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Travel + Flow Retreats

Behind the Retreat

Social media is a world of ideals, just a sliver of a reality which is messy, which makes mistakes, which meets one struggle after another yet perseveres. Here’s how it really happens.

Behind Travel and Flow

My failed travel/yoga Retreat.

Part 1:

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I’m putting all I’ve got into this project and really want it to take off. I’ll share a lot of picturesque marketing. These images are real but they are just a fraction of the whole story. Exception: this post.

Social media is a world of ideals, just a sliver of a reality which is messy, which makes mistakes, which meets one struggle after another yet perseveres. Here’s how it really happens.

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I got the idea to do a retreat a while ago. I suppose the interaction of two major passions in my life–physical/mental health & traveling– was always coming, but it was the summer before I moved to Spain when such a dream first emerged.

I talked with a friend, Arta, about doing one together but that fell through (our working together, not her Retreat- I attended Berat Yoga Retreat last year in Albania and it was lovely (info here). Truth is, I was bummed when ours didn’t happen but also aware that I wasn’t ready to go for it on my own. So I filed the idea until a later date.

Flash forward a couple of years. Years of experience visiting the “bucket list” European cities: Paris, London, Florence, Milan…then returning for a second time as one can while living in a Europe well connected by discount airlines. Visiting the same cities again encourages wandering. I grew to enjoy going next door to see something just off the standard path; the lesser know. The day trips and villages a car ride away offer a deeper dive into the intricacies of each place. This was gold!

Inspired by small towns in Spain, picturesque villages which scatter the countryside with history and small-town culture, I started to look at a new opportunity in rural tourism.

As friends and family came to visit and travel with me in Europe, I shared my knowledge about booking cheaper/more direct flights and finding memorable accommodations, meals and sights. I gained confidence in planning not only for myself but now others and with that the desire to lead a retreat came back to me.

My interest was piqued but I was still too nervous to act. Then I met Priscilla at a hostel in Budapest. She was fearlessly pursuing her own dream: https://www.greentreestravel.com and had such an authentic and solid approach that she motivated me to dare greatly and do this thing myself, my way.

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Anticipating the amount of work and savvy needed for such things, I decided to pursue a business partner. When I pitched the idea to Tara (of Silly Little Kiwi blog– a fantastic person and thoughtful adventurer too– here’s a link to her site), she not only saw the vision but shared it and agreed to work with me. Her knowledge of social media and marketing along with extensive international travel experience, yoga teaching certification, and an impeccable eye for design would seriously benefit the project.

We got to work. We scoured the internet for just the right location and accommodations. We polled to find out more about our target customers’ wants and needs. We designed an itinerary and crunched the numbers then crunched again to make things work as efficiently as possible, got the graphics going, the business plan ready, and just when we were ready to post the website…

It was crushing to find out that visa timing would prevent us from pulling off this one as a team (welcome to immigration reality). And so, when I was left to decide whether or not to go it alone…

I chose the path which scares me most. I’m doing this thing. 

This may be a great success or a major failure. The odds feel 50/50. Either will mean growth. I’m grateful for the courage, and for all of my incredible mentors, friends, and sponsors who have contributed to this leap-of-faith moment.

My mom took me to yoga class with her when I was 16. Amy introduced me to Angie, who first saw a barre teacher in me. Jasmine pushed me to learn more and then more and then more again. Rishikesh Yog Peeth yoga teacher training teachers (Roshan, Govind, and Jeet) and classmates like Serene, Annaling, Depali, and more– all of these connections were made thanks to a recommendation by Christie. Experience at Montana studios thanks to Stephanie alongside Jordan and Joelle and Kathryn and other amazing teachers/students (Kylie, Dawn, Selena) who continue to influence me.

Basically, I wouldn’t be halfway ready without this major team and I will do my very best to make all of you proud.

Part 2

… INSERT 2020

The retreat failed before it had a chance to take off. Sometimes I think that was a blessing. I am in a sense part of (my imaginary) community of entrepreneurs who experienced a loss outside of our control all at once. The more dedicated, lucky, gritty ones persevered, but I let it go. I knew I didn’t have the support or will to make it happen and couldn’t escape this close-call feeling that I would have failed either way so split the difference and tried to move on with the ‘new normal’ of pandemic life. But failure hits hard. The loss of confidence affected my whole body. I lost confidence and I lost weight. As I literally felt myself becoming smaller fear took hold. I spent the good part of a year really doubting myself, falling into a rut but unable to adequately express or acknowledge it given the suffering going on in the world due to COVID-19.

We all went through things in these years. I have a country music background so will use the line, “if you’re going through hell, just keep going…you might get out…” (if you recall the artist, comment below) – that’s what 2021 felt like.

Fear turned to fire and I decided to make some life changes. Thanks in large part to the good influences in my life (mom, Atreya, Mr. G), I decided to go back to school. To start over in one way, to level up in another. My time in Spain had expired, and my lack of formal qualifications kept me from furthering my career. I’d change that.

A few months later, I moved to the UK. I started my master’s degree. I rebuilt confidence and raised my self-expectations. I got back in motion and began again to allow myself to succeed. I accepted the support that family and friends were offering and reimagined my capabilities.

This is how failing pushed me further. Maybe I anticipated it years before, I knew I could fail at the retreat and knew it would still be a lesson. One I now see was worth learning the hard way.

To anyone reading and struggling, just keep going. Or the Nemo line I love (thanks to Mikela) – just keep swimming. There are some times in life I run on motivation, like a magnet it pulls me towards a goal or a dream, but there are others in which moving becomes heavy. It’s getting through those periods I’m most proud of.

Travel and Flow failed, but that wasn’t the end of the story. In fact, I’m still swimming (and now the current is in my favor again).

RIP Travel and Flow and thanks for reading.

Running a blog takes a lot of time, money, and effort. Become a Grace in the World patron by buying me a coffee or sponsoring a post! Click this link to donate to my travel fund. Your support is highly appreciated.

By Grace in the World

I hope that the experiences I record here could be of some use to those looking to travel and I welcome questions/comments/feedback. Thank you for reading my words. Bon voyage!

One reply on “Behind the Retreat”

Hi Grace
I love what you are doing!
I hope that it works well. Being the teacher and giving advice, design a good business plan.
Email me if you get a chance.
Gary

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