By Kay Newton
It’s vacation time in most parts of the world. Besides spending time with family and friends, more women are now opting to take a break alone. Creating new life experiences – rather than just booking a hotel and sitting by the beach – has become popular. One such way to do this is to join a retreat.
Retreats come in all shapes and sizes, from large groups to intimate gatherings, five-star luxury to camping, from overnight to week-long, or even more. One thing they all have in common? You will never be exactly the same person you were before the event.
In the past, I have run my own retreats and hosted for others. This year, for the first time, I had the opportunity to take part in one. Panama was the destination and ‘Ignite’ hosted by Lyn Bishop was an amazing way to begin 2019.
Here are more retreats hosted by dynamic women organisers.
Tamara Alferoff loves running retreats and has been doing so for more than 30 years. Her go-to destination is the Mediterranean: France, Greece and Italy.
“I am fortunate to be able to attract people who want to work on themselves at a heartfelt and deep level. It is not only they who have rewards; each time I interact, I too have my cup filled to overflowing,” says the London-based transformative psychotherapist and mentor.
Tamara’s power is to help the participants connect to their authenticity. “Whether it is tapping into the dream body, constellation work, psychotherapy, family ancestry, or therapeutic tools, everyone takes away skills that they can use.”
Tamara states that serendipity sent her to all the locations. “I fell in love with Lavaldieu, France. It was like coming home. The Templar hamlet is the perfect setting for the ‘Heroines Journey’ retreat. The wildflowers, butterflies and birds in June are just stunning.”
Her workshop in Greece is the ‘Heroes Journey’ retreat for men and women, with a focus on love, family patterns, relationships, mastery and magic in self and the world. “In 2000, I was invited to the Pilion area of Greece, a very lush and green forested area with cascading waterfalls and beautiful sunrises overlooking the Aegean Sea 800 feet below. It has been the perfect backdrop for my Heroes retreat ever since,” she explains.
Her retreats in Italy are by invitation only: a secret space for wise, experienced leaders, thinkers and healers to brainstorm, share their skills and co-create a way to discuss with the younger generations the future that faces them.
More here: tamara-alferoff.com
As the founder of two worldwide movements, ‘Women of Contribution’ and ‘Pay It Forward’, Kezia Luckett knows the power of self-transformation. She recently conducted a two-day Legacy Creation retreat, a small intimate affair run at a five-star hotel in UK.
“I shared with my businesswomen participants how I have created a meaningful legacy in a short period of time. It is all about becoming crystal clear on the ripple effect I wished to see in the world and how to harness collaboration. Now my movements have the potential to impact billions,” says the positive psychologist and author.
The system Kezia has created is simple and doable by anyone. “Businesswomen sometimes need help to think about legacy on a broader spectrum. You don’t need to know the ‘how’; you just need to have a bigger vision and put it out there. Sharing this vision then becomes powerful. Meeting like-minded others adds fuel to the fire.”
During the Retreat, Kezia utilised the venue to further the experience. “I chose the Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa as the backdrop for the event. Located on 500 acres of English parkland in the Cotswolds near Bath, it was the perfect place to learn, explore and nurture. Not only were the spa treatments amazing, but the countryside is beautiful and the Michelin-starred food was superb.”
Kezia, who shuttles between Europe, USA and Australia, also provided her guests with personal goody bags at the end.
Karen Kennaby is always on the go, hosting amazing get-togethers. I chatted with the UK-based mentor for women and international speaker after her recent return from a nine-day trip for women to the Valley of the Roses in Morocco.
As well as spending time in the Valley, the participants experienced a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise, camel riding in the Sahara desert, bargain hunting at the souks (markets), beautiful hotels and delicious food.
“The Rose Valley is one of the biggest surprises of Morocco. High in the Atlas Mountains, the valley produces 4000 tons of wild roses every year in April-May. It takes around four tons of fresh petals to make a single litre of rose oil, used in perfume making. It is a complete sensation overload and well worth a visit,” Karen informs enthusiastically.
Karen describes herself as a travelling woman, both geographically and emotionally. She loves to find the best in all situations and help others experience it too. She also hosts events in London, Dubai and several other locations throughout the year.
“I love connecting other women, helping them to unwind, de-stress and increase their joie de vivre. There is something magical about a group of ladies coming together away from their usual environment. Amazing bonds and friendships are formed, new thought-patterns emerge and, of course, the world becomes a far better place,” she says.
Her next retreat is a three-night trip in July to see Andrea Bocelli perform live outside his hometown in Tuscany. In addition to this sensual treat we’ll experience a Tuscan cookery class, a truffle hunt and of course a few glasses of yummy Tuscan red wine! Are you coming?”
More here: Karenkennaby.com
A former product designer, Annu Bala founded her own venture SoulCentric in 2013, offering retreats in various locations in India, Egypt, Vietnam, Cambodia, Machu Picchu, Turkey and even Antarctica. This year she is also hosting an Uncharted World Cruise, which will take participants to the remotest corners of Earth on an ultra-luxury cruise.
“I am an adventure enthusiast by nature,” says Annu, who has been on several treks and adventure trips including Everest Base Camp and biked from Manali to Ladakh in the Himalayas. Her deep interest in self-exploration through alternative travel guided her to start her own venture. So far, she has organised over 50 retreats, with group sizes ranging from 12 to 50.
Besides the sightseeing, most of the retreats have a spiritual quotient in them. “In Egypt, for example, we take the group inside the Giza Pyramid for a two-hour meditation. In Turkey, we have sessions on Sufism as it is the land of Rumi. In Cambodia we visit Angkor Wat temple on the day of equinox when the sun rises at the tip of the temple complex and we meditate on it.”
She goes on, “Machu Picchu is an energy spot so we individually meditate there. Antarctica in itself is a life-changing experience. We play with energy spots, special days to visit, the spiritual significance of the destination and intense natural beauty to curate the experiences,” says the Delhi-based travelpreneur.
There have been mystical experiences too: “When we were meditating inside the Giza Pyramid (lead image), there was a mysterious chanting of ‘aaaeeem’ for about 20 minutes, which was experienced by us all. It was unforgettable.”
More here: www.soulcentric.in