Two weeks ago, I had the distinct honor of assisting my boss on her first retreat in Mallorca (also spelled Majorca), Spain. To say it was breath taking and beautiful is an understatement. Being that Mallorca is an island, I expected it to be flat and not topographically diverse. Yet, it was! It was full of huge rocky cliffs covered in mossy trees. There were rocky beaches enclosed by jetties and white sand beaches sprawled out for miles. It was heaven. We really took our time to dig into the scenery around us by exploring markets, eating at spectacular restaurants and trying to catch as many sunsets as we could.
This is now the second retreat I've assisted (definitely manifesting to one day lead my own) and I have noticed powerful themes I don't typically find when I go on a regular vacation. Here's what I've learned:
1. You slow down
The first retreat I assisted on was a yoga retreat and was very structured in terms of scheduling. This last retreat was more freeform, lifestyle retreat. Both, gave me an opportunity to slow way, way down and tune in. When you leave the hustle of America, and even more so New York, you realize that non-Americans really know how to live. And that's what retreats help you do. They bring you out of your comfort zone, take away your busy work and force you to be in the moment. They teach you what life is really about.
2. You build lasting relationships
On my first retreat, I felt very bonded to the entire group and when I see them now, I feel transported back to our time together. However, on that retreat I also met one of my best friends! It was such a blessing to have that opportunity for us to slow down and connect. On this last retreat, I bonded with two women and feel so lucky to now have connected with powerful humans I wouldn't have otherwise met. I heard recently that people who have less invest more in relationships. Each retreat showed me how powerful that can be. When you focus on relationships you immediately feel rejuvenated and enriched.
3. No planning = more enjoying
I think this is where retreats top vacations- no planning. Of course, as an assistant on a retreat some planning is part of my job. However, the fact that retreats are part of my work is such a thrill that I do not care! If you are on a retreat, you are being given a curated view of wherever you are and more than likely are seeing things you wouldn't normally. My first retreat is was hiking up a volcano! It was 4 hours just to get up! In Mallorca, it was experiencing fine dining. As a vegan/gluten free eater, I typically don't eat out. Left to my own devices in Mallorca, I would have cooked for myself and assumed I couldn't have eaten at any restaurants. WRONG! Every restaurant we went to had vegan/gluten free options for me and one even did a full chefs tasting menu vegan/gluten free just for me! I loved that I got to be surprised and enjoy a moment I wouldn't have otherwise. Each place gave me new ideas to try at home and reinvigorated my culinary adventures.
I left Mallorca feeling completely rejuvenated and more sure about what I want out of life. For starters, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea is an absolute must for me once a year. I've committed to going back once every summer because I experienced such deep healing in those waters. I also gained insight into what really matters to me: seeking elevated experiences with high vibrating people in diverse locations.
If you're traveling to Mallorca here are some recommendations for you:
Son Viscos Villa - Amazing views, accommodations and fresh water pool.
Ca Ta Toneta- Book in advance as it's hard to get a reservation. Get the chef's tasting menu. They will do a vegan/gluten free version if needed. Our first course was a fennel and fig cracker with a side of fresh water collected from a fig leaf. HELLO!
Cap Rocat- This is a hotel and restaurant stationed in an old military fortress. It is right on the water and gives you the most epic sunset views.
Nama - Spectacular thai food. Unexpected on an island in Spain but, did not disappoint. They have vegan/gluten free versions of everything on the menu. Sit outside!