In the next round of our Traveler Testimony, I spoke to Catherine from New York City. Catherine was an actor in NYC and London before transitioning to writing and producing. She is a repeat guest, one of the people we lovingly refer to as our EPM family. She has already joined us in Marrakesh, Croatia, Goa, Tuscany and Iceland! We asked her to give us a little of her perspective on what it's like to travel with us on retreat.
What drew you EAT.PRAY.MOVE Yoga Retreats?
I had been wanting to travel for years but always put it off, either because I didn't have time or anyone to travel with. When I turned 40, I realized it was now or never and began to look for ways that I would be comfortable traveling as a single woman, on my own. When I found EPM online, I was instantly drawn to the Marrakech trip, as it was somewhere I've always wanted to explore, but never felt comfortable going on my own. Despite the fact that I had probably taken two yoga classes my whole life and was intimidated by the idea of having to take an art class, I signed up for the Form + Focus retreat with Erin and Julian.
I was nervous as I flew into Marrakech, never having been on a group trip before, where I wouldn't know anyone. I'm an introvert and I'm not always comfortable in groups. As soon as I entered Peacock Pavilions, I was greeted by Erin and Julian, who were so warm and friendly, they quickly put me at ease. The next week in Marrakech was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The trip was thoughtfully planned and paced, so I felt like I got to see and experience everything without feeling rushed. We always had time to relax and be on our own if we wanted to. Peacock Pavilions was just gorgeous--pictures don't do it justice. I didn't want to leave at the end of the trip!
After that first week, I was hooked. It is such a luxury to show up and have everything taken care of for you. I have since been to Croatia, Tuscany, Goa and Iceland with EPM and plan on going on many more!
What did you learn on your trips?
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the art classes! I had never been someone who was gifted in that area and I never had much interest in it. Julien spoke of using the classes as a kind of meditation, and with that in mind, I found it really relaxing to work on something and not worry about the outcome. Julien also gave us tips on how to improve taking pictures so we come home with photos that really capture a moment instead of a bunch of random shots. It's really wonderful to come home with an art journal, a unique way to remember all the things I saw and felt on the trips I've been on.
What was it like to have Erin, Julian and Jen as guides?
I have been on trips with Erin, Julian and Jen and they are all fantastic! I always know I'm in good hands with Erin, who takes great care in scouting and putting together all the trips. Julian is loads of fun and always has lots of interesting stories about wherever it is we are traveling, and Jen has such great, positive energy, I felt like a friend the minute I met her. Most importantly, they all have a great sense of humor, the most essential quality when you are traveling with someone!
What were the top moments from your travels with EPM?
Each trip is so unique and I have had so many great moments its hard to narrow them down. Walking through the night market in Marrakech and watching Casablanca under the stars at the outdoor theater at Peacock Pavilions; Going on a sunset boat ride off the coast of Croatia with the special group of women I met on that trip; Making an offering at a Hindu temple in Goa; Getting a tour of off-the-beaten-path artworks in Florence by Julien; Riding Icelandic horses and bathing in the Blue Lagoon in on New Year's Day in Iceland. These are memories that have really stayed with me.
What lasting impressions did you have?
I learn so much every time I travel. I learned that there are many wonderful people out there who love to experience different cultures and learn new things, and those are the kind of people who travel with EPM. I have made great friends on these trips and part of the excitement I feel when I'm on my way to a new retreat is wondering who I'm going to meet next!
What keeps you coming back to EPM?
I always feel renewed and full of energy when I come home from an EPM trip. There is something about going away and taking time for myself in a new environment that invigorates me. Knowing that all I have to do is show up at the airport and everything else will be taken care of, is a big reason I keep coming back. Erin always make sure that the accommodations are beautiful and the food is divine. I also know that I'm going to meet great people. I'm looking forward to many more journeys with EPM!
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Catherine! We will see you on retreat soon!