SoulTribe Takes Portugal
It really is about who you’re with rather than where you are. Portugal is a stunning country with beautiful rolling hills, vineyards as far as the eye can see and gorgeous red tiled roofs and colorful buildings. But it wasn’t the typical location we look for: stunning beachfront accommodations or jungle cabanas where you sleep among the crickets. This trip was different, and magical beyond words.
On March 30th, 2019, we welcomed a group of 13 people to our own unique house in a tiny village in the middle of Portugal’s wine country. Columbeira is such a small village that most cab drivers would need to Google Map it and then ask for directions to get you there.
We stayed at the stunning 100-year-old Buddha Retreats house that used to be an old mill that then became a winery before being bought by a Chilean Buddhist Monk. It now hosts yoga & surf retreats most of the year, and welcomes groups like ours the rest of the time.
Our crew was one of the most diverse groups we’ve ever had the pleasure of leading, with folks joining us from Belgium, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and all across the USA. Some of the most gratifying things about hanging out with people from different countries and cultures for a week are the things you learn, the mind-opening you experience and the level of non-judgment that everyone brings to the group. It’s always a humbling reminder that we CAN all get along and that we are far more similar than we are different - such an important lesson to learn in our often divided world.
Our days were full of shenanigans, as usual, with yoga in the mornings in our lovely studio heated by fireplace, workouts on the terrace in the afternoons, hikes to the tops of rolling hills to watch amazing views, hang-out-at-the pool time, bead bracelet making and plenty of time to connect and talk about life, our challenges and what it means to stop doing what others expect of us and start living life FOR OURSELVES, on our terms.
We laughed, we cried, we had breakthroughs — some folks decided to go home and leave their jobs in pursuit of the dream they’ve had forever but didn’t yet have the balls to actually pursue. Others flipped their stories upside down - all the excuses, the reasons why they couldn’t do something were obliterated with the support of a tribe that 100% believed in them and their potential. It was truly a heartwarming example of the power of human connection and how we can support each other in massive personal growth when we take the time to talk, to go deep and to really look at our stuff.
THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO! Our hearts are so full.
In between the moments of chill time, yoga and workouts, we went Coasteering — a unique Portuguese sport that involves scaling/climbing cliffs on the rocky Southern coastline, zip lining from one cliff to another, jumping into crystal-clear blue waters and facing some very real fears! Glad to say we all survived and learned a thing or two about what we’re capable of. We couldn’t take cameras with us so all we have is this after picture to prove we made it out alive ;)
We also went horseback riding through the rolling hills of Alcaria, about an hour inland from where we were staying. There is something truly magical about connecting with these amazing animals while absorbing the peace and quiet of being completely immersed in nature. Check out the little video below with some footage from that excursion.
And because we believe in living life to the fullest and enjoying everything in moderation, the trip wouldn’t have been complete without a wine tasting excursion! We learned that sweet wines that are produced outside of the Porto region can’t be called Porto - so they’re called Licuroso (which basically means liquored wine. There more you know!). We learned that the wineries purposefully allow spiders to live on and around the aging barrels because they eat the mites and help keep the barrels clean for decades. Yay spiders! Eek. And we of course got to enjoy an array of fine wines from one of Portugal’s biggest manufacturers and exporters of wine - Quita do Sanguinhal.
Gary and I both agree that this was one of our favorite retreats, mostly because of who showed up and HOW they showed up. They faced fears, they turned “I can’t” into “HOLY SHIT I’M DOING IT!” and they had the courage to look at how they were sabotaging their own happiness, and the faith they had in themselves and in their power to accept what is, and change what they need to change to live to their fullest potential. HELL YES, TRIBE. HELL YES.