In 2006, we left the UK to find inner peace and freedom in this largely unspoilt part of south west France. Tucked away in a small village surrounded by rolling hills dressed with vines, sunflowers, woods and wild orchids, we live and breathe in harmony with the calming beauty of the natural world that surrounds us.
When we first arrived in the Razès, we simply offered gîtes to people looking to spend a week or two here on holiday. As we evolved spiritually, our business also evolved to include offering walking and writing retreats - the stunning scenery begged nature lovers to explore it and budding writers to be inspired by it. Nowadays, in partnership with fellow professionals here in the Aude, we offer a regular series of walking, writing and wellbeing retreats throughout the year.
In essence, we offer the place and space for people to unwind and reclaim their personal sense of wellbeing.
Jo: "I have spent a lifetime of walking for physical and mental wellbeing. Many years ago I recognised that nature was 'feeding' me every time took myself off on walks both near and far. I always came back feeling on top of the world and hugely peaceful. Whether I needed time to reflect on a problem, space to air an emotion or release old locked-up grief, or simply for the pleasure of hearing the birdsong and enjoying my rhythmic pacing, walking has been my salvation in many things.
"Since my arrival in 2006, I have rebuilt myself from the inside out. Casting off the old marketing and management background, I retrained as a Nature Therapy guide, past life regressionist, hypnotherapist, meditation and mindfulness instructor, and spiritual wellness specialist. I offer guided visualisations and meditations for inner peace, mindful routes to reconnect with nature for outer harmony, and basic yoga stretching for balanced health and wellbeing. I devote my time sharing my passion for being in nature and walking with people who want to do any or all of these things to improve their sense of wellbeing, self-discovery and self-healing."
Bob: "Self-expression became a passion for me and, in my early twenties, I discovered that writing was the way in which I could best express myself. Having now authored, co-authored and contributed to over 20 books, I coach in creative writing... but that doesn't mean that I don’t still even now commit some howlers with the written word!
"We all ask ‘what we are here for?’ at some time or another in our lives. Having given it some obsessive lifelong consideration, I have come to understand that my life purpose is to undergo experience, to learn from that experience and to express it. Experience and learning are personal in nature – they cannot be otherwise - and hence their expression can only be personal, no-one else thinks as you do. Writing for yourself enables you to become who you are. It’s your own story. No one else has your story. Your story is your statement of who you are. Forget needing approval and fearing judgement. Instead, writing is and should be about creating and giving voice to what sits with you, what resonates deeply within, that which expresses what you really think once you shake off advice, convention, teaching and the thinking of others.
"Writing enables you to find the real you within, find peace with what you really think, and become the person you want to be. Being able to express yourself freely helps move you further down the road towards healing yourself."
Our Retreat Ethos
It is our view that we are living in a world where we need to hone our skills of self-discovery and self-expression if we are to heal ourselves and become the people of the future that we wish to be. We offer retreats to those in search of a deeper sense of wellbeing who want to walk or write their way to finding their own freedom and wellbeing.