I became hooked on retreats a few years go, after venturing out to Portugal one summer to indulge in a weeks worth of yoga practice. There’s something about taking a trip on your own, meeting like-minded strangers and learning to embrace new things that makes retreats feel a little bit like a holiday club for adults! It’s a voyage of discovery and most importantly a chance to destress and restore balance to your life.
Jersey has now started offering retreats on Island, aimed at bringing people over to embrace our unique outdoors lifestyle, but equally open to those locally who want the chance to escape. In an effort to understand if you can really get away from it all without leaving your doorstep, I went along to Drift Retreat’s weekend in St Ouen’s Bay, to trial a home-based retreat.
The popularity of retreats is increasing as more people are drawn to the pursuit of the ultimate unique experience. The notion of a retreat is to withdraw to a place of quiet and seclusion. To close yourself off to the stress of everyday life and open your mind to an alternative way of thinking. We assume that to completely detach we need to travel to some far flung location, but after 37 years living in Jersey there are still areas here that retain mystery and that sense of discovery for me.
Held at Kempt Tower in St Ouens Bay, this was one such place that I had never visited and I was surprised by how homely and cosy the tower was for guests. The itinerary was set out much like many other retreats I had experienced, elements of yoga, surf, healthy eating and of course great company. Drift Retreat also offer a workshop element to their weekend and we were lucky enough to have local entrepreneur Anna Messervy-Evans come and talk to us about skincare and her range of products. A theme of sustainability and being environmentally conscious runs through the weekend activities which can include life-coaching, foraging for wild food and guided meditation. You learn how better to immerse yourself in nature and strip back our lives to those things that really matter.
There was a mixture of people on the retreat, travelling from the UK, Germany and some living on the Island. It was refreshing to spend time with those who were in awe of what we have here in Jersey, to make you appreciate the true beauty of our Island. With healthy meals prepared by Wild Heath and a surprise guest in local surfing legend Arlene Maltman popping by in the evening, it was an experience like no other I’ve had in Jersey.
It is a shame, but the reality is that to carve out this quality me-time of restoration and contemplation I need the guidance and commitment that comes from retreats such as Drift. But the weekend made me re-think whether I need to be leaving my home to do so. Not only was this retreat sorely needed, but without a doubt confirmed to me that retreats on Jersey have a place in the local market. Who can possibly say that they have seen and done it all on our beautiful Island? Sometimes it just takes someone to show you things from a different perspective to see whats been in front of you the whole time. Thank you Drift Retreat for an eye-opening experience!
Find out more about joining the next Drift Retreat here.