Thirteen years. Twenty countries. Countless more to go.
The more I travel, the more it becomes apparent to me that it is in my DNA. As a kid, I loved going on trips – whether a staycation to a nearby hotel or a warm weather getaway to escape the Midwest winters. Despite my love of travel, the first time I left the country was in my late 20s. A year or so later, I decided that I was going to visit a new country every year until something got in my way.
Hello everyone! We hope your winter is off to a lovely start and your holidays have been full of love. We decided this year would be a great time to start our first ever gift guide for the holiday season! While retreats are great, our ultimate goal is to provide tools that might bring mindfulness and presence to your everyday lives. So we have compiled a list of things that really continue the theme of finding focus and calm in the chaos of life, whether it's using yoga, rituals, meditation, art or manifesting your goals. There are even some ways to bring the smells and textures of world travels into your home. Now is a great time to start looking toward the new year and cultivating habits that help you ground yourself and bring possibility. We hope you enjoy it!
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.
As many of you know, our Give Back partner for our Croatia retreats is the Croatian Scholarship Fund. We were lucky to sponsor a student named Erika, and we never fail to be delighted by her joy and energy for life. She recently sent us an update, so we wanted to share what she’s been up to and what it looks like to give back to someone who is doing good in the world. Erika embodies what we at EPM believe creates a full life: her love of travel, movement, relationships, time in nature, meaningful work and giving to others always inspire us.
We want to be able to offer something to our guests when they aren’t on retreat, so we are committed to bringing you offerings from our retreat leaders to bring you some extra sources of grounding, creativity, energy, and more. First up, we have Jen Carter, who often leads our Mindful Movement retreats with yoga and meditation.
You may remember from our past posts, one of our past guests and collaborators is Rupi Sood, the curator of international arts and culture publication J’AIPUR Journal, an international arts and culture publication telling East-meets-West stories about people and places that inspire. They have a mission to observe, listen and contemplate, an idea that we fully support here at EPM.
We are so happy to share this article from The New York Times profiling Maryam Montague, owner of Peacock Pavilions and founder of Project Soar, a non-profit that offers girls academic support, empowerment coaching, health education, sports and arts classes. Project Soar has been our Give Back partner for Marrakesh for years now, and we are so happy to see it getting this coverage.
At EAT.PRAY.MOVE, we have all had the common experience that travel is not just vacation and frivolity—travel in its nature is an act of mindfulness. Many dismiss travel as a selfish or frivolous act, a yin and mindless activity in our lives. We couldn’t disagree more—travel is an active experience for the mind, one that challenges and changes people. While many people join our retreats because they know yoga to be a tool for presence, energy, meditation and expansion, what we hope they go away with is the knowledge that travel, too, can be a conduit for all of these things.
We are so thrilled to finally introduce our newest team member, Sarah Scarborough!
At EAT.PRAY.MOVE, we have been so lucky to cross paths with some incredible teachers in multiple fields of study, and Sarah is no exception. Not only is she a certified yoga teacher, but she is an expert in all things tea related: she is the creator and tea buyer for Firepot Nomadic Teas, a Nashville based company serving the highest quality organic and ethically sourced tea from around the world.
We were lucky to return to Bali for two retreats this year, and we were fortunate to go back to visit our Give Back partner for Indonesia, Threads of Life. Threads of Life is a fair trade business that works with culture and conservation to alleviate poverty in rural Indonesia. In addition to education us on the artists and foundations they work with, Our guests took a natural dye batik class, which offers a unique insight into the botany, dye processes and practice of Indonesia’s textile traditions.
We were so excited to get to revisit our beloved Project Soar while we were in Marrakesh and catch up on the amazing things they are doing. Plus we were able to work on some projects!
We have been working with Project Soar for years now, and it's an incredibly powerful organization, working to empower Moroccan girls, giving them an open space to study and be, as well as educational tools, health resources, empowering affirmations, the chance to play sports and take art classes, and so much more. They strive to give these young women a voice and a chance to complete their education.
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.
If you've been following our Give Back program, you may have seen that for our Croatia initiative, we partnered with the Croatian Scholarship Fund to donate to a student named Erika. She is studying at the Teacher's University in Zagreb, the largest city in Croatia. We get regular updates from Erika, so we thought we should share what she's been up to!
For all of my life, it has seemed like there are two types of people in the world: adventurous or not. If my beginnings would have told me anything, it would be that I was not going to be much of a traveler. I was the kind of kid that would stress out and get homesick if I went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. (I even took my own food with me.)
We're happy to introduce you to two amazing women who joined us on our Tuscany "Form+Focus" retreat over the summer. Emily and Hannah are the creators of the London-based company, Twice the Health -where this team (consisting of a nutritionist and PT) are best-friends turned bloggers, turned health-maker-world-travelers. Their matching outfits and youtube workout videos take them around the world finding interesting new forms of workouts and health, as well as new landscapes in which to challenge themselves.
We want to introduce you to Bonnie, one of our most loyal EPM guests - she's been a friend for years and has attended 13 EPM retreats since we began and is already signed up on a few more on the upcoming calendar! She's an amazing adventurous soul who continues to inspire us with her free spirit. Thanks Bonnie for taking the time to write this post about your experience in Goa!
We wanted to share with you a guest post of our recent guest, Arlene, who attended one of the Tuscany retreats this summer. We were so happy to have her join us and thankful for her lovely post about the experience. Born in New York City, Arlene currently lives in Rome, Italy after working for fifteen years in Hollywood as a film executive and a screenwriter. Now she spends her time in 'il bel paese' continuing her writing and working as an interior decorator with clients from around the world.
Here's a snippet of her blog post below and be sure to click through to the full post below!
We just returned from an amazing retreat on the Amalfi Coast last week - it was our first retreat at this location as it was a special request from a private group. It was a group of friends - many who are past guests, and just a big celebration of life, activities enjoyed together, and a small reunion of sorts.
We're happy to introduce you to one of our EPM guests who has joined us in Italy and Morocco and always adds fun, glamour, and plenty of food knowledge and excitement to each retreat. Courtney is the author of the blog, Blonge Voyage Nashville - a Nashville, TN native who has a healthy obsession with culinary delights both at home and abroad, and who's favorite quote is from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland:
"Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures...."
Hi everyone! It's been a while since we written to you about our Give Back Initiative and we had some exciting new updates. Since the beginning of 2017 we've donated several thousands of dollars to our Give Back partners in Bali, India, and Morocco! Thanks to our guests who've helped make this possible. We believe that we can all "Do Good & Travel Well" and also connect in a meaningful way to the cultures where we visit.
Earlier this year, through our partnership with Magic Bus, EAT.PRAY.MOVE was able to provide notebooks and school bags for 120 children. Many of these children go to a government-run school in Baina, one of the areas most in need in the state of Goa. Here, there is little money to support a child’s education as government-run schools are generally under resourced. Because of this, contributions like ours can go a long way in making a difference in the lives of these children.
This is a new series written by our Give Back coordinator, Eugenia. She's in charge of being a liaison between our Give Back partners around the world and we are so happy to have her on board as this program, which is so close to our hearts here at EPM, grows. Follow our journey in getting to know our partners through these updates - and see how our guests are making differences in people's lives on a global scale. DO GOOD + TRAVEL WELL.
We are back with our next Traveler Testimony. This round is Anna and Jared from Atlanta, GA. This couple has a graphic design and photography business, have been married for 14 years and love any opportunity to travel together and explore new places. We are always excited to welcome couples on our retreats, and this duo is quite a lovely pair. We even got to enjoy Jared's stunning photos from the retreat, seen in this post!
As I was scrolling through our photo albums for media photos last week, I got curious. I started counting and realized-- we hit the 50 retreat mark! (Well, technically, we're at 51.) But I thought it was momentous and worth celebrating.
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.
EPM showed up in my life at a time where I wanted more adventure, more travel, more life, and I also wanted to do something just for myself, by myself, and I wanted to prove that I was capable of doing something extraordinary on my own...