Why retreats? It seems like these days everyone is organizing one and buzz words like: mindfulness, meditation, yoga, inner voice, healing your SELF, self-love, Awareness, holistic healing, creativity, storytelling, Buddhism, and wellness are everywhere!! Then you have big companies like Omega, Trip Tribe and Insight Meditation Community of Washington, that organize retreats all year around about any possible topic you could think of like, WRITING YOUR MONOLOGUE AS A WAY TO LEAVE YOUR LEGACY or Refreshing Farm-to-Table Escape in Sonoma, California.
So why would I even dare get into this market with so much noise? One simple answer: People in Washington, DC desperately need it. I’ve lived in Washington, DC for ten years and worked on Capitol Hill, the State Department, and the World Bank, just to name a few places, and saw how people longed to feel genuine support, and just to feel and act human.
I conducted a survey with over 2000 working professionals in the DC metro area in 2013. I’ve included some of the best quotes from that survey.
When asked if they think DC is a hard city to live in some said:
“It’s very hard to get away from work and have time to cope with your problems”
“there is significant pressure to succeed in DC. you’re surrounded by successful people, and it’s difficult to find support in that atmosphere”
Do you feel lonely in DC:
“I think the biggest challenge with living in DC is that for a city, it has a small town temperament, where you know a lot of people but don’t want to speak to any of them.”
“I feel like DC doesn’t have as great of a sense of community as other cities I’ve lived in due to the transitory nature of it’s residents and the spread out city structure.”
“it is easy to meet people but hard to build and sustain friendships”
The top three reasons someone may have problems living in DC:
- competitive environment
- too much pressure at work
- working too much
The number one thing that helps people move on from a bad or stressful situation:
How hard is it to create a community and keep it strong for over ten years:
The majority said somewhat hard
The overlying theme is people are in need of strong relationships and community. They want to feel like they belong to the city and to certain relationships. However, work takes over having the opportunity to create those strong relationships and a normal healthy life.
I also personally felt like most of the people surveyed: very lonely without anyone to lean on. Most of the relationships were superficial which is why I decided to start a wellness travel business called, “Adrivo: The Travel Session” to get DC people to go on a three-day weekend retreat to feel more connected. On the retreat they would be sharing experiences with others going through their same situation and at the same time they would be exposed to the great beauty they have right in their backyard. All the retreats are in beautiful hidden treasures within 1-3 hours from DC.
Our first retreat is all about teaching people how to feel like they belong in DC. Washington is a busy and transient city. We’re all born to connect-that power is within us. On the retreat we have some workshops designed to help people learn the art and science of creating belongingness, meaningful relationships, and a community where they feel they matter. We will also tour the beautiful Montgomery County Ag Reserve, a place many had no idea existed so it’s good to expose them to the beauty that’s nearby. Many times Washingtonians are always looking to visit exotic places before actually taking the time to get to know the places that are nearby. One way to feel connected is to know your surroundings, and there are many hidden treasures around Washington, DC.
Why are our retreats different from others?
- Local Sustainability: Our retreats take place in not very well-known treasured locations. Our goal is to preserve historic and local towns that have a rich history and beautiful nature nearby. One day is spent with a local tour guide visiting the sites and learning about the history and its people.
- Holistic approach: We believe the mind, body and spirit are connected. Every issue or problem is interconnected. We don’t only work on the physical aspect of an issue but look at the person as a whole being.
- Themed Retreats: We work with different age groups, genders, and ethnicities from the Washington, DC metro area. Our retreats are customized in a way to help the issues affecting certain age groups, gender or ethnic groups. We don’t believe one size fits all but each group deals with problems in a different way.
- Being part of a community: We have an established strong support community of people, from the Washington, DC metro area, interested in adding balance and meaning to their lives. Those who go on the retreats will automatically become members of that strong community. The members are waiting for them with open arms. We do not want the experience of the retreat to end after three days but to continue for a lifetime.
- Diverse Multicultural Engagement: Some of those leading the workshops come from diverse backgrounds, either from a different country/state or speak a different language. We plan to have several retreats in Spanish. The end goal is to be able to offer the retreats for free to the disadvantaged populations.