Retreat Q&A

How do I get to the retreat?

You will need to reach the retreat yourself, although once we have everyone's travel information, we may be able to group people to travel the last part together. Winter car hire is usually affordable at the airports or you may wish to take a road trip to the retreat. 

The nearest airports are Almeria (1h15 away), Murcia (1h45) and Alicante (2h30). Our closest village is Bedar, a 20-minute drive away on a winding country road.

Public transport is not that easy as we are in a remote location. If you want a public transport adventure (and we will cheer you on if you do!), the nearest train station (see train operator Renfe) is Lorca or Almeria. Coaches ('autobuses') come to Los Gallardos (see bus operator Alsa).

How long is the retreat?

Retreats are 4 nights. Usually you will arrive on Saturday and leave on Wednesday. Custom retreats are available on request.

What will the weather be like in January?

It is winter in Europe so it's not going to be hot. Still, January in southern Spain is a lot warmer and sunnier than northern Europe.  Almeria is the sunniest part of Spain so there is a good chance of winter sun in the day. At night, it's cold. If it is windy, we are quite exposed on the top of a hill. It can feel like the house is going to take off and rain can be pretty heavy when it does rain. That's when we light the fire, put the heating on in our rooms and go for maximum coziness.

 

All our bedrooms have heating you can control yourself and cozy beds so you can rest comfortably. We have outdoor areas for you to make the most of the winter sun. The swimming pool is not heated so that may only appeal to people used to outdoor swimming in winter.

How many people stay in each retreat?

We have five bedrooms and four bathrooms. We can welcome maximum four guests on retreat. With Kathryn, that means five people and the dog, Bertie.

Will there be children on retreat?

No, this is an adult retreat focussed on quiet and rest. 

Do all the bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms?

No. Two rooms share a large bathroom. The other three rooms are en-suite.

I struggle with stairs. Can I stay downstairs?

There is a downstairs bedroom but there are still quite a lot of stairs downstairs and outside, also to reach the front door.​ Talk to Kathryn about your needs and we'll see if it can work for you.

I'm allergic to dogs. Can I still come?

We have a dog, Bertie, so that won't work unfortunately.

Is there internet access?

There is wireless internet but it's not reliable and doesn't give a good signal in most of the house. Sometimes it drops out completely if it's windy. It's there but it's not something to count on.

Is there a communal space where everyone comes together?

We meet up in the large living room and around the kitchen table. In the daytime, we will also spend time outside. We have outdoor seating on the terrace around the pool. We'll come together for grounding circle sessions and gently-guided activities around nature connection, mindfulness and creativity. We'll eat dinner together and talk about our day.

What activities will we do?

Each day you can choose to join a gently-guided activity around mindfulness, nature connection or creativity. These will mostly be done in and around the property. On one of the days, we can choose to go to the beach for our activities. The activities are optional.

How does the programme work? Can we opt in and out of activities?

In the morning, you will have quiet time to yourself and have breakfast on your own. Lunch can be eaten on your own or with other people. We'll do a couple of hours of group activities together, usually after lunch. These activities are optional - they aim to help you slow down, connect to yourself and the world around you. We eat dinner together around the kitchen table and catch up on our day. Sharing is optional.

 

Is yoga included?

There is no organised yoga but there are yoga mats available if you wish to practice on your own.

What will we eat?

As we are focusing on rest and slowing down, the food will be simple and home-cooked. Three simple meals a day are provided, as well as snacks and drinks. Tea, coffee, water and snacks are available at all times. Vegetarian and vegan meals are available on request and we will do our best to cater to any food intolerances. We'll be in touch after you book to discuss your needs so we can plan meals we can all enjoy.

We want you to be comfortable so you can enjoy your retreat and come back to yourself. The retreat is alcohol-free so we will enjoy mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) and fermented drinks like kefir, as well as filtered water and tea and coffee. 

What about drinking and smoking?

Our retreats are alcohol-free and smoke/vape-free as we want to create a safe, healing space for everyone. If this feels challenging, it may not be the right retreat for you.​ It's not intended to be rehab.

How far away is the sea?

We're high up on a hill so we can see the sea in the far distance. The nearest beach is Mojacar, a 40-minute drive away. We can choose to go to the beach for one of the days' activities - reflection time and beach art.

What is the landscape like around the retreat?

We're on the edge of Europe's only desert in the province of Almeria, Spain. We have 360 degree views of beautiful hills and the sea in the far distance. The sun comes up on the side of the swimming pool and sets over the almond trees on the other side of the house. The landscape is best described as dusty scrubland with red rock. prickly pears, almond and olive trees. Nature connection activities will be on offer so you will have chance to spend some time getting to know the surrounding countryside.

How near to the town is the house?

We're the last house in a tiny hamlet with only a few houses. There is another house next to ours and a ruin between the two. The next small town is Bedar, 20 minutes away by car. There are two small food shops with limited opening hours and depending on the season, a bar or two.

How quiet is it? 

It is very quiet. There are no main roads nearby. An occasional airplane passes over and an even more occasional jet plane from the military. In the distance, there is a quarry and sometimes we hear a distant 'boom' when they blast the rock. The water pump and the boiler make noise. The Spanish neighbour has dogs that sometimes get excited and bark. Other than that, there are only a few houses in our hamlet and almost no cars. The windows and doors are double-glazed and the big windows have shutters. You can use your heating/cooling system for background noise, if that helps you. It's not silent, no house is, but it is much quieter than most places we know.

I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) or have sensory sensitivity. What do I need to know? 

- The road up to the house is narrow and winding in places.

- The village dogs sometimes bark, also at night, and that can be annoying.

- The water pump comes on every time someone uses water in the house. 

- The boiler roars when it first kicks in to heat the water.

- The wifi router is on 24 hours a day.

- The wifi is not great.

- When it's stormy, the power often goes out. That means no power and no water until it comes back on.

- You will hear other guests moving around, doors closing, water coming on etc.

- We have a dog, Bertie. He's a quite hairy sheepdog and very friendly.

- We are in a small hamlet, 20 minutes' drive from the nearest shop. There are no takeaway or delivery food options.

- The retreat is alcohol-free and smoke/vape-free. We will ask people not to wear perfume or use strongly-scented products.

- There is aromatherapy spray in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

- We use environmentally-friendly cleaning products which are less scented (but they are still scented).

- You have your own cooling/heating system in your room.

- In the living room, there is a wood-burning stove.

- We have a couple of air purifiers and a humidifier so let us know before if you will need one.

- Sheets and towels are cotton. Pillows, cushions and duvets are synthetic, not down.

- Most of the windows have shutters you can close for darkness.

- Bedroom doors lock on the inside but not on the outside.

- You will spend a lot of the day on your own in quiet. There will be other people around, hopefully doing the same.

Please let us know if you have specific concerns and we'll see if this is the right retreat for where you are at the moment. Kathryn is highly sensitive herself and a trauma-informed coach. She is happy to discuss your needs.

 

What do you mean by introvert-friendly? Is the retreat only for introverts?

The retreat is not only for introverts. A lot of the day will be spent alone in quiet to create a space where people can rest and reset. 

How inclusive is the retreat? Is it only for women?

Everyone is welcome, all orientations, cultural and gender identities. If you have specific needs, we will do our best to meet them. The retreat is run by Kathryn, a cis female, white European.

Is this a Buddhist retreat?

No, it's not a Buddhist retreat. The mindfulness Kathryn practices comes from the Plum Village Zen Buddhist tradition which focuses very much on how we come back to ourselves so we can engage in society actively. She is likely to mention this tradition and how it has influenced her practice. She integrates it with her work on nature connection and her training as a trauma-informed coach, as well as with body-based grounding practices and creativity like nature art. This is not a spiritual retreat - although rest is a spiritual need - and you don't need to consider yourself spiritual to join us. Everyone is welcome.

What about Covid?

We will keep an eye on Spain's entry requirements and you will need to comply with them. In addition to the official guidelines, if we feel that the risk is too high, we will move the dates. For retreatants' peace of mind, you will need to show us a negative PCR test on arrival. We ask you to take great care between getting the PCR test and arriving at the retreat. Safety is key, both physical and psychological safety, and we don't want anyone to get sick. We also recognise that in these times, we desperately need safe spaces to come together and rest.

What is your cancellation policy?

We want to be reasonable. We are running a retreat with a small number of places. Cancellations make it difficult for us to make it work financially. If you need to cancel due to ill health or family emergency, we will defer your place to another date. If we cancel the retreat, e.g. due to Covid, you can defer your place to another date or receive a refund.

How do I book?

The retreat bookings are in the Events space on this website. Please go ahead and check the options. If you want to book at a different time or organise a custom retreat, email Kathryn to see what's possible. If you have questions, please send an email.

I have a question or a need that is not answered here. What do I do?

We can't answer every question on a page like this so please reach out by email to Kathryn. You may have questions about your needs, your identity, your diet, what you need to feel comfortable and safe on a retreat like this, about your health or accessibility needs. Whatever it is, Kathryn is dedicated to building inclusive, intimate, introvert-friendly retreat space that caters to your personal needs for rest and reconnection. Please don't hesitate to send your questions. We'll be very honest and let you know what's possible.