The Story of How it all Began

Every success story starts with a dream

Mine is a
Journey of Self Discovery

Infused with Culture

MCA is partly inspired by the famous European Grand Tour and partly inspired by Mindfulness Retreats. The Grand Tour was the trip of mainly British aristocrats who, between the 17th and 19th centuries, travelled to Italy to discover the heritage of the classical world (art, architecture, philosophy & literature) in order to complete their classical education.

The aim of the trip was a pedagogical one, i.e. to be exposed to the best that the classical tradition had to offer for the purposes of learning to become well-cultivated and refined individuals.

As such, the Grand Tourist, often accompanied by a mentor or guide known as a Ciceroni, would visit the major ‘classical’ attractions up and down the Italian peninsula (Rome & Pompeii), the major centers of Renaissance art & architecture (Florence & Venice), famous garden villas, Gothic hilltop towns in Tuscany and Umbria, and the majestic beauty of the Alps (the famous Matterhorn mountain was painted by numerous artists in the 19th century). 

They would often carry copies of writings by Seneca and Cicero, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, the architectural books of the famous Roman Vitruvius, and the philosophical works of Plato and Plotinus.

MCA’s story began as I embarked on my own 6 months Grand Tour of Italy. I joined a group of 3 other students from Canada and one of the most inspirational guides I have ever met who happened to be a landscape architect, a psychologist, and an expert on all things Italian. 

He managed to take us beyond the historical information to the deep symbolic depths and meaning of everything we saw and encountered. We all crammed into a station wagon with a box of books in the back and nothing but our passion for self-knowledge and discovery to fuel our journey.

We drove up and down the Italian peninsula visiting archaeological sites, gardens, art museums, natural reserves, mountains, lakes, valleys, hilltop towns, architectural monuments, and timeless cities. ​​

We also studied classical philosophy and mythology, garden design, and psychology as part of our own self-development. ​

We meditated and practiced mindfulness, engaged in psychological analysis of ourselves, and wrote commentaries on the paintings and places we visited.


It was the richest educational experience I had ever had.

The adventure, the learning, the introspection, the reflection, and the reading all changed my life! 


I wish to share my experience
and walk with you
on your own path as you discover your self.

I often asked myself: ‘Why don’t we learn any of this at university? Why can’t the learning process be this experiential?’ As I journeyed through the outer landscape of one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy, I discovered the inner landscape of my own soul.

‘Wouldn’t it be great if there could be a contemporary Grand Tour & Mindfulness Retreat for people like myself,’ I often repeated.

I spent many nights imagining a tour that combined the classical Grand Tour and its visits to Rome, Florence, Siena, Venice, Milan, among other places, with a mindfulness retreat that put the soul at ease. 


I could not think of a better place for a journey of self-discovery than the magical landscapes and townscapes of Italy.


“We are all pilgrims who seek Italy,” wrote the famous German poet Goethe in his diary, Italian Journeys.

Upon arrival Goethe commented “Even I managed to get to paradise.”
Such is the beauty of Italy. 

In 2005 on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, as I sat on the edge of an old stone bridge trying to think of ways of sharing this life-changing experience with others the idea for MCA was born.

For seven years I took friends from the UK to Italy and joined postdoctoral groups doing research there and i now take my students to Italy.

MCA has since run numerous highly successful educational trips to Italy and demand is increasing. 

MCA also runs educational tours to Spain and can tailor design any itinerary and retreat to several other destinations in Europe and elsewhere.

“Travel and change of place
impart new vigor to the mind.”

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