Incredible Wellness Destinations: Tim Lucier Of Northern Edge Algonquin On Why & How Traveling Can Help Us Heal

Incredible Wellness Destinations: Tim Lucier Of Northern Edge Algonquin On Why & How Traveling Can Help Us Heal

Create an intention or inspiration for your travel / trip — a meaning, purpose, or outcome you are hoping to achieve — or a way you are hoping to engage with your discoveries. Write it down. This can be simple or detailed, and can shift and flow as things evolve — but it can set the stage for transformation.

The pandemic has shaped the way we travel and live, with a growing trend leaning towards health, wellness, and a holistic lifestyle. More than ever, individuals are seeking not just getaways, but immersive wellness retreats that help rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul. Destinations that provide a serene environment, unique wellness offerings, and an unparalleled experience are in great demand. In this interview series, we are talking to property owners and hospitality companies who are at the helm of these wellness havens. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Lucier, the Director of Operations at Northern Edge Algonquin: Transformational Retreat Center.

As the son of Northern Edge co-founders Martha & Todd, Tim enjoyed a unique upbringing, living & working in an environment for wellness, transformation, and sustainable tourism at “The Edge”. He is a lover of all kinds of movement practices, and teaches yoga, handstands & inversions, animal flow, and aerial yoga in addition to programming around habit development, and finding joy through minimalism. Tim is also an avid traveler who has transformed his health and his outlook on life by embarking on his own transformational ‘remote work’ sabbaticals, primarily in Greece.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Ithink I’ve had a pretty unique childhood, having grown up surrounded by retreats and eco-tourism. The Edge began as my family’s off-the-grid cottage, and at the time was home to nature-based experiences, spiritual retreats, outdoor recreation programs, and that definitely created a unique perspective for me — both with ways of dealing with people, and with witnessing how people were seeking deeper levels of connection and healing in their travel experiences. At the age of 8 I was teaching Tibetan Monks how to swim — so pretty unique.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My parents are of course my biggest inspiration in this kind of work. They are each amazing transformational leaders — dad with a focus on corporate team-building and sustainable, experiential tourism, and mom with a focus on circle work, earth-based spiritual community. I actually kind of fell into this as a career — I came back to the Edge to help, and ended up taking on a level of responsibility that can’t be given back. At some point, I did make the conscious decision to pursue transformational leadership — it was at a time when I had the leadership skills but felt imposter syndrome about what I had to offer beyond leading groups. This led me to pursue certifications in the Konmari Method and yoga. Marie Kondo and James Clear have become really big inspirations for me as well — they both hold a lot of wisdom that has gotten me hooked on de-cluttering and habit development.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I don’t really think of myself as “successful” — but I do think I’ve found a balance that allows me to live joyfully and have health and wellness and a job I love that I feel is making an impact. Again, I’d say my parents modeled this for me — but there was a moment in the pandemic where I was feeling very out of place. I very much wanted to move to Greece — but I didn’t want to step away from the Edge. I also recognized that I could do a lot of my work remotely, from time to time though of course running a centre like this requires your presence. It was actually my therapist at the time that gave me the push. He told me, “Most people in this situation are running away from something — but for you, the destination hasn’t changed. It’s Greece and it has been for years. I think you just need to go for it.” And that pushed me to have the conversations I needed to have, to set up my first remote-work-cation. Now it’s a regular part of my life, and essential to my feeling balanced in work and life.

It has been said that sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?

On day 3 of a leadership retreat, during a sharing circle, a participant of colour expressed that she wouldn’t name names, but she felt the impact of micro-aggressions from one of the many leaders that she felt were due to her race. When the talking stone came back to me, heart-pounding, I was certain that I was the person and that my actions in a moment of distraction had been interpreted that way. I apologized very publicly, not excusing my actions but really modeling a proper apology that took ownership. It turned out it wasn’t me she had been referring to, and in the end it was a really transformative moment for many in the circle — demonstrating how to take ownership and apologize for something so scary to take ownership over. My heart was pounding for the rest of the day. My takeaway was that our actions can be interpreted so many different ways depending on people’s perspectives — and while I had not engaged in micro-aggressions nor been accused of it, my heart was telling me that I had made mistakes. It’s good to recognize how our actions can impact others and also to know that it’s okay to make mistakes, and best to just take ownership of them.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Everything ever said by James Clear in his newsletter. Honestly, there are new gems every week.

Right now I’m liking “”When in doubt, just say thank you. There is no downside. Are you honestly worried about showing too much gratitude to the people in your life?” — James Clear

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Well — one that we’re really excited about is we’ve just completed building a brand new, 100 square foot movement space with sprung dance studio flooring and hanging points for up to 14 aerial silks. It’s beautiful and we’re hosting a combined SUP Yoga Teacher Training and Aerial Yoga Teacher Training certification retreat which will help leaders to add to their toolbox of offerings.

We’re also excited to unveil our new Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship which will be offered each year to 2 participants to attend any Signature Experience offered by Northern Edge Algonquin in that calendar year. This scholarship was created to welcome and include those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as part of another marginalized community who have been historically excluded, and covers 75% of retreat costs. We’re offering this scholarship in recognition that having diverse voices at our retreats makes for better, more inclusive experiences. It is funded directly by Northern Edge Algonquin and by the donations of previous attendees and other community members. Although it’s small now, my hope is that it will grow and help us to bring a bit more balance, as retreats have long been very white-centered spaces.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about wellness destinations. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or personal experience, why do you think travel can lead to better wellness? Can you share a story?

Provides us with experiences and stories from others — can learn from different people and backgrounds. Keeps us fresh and feeling alive, invigorated, energized. Gives us a fresh perspective on life, our life, the way we do things. Provides a wealth of gratitude for this earth, and our surrounding homelife (especially when travelling home from a less fortunate country). Travel gives us the bird’s eye view of life, vs a narrow focus. Allows us to view ourselves as an integral piece of the puzzle.

What are a few things which distinguish your property from thousands of wellness properties around the world?

Firstly, our community of leaders. Our team consists of a large group of passionate people with various leadership backgrounds & career paths who inspire connections among our guests. From yoga instructors and outdoor enthusiasts, to therapists, healers, and teachers, our community is rich with knowledge, passion, and experience which enhances each retreat experience in a very special way. We pair our facilitators up with each other based on the unique gifts and offerings that each person brings, in order to deliver an enriching retreat experience.

Secondly, the Edge is a social enterprise, dedicated to offering experiences that maximize human and environmental wellness. The Edge’s mission ‘Rediscover ourselves, empower each other, and heal the earth’ invites our guests to support a dream of personal fulfillment through caring and connecting. We aim to help our guests experience greater joy in aspiring to join us in being the change we wish to see in the world. Our center is not a “resort” but an oasis from the busy world.

As well, our sustainable living practices are one-of-a-kind. As far as we know, we’re the largest solar-powered retreat center in Canada, and we pride ourselves on our off-grid principles and way of living. From each building’s intentional design and inspiration, to our locally sourced products and ingredients, every thing we do at the Edge is done with purpose and intention…

What type of experience do you want your visitors to have when they visit?

It is our hope that each guest experiences a level of personal transformation, inspiring them to re-discover themselves, empower each other, and heal the earth. We want our guests to leave the Edge feeling inspired and with full hearts and souls. Want to have a positive effect on one’s spirit and outlook on life. An experience that imprints on the way they live their life away from the Edge…

What makes your property a beautiful escape for a body and mind recharge?

The fact that we’re completely off-grid — no cell service or wifi — really allows for a deep personal detox of everyday life stressors. Our guests are able to fully unwind and decompress from their day-to-day life without the distractions of technology. The benefit of being fully off-grid for even just one day is huge.

The landscape of our location also supports a beautiful escape for a mind and body recharge. Nestled on the corner of Algonquin Park, and overlooking Lake Kawawaymog, guests can truly experience the gentle hum of nature and peaceful beauty that comes with it. The only distractions you’ll face are the sounds of the hummingbirds and the call of the loons.

The programming elements we weave into each of our retreats also makes for an excellent body and mind recharge. Incorporating aspects of Adventure, Dreamtime, Nature, Creativity, and Community Connection into all of our programming helps us to connect with each guest’s hopes and dreams for the retreat, really setting the stage for a deep mind and body recharge regardless of one’s interests / personalities.

Can you share any transformative stories or testimonials from guests that visited your property?

“Why do I keep coming almost every⁠ summer?⁠ Because the lake, the loons, the lone pine tree reminds me of home… because doing yoga on the dock at sunrise with mist on the lake is a great⁠ way to start the day⁠… because watching the hummingbirds whiz around the flower garden is a⁠ childlike delight⁠… Because Greg’s gourmet local cooking is out of this world delicious… Because of connections made with like minded people on the same self-⁠reflective journey⁠… but most of all, because Martha and Todd have created a magical⁠ sanctuary off the grid that can’t fail to affect anyone’s spirit.” — Marliese Kimmerle

“Northern Edge Algonquin is a transformative off the grid yoga retreat center. Surrounded by nature’s serenity, it provides the perfect setting for deep reflection and personal growth. The dedicated instructors guided us through restorative yoga sessions as they fostered a mind-body connection. The retreat’s sustainable practices and fabulous, locally-sourced food left us feeling rejuvenated, centred, and inspired. Northern Edge Algonquin is a sanctuary for anyone seeking tranquility, self-discovery, and a genuine connection with nature. I highly recommend it to fellow yoga enthusiasts and those in search of a meaningful retreat experience.” — Karen M.

“The grace with which NEA moves is unparalleled. There is a weaving together of participants, facilitators and the land & water that guides us all toward our healing. As a facilitator, I emerge forever transformed.” — Allie Chisholm-Smith

Why do you think the experience you offer is so needed nowadays?

We live in a fast-paced world where most people don’t take the time to slow down, breathe, and connect with themselves and the earth as they should. We’re seeing more and more people facing burn out, especially among the younger generation. It’s simply not healthy. We want to inspire guests to incorporate some of their experiences at the Edge back into their home life in order to live a more well-balanced lifestyle. By creating an environment for guests to experience tranquility and connection, we can hopefully help to combat some of these societal downfalls.

Do you think travel enhances our mindfulness, optimism, or sense of gratitude? How? Can you please explain with an example or story?

Absolutely. Travel opens our eyes and hearts to the world and people around us. It can provide us with enriching experiences that can help shape our outlook on life if we let them. I believe when we set the intention to explore mindfully, we can really enhance these things.

One of my most fulfilling travel experiences was when I drove across Greece with 2 other men I’d met a week earlier in a hostel. The three of us set out with a sense of optimism, a willingness to go with the flow, and an abundance of gratitude for every small discovery we made. This resulted in a tight-knit community between the three of us as we celebrated things as small as finding a hotel with a pool, or as big as climbing to the peak of mount olympus. This really taught me to set good intentions ahead of time — which is something we do for every retreat at the Edge, which really benefits our guests.

What are your “5 Habits You Should Develop In Order Make Travel Into An Opportunity For Wellness & Personal Growth?”

1 . Create an intention or inspiration for your travel / trip — a meaning, purpose, or outcome you are hoping to achieve — or a way you are hoping to engage with your discoveries. Write it down. This can be simple or detailed, and can shift and flow as things evolve — but it can set the stage for transformation.

2. Expand your social circle — talk to locals and travelers alike, join groups, make new connections, be the person that invites someone to join you on this or that part of your experience. You can create lifelong friendships and wind up with people to visit all over the world.

3. Go off the beaten path- explore new areas, challenge yourself with activities and experiences you haven’t had before. Step outside your comfort zone — We don’t grow by sticking to the same thing.

4. Make time for slower moments of self-reflection, creativity, journaling, and rest. You deserve it and some of the learnings from these moments can have the biggest impact back home.

5. Let go. Unplug. Allow yourself to disconnect from home, finding connection within yourself and with new places and people.

Based on your experience, where do you see the future of wellness travel heading in the next 5–10 years?

It seems like wellness retreats in particular are on an up-swing. We’re seeing more people plan them for a wider variety of topics and communities, and we’re seeing more centers open. I feel that the wellness industry needs to grow in it’s diversity — wellness retreats in particular have historically been very white-centered and I’m excited to see more BIPOC facilitators and travelers enter into the space.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

Maybe James Clear. I feel like one conversation with him could set anybody on a more streamlined path.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The best way would be to follow the Edge, @northernedgealgonquin on social media, visit our website at and join our e-newsletter. You can also find me on most platforms at @timlucier

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at .

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