Welcome, peace seekers! As a seasoned retreat leader, I get this question ALL the time:
What should I bring? What should I pack?
The short answer: it depends. Let's dive into the essentials.
As you embark on a journey to reset your mind, body, and soul, the first step is to consider where you're going. Will you be in the mountains or on a beach? Will you be quite remote or within proximity of a town where you can grab necessities like toothpaste or contact lens solution if you run out? Will the accommodations offer electricity and running water or will you be sleeping in a tent, yurt, or similar structure with a shared bathhouse?
Comfortable Activewear & Footwear: Worry less about brands or how it looks-- more about comfort and how it feels. Think layers, moisture-wicking fabrics and easy-to-wash items if you want to rinse and repeat. To keep luggage light, I pack solid neutral colors to mix and match. Flip flops for beaches, water shoes for rocky terrain and waterproof hiking shoes or boots with ankle protection are great! A lot of retreats offer time spent in nature on walks or hikes. Ensure your feet are well-supported and ready for every step. I always pack a good rain jacket with a hood-- just in case! I like the ones that fold into pouches to save space in my suitcase or backpack. I have several examples of what I've purchased (and still use!) on my Amazon page.
Nourishing Snacks: Depending on the type of retreat you're attending, the frequency of meals and variety of food offered may be a significant departure from what you're accustomed to. That's not a bad thing! If you're truly intending to reset -- use this time to take a break from meat, alcohol, dairy or sweets. To keep your energy levels balanced, pack or stop at a grocery store for wholesome snacks like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Opt for nourishing treats that complement your wellness journey.
Hydration Essentials: Hydrate your body with a reusable water bottle. Plastic is out. Grab a convenient bottle that you can refill. There are some on the market that include easy-to-use filters so you can ensure clean water wherever you go! Stay refreshed as you explore your natural surroundings and participate in rejuvenating activities.
Mindful Reading & Writing Material: My retreat attendees are always required to bring a journal. I include daily journaling and reflective work as part of my curriculum. Not surprisingly, most of my attendees rave about this part of the program-- saying they rarely carve out time to write at home. They often walk away from my retreats with clarity about a personal struggle, or creative solutions to problems -- thanks to uninterrupted time to feel and focus.
Pack a book that aligns with your wellness goals. Whether it's a self-help book, a spiritual guide, or a collection of inspiring poems, let your mind wander into a world of positivity. If you can, stay away from news and what you'd normally read for work or school. Allow your brain to explore and expand into new dimensions! You'd be surprised, even a few days can make a big difference.
Aside from bug sprays and balms, sunscreens and supplements/meds, and proper converters and adaptors for those traveling abroad, create a serene atmosphere in your accommodations that will make your space a home-away-from home. I always carry a picture of my niece and nephew that I can look at when I miss them. To me, there's something special about a tangible photo that's not in my phone. I also keep a small rose quartz that I place at my bedside wherever I go. A travel-sized bottle of your favorite essential oil, palo santo, incense or mala/ rosary is easy to pack and can be grounding at a time when your surroundings and sensations are flipped upside down.
Pack with intention, and let your retreat be a celebration of self-care and simplicity.
May your journey be filled with moments of awakening and self-discovery!