TRAVELER TESTIMONY :: Inspiring Spirit (Bonnie - Pennsylvania, USA)
Welcome to another edition of our series, "
" where we have the pleasure of introducing some of the amazing people that have joined us on EAT.PRAY.MOVE retreats. This month's spotlight is on an inspiring guest who has been on many retreats at all of our locations to date...but today her Q and A is focusing on her experience in Provence, France (where our next
will be held)!
Bonnie lives in Pennsylvania but is definitely a world citizen and always brings a great sprit to the groups. I had the pleasure of meeting Bonnie on a humanitarian trip to Cuba many years ago and from the start of EPM, she's been someone I can count on seeing every year. In her 60s, not only does she keep up with all the activities in the week, she also brings inspiration to others who've met her - with her resolve to see the world, meet other people, experience cultures, get out of her comfort-zone, and never stop exploring! Also, if you happen to be on a retreat that falls just after a breast-cancer awareness 'Race for the Cure' - you may just find that she's dyed her hair one of many shades of pink to show her support!
Bonnie illuminating her henna hands in Morocco
What drew you to EAT.PRAY.MOVE Yoga Retreats?
As a single, retired woman with a strong desire to travel, I realized that there weren't many options available to travel with like-minded individuals. When a mutual friend mentioned that Erin had started EPM, I jumped right on it. The first trip that was available for me was to Marrakesh and there was no way to say no to that. I enjoyed it so much that each time a new location is offered, I sign up before it gets filled up. The last 'new' location was Provence, and since I had spent no time in that area I was roaring to go.
Bonnie showing LOVE on a retreat in Ischia
How did your trip compare to your expectations?
The venue and the fellow travelers always change, so no trip is ever the same. Since Provence was my 4th Retreat, I pretty much knew the mechanics of the trip, and what the general schedule would be like. As it turned out, the details where better than I expected, although each retreat always is better than expected!
What did you learn on your trip?
What was confirmed for me on that trip was that the "universe" which supplied all my fellow travelers was one that matched my interests and suited my travel style.
with some of the group in Tuscany
What is it like to have Erin Lewis as a guide?
Erin is a wonderful guide! I recently came back from a retreat in India, and kept thinking that if Erin had led it, things would have been better and easier. Our guide had never stayed at any of the 4 places we used. Erin always scouts out the places before she selects them, and her standards are quite high. Erin treats all of us with patience and tolerance, a really necessary talent for a guide. She also gives us the freedom to choose whether we want to go along with the daily program or arrange our own side trips. And if we feel like sleeping in, missing a few yoga class. whatever, that's fine, too.
enjoying an espresso in Italy
What was your favorite part of the retreat?
It's always difficult for me to pick out the best of anything. I'm very lucky in that there's almost nothing I don't enjoy. But if I'm forced to pick out the most exceptional event in Provence, it was going to the Thermal Spa. After an incredible massage and delicious outdoor lunch, I sat in my bathing suit near one of the many outdoor pools and enjoyed watching the ocean, conversations with my friends, and sketching.
Bonnie in Provence with pink hair for breast-cancer awareness!
What impacted you and stayed with you once you traveled home?
I had always heard about the beauty of Provence, but had no idea what that really meant. After staying in a beautiful 17th century Provincial "demure" with beautiful gardens and surrounded by fields as well as forest, I learned that It is the natural beauty of the area which is so sensational. Charming villages were everywhere we drove. What is reinforced each time I travel with EPM is how grateful I am to have such a wonderful group to travel with. The experience always adds beauty and grace to my life.
Thank you, Bonnie for your words, continued support, and friendship! You're an inspiration and I hope many more guests on future retreats have the opportunity to meet you.