Why Women’s Retreats are the Newest Form of Self-Care
February 10, 2020 • 4 min read
When it comes to self-care, many of us picture 27-step skincare routines and sound bathing sessions in beautiful studios. A word that has become synonymous with self-care these days is “retreat”. It seems like everyone is offering them, ranging from learning to cook on a Mexican island to yoga intensives in Morocco, to tech and SEO crash courses in Costa Rica. Marketed as a way to get away, meet cool people and learn something new, our generation of digital dwellers couldn’t be more into this easy way of meeting like-minded people, and that too, IRL, not just on IG.
As an increasing number of us millennials step away from full time 9-5s and enter into the unchartered waters of entrepreneurship, we couldn’t be hungrier for knowledge and community. Not only is start-up life gruelling, the loneliness that kicks in from hours of solopreneurship is real. Unsurprisingly, women make up a giant number of that solopreneurship percentage, and well…we want friends! But, how do we make friends in an era that is so heavily reliant on the internet, social media and tech? We’ve become more connected than ever before, yet we have lost the art of connection.
Women’s retreats aim to fix that missing link that we’re all feeling, and offer a way for us to step away from our busy lives, indulge in self-care and feminine energy, and bring back connection and community. The number one industry leader in women’s educational retreats is Pangea Dreams, founded by Tracy Komlos, and after attending one of her retreats in Bali in 2018, the magic that exists between women, whether old friends or new, is tangible, uplifting, and completely powerful.
The short week that we spent nestled in the jungle in Ubud amazed me. Immediately the other girls felt like family, and there’s something to be said about the genuine interest in seeing other women succeed. Tracy herself is a powerhouse human being, full of energy and kindness, with a true passion to help lift women up, whether they are entrepreneurs, bloggers, photographers, or just women seeking to forge meaningful relationships. Her ability to bring people together is truly remarkable, and the vibe throughout the week was so elevated and authentic.
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Unlike other retreats, Pangea Dreams has a heavy emphasis on connection. Others are largely about the skill that is to be learned, and while Pangea divulges loads of information on blogging, freelancing, photography, entrepreneurship, social media, etc. throughout the week, the retreats place just as big of an importance on community building and self-growth. With daily morning gratitude journaling sessions that are shared in a circle, cacao ceremonies under moonlit skies to get deeper on personal intentions as well as with each other, and family-style dinners that foster conversations of every kind, Pangea understands feminine energy, the loss of women’s circles in our modern societies, and how to create a safe space where women come together, not tear each other apart.
One of my intentions going into the retreat was to meet a “business bestie” – someone like-minded and easy to connect with. Amazingly, the retreat delivered, and I met one of my now closest friends there, after feeling so isolated being an entrepreneur.
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What I love about Pangea in terms of sustainability is their conscious travel focus. Tracy is a huge animal advocate and lover, so no retreats or retreat activities will ever support animal tourism of any kind. As many of Pangea’s retreats are in tropical places like Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, Peru etc., it can be easy to pad the experience with elephant rides or animal “sanctuaries”, which are notorious for their ill treatment of animals. Tracy doesn’t promote this in any way, and even when scouting beautiful photo-op locations, if animal mistreatment is afoot, Pangea will not tread.
Additionally, the accommodations for the retreats are almost always in independently-owned resorts or villas, where the money goes directly to the local owners, helping them financially and helping to boost the local economy. Instead of sprawling 5-star international hotel chains, Tracy chooses luxury boutique villas that are charming, reflective of the host country, and almost always staffed with and owned by locals. This is a major point to be made when it comes to conscious travel, as making sure we are giving back to the communities that we stay in, and not just taking from, is vital.
Another point to note is on the topic of inclusivity – in a time where this word needs to be built into every brand’s ethos, Pangea Dreams makes it a point to welcome women from everywhere. This isn’t just obscurely hidden in their mission statement, but it is open – Tracy herself chatted with me about her recognition of needing to make inclusivity immediately recognizable when looking at Pangea’s IG or website. Women of colour can see themselves in the photos that are posted, so we feel seen, represented and welcome. There are many retreats, business sessions, conferences and meet-ups that don’t even have the awareness, which is widely problematic. Pangea has also just launched a scholarship program where they are looking to give women who don’t have the financial means of attending a retreat the chance to do so with available funding. Inclusivity here exists on a racial level, as well as a financial one, which is massive in terms of progress and growth.
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If you’re eager to meet new people, surround yourself with high vibrational energy, and learn new skills, a women’s retreat is worth considering! Whether it be a full week away in a tropical location or just a weekend outside of your city, indulge in self-care that is less about material items and more about human connectivity. In this age of app-ordering food to avoid talking to people, headphones in to bypass interaction, and social media DMs over in-person coffee dates, a retreat is the best way to take you out of your rhythm and bring back the personal connection we’ve seemed to have lost.
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