How It All Started

How it all started..

We can’t help but believe that everything happens for a reason. We recently realized that a lot of things needed to happen for the two of us to connect and discover we shared the same passion for starting a wellness retreats business.

When we first met, we were living in different countries.  I was in London, England and Melanie was in Toronto, Canada.  At the time, we worked for the same bank but in different departments where our paths would have never crossed.  In 2010, our bank sponsored a charity decathlon event in New York that was modeled after NFL tryouts.  Having only been open to men in the past, they were looking for a group of women to participate in a test group, to see if women could do each of the challenges so they could include women in the event the following year.  

Our mutual friend who worked in the New York office, contacted each of us and asked us if we would like to be part of this test group.  We both love challenges so immediately agreed to getting into top shape in 6-weeks in order to compete.  We met for the very first time the day before the event and bonded the very next day when we were both resting in the Lululemon stretching tent. 

I was completely impressed by Melanie’s physical abilities, particularly in the bench press and 500-meter row.  I think she was impressed with my throwing arm as I went on to win the football toss!  There’s something about competing together and pushing each other to your physical limits which really bonds people.  Even though we didn’t realize it that day, we have come to recognize that we have many complimentary skills not just on the field, but in everyday life.  

We sporadically kept in touch over the next few years and it was almost five years later, when I moved back to Toronto and joined the same gym as Melanie, that I ran into her in the change room.  We were excited and surprised to see each other and agreed to meet for brunch soon with two other friends.

We chose a restaurant that didn’t accept reservations and was notorious for long waits, but we were determined to get a table.  As the hours passed, one friend gave up, then the other, leaving just Melanie and myself.  We were both too hungry and committed to give up and we finally got a table.  With our inhibitions lowered from being incredibly hungry, we talked about our jobs, how we couldn’t see ourselves working at the bank for another 25-30 years and our shared passion for fitness and travel.  Melanie had mentioned moving back to Vancouver to be closer to her family and boyfriend and leaving banking to start a business.  I immediately said I would love to start a business too, and on that day, the seed was planted.

We started meeting regularly and I even convinced her to sign up for her first ever half marathon in London, England.  Over the long training runs and many brunches to follow, we spent almost a year brainstorming ideas.  We came up with several but nothing really took root.

Then, right before the half marathon, Melanie suggested we should go somewhere else in Europe before the race.  Since we had to take it relatively easy before the race we decided to look for a yoga retreat and booked a one-week retreat in Crete, Greece.

We both enjoyed the retreat but throughout the week we kept coming up with ways that things could be done better.  We also wished that we could do other activities during the retreat besides yoga.  Our minds were filled with ideas and by the end of our retreat, we knew that we wanted to start a wellness retreats business that was not just yoga.  A few months later, Movement Travel was born.

Lisa Gordon
Co-Founder, Movement Travel