We are excited to bring your our next TRAVELER TESTIMONY! This edition's blog guest is Stacey from Ontario, Canada! Stacey is a dental hygienist and active volunteer in her community. She loves yoga, art, good food and wine, so we were thrilled to get her take on what it's like to experience an EAT.PRAY.MOVE retreat from her perspective. Here are her impressions on a MINDFUL MOVEMENT yoga + meditation retreat in Croatia with Jen Carter.
What drew you Eat Pray Move Yoga Retreats? What made you decide to take your retreat?
I had a yearning to start travelling on my own, have been practicing yoga on and off for years and with having recently undergone some major shifts in my personal and career paths, I felt strongly drawn back to practicing more. I was in search of something to fill my cup, and I came across an article about EAT.PRAY.MOVE. It looked like an amazing way to blend the two passions.
A well travelled friend asked me if I had ever considered Croatia. and there it was: EAT.PRAY.MOVE Retreat in CROATIA! My gut told me it was meant to be.
I reached out to Erin as a nervous novice single traveller, and she was amazing at answering all of my questions and putting me in touch with an experienced EPM traveller for their outlook/feedback on the retreats. It sounded perfect to me. I was thrilled to have a friend say she wanted to join me and undertake something new when I shared the EAT.PRAY.MOVE opportunity. Doing something outside the box/comfort zone was important--yoga, mindful meditation, exploring a foreign country and meeting new people excited me.
How did your trip compare to your expectations?
My expectations were all most definitely surpassed.
Every detail was thought out, planned and perfectly executed. Our amazing hosts, Nika + Vera at the beautiful Zamagna Residence, welcomed us with open arms and shared Croatia with us through their passionate eyes and hearts. No element was overlooked. I felt like a VIP.
What did you learn on your trip? Did anything surprise you?
I learned so much on this adventure about beautiful Croatia-the culture, history, traditions, people, food, wines of the area we stayed. Croatia is a very proud, loyal beautiful country.
I learned about myself--self discovery without question. I am typically shy around new people and surroundings, but I was able to let down my walls and found myself questioning "who is this girl" about me in a positive way. I wasn't expecting it, but I arrived for a week with strangers and left with lifelong friends- an amazing, supportive, beautiful, like-minded group of strong women that I felt like I had known forever. In just one week they all found their way into my heart.
What was it like to have Jen Carter as a guide?
Jen was our wonderful EPM guide. She was amazing: calm, knowledgeable, organized, keeping track of our group so things ran smoothly. Meditation was something I had tried in the past with not much success and wasn't sure I could truly achieve it. Jen was amazing at introducing mindful meditation with ease, and I have brought it home with me and try to include it in my everyday routine. I attempted some yoga poses I had always been apprehensive trying in the past, and with Jen's ease, assistance, making me comfortable and being my cheerleader, I was successful. I am grateful.
What were the top moments from your trip?
This is a hard question to answer. Can I say everything?!
The relationships made tops the list. Our group is already planning to meet up again and arranging our next EPM retreat together.
The dinner discussions over amazing food/wine involving everyone and learning more about each other (the lovely souls I was grateful to spend the week with); the daily yoga/meditation and our beautiful surroundings; the old city of Dubrovnik strolling the streets lined with cafes, galleries, restaurants and all the treasures hidden in every nook and cranny along the way; the open markets with wonderful local amenities- (ie. lavender and figs) and friendly people; the day trip to Lokrum Island where some of us risked our lives on the angry sea; the beautiful day trip and drive along the Peljesac Penninsula to the winery and little towns along the way (the best gelato); Marco's hospitality at Vala's for the best coffee and Croatian spirits; the spa for some R&R; the cable car ride for the panoramic view to say goodbye to Croatia on our last night.
What lasting impressions did you have?
I left a piece of my heart in Croatia and will definitely return. Pictures and trying to describe the beauty doesn't do it justice. You have to experience it--the food, the air, the Adriatic Sea, the mountains, the people…
This journey confirmed my love for yoga, and I am considering taking my certification to increase my knowledge and practice. Mindful meditation is also now a part on my inner being. I came home changed. I found myself in ways I didn't know I could. I plan to see more of the world with EAT.PRAY.MOVE. Off the beaten path locations fit perfectly with finding your zen. I was picking my next retreat before my feet even touched the ground back in Canada.
I have a new perspective on life and whats important. Just say yes :) This retreat with EPM was a blessing.Not a day goes by that I don't think of my yoga retreat to Croatia (with a huge smile on my face) and every wonderful soul I met along the way, forever in my heart pocket. HVALA!
THANK YOU, Stacey, for sharing your memories and your heart with us in this. We are so happy you loved your retreat with Jen and found lasting changes to carry home with you. We can't wait to see you on another retreat!