at a high-end spa on the Dead Sea. However, these lavish experiences go beyond mere indulgence—at the core of each activity is an opportunity for connection.
When you wander through Petra’s ancient caves, you might be guided by Mahmoud, who will offer you a perspective you won’t find elsewhere. Mahmoud quickly steers you off the beaten path to scale a small hill until, suddenly, you’re inside a cave he spent much of his childhood in—as a kid, Petra was his playground. Then, while relaxing on a carpet in the cool shade of a cave in the Wadi Rum desert, you might be fortunate enough to enjoy a traditional Bedouin lunch prepared by, and shared with, a local family. Later, in Amman, you might mingle with dignitaries at the Canadian ambassador’s mansion, or dine in the company of politicians, intellectuals, and individuals like Ghada Saba, a fearless, indomitable woman who, among other things, founded an NGO to help abolish forced marriages in Jordan.
Best of all, these connections won’t gradually fade away with every kilometer of your return flight—another aspect of Millie is its speaker series, along with other events that keep the conversations, connections, and sense of global community going.
“Millie isn’t about on-and-off-the-bus touring,” Brown says. “My goal is to create life-changing journeys that will inspire women to expand their global perspectives and make a lasting impact, both in their lives and in the places they travel to.
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