We are so excited to feature a guest from one of our most recent retreats for our Traveler Testimony. Eryn is a an artist and lifestyle photographer at LewChan Photography in Austin, Texas. She works with her husband to beautifully document people's lives and events. She is also mom (to 2 year old Olive Jane), a yogi, and an avid traveler. In fact, she met Erin Lewis in Florence, Italy when she was there to get married to husband Alex! You may have already seen Eryn's work on our site tagged as @colormepale. In fact, all the photos in this blog post are Eryn's work! She is a remarkable artist with a keen eye for culture and beauty. We were so lucky to talk to her about her experience in Marrakesh, Morocco.
What made you decide to take an EAT.PRAY.MOVE retreat?
I've known Erin since 2008 and have followed her on social media platforms. It was the wonderful photos she posts and my love for travel and yoga that drew me to her retreats. My husband suggested I take the plunge and do the Marrakesh retreat last August. I was beside myself with excitement and anticipation.
How did you trip compare to your expectations?
My trip exceeded my expectations and then some! Every detail was thought of and we were able to participate in these lovely outings, meals and practices without having to plan any of it. Erin does a lovely job of scouting and planning these retreats. I'm seriously in awe.
What did you learn on your trip? Did anything surprise you?
I learned so much about Moroccan/Berber culture while in Marrakesh. It was my first trip to a Muslim nation, and it was a true eye opener. I now find myself drawn to Islamic culture/architecture and anything Moroccan. The people were so kind and inviting, and the taste of mint tea will forever bring me back to the medina of Marrakesh. Something that I truly enjoyed was hearing the call to prayer 5 times daily. Every time I heard it, I was immediately reminded that I was somewhere so unlike the place I call home. It was serene and peaceful and mystifying. My time in Marrakesh was beyond perfect.
What was it like to have Erin Lewis as a guide?
Erin Lewis is pretty spectacular. She plans beautiful itineraries and caters to everyones' needs and then some. She was an expert at being present and calm when needed and leaving us to learn and explore on our own once we became more comfortable. She's also cool as hell and hilarious.
What was your favorite moment from your retreat?
I loved so much about my retreat that this is a tough one. I adored the Peacock Pavilions, the staff and the whimsical grounds and decor. Maryam is a vision and somewhat of a rockstar to me, and Chris is funny and approachable. The two of them run such a fabulous boutique hotel that I long to visit again one day. The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious. Another highlight was a trip to the Atlas Mountains to visit Kasbah Tamadot. The scenery was unrivaled and the carrot gnocchi and orange/ginger creme brulee are what my dreams are made of. Lastly, I adored our time in the souks, meandering through the narrow alleys and shopping for beautiful rugs to bring home.
On the Peacock Pavilions grounds
What lasting impressions did you have from your trip?
Traveling home was reminiscent to traveling home after my semester abroad in college. I obviously wanted to see my friends and family but I long to be back already, discovering and learning new things. Wanderlust is me. Traveling to a Muslim nation opened my eyes a lot to Islamic culture and changed a lot of my opinions of what I thought it was. It's a religion that is peaceful and welcoming. I hope to spread that message to the handful of people that have asked me about it since my return.
We love sharing future and new experiences with our guests, and we love that it made such a warm and lasting impact. Thanks, Eryn, and we can't wait to see you on another adventure!