Last week I went on a miraculous adventure of mind, body and spirit. It took place in the jungle near San Pancho, Mexico. Yes, a jungle. We had to drive an hour up a dirt road just to get to our lodge, and climb a mountain to get to Wifi, so believe it when I say we were pretty deep. The trip was part of a yoga retreat with Third Vessel Retreats, which is lead by two longtime friends of mine, Taraneh and Emily. You see that image above? That’s an actual photo of Taraneh doing yoga on the beach during our trip, not a stock photo. Incredible right?
There’s something magical about being out in nature with limited access to the world – roughing it in the jungle, getting mosquito bites, dancing under the moonlight, waking up to the sounds of birds and the ocean waves. What a life. We woke up early every morning and did yoga overlooking the canopy of trees and the ocean. Afterwards we enjoyed brunch, which was handmade by two wonderful, local chefs who used fresh ingredients in every dish. And WOW, what a treat those were! Fresh fruit smoothies, oatmeal with banana and chia seeds, scrambled eggs with basil, and sliced papaya with granola started our days with the perfect amount of nutrients and energy.
We hiked through the jungle on a tiny path that lead us to the ocean, and to our delight noticed that there was no one else on the entire beach. We swam in the ocean as pelicans flew overhead, napped on the sand, and watched little crabs scatter all over the rocks. Felt like a dream. We even found a little cove full of nutrient-rich mud which we lathered all over our bodies and made our skin so soft!
One day we hitched a ride into town with the chefs after brunch, riding in the back of their truck down the bumpy dirt road (lots of Ace Venture vibes there). We walked down the streets and checked out the town. Everyone was so friendly. Even though this wasn’t a typical tourist town, there were a good amount of travelers there. We got handmade popsicles (cookies & cream for me since I was all fresh-fruited out with all the smoothies and beverages). Dogs were walking around unleashed everywhere (which I loved, obviously).
At night we again had the pleasure of eating these insanely delicious meals prepared by the local chefs, Alex and Flor. They put so much time and attention into the presentation, flavor and variety of every meal. On our last night they even made us sushi! I would say that the food was some of the best I have ever tasted, and as someone who loves to cook and eat, I can say I definitely respect the work they did feeding us. After dinner we did more yoga surrounded by candles and had dance parties under the moonlight. We released lanterns into the sky to symbolize letting go of the parts of us that don’t serve us.
This trip not only gave me a beautiful travel and culinary experience, but it was also a chance to really explore myself spiritually and emotionally. Learning to let go of the old and make room for the new experiences in my life was freeing and fulfilling at the same time. How often do we really get to unplug from our daily lives and turn off our cell phones and take time to just sit and observe our surroundings? I got to do a lot of that during this trip. I also got to read a lot. I brought The Alchemist with me, which was truly the perfect book to bring on a jungle vacation to reconnect with my mind and body!
So let’s talk about this awesome lodge we stayed in: Tailwind Jungle Lodge. The lodge itself was in quite a remote area, well kept, but still had a “glamping” vibe going on. There was running water and toilets, but you also couldn’t flush toilet paper and some of the rooms were completely exposed to the jungle (some showers too!) which made for an authentic-feeling jungle experience. Lucky for us, our yoga retreat group had the entire place to ourselves. There was a common area with a table and a hammock and kitchen, where we gathered for meals, and there was a yoga palapa overlooking the ocean, where we all met in the mornings and evenings to do yoga. The woman who runs the lodge is American and chose this life over a career on Wall Street – which is so awesome and inspiring and also one of the best decisions ever made. #respect
Surrounded by trees and overlooking the ocean, there were lots of critters around. We saw many different birds (including a woodpecker who went to town on a branch). Apparently there was an armadillo that lived nearby, but we never saw it. We even had an *ahem* visit from a little scorpion, who decided to sting my friend in her sleep – twice. THAT WAS FUN. Lucky, she was okay and we all chalked it up to being hazed by the jungle.
On our last day in Mexico, we all praised the chefs (who we had recruited into our circle of friends by now) and said our goodbyes. We were all given necklaces with crystals on them to represent the experiences we had together. Some of us stayed in Mexico to continue adventuring, and the rest of us went to the airport to head back to the United States.
One of my biggest takeaways from my trip is that it’s always a good decision to invest in yourself. Leading up to this trip, I worried about taking time off from work, spending the money on the trip, and being away from my family for so long. But in the end, it was all worth it. Taking time for myself, spending the money to experience travel and taking a step back from my daily routine is essential to my spiritual and emotional evolution. I came home from my trip with a rejuvenated spirit, but left a small piece of my heart in the jungle….
Check out the gallery from my trip (click photos to expand):
Featured image by Grant Lancaster. Namaste 🙂