Traveler Testimony :: Deborah - California, USA
We are back with our Traveler Testimony series, where we talk to past guests about their experiences on retreat! This time, we talked to Deborah, who is based in Southern California. She is a PR professional who has worked in entertainment, book publishing and tech. Deborah has not only joined us on three retreats (Marrakesh, Bali and Spain), but she has lived all over the US, including New York and Seattle. We wanted to know more about what led her to join us for her travels.
What drew you EAT.PRAY.MOVE Yoga Retreats? What made you decide to take your first retreat?
As a single woman, I found myself always waiting for my schedule to sync with friends so we could travel together. Between work and life, another year would pass without taking a vacation, and then another. In early 2015, I was in the midst of starting a challenging new role at work and relocating across the country…and I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t go another year without taking a vacation. I think all those factors were the perfect storm to finally stop waiting for something to happen and actually just do it. This would be my first solo trip, so I figured it would make the most sense to look into taking a retreat. I remembered reading about EPM on Well + Good, then going to the EPM website - which had a beautiful and professional design - and after reviewing the Marrakesh itinerary, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for and booked the trip. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
How did your trip compare to your expectations?
Each and every retreat has exceeded my expectations. I know that when I am on an EPM retreat that I will have fun, start my day with yoga, explore a new city/country/region, eat delicious food, drink plenty of wine and simply just relax. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
What did you learn on your trips? Did anything surprise you?
I have a new and deeper appreciation for being present and creating the space to allow myself to be in the moment. One of my strongest memories from the Bali retreat was sitting by the waterfront in complete silence, except for the sounds of the waves, watching in absolute awe the sunrise. I wasn’t reminiscing about the past or what was in store in the future, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and how lucky I was to be there in that very moment, it was magical.
What was your most recent retreat?
Basque (in summer of 2017) was my most recent retreat. I had recently left a job and planned to take some time off to travel in Europe, and this EPM retreat fit perfectly within my travel plans. To my surprise, it became a mini reunion with guests from previous trips. I remember vividly on the ride back from visiting wineries in Rioja - where we enjoyed all the wine - and Despacito came on the radio. We all broke into song, followed by lots and lots of laughs. Most of us were strangers before this retreat, and after that ride home, we were old friends. I fell in love with the Basque region…and pintxos and txakoli.
What was your guide like?
Erin is a calm and graceful guide with impeccable taste, and her passion is the secret ingredient that makes EPM so special. She’s created an experience where you can simply show up and enjoy. It’s just the right mix of yoga, fun and exploration without being too forced or hurried - it’s perfectly paced. Everything is taken care of with exceptional detail and consideration.
What were the top moments from your trips?
My first EPM retreat was Marrakesh and, as a whole, was the top moment. I went by myself and had no idea what to expect. From the moment I joined other guests in the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel, I knew I found my people. The group was diverse and from all different parts of the US (and abroad) but there was an instant connection and bond. We all had different reasons for taking the retreat, but at the core we were all looking for. I totally attribute this trip for being the catalyst to push me out of the auto-pilot life in the most beautiful way.
In Bali, two of my dear friends Kate and Kim also were on the trip. Bali is a long way from Seattle, and with each new activity and experience we had to pinch ourselves because we couldn’t believe we were in Bali. The spa day at the Four Seasons was hands down the most luxurious experience, but the boat ride to a remote beach for lunch made us all feel like contestants on the Bachelor (minus the suitor).
Basque was filled with art, wine, and delicious Michelin starred dining. Touring the winery in Rioja, I daydreamed about leaving the corporate world to stomp grapes and make wine. I still want to figure out how to make that a reality…
What lasting impressions did you have?
EPM has shown me the importance of taking time for myself. Once I said yes and booked my first retreat, it changed everything. My perspective shifted on my priorities and has helped me realize that I needed a better balance. The effects have been profound and permeate through every aspect of my life. I can’t wait for my next retreat. And I whole-hardheartedly encourage anyone who hasn't yet booked an EPM retreat to just do it, you can thank me later.
Thank you so much, Deborah! We are grateful to have you as a member of the EPM family and can’t wait to see you again.