If you have ever considered taking a retreat, you most definitely have questions and we hear a lot of them, from where to go (first, or next!), to who to go with, to how much to spend, to what to expect, what to pack and so much more.
We decided to turn to the experts for advice, and voila! our Wellness Retreats Insiders’ Guide was born: a new series featuring interviews with the creators of incredible wellness retreats the world over.
Table of Contents
- Courtney Marie Bohlman
- Maria Camille
- Shannon Dickey & Barbie Harder
- Kendra Hasse
- Carrie Kaufman
- Sinéad Kennedy
- Scott & Nancy Kiesling
- Sara Ottley
- Amber Ricci
- Ale Romei
- Debbie-Lee van Ginkel
- Ag Żer
4. Favourite Destinations (June 29)
5. Future Wellness Retreat Trends (July 06)
MEET THE PANEL!
Courtney Marie Bohlman
Courtney Bohlman has been a student and teacher on the path for many years, gaining her certifications in Chinese Medicine, Qi-Gong, Ayurveda, Yoga, Master Herbalism, Plant Spirit Medicine, Reiki, Meditation, Wicca, and Mindfulness.
She has travelled the globe in search of master teachers and is humbled to have studied under many of the greats. She has taken this knowledge, her inner wisdom, along with her college education (2 Bachelors, 2 Minors, 1 Masters) to create her movement/company known as Wholesome Alchemy.
An organic, vegan, plastic-free company created to “Make an Impact”; through opening schools in developing countries, donating organic body care to local shelters, and expanding consciousness for the beings on this planet through transformational yoga retreats, online courses, group coaching, and organic body care products.
Connect with Courtney
Wabi-Sabi Art Retreats
As a hospitality consultant for wellness destinations, Maria has travelled to locations worldwide for 30 years designing treatments and unusual experiences. As a lifestyle coach and plant medicine host, she provides Vision Quest Retreats for reinventing oneself, finding your inner warrior, and inspiring creative ideas. As an “artist” she gives performance art demos of Wabi-Sabi Art and teaches others how to Host Wabi-Sabi Art Retreats at destination resorts and retreat locations.
I never planned to live this way. . . traveling for 40 some years, trying on new identities, taking part in adventures, expeditions, and entrepreneurial ventures worldwide. As I was open to life while at the same time running from life new doors always opened. I learned, I ran into many monsters and slew dragons and tigers – I became wise. There were many heartaches, fears, and failures. After many years, I realized it was my path to create and incubate ideas, to journey into the unknown, and live all the experiences that came my way. I’m glad to have walked this mosaic path.
Connect with Maria
Shannon Dickey & Barbie Harder
Empower U Equine Learning and Wellness Center
Shannon and Barbie are the founders of EmPower U Equine Learning and Wellness Center in Northeastern, Saskatchewan, Canada. With a commitment to providing experiential opportunities for their guests, they have made it their mission to impact people through the power of the horse.
As Certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitators and Equestrian Canada Instructors, these two lifelong learners are blazing the trail and allowing people of all abilities and disabilities into the world of horses. Through customizable experiences from the ground up to the saddle, their goal is to positively impact each guest with knowledge gained from working with a 1,200-pound prey animal.
Connect with Shannon & Barbie
Kendra follows the voice of her heart, which is to inspire people to connect with their hearts and ignite their inner light. She has experienced firsthand that when we connect with ourselves, we understand our most authentic selves and become brave to live a life of greater potential.
Today, she is a passionate meditation teacher, self-love coach (NLP certified) and founder of Selflove Journey, a platform to inspire heart connection. She offers retreats, individual coaching sessions, meditation circles and workshops like cacao ceremonies. She is German and has her heart in Latin America. She loves dancing at the Colombian beaches, living adventures and enjoying sunrises with a cup of coffee.
Connect with Kendra
https://insig.ht/v0NCZfBlAqb (Insight Timer Meditation)
enLiven retreats and enLiven at the Green River
With a certificate in positive psychology from the Kripalu Center and as a Y500 certified yoga instructor with a 16-year yoga teaching career, Carrie truly understands how the busyness of life can take its toll on our wellness. It is through this lens that Carrie developed enLiven as an accessible experience with an intentional purpose focused on helping people practice meaningful self-care and create necessary and sustainable change in their lives.
Through her leadership and coaching retreats hosted around the world and now in her local retreat space in Sandgate, Vermont, only one hour from her home in Saratoga Springs, New York, she shares her passion and knowledge through meditation, creative workshops, sacred movement, personal coaching, and meaningful connections.
Her students claim that she has changed their lives. And, she’s ready to help you change yours too.
Connect with Carrie
Zen & Tonic Yoga Spa Break/Beach Yoga Mini Break, Cycling and Yoga Week
Having suffered a dislocated hip when she was just 7 months old due to an infection, Sinead spent most of her young life in pain and looking for relief. A specialist doctor told her to “sit down and stop exercising!” However, movement and massage seemed to be the only thing that ever helped ease the discomfort.
That’s what started her journey and passion for Health, Wellness and Movement.
Sinead graduated from the Institute of Physical Therapy and Applied Science in September 2005. Adding to her qualifications she became a fitness instructor and personal trainer soon after. Sinead found her true passion when she began teaching both Yoga and Pilates.
More recently, Sinead gained a Diploma in Life and Business coaching, an advanced diploma in Mental Health and Wellness Coaching and a Certificate in Relationship Coaching. Having found her own life a little less than what she had hoped for, she looked to Personal Development to enrich her life. She now helps others to reach their potential and goals, and change their life.
Every day she helps others to feel great inside and out. You can join her annual cycling and yoga winter training camp in Spain, Zen & Tonic! Yoga Spa Breaks in Ireland or Zen and Tonic Yoga Beach Mini Break, Majorca.
Connect with Sinead
Scott & Nancy Kiesling
Adventure Therapy Retreats
Scott & Nancy are Adventure Dating & Relationship Consultants who use their unique method of Adventure Therapy to teach women who have found success in all areas of their life – except their love life – how to love themselves first, be adventuresome, and attract the love of their life by living to the fullest.
After 30 years in the Film Industry learning human behaviour and over a decade navigating the waters of their own mission-driven life, Scott and Nancy created innovative tools & strategies that help women develop unshakeable self-love, have ultimate relationships, and live their best life.
Scott & Nancy have multiplied their business by 10 fold in the last year working with high profile people such as supermodels, Hollywood actors/actresses, doctors, lawyers, realtors, and entrepreneurs. They have appeared on multiple podcasts, have been featured on The List TV and in Authority Magazine, and Tony Robbins announced that he’d recommend them as coaches because “they’ve lived it!”
Connect with Scott & Nancy
Sara is Campervan Retreats’ creator and a passionate VW owner whose aim is to create well-being retreats that offer a chance to escape ‘normal life’ and spend time in your own beloved campervan with other like-minded souls.
Her journey to this point started more than 15 years ago when she left the fire service to pursue a new career in the health and wellness sector. Over the years she developed a deep love for yoga and as a result, a more rounded approach to health and fitness emerged, focusing more on wellness and happiness, rather than just “fitness.”
She became a health and lifestyle coach and qualified as a yoga teacher to enable her to support her clients further. Three gorgeous kids later she was ready for a change of direction. They wanted more adventures as a family so she managed to persuade her husband Neil into investing in a VW Campervan. This is when ‘Bruno’ the campervan joined her family in February 2022.
The idea of Campervan Retreats came to Sara when she was daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to escape on her own with Bruno – no kids, no dog, no husband, no hassles. Campervan Retreats offer a great value self-catering solution for women to enjoy energizing activities in the most beautiful UK locations. The focus is on fun and female connection with a variety of activities such as yoga, walking, SUP, surfing, mindfulness, sociable crafting circles, drumming workshops, foraging, sound therapy, hiking and wild swimming.
Connect with Sara
Inner Fire Yoga and Adventure Retreats
For over 18 years, Amber has taught her fusion of Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga in weekly classes and private Tantra to couples, plus hosted Tantra Couples Weekends, over 30 one-day retreats for 7 years, then moving onto 10-12 day long Inner Fire Yoga and Adventure Retreats and Journeys including 4 Big Island Retreats, three to Bali, and one retreat each in Thailand, Cambodia, Greece, Peru, Belize/Guatemala, Cuba, Morocco, Australia, Egypt, Iceland, Croatia (2022) and Jamaica (2022).
Amber has helped change lives through the understanding of physiology, the sense of energy in the body, accelerating conscious growth, and finding inner and outer transformation by releasing the past, deepening the connection to the Self, creating authentic relationships, and living in the present with an open heart and mind.
She was certified by the White Lotus Foundation in Vinyasa and studied Kundalini with Ravi Singh, Ana Brett and Guru Kirin Khalsa. She also studied with teacher and author of Creative Self Discovery Dr. Freddy Weaver and Janet and Sasha Lessin of Oceanic Tantra on Maui.
Amber loves sharing Goddess Dance, a sensual, feminine energy Bellydance-based class that she teaches for private clients and events. She is also an accomplished vocalist and singer/songwriter and works with people wanting to connect to their inner and outer voices.
Connect with Amber
Experience Retreats Collection
Ale Romei is the founder of Experience Retreats, a curated collection of retreat venues around the world that fit rigorous selection criteria involving authenticity, sustainability, suitability for wellness retreats, authentic experiences around them and venue owners’ creative energy, among a few others.
He is a born creative that loves art, design, travel and sports. He is also a certified Hatha Yoga instructor with business, tourism, social media marketing and interior design studies under his belt always looking to apply his passions to ventures that can make a difference in the world and in people.
“We introduce you to our meaningfully selected retreat centers, you always deal with the venues directly getting the best price and local knowledge”
Connect with Ale
Debbie-Lee van Ginkel
Alchemy Movement and Wellness
Born and raised in South Africa, Debbie-Lee is a Black Belt instructor of Nia, a barefoot, holistic movement practise combining elements of dance, martial arts and mindfulness. She found Nia almost 15 years ago when she was struggling with eating disorders, and it became her guiding tool in transforming her relationship with body and self.
Ever since then, she has been passionate about movement and healing the whole Self. Debbie-Lee has been teaching regular classes, workshops and Nia retreats for the past 14 years and now lives in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where she owns a wellness centre and studio with her partner.
Connect with Debbie-Lee
Ag Żer is best described as a nature lover, holistic sorceress, herbalist, visual and sound artist, and performer. Originally from Poland, Ag now lives on a bio reserve, Caoba, located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Colombia. With FORMINGintoNATURE, she guides retreat goers into the process of returning to themselves through 1:1 holistic connections in the jungle.
“With an open heart and arms
I invite you to meet and get to know yourself in an overseas land among mountains, rivers, streams, waterfalls, stones and the sea, where the sun shines every day, reigning with light even with closed eyes.
In a space as abundant in natural powers as the multitude of shades of green here.
I will guide you through the process of returning to yourself.”
Connect with Ag Żer
How did you come to be a creator of wellness retreats?
Being raised by my “hippie” musician mama named Sunday and my father, who was a Methodist minister in D.C. – until he came out as gay when I was 5 – showed me that compassion and acceptance would be my path since my parents lived in that way.
Also, many of the women in my family were emotional eaters and overweight, so I decided very young that I wanted to be healthy in my eating (I have now been vegetarian for 31 years) and exercising. So I started working at the local health club in Orlando at 16 and loved putting folks on exercise plans, teaching aerobics, and earning money helping people.
– Amber Ricci, Inner Fire Yoga & Adventure Retreats
My story began in 2015 when I ran a healing and art space in Poland. There I organized alternative medicine workshops and lectures, inviting people with knowledge of Chinese medicine, Thai medicine, mindfulness, yoga, pranayama, rebirthing techniques, Quantum healing, and recall healing to teach.
At the beginning of 2021, I started my adventure in Central America, and I now live in the outstanding, magical, pure bio reserve Caoba, located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Santa Marta, Colombia. This place is run by German professor/marine biologist Eberhard Wedler and his wife, Gloria, who have created a sanctuary for the plants.
There are around 350 different types of trees, some endangered, some from abroad, and other fruit trees to attract animals, including a collection of palm trees, medicinal plants, aquatic plants, cactus, succulents, bromeliads, and orchids. It is an oasis where you can relax and unwind and where I now host 1:1 healing and wellness retreats.
– Ag Żer, FORMINGintoNATURE
I had been in the property business for a good 15 years. With my wife Susie, we have always wanted to create our own business that would give us more independence, so we decided to merge our expertise in property marketing, interior design, customer service, Yoga and Wellness and Experience Retreats was born.
Our premise from the beginning was always to make our collection unique and not an Airbnb of venues. So we refined our selection criteria and focused on finding those locations that had a real meaning, those that the owners had put their energy into them to make them real spaces for healing and transformation.
Now we are proud to say we are assembling a fantastic collection of independent retreat centers that are authentic, have style, are owned by very meaningful people, which guarantees the great energy in each place and in fantastic locations.
– Ale Romei, Experience Retreats Collection
As a busy mom of three, I have been working within the health and well-being industry since 2006; during that time, I built and sold a successful London-based personal training business, delivered large boot camps, well-being events and, more recently (after getting hooked on Vinyasa yoga) I qualified as a yoga teacher. I now run Day Retreats in Kent alongside my personal training and yoga classes.
Campervan Retreats evolved from my love of bringing like-minded people together in the pursuit of adventure, friendship and self-care. I realized that the thing I would love to do the most was jump in my own Campervan, wave goodbye to the madness of home life for a few days to find peace, tranquillity, exercise and personal development. But where would I go alone? I thought there must be many other Campervan owners who feel the same, so in Spring 2022, Campervan Retreats was born.
Campervan Retreats offers female van owners a wonderful space to relax and unwind in nature in the most beautiful locations around the U.K. The wellness retreats atmosphere is welcoming, warm and fun-filled. We focus on well-being and happiness, which runs through the core of all we do. Solo or with friends, this is a time to connect and share, find space to breathe and let go of the stress and worries, finding a real connection with yourself and with the other like-minded ladies on each retreat.
– Sara Ottley, Campervan Retreats
I have been a yoga teacher for 20 years at this point. Eight years ago, I went to another teacher’s wellness retreat in Tulum. It was a disappointing and expensive experience.
I knew there was a way to do it differently and create a different kind of experience where people felt taken care of, connected and left feeling a bit transformed.
– Carrie Kaufman, enLiven retreats and enLiven at the Green River
I began teaching Nia classes in Beijing, China, where I lived and worked as a school teacher for many years. Then, in 2015, I took a vacation to Cambodia and fell in love with the country, its people, and my good friend’s exquisite boutique hotel where we stayed. I knew I had to run a retreat in that incredibly healing space, so I put it out there to my students in Beijing, and within two weeks, I had a full retreat!
People love Nia as a practice because it’s soulful, real, completely accessible to all bodies, and a heck of a lot of fun. They were also very curious about Cambodia, so a Nia retreat in Cambodia was a match made in heaven! Since that first retreat in 2015, I never looked back and finally decided to move to Cambodia in 2017 and pursue a full-time Nia career.
– Debbie-Lee van Ginkel, Alchemy Movement and Wellness
One day in Colombia, I was lying in a hammock overlooking the Caribbean and practising being present in the moment. Then I heard my inner voice telling me, “you should organize wellness retreats here.”
I have been on my own journey of self-love for many years, and this means connecting with myself, listening to the voice of my heart and having a dialogue with my inner parts through meditation and journaling. “What is my vision/mission in life?” was a key question I began to ask my heart because I felt I was neither fulfilled nor activating my full potential with my career so far.
That day in the hammock, I received the answer. The voice became louder, and I began to imagine my first wellness retreat. At first, I was scared, but I started coaching training, and as I gained more experience, I became more and more confident. With each step on my self-love journey, I felt that I had found my life’s mission: to inspire people to connect with their hearts – because that is the most beautiful thing in life.
The main channel I have chosen now is wellness retreats, because I feel that during retreats, we can really switch off to connect better with ourselves, vibrate at a higher energy level and immerse ourselves in nature. So it’s easier to hear the voice of our heart and experience that wonderful feeling of connection.
– Kendra Hasse, Selflove Journey
I’ve walked in many shoes; as an elite 4-time extreme sports world champion, author, T.V. producer, wellness hospitality consultant and entrepreneur. During the years of training in extreme sports while on the U.S. Parachute Team, I developed a mind/body training called BaGua Flow that I later brought to destination resorts and wellness retreat properties as I travelled as a consultant. Retreat guests loved the classes as they were so unique and fun.
Currently, I’ve designed a new program called Wabi-Sabi Art Retreats. Using giant Japanese brushes, we combine Qi Gong breathing with gentle movement meditation. When the energy builds, we transfer this energy into the brush and down onto a five-foot-long large format paper.
This life-giving, inner-outer mind/body therapy combines movement and meditation into a poetically choreographed, life-affirming breath-flow sequence of art expression. It’s the art of imperfection!
– Maria Camille, Wabi-Sabi Art Retreats
I went on a yoga retreat years ago to Fuerteventura and it was dreadful. It was so expensive, no fun, it was all brown rice and lentils.
We were also stuck up on the side of the mountain, away from life and transport. I decided there and then to never book a wellness “retreat” again and create wellness breaks that are more “human” friendly.
All my breaks are for real people who enjoy yoga and wellness but also like to eat nice meals and have a few drinks without judgement. I NEVER use the word retreat on my website/advertising as for me personally that word implies “boring!”
– Sinéad Kennedy, Zen & Tonic Yoga
I wish it was as easy as pinpointing a single moment of how I became the leader of Wholesome Alchemy, but when I reflect on my past, it is evident that everything was taking me in this direction. I was 20 when I first discovered yoga. Until this point, I had no tools to regulate my energy naturally, having been diagnosed at a young age as “hyperactive.”
I remember walking into that first hatha yoga class. I laughed to myself at the idea that this could help me but little did I know. To say that my life changed that day would be an understatement. This was the first time in my entire life that I learned to utilize my breath. It was the first time I found peace in my mind. It was the first time I found myself.
I was hooked, to say the least. A few months later, I did my first YTT. Then the next year, I went to India for another…a few years later another…and a few more after that. I now have over 1,000 hours of yoga teacher training and am constantly learning more. I am a lifelong student and teacher in the practice of yoga.
However, it wasn’t just yoga. In my mid 20’s, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was faced with a life-changing decision, whether I was willing to do chemotherapy. I was not. I moved to India instead and lived at an Ayurveda Hospital for months studying and healing. I am deeply proud of myself for this choice, not only for how it has healed me but so many of my clients and community. This was seven years ago, and Ayurveda is still a pillar in my life and offerings.
Along the journey, I gained many other tools, and I lived in ashrams and spiritual communities worldwide. I was hired and taught Transformational Retreats and Yoga classes at Sunrise Ranch (a leading spiritual community/retreat center in Colorado) for seven years before I started Wholesome Alchemy.
About five years ago, I opened my first school in Ghana, but I struggled to fund it with grants and donations – I needed to find a more stable energy flow. Then one day, it all became crystal clear. I needed to start my own company. A few nights later, in a dream, the name came to me, Wholesome Alchemy. Later while sitting in meditation, asking for guidance, I “downloaded” the first wellness retreat from beginning to end. That was and still is “A Journey To The Sacred.”
Then I took the leap. I trusted myself. I trusted the universe. I knew my gifts were strong and my skills were needed – I spoke, and the world listened. Today we lead six retreats a year all over the world. One of those retreats is a karmic retreat, helping at one of our schools in West Africa, giving our community a hands-on experience to help the families we serve through Wholesome Alchemy. I am beyond grateful for all of it and genuinely wake up each day counting the blessings of my life.
– Courtney Marie Bohlman, Wholesome Alchemy
Scott: Before meeting Nancy, I overcame adversity and abuse, reversing my family’s generational cycle of negativity. I worked in the film industry for 25 years for companies like Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, and HBO, which taught me invaluable life skills. Most importantly, it gave me a broad knowledge of human behaviour.
I have always loved nature and the outdoors; hiking and rock climbing were two of my favourite pastimes. In my late 20s, I became a rescue climber and opened my first rock climbing gym. I started guiding groups and individuals on thrilling, breathtaking climbing adventures, and this led me to develop an understanding of Adventure Therapy. Many clients would report back to me a few days, weeks, or even sometimes months after one of our climbing trips and tell me that the experience helped them to get the promotion they’d been wanting, or it improved their relationship or enabled them to overcome a struggle they were having.
I realized that Adventure Therapy, where we incorporate outdoor activities involving physical and emotional stimuli to sync your physiology to your mindset, allows you to overcome insecurities and build a better relationship with yourself, leading to better relationships and living a better life.
Nancy: I was raised in a female-dominant household, the youngest of five sisters. My parents were forward thinkers and business owners. At age 26, I launched my first business, a wedding planning company, using the skills that were organically imprinted upon me. Loving the rewards of entrepreneurship, I continued to challenge myself, launching a handbag company, IHLE, and the Adventure & Life Coaching company Scott and I now operate together.
I owe a lot of my growth and success to Adventure Therapy. My first experience allowed me to see where I was holding myself back in life due to my own fears. After conquering things I thought were impossible, I started to feel a new sense of capability and went after more of my dreams. From the moment our souls entered each other’s lives, it was clear we both wanted a lifestyle different than the average. So, through our cooperative efforts, we began blending our talents and manifesting the life we wanted to live.
Two years after we were married, tragedy struck when Scott was involved in an accidental explosion at work, resulting in loss of hearing, vertigo, and the many side effects of a brain injury. He couldn’t walk or talk properly for months. The recovery process drastically changed the dynamic of our relationship, forcing us to get creative and develop tools and strategies to keep our relationship connected and thriving. We used moderate Adventure Therapy to keep Scott’s spirits up and retrain his brain. Adventure for Scott had gone from skydiving and rock climbing to going for short walks. But, consistent, small bits of stepping outside his comfort zone, and syncing his physiology to his mindset, slowly started to help him heal.
With Scott no longer able to work in the Film Industry, we quickly got our coaching business up and running, teaching people from our personal experience how they could push beyond their perceived limitations toward whatever they dreamt possible and have the love and life they always desired. Together, we continued to build online self-development, relationships, and business courses, facilitate online events, and create esteem-building Adventure Therapy Wellness Retreats that propel people from standing on the edge of their life peering down at what they wish for to leaping into the best version of themselves.
In the last year, we have been blessed to work with supermodels, Hollywood actors, doctors, lawyers, realtors, and entrepreneurs, multiplying our business by 124%. We have appeared on podcasts, and Tony Robbins announced that he’d recommend us as coaches because “they’ve lived it!”
– Scott & Nancy Kiesling, Adventure Therapy Retreats
TOP RETREAT QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
What are the most common questions you hear from those considering a retreat?
Debbie-Lee van Ginkel
Q: Can I join the retreat if I’ve never tried Nia before or have no previous dance experience?
A: Absolutely yes! I’ve had quite a number of people who have never tried Nia join my retreats in the past. Nia is not dancing for the purpose of performance. You don’t have to be a dancer. You don’t have to get it right and you don’t have to try to look cool!
Nia is organic, healthy movement for humans for the purpose of conditioning, healing and expression. As long as it feels good, you’re doing it right! The guided choreography of Nia is simple and easy to follow, and absolutely every move in Nia can be personalized so that it is safe, comfortable and easy for every BODY. All that is required to join a Nia class is an open heart and a curious mind.
Q: Is Cambodia safe and tourist-friendly?
A: Cambodia is a very safe country to visit. Before the pandemic, the small town of Siem Reap welcomed 2.6 million tourists a year who would come to visit the Angkor temples. Of course, the number of tourists is still very low at the moment, but the town remains entirely fit for tourism. English is widely spoken in town; there is convenient access to services, a huge array of accommodation to suit all budgets and dining options from all over the world.
Q: Am I fit enough to cope with so much movement in the tropical heat?
A: Cambodia is indeed a hot, humid, tropical country. But the retreat venue is incredibly comfortable and luxurious, with a beautiful pool to dive into after each class. I encourage my participants to stay well-hydrated with water and fresh coconuts and to listen to their own energy levels. I’ve had many guests from northern Europe and Canada, who were very concerned about the heat, and they have always been surprised at how well they managed with it!
Q: Can I come with my partner?
A: More and more women who have participated in a retreat like to come back with their partner because they feel that he/she would also benefit. In my opinion, it is nice to share the retreat experience as a couple because a great relationship starts with how we are individually. In my opinion, it is nice when everyone can work on their own inner world and share the experience with their partner
Q: I am a beginner in meditation; is that okay?
A: Many people are interested in experiencing some activities that are new to them, focused on personal growth and spirituality. However, they fear that they need some prior knowledge and need to be reassured. In my retreats, I make sure that every level of knowledge feels welcome and can take away the greatest added value for themselves.
Q: What is included in the price (transport/food)?
A: Even though I have detailed everything on my website, I think it is very important that people know exactly what they can accept and get for the price. Because usually, they ask again in a private message. Mainly it is about the transport from the airport to the venue. My experience is that this can be the last hurdle in the buying decision. People need to feel comfortable and know that they will get to the venue safely and easily.
I have started to include airport transfers in my offer. The other important point is the food. People want to know what food will be served. My experience is that the first meal served has to be a moment of joy. When people are happy with the food, they unconsciously relax, have better conversations during the meal, and the meal becomes a much-loved activity during the retreat.
Most people look into the price as one of the first questions before considering the energy of each place, the story behind it and the great value that a retreat location can bring to their offerings so we always tell them to start looking at a venue from another angle when creating a retreat for their crowd so that they can offer great experiential value and not just look for a cheap venue. Then we get the normal question about amenities and beds/rooms distribution. Another question that appears quite a lot is proximity to other recreational spaces such as beaches, restaurants or experiences.
Scott & Nancy Kiesling
Q: Do I have to be experienced to do the adventures (yoga and excursions) on your retreat?
A: We have a wide range of activities and adventures that we plan ranging from yoga, jungle hiking, horseback riding, waterfall rappelling, ziplining, white water rafting, rock climbing and more! All of our activities have options so they can be catered to suit each individual’s experience level. We have had some people on our retreat who have never done yoga, and some who were yoga teachers. We’ve had some people who had never done any kind of excursion, and some who were adrenaline junkies.
You never know what will be the big adventure for you. Many people come with an idea of what they think is going to be their biggest challenge and most times they get to be surprised! So we tell everyone to just trust the process, enjoy the experience, and we’ve got the rest taken care of 🙂
Q: What kind of food/can you accommodate my dietary restrictions?
A: Each day our guests enjoy nutritionally dense, delicious farm-to-table meals, snacks, fresh juices, and of course Costa Rican/Bali coffee (the best!) prepared by our private chef and staff. The food on our retreat is an experience of its own almost as much as the retreat itself. There is nothing like fresh prepared, organic food to rejuvenate your mind and body after a long day of pushing yourself beyond your perceived limitations and growing into the most vibrant version of yourself.
Both Bali & Costa Rica have farms at almost every corner similar to how we have Starbucks. Most places we have stayed had a local farm that was no further than a few blocks away if not on the same property.
(A fun story: Bali’s food is known to be healing as they value their food as their medicine. In the early 1950’s Bali kicked Monsanto out of their country. Monsanto had come in and started taking over their food and farms and Bali noticed a decrease in its fruit and vegetable sizes. They also noticed that their ancient healings were being affected. As the locals tell it, they kicked Monsanto out in the late 60s and it took 10 years for Bali to get their soil back to the quality it was before Monsanto.)
And yes, we can accommodate dietary restrictions of all sorts. We have accommodated gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut allergies, shellfish allergies, vegetarians, those with celiac disease and more!
Q: Who are the other people on the retreat and do I have to share a room?
A: We keep our group size small, between 5-12 people depending on the retreat because we prefer quality over quantity. We want each of our guests to have dedicated coaching time with us and to bond together as a group. With larger groups, we experienced more separation and cliques forming and we wanted to produce something different.
Each guest on our retreat is a client who we have carefully vetted to see if their mindset is in a place to have the growth they say they want and to make sure they will add to the growth of others. Many people say they want change/improvement but are not yet in a mental space to be coached. We want everyone on the retreat to be in a similar growth mindset so that everyone works together to create a growth environment by supporting, elevating, and inspiring one another. This is the main reason such strong bonds are made so quickly between our guests.
On our retreat, you are meeting like-minded people who are also taking charge of their life, sharing vulnerable moments, lending support, cheering one another on, and conquering fears together – of course, you’re going to build a bond like nothing else! Many of our guests say they gained a second family by coming on our retreat, and they still keep in touch with each other, even years after.
As far as sharing a room, our accommodations are always a large, luxury villa with many bedrooms, therefore, each guest is given their own private room. However, if you are doing this experience with a friend or your partner, we always have options available to share a room if desired.
Q: Are all activities compulsory?
A: No you can choose to join in as much or as little as you want but we also include lots of free time for you to unwind and do whatever you like
Q: Can I bring my dog?
A: Sorry no doggies. The retreat is a chance for you to look after number one and totally unwind.
Q: I don’t live a bit too far away from the retreat location will you be running any nearer to me?
A: Yes we plan to offer 4 – 6 weekend retreats per year at locations across mainland UK so something for everyone.
Courtney Marie Bohlman
Q: Is it safe to travel alone?
A: We always answer by assuring them that we have shuttle arrangements for our international retreats AND we partner with an amazing company, Traverse Beyond, which is run by a community member, Courtney. She teaches women safe solo travel and is INCREDIBLE.
Q: How do I decide which retreat is best for me?
A: I personally always guide people back to their heart and soul. To quiet down, read over their options and FEEL for the answer. Our minds can think of a million things, but the answers are always found within. Helping to guide people back to their own answers brings me such joy.
Q: How can this retreat help me?
A: I will try to put this answer into words! More than anything they help you slow down, move out of the over-controlling and limiting mind and drop into the body, heart, and soul. They guide you back to the present moment where peace is found.
You will fuel and heal your body with organic nutritious foods, powerful grounding yoga practices, and spiritual tools – allowing you to finally feel at home in your body. You can unplug from the chaos of the world and remember what it is like to just be, living in harmony with all realms of your being: body, mind, heart, and soul.
An added bonus is community; a place where you are seen, held, and loved for who you are AND who you are becoming.