What is it that makes us want to seek experience and find new ways of thinking, doing and being?
Throughout our lives, curiosity manifests itself in many forms. As children, we burn our hands on hot surfaces, eat grubs, and do endless other things our mothers implore us not to. We do this because we can, and our insatiable desire to know and learn dictates we must. We test boundaries and push limits - of ourselves, of others, of the truth in what we’re told; of our bodies and vulnerabilities. We read, we study, we exercise, we travel; we grow.
But for most, there’s a time in our lives when our curiosity starts to wane; inquisitiveness replaced with ambition, competitiveness, disappointment and stress - our child-like wonder overridden by the fatigue and adversity of adult life. We’re no longer concerned with learning, exploring or experiencing unless it’s directly related to our concept of success. Curiosity loses its magic and import.
I’ve always been a curious person. Never sated, my curious nature has compelled me across the globe; seeking knowledge and experiences in all forms: dossing on couches and in backpacker dorms; entertaining deep conversations with the stranger and the strange; exploring, as best I could, my insatiable desire to know more. Yet despite it all, my curiosity remained unsatisfied. A part of me felt deeply unfulfilled. Sure, I’d had a lot of fun and some experiences that made for great party conversation - but how many more of these site-seeing trips did I have in me? I needed something more. That gnawing feeling grew into a thought. I needed something immersive; where I could tap out, switch off and really lose myself within the experience I was having. What was that? A retreat?
Then I thought… what the hell is a retreat anyway?
And at that moment, my journey into the amazingly varied world of retreats began.
Like most, my understanding of the modern retreat was a bit vague. I had a reasonable idea that the things you did on retreats were a meaningful and fulfilling way to spend time. But was it exclusive to the 5-star Boutique Health & Wellness escapes that have dominated the industry for the last 20 years, or were there alternative offerings for meditation and spiritual development? The answer, of course, is yes – it’s all those things, and so much more. First, I needed to overcome the definition of retreat that had been ingrained in me through years of passive consumption of advertising.
While all these things are valid, I knew other retreats existed, and I wanted to find them. Through my research I realised it was almost impossible for the general public to do so unless they knew what they were looking for and where to dig. It took time and countless hours of online research, but eventually I built a database of over 1000 retreat facilitators and venues across Australia and New Zealand. The types of retreats were amazingly diverse; from arts, crafts, and trade through to traditional yoga and silent practice, to epic adventure retreats such as freediving and surfing. I was surprised by the variety and stoked with the myriad of passionate and experienced independent experts who enthusiastically facilitated their own unique retreat experiences.
I was moved to create a marketplace that helped this community of operators, and its customers connect, and just like that Unearthed Retreats was born; with a keystone objective of building awareness, creating a network and addressing the needs of both retreat customers, operators and hosts alike.
We developed guiding criteria for a variety of different experiences. We wanted to stay true to the transformational purpose of a retreat and believe our criteria provides a modern and flexible interpretation of what constitutes a modern retreat. This includes:
We think we’ve nailed it.
At Unearthed Retreats we see ourselves as a dynamic business; fluid and open to change, in order to best deliver what the community needs. Today we are taking the first steps in engaging and supporting our community and creating a new and innovative platform that enables us all to gain the most from our retreat experiences and ultimately from life.
We are excited to start this journey with you, and so happy to have you along for the ride.