Downriver Divas | About Down River Divas
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Who We are

The word Diva, in Latin, means goddess.

A Diva can also be a stage celebrity who demands what she needs. Both of these meanings are important to the mission of Downriver Divas. You are worthy of placing yourself first on the stage of life. You were born into this world wild, uninhibited, deeply in tune with your senses and demanding that your needs be met. So often though, women have learned to suppress these authentic desires and retreat into our comfort zones. We have somehow bought into the misbelief that being a woman equals sacrifice. Downriver Divas challenges this misbelief and provides the opportunity to live into the awareness that you are a wild goddess! Multi-day rafting excursions present a rare opportunity to sink into a sensory-rich world, free of distraction or interruption. It is empowering to experience the beauty and challenges of the outdoors as a woman; especially in the company of other strong and like-minded women. Each day on the river provides a new stage to play, connect, explore and co-create with your wild goddess.

The Downriver Diva Team

Aimee Cullwick

Founder & retreat leader

Having spent recent years in a down-turn of “mommy martyrdom”, taking care of everyone but herself, Aimee Cullwick sought to reawakening her wild side by leading multi-day river trips for women. With 20+ years of experience as a raft guide and kayaker, Aimee has intimate knowledge of the camaraderie, natural beauty and spiritual connection that only river trips can provide. Though her experience as a raft guide began as an adventurous pursuit, helping clients feel safe on all classifications of whitewater, she soon realized that the true journey on a river is within one’s consciousness.

As one of four sisters and mother to three daughters, Aimee was inspired to create a space to honor relationships among women where they can play, laugh, dance and cry in a natural setting that inspires growth and connection. It became clear to her that river trips provide the perfect backdrop to bring women in-tune with their feminine power, rediscover their creative wisdom and celebrate all aspects of sisterhood.

Aimee has a masters degree in education and has studied Spiritual Psychology and Soul-Centered Life Coaching at the University of Santa Monica. She is also the proud owner of one of the most coveted costume closets in the world!!

Emily Hightower

Retreat co-leader

Emily Hightower has been a river and wellness guide for over 21 years. She lived in her pickup truck chasing rivers before being roped into playing house by the charms of her husband and son. She now runs Ondalu, a wellness company with a studio in Carbondale, Colorado. She’s also a whitewater kayak instructor and a self-proclaimed ‘snack expert’ who is looking for the perfect portable food to satisfy her endless craving for chocolate. Emily’s orientation to wellness is yogic in nature; she sees the light in people without judgment and empowers them to harness health as a birthright. She believes we shine when given the right ingredients of outdoor play, authentic connection, healing foods and evidence-based yoga methods. She uses her own life as a playground to learn these tools and share them.
In her river-guiding life, she directed education for the Headwaters Institute on rivers throughout the U.S. and Chile, taught kayaking to local and inner city teens, rows gear in the Grand Canyon when she can and lives to be a Downriver Diva! In her yogi-life, she’s a trusted teacher with over 10,000 hours of contact time. She’s currently writing a book on healing food behavior using yoga’s light. You can learn more by visiting her at www.ondalu.com

Our Trips

How We Awaken Your Wild Goddess:

We hold a sacred circle space for sharing stories and exploring new concepts each day.

Some topics and related activities include:

The Flying Goddess:

Comfort zones can become limiting, inhibiting us from living into the fullest expression of ourselves. Allowing our minds and bodies to explore new things allows us to soar beyond our comfort zones in all arenas of life.

Potential related activities:

  • cliff jumping
  • navigating a rapid in an inflatable kayak
  • swimming a rapid
  • beautiful vulnerability in sacred circle sharing
  • dancing in a goddess costume
  • just being in the outdoors

The Wise Goddess:

Buzzing cell phones, traffic noise and the requests of others are just some distractions we learn to react to in everyday life. On the river, we are invited to tune into our inner goddess and awaken her intuitive senses.

Potential related activities:

  • silent nature walks
  • meditation
  • beach yoga
  • journal writing

The Creative Goddess:

Time is a concept we become attached to and convince ourselves we are lacking. Sinking into a creative project dissolves the boundaries of time and awakens us to our divine gifts.

Potential activities:

  • watercolor painting
  • poetry writing
  • yoga and dance

The Body of the Goddess:

Unfortunately, we can all find ways to be critical of our human bodies. On the river, the goddess takes over and shatters our limiting beliefs of body image. We do not need a mirror to see inner-beauty; it is always there; reflected in the natural world around us.

Potential activities:

  • sparkly tattoo adornment
  • costumes
  • dancing
  • skinny dipping beneath the stars

The Goddess Tribe

Modern day finds many of us tucked away in our homes or offices, connecting to others through media. Laughter and camaraderie with our tribe is the goddess way. Women evolved working together and leaning into our collective strength and wisdom. On the river we freely laugh every day and long hugs soon replace texting emojis.

Potential activities:

  • belly-aching laughter
  • disco party
  • being assigned a “river angel”
  • taking on a river name
  • post-trip group connection offerings

If you are new to river camping:

Years of guiding experience have taught us that access to intimate places on rivers does not have to be uncomfortable. Our trips are run in partnership with one of the world’s best outfitters whose all-female staff provide everything from expert river skills to amazing meals. There is a misconception that camping equals poor sleep and smelly clothes. Unlike a small backpack, rafts are big vessels with space for huge sleeping mats, comfy camp chairs, refreshing drinks and gourmet food. Rafting trips equal comfort! We take pride in our goddess surprises; lavender spray on pillows, sparkly tattoos to go with your rustic attire, maybe even a warm foot bath. Trust us, the rhythm and serenity of the river will become a new home you will not want to leave.