The Salty Souls just completed their first season Ayampe, Ecuador. Here, participant Ashley Dujlovic recaps the nine day experience.
Sometimes it takes a week away with other strong, like-minded, and hilarious women to remind you that you are capable of anything.
There are not enough words to describe the positive experience the women of Salty Souls are providing, but I will give it a fair shot. Erika & Marie-Christine along with all of the other fantastic souls amongst the organization have provided an opportunity for participants to challenge, change and recharge themselves to become even better equipped to tackle their lives back home. Whether that’s being the best mom she can be, a positive support to others in her life, or to merely go about the world with positivity and ambition to make the world around her a little brighter.
For many, it is a bucket-list dream to ride the waves and feel the force of the powerful ocean.
Whether this retreat was a woman’s first or 100th time she’s caught a wave, to me it felt like there could not have been a more supportive environment. Between the theoretical training, analyzing photos of how you can improve your form (and trust me, nobody here is an expert), and the beautiful (sorry I mean knowledgeable) surf coaches, the positive flow of energy can’t be beat. Everybody cheered when we caught waves and the encouragement was almost palpable.
Yoga and meditation allowed us to have moments of clarity and focus. Focusing on the moments happening right in front of us, rather than the worries behind or ahead. Reminding us of our power and what we can accomplish if we merely set our minds to focus and breath. I can think of few better ways to start a morning than with movement and mindfulness.
Being recharged spiritually and physically takes a lot of energy and the meals to refuel us did not disappoint. There was not a single meal that wasn’t picture worthy because of it’s beauty (except I always ate too quickly before thinking of actually taking a photo), or one that left us feeling unsatisfied. Hats off to the chef for being able to create silence at a dinner table full of rowdy women eager to connect with those around her, even if just for a moment, to indulge in the deliciousness in front of her.
Beyond the world of yoga and surf, we challenged ourselves with workshops meant to dig deep into our souls and emotional capacity. Telling a woman sitting across from you what your heart is saying, what your biggest fears in life are, and what you could accomplish if you felt you were fully loved and supported, all while looking directly into each other’s eyes, is the opposite of small talk. For some, these exercises were more difficult to accomplish than battling with the giant ocean waves while for others, they craved this kind of connection and opened up her heart fully and without hesitation. In the end, the result was the same. We all understood that we deserve love, respect, and to live life fully and without hesitation, with the knowledge that she is fully supported.
Some people go deep into experiences. They feel everything heavily and fully and come back to reality feeling refreshed. While others do not go as deeply, but feel the moments in their own way and come out of the experience with a much different perspective. Which one is better? Well that’s a silly question, the answer is neither. Everyone is riding their own wave and you can’t tell them who is right and who is wrong.
Each woman involved in this experience has been fulfilled in her own way. It is a human experience meant to add a little something to their lives. Adventure? Fulfilment? Just a god damn break from reality? Those nine days in Ecuador, we were all different souls with wildly different experiences.
We just happened to all be a little salty.