Summer retreats are very popular here in the south of France and with good reason: The sun rises early and it is not fully dark until after ten o’clock in the evening. The days are long, warm and sun-drenched…
Most of our guests remember to bring the essentials on a mindfulness meditation retreat at Les Sources Sacrées: a sunhat, sunglasses, suntan lotion, a swimming costume etc. I thought of a few more that no-one can do without on a summer retreat :
- Full evening dress as most retreats insist on evening wear for dinner. For the ladies, this means a full-length black evening gown with a tiara and a full-length fur coat for those chilly evenings. The gentlemen will need to wear black tie at least, although tails and a top hat would actually be even more appropriate.
- Another essential for the ladies is high heels. One really can not afford to let standards slip just because one is going somewhere to relax. So don’t forget to pack those Jimmy Choos and Louboutin pumps.
- Talking about tiaras, you will also need ALL your jewellery. Retreats can be pretty dull places, so a bit of sparkle would not come amiss. All the other guests will be wearing the full complement, so it obviously won’t do to look half-dressed.
- Not to mention full-combat makeup – concealer, foundation, blush, translucent powder, mascara, eyeshadow (various colours), eyeliner and lipstick (various colours). Take every stick and brush (powder brush, blush brush, eyeliner brush, eyeshadow brush etc.) that you think you might need. Take some extras because you don’t know where in deepest darkest rural France you are going to end up. There may not be a suitable shop within reach to supply you with the specifics you may need to look your best during the rigorous challenges that you may have to face during your summer retreat.
- Also essential is your favourite coffee/expresso machine. It may be a bit difficult to get it through customs, but really, you will just have to insist. A Nespresso machine is not that big and will easily fit into one of the five suitcases you are taking with you. Take a few dozen capsules of different flavours. You are definitely going to need multiple caffeine shots a day to keep up with the frenetic pace at the retreat.
- All retreat guests must take their own alarm clocks, in fact, take several. You do not want to lose track of time while you are on retreat. You can set your alarm clock to make sure you wake before the sun comes up and then again to make sure you are not late for breakfast and…well, an alarm clock will come in handy several times during the day. If it is battery-operated, take several batteries. (see point 3)
- Bring everything you need to ensure that you are able to stay cool, calm and collected during the retreat, even if it is just on the surface. Remember to pack all prescription medication/herbal remedies. Bring loads of whatever it is you pop to stay calm – most retreats have hectic schedules.
- Another essential is enough food to last you for the duration of the retreat, just in case you are expected to eat all sorts of exotic dishes. You never know what you are going to have to eat, especially in a country as foreign as France. You will be taking five suitcases, a vanity case, a hat box and all the rest – there will be more than enough space for food as well. If not, you could always take a cool box as well…
- You also need to take all your work papers/paraphernalia. It really won’t do to lose contact with the office. Or at least, take enough work with you to keep you busy during the retreat. Make sure you leave contact details for everyone who may need to get hold of you, 24/7.
- It is also important that you bring some music to listen to. Silence can become so oppressive and it will also help you block out those annoying sounds of nature like birdsong, babbling brooks and neighing horses. Especially if you like heavy rock/loud rap music, take your favourite tunes. Don’t bother to take earphones, take speakers instead.
PS. Don’t forget to have a full manicure and pedicure BEFORE you come to the retreat, one does want to arrive looking one’s best, I think, and waiting to have the works until you get to the retreat of your choice really would create the wrong impression.
If you took any of the above seriously, you very badly and very urgently need to go on a mindfulness meditation retreat at Les Sources Sacrées. Write to us as soon as possible on welcome2gascony[at]gmail.com, we will fit you in at the first available opportunity.
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