Gallery Retreats Travel Writing

Weekend Retreat in Joshua Tree

I find the desert to be wildly healing.

There is something about expansive horizon lines meeting a clear, pristine sky that evokes a feeling of limitless. There is freedom to roam and an urge to release whatever has been weighing on my heart from the confines of the city. I cherish the desert with the same intensity as a first love that shaped so much of my understanding of self. I’ve gotten lost in so many ways, but always found what I was needing seeking solitude in the desert sun.

When I returned to San Diego at the end of 2019, there was something I felt was still missing. A sense of closure necessary for one of the wildest years of my life, but I didn’t want to escape to the desert alone. I put out a call to friends to see who would be free for a weekend and immediately had a small group of willing voyagers. All five women came from significantly different stages of my life, yet I knew the common threads between each of them would be enough to inspire their own connections.

We decided to make it a mini-retreat—a shortened domestic version of the Connected Creative Retreat I hosted four months earlier. I booked us an Airbnb on a secluded dirt road with an outdoor seating area and ample kitchen space of family dinners and guided creative writing. With the New Year fast approaching, we thought it a great idea to work on vision boards together and talk about the dreams we have for what’s to come.

We spent the evenings cooking meals together and laughing well into the night. Phones were tucked away and our only focus was each other. Conversation flowed as freely as the wine did and our only reason for going to bed was to wake up for sunrise.

Being December, the air was crisp in our lungs, but the warmth of the sun graced our wind kissed cheeks. It was the first time the girls had been to Joshua Tree, so this was an opportunity to play and explore the bizarre yet widely comforting landscape. Anyone who has spent time in JT knows the magic that comes from being surrounded by inexplicable rock formations, inspecting every plant and cacti out of curiosity and intrigue. The more we explored, the more joy and play and childlike wonder was expressed. We lost ourselves in the mystery of it all and found a depth in our connection with our surroundings and a deeper bond with each other.

The next Connected Creative Retreat will be hosted in Sumatra, Indonesia. The 7 Day retreat will be held in September 2021 and include a 3day jungle trek into the Gunung Leuser National Park. The second session held in October 2021 will be extended to ten days for anyone wanting to do a 5 to 6-day jungle trek. You can find more information about the Connected Creative and upcoming travel destinations here.

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