THE ART OF ALIVENESS RETREAT

MOROCCO

April 1st – 12th, 2020

A soulful return to what matters most

CALLING ALL CREATIVE ADVENTURERS!

 

A SPECTACULAR TRIP OF A LIFETIME AWAITS!

If you’re craving a soulful, creative, thoughtfully curated, and fully inclusive way to experience the captivating culture, art, and landscapes of Morocco, this retreat is for you.

The Art of Aliveness Morocco Retreat, April 1 – 12, 2020, offers a unique and inspiring blend of adventure travel, cultural immersion, and creativity classes, along with ample time for relaxation, deep connections, and FUN.

This luxurious, twelve-day journey begins in colorful Marrakech with a massage and sunset dinner upon arrival. The following day, we’ll be guided through some of Marrakech’s most beautiful sites, gathering inspiration with our sketchbooks and cameras to use later in our paintings.

On day three, we begin our awe-inspiring journey over the high Atlas Mountains (staying overnight in Ouarzazate) to the edge of the pristine Sahara Desert.

After we settle into our gorgeous retreat center, we’ll use the vast desert as our blank canvas to inspire days of painting and personal exploration. Our time in the desert will culminate with two soul-stirring nights at a luxury Berber tent camp with camel rides and a group full moon ceremony before we fly back to Marrakech to complete our full-circle journey with a spa day and market shopping.

If you’re looking for a truly special opportunity to experience the magic of Morocco with trusted guides, passionate facilitators, and a group of kindred creatives, we would love for you to join us!

“Flora and her team not only designed an experience that beautifully balanced interior exploration and cultural immersion; they held space for a quantum leap in my personal healing and transformation. I loved every minute.” 

– Lynna (past Art of Aliveness participant)

WHY MOROCCO?

I traveled to Morocco with my family over twenty years ago and the vibrant colors, otherwordly landscapes, soulful sounds, and fascinating culture made a huge impact on me — such an inspiring place for an artist!

For years, I dreamed of returning to this mystical land, and when I finally had the chance to do so earlier this year, it was even more spectacular than I remembered.

While I was there, I took life-changing journey to the Sahara desert where I met Michelle Fletcher, owner of Aitisfoul, the beautiful retreat center we’ll be staying at during the retreat.

Michelle and I became fast friends over mint tea and immediately began dreaming of co-creating an Art of Aliveness Retreat in Morocco. We are both thrilled that the dream is coming true, and we would love to share the magic with you!

“I believe in soul-stirring journeys
In far-flung adventures that lead us home to ourselves
In dreaming with intention and creating with wild abandon
In finding magic in the majestic and in the mundane
In discovering true north by the spin of our own compass
In traveling slowly, connecting deeply and wandering widely
In making meaningful memories and chasing curiosity every day.”

Michelle Fletcher (our wonderful host in Morocco)

Retreat Details:

(More details will be emailed upon registration)

LOCATION

This twelve-day, all inclusive adventure will begin in Marrakech, followed by a beautiful journey south with an overnight in Ouarzazate. We’ll continue south to the edge of the Sahara where we’ll stay for six days, including two nights in a luxury Berber tent camp. The retreat will end with a flight back to Marrakech for our final days together.

DATES

April 1st – April 12th, 2020 (Additional excursions can be arranged if desired)

ACCOMMODATIONS

There are Private, Twin, and Triple accommodation options available for this retreat. If you sign up for a Private, you will have a private room at all our destinations. The same is true for Twins and Triples (you will always have your own bed.) If you’re traveling solo, you are welcome to sign up for any accommodation style and we will group you with other retreat participants. If you are traveling with friends, you will each need to book a spot and we can assign you and your frinds to the same room if you each book the same room option.

MATERIALS

We will be working with gouache and acrylic paint, paint pens, and other mixed media material on watercolor paper. All art materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring any art materials you love to work with. If you are interested in learning to take gorgeous photos with your phone camera, we will be exploring that medium as well. 

COMMUNITY

The retreat will consist of eighteen participants, plus an incredible team of facilitators and trusted local guides to ensure plenty of personal attention, one-on-one support, and safety at all times. Upon registration, each participant will be invited to a private Facebook group to foster connections among the group.

“Michelle brought us right to the heart of every town, craftsman and kasbah. I was continuously blown away by the beauty hidden behind the clay walls we passed. I felt like the luckiest woman to be traveling through such a special land with a confident and creative guide. This woman will give you an unforgettable, very personal tour of the hidden secrets of Morocco — things the average tourist doesn’t get to be a part of.”

– Allie Phillips (past Morocco retreat participant)

What’s Included

This is the kind of retreat where every little detail is taken care of. You will not even need to touch your wallet unless you want to shop… which you likely will because the treasures hunting in Morocco is simply WONDERFUL.

  • 12-day facilitated retreat with Flora, Keri, Cvita, Michelle, and Kamal, plus our team of trusted local guides
  • Comfortable and stylish hotel accommodations for 11 nights (Private, Twin, and Triple room options are available, always with your own bed)
  • Transfers to and from Marrakech Menara Airport on arrival and departure
  • Transportation to retreat outings with expert local guides
  • Healthy, bountiful, and delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners every day of the retreat (vegetarian options available)
  • All tips and gratuities to support our local guides
  • Bottled water + other refreshments
  • Painting and creativity classes with Flora Bowley
  • Personal integration, somatic, and wellness classes with Cvita Mamic
  • All levels yoga classes (flow and yin) with Keri Padon
  • Daily meditations, visualizations, writing prompts, and creativity lessons
  • All art supplies (gouache, acrylic, mixed media on watercolor paper)
  • Generous goody bags + daily gifts
  • Welcome dinner with henna party
  • Relaxing Hammam (Moroccan spa) and massage
  • Admission to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and Marjorelle Garden
  • Guided tour of the Marrakech Medina
  • Travel by van from Marrakech to the Sahara (8 hours with overnight in Ouarzazate, our halfway point) with a return flight
  • Two-night full moon Sahara excursion in luxury tents
  • Sunset camel rides in the desert
  • Tangine cooking class
  • Live music performance by Daraa Tribes and other local musicians
  • A relaxing day by the pools with optional massage at a luxury country club
  • Closing dinner party with French chef
  • Personal time to explore and/or rest as needed
  • Connections, memories, and adventures to last a lifetime!

What’s Not Included

  • Airfare and travel costs to and from Marrakech
  • Travel and medical insurance (required)
  • Optional post-retreat excursions + lodging before or after the retreat
  • Alcohol and specialty drinks
  • Laundry service
  • Optional second massage at the country club (the massage on day one is included)
  • Personal spending money

“This has been the most soul-nourishing gift I have ever given myself. I arrived here in survival mode, and I am leaving with a bright flame burning in my womb, my heart overflowing with love for all my soul sisters, and most importantly a deep love for myself. Who knew I had to fly across the world to come back home to myself. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

– Jazzy (past Art of Aliveness participant)

OUR RETREAT ACCOMMODATIONS

There are Private, Twin, and Triple accommodation options available for this retreat. If you sign up for a Private, you will have a private room at all our destinations. The same is true for Twins and Triples (you will always have your own bed regardless of your accommodation choice.) If you’re traveling solo, you are welcome to sign up for any accommodation style and we will group you with other retreat participants. If you are traveling with friends, you will each need to book a spot and we can assign you and your frinds to the same room if you each book the same room option.

Zwin Zwin Boutique Hotel and Spa in Marrakech

Our home in Marrakech, this boutique hotel is centrally located in the colorful medina of Marrakech and walkable to the historic Jema El Fna square.

Zwin Zwin offers a peaceful oasis with a breathtaking view of the city from the rooftop restaurant, A/C, wifi, along with a spa and pool. Your private driver will be able to drop you right in front when you arrive. We will stay here at the beginning and end of our trip.

Dar Chamaa Hotel in Ouarzazate

Our home in Ouarzazate (aka the door of the desert), and our halfway point between Marrakech and the Sahara. 

This traditionally built hotel offers stunning views of the Atlas Mountains, a beautiful pool, comfortable rooms, a delicious restaurant, tea lounge, A/C, and wifi — the perfect place to relax, stretch our legs, enjoy a meal and rest for a night before we make our way to Aitisfoul. 

Kasbah Aitisfoul

Lovinging restored by our hosts and originally owned by Kamal’s grandfather, our home in the desert is located in a Berber village and perched on the edge of the vast Sahara desert, .

Handbuilt with natural clay, neutral colors, minimalist design, local textiles, treasures, and art, Aitisfoul is truly an oasis of beauty and simplicity. Each room has a private bath, A/C, and a covered terrace. Our meals and workshops will take place on the property, and there is a gorgeous swimming pool and spacious areas to relax and unwind. Wifi is available.

Luxury Berber Tent Camp in Erg Chegaga

There is no website for our special spot deep in the “real desert” as they call it, but this is one of the most comfortable and trusted luxury tent camps in the Sahara. (Follow the link above to get an idea of what to expect).

Located in Erg Chegaga, an untouched and pristine dune area, we’ll be treated to comfortable beds with duvets, hot and cold running water, showers, bathrooms, delicious food, live music and camel rides at sunset. A truly memorable experience!

YOUR GUIDES

I’m thrilled to be joined by plant medicine and somatic practitioner (and my dear friend), Cvita Mamic, yoga teacher extraordinaire (and resident workshop fairy), Keri Padon, and our wonderful hosts, Michelle Fletcher and Kamal Yassine, for this truly special retreat.

Our collective intention as your guides is to offer a powerful array of life tools, creative insights, and cultural experiences that will continue to support and inspire you well beyond our time together.

I’m Flora.  I’m a painter, author, creative catalyst, and global retreat facilitator. In Morocco, I will guide the group through a variety of mixed-media painting classes, along with simple photography lessons and mindfulness explorations so we can explore creativity from a place of freedom, curiosity, intuition, presence and play.

I look forward to sharing meaningful and artistic ways to invite the magic of Morocco into your experiences, sketchbooks and paintings so the memories of this incredible trip will last well beyond our time together.

I also look forward to connecting with each of you personally over tea, art and travel and offering my creative guidance and support along the way.

Cvita Mamic is an artist, healer, student of Somatic Experiencing, and co-founder of Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, a plant medicine retreat center in the Peruvian Amazon.

Cvita believes that health and vitality stem from the continual integration of mind, body and spirit, and her offerings embrace the rituals and lifelong passions of self-inquiry, dream work, creativity, body wisdom and ceremony — all within a safe and nurturing space. 

Cvita is also one of my dearest friends and most treasured spiritual teachers. She brings incredible depth and insight to every moment, and it is a very special treat to have her join us in Morocco!

Keri Padon is a gentle and loving yoga teacher, avid adventurer, athlete, dancer, and lover of life. 

Keri believes in creating a safe space for body, mind, and spirit, and she sees yoga as a cultivation of awareness, self-love, compassion, and presence. Her approach to teaching is gentle, encouraging, playful, and inviting.

Keri is also my “workshop fairy” in Portland and beyond. Her warm presence and genuine loving kindness is felt from the moment you meet her.

Keri looks very forward to sharing her love of yoga and offering her supportive presence througout our retreat in Morocco!

Michelle Fletcher is a Candadian artist, designer, and free spirit who loves curating soul-stirring journeys for creatives. She has dedicated her life to traveling slowly, connecting deeply, making meaningful memories, and cultivating beauty along the way.

Michelle and her partner, Kamal, have poured their passion, hardwork and perserverance into preserving and renovating the property that was originally owned by Kamal’s grandfather. Their deep relationships with the local people, customs, and land in Morocco allow for their guests to feel like they’ve dropped in on friends everywhere they go. It is an incredible gift to get to experience Morocco with Michelle and Kamal as our personal guides.

“Flora’s Art of Aliveness Retreat is an honoring of life itself — a deep connection to human wisdom which shines a light on our capacity to connect with self and others with more presence. Flora and her team modeled the art of giving from a place of overflow, to honor ourselves wholeheartedly. I so appreciate her capacity to work emergently and to create a nourishing container for the group.”

– Karen (past Art of Aliveness participant)

YOUR INVESTMENT

You will have the option to pay in full or pay in a series of three payments — one now to hold your space, followed by two more payments each spaced one month apart. For example: October 18, November 18, and December 18, in equal increments.

If you choose to use a payment plan, you will receive an email when your next payment is due. You can pay it by logging into your account on florabowley.com.

If we haven’t received your final payment by January 1st, we will need to refund your deposits (minus a $100 processing fee) and open up your spot to our waitlist. Thank you for understanding!

CONFIRMATION

Once you’ve paid your deposit, you will receive a short confirmation email. A more detailed email regarding travel to Morocco, packing lists, and other ways to prepare for our time together will follow in the coming weeks. Please feel free to email any questions to teamlove@florabowley.com. We are here to help!

CANCELLATION POLICY

There are no refunds for this retreat unless we are able to fill your spot. If we are able to fill your spot, a $100 cancellation fee will apply, and the rest of your retreat investment will be refunded. If we are not able to fill your spot, there will be no refund issued.  

In case of a natural disaster or any other unforeseen reasons to cancel the retreat, we reserve the right to make any changes necessary to the retreat. In this rare case, will offer you a full refund and the option to book another retreat. However, we will not be responsible for any changes made to your airfare. For your peace of mind, we recommend purchasing “cancel for any reason” trip insurance in case cancellations or changes arise.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE!

Please note, there are three different options for accommodations: Private, Twin, and Triple Rooms. If you book a Private Room, you will have your own room in all of our locations. If you book a Twin, you will share a room with one other person in all our locations. If you book a Triple Room, you will share a room with two other people in all our locations. Regardless of your room choice, you will always have your own bed. Solo travelers are welcome to book any room. We will group you with other retreat participants. 

WAITLIST

Changes do happen. If we have an opening in the retreat, we will email the entire waitlist. The first person to sign up for the spot will get it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Morocco?

Morocco is situated in the North-East corner of Africa, just south of Europe. Morocco borders three countries: Spain, Algeria and Mauritania, and has coastlines on both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean sea. It is home to the Sahara Desert in the south, the highest mountains in North Africa in the center, and fertile plains and mountains in the north.

What language is spoken in Morocco? Do I need to speak it?

Morocco’s official languages are Arabic and Berber. Berber is the language of its first inhabitants and the language used by the majority of its citizens. French is widely spoken except in the Northern regions, where Spanish is spoken. English is understood in the larger cities and tourist areas of Morocco, but knowing a few local phrases is recommended. We will help you with this!

What is the currency in Morocco?

The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, and the exchange rate usually hovers around 10 Dirhams = 1 US Dollar. There are money exchange counters as well as ATMS in Marrakech. We will also have someone come to the hotel on our first day to exchange money and put sim cards in your phone if you would like. (More detailed information about money and phones will be sent upon registration.)

We recommend downloading the currency app XE on your phone so you can easily have the latest exchange rate.

Where do I fly into + do I need a passport and visa to travel to Morocco?

You will fly into Marrakech Menara International Airport (RAK). Royal Air Maroc is the only airline that has direct flights from the US to Morocco, from both JFK and Washington Dulles.

Foreign visitors traveling to Morocco need a passport that is valid for at least 180 days beyond the time they are planning to be abroad. Most visitors do not need to apply for a visa. Visit this website for more information.

(We will send more information about traveling to Morocco upon registration).

Can you tell me more about the culture and customs of Morocco?

Morocco has been called “home” by many different people throughout the centuries. In addition to the indigenous Amazigh (Berbers), the country has hosted a variety of cultures coming from the East (Phoenicians and Arabs), the South (Sub-Saharan Africans), and the North (Romans and Spanish Andalusians – both Muslim and Jewish) throughout history.

Today, the majority of the population identifies as Berber or Arab and the country’s official language is Arabic. Morocco is a Muslim country, with 99% of its population identifying as Sunni Muslim, but religious minorities are widely respected.

Moroccans are very welcoming and tolerant towards different cultures, ideas and ways of life. Moroccans typically greet with a handshake and sometimes two kisses (starting with the left cheek) but this only occurs when the two people greeting are of the same sex. In any greeting that takes place between a man and a woman, the woman should extend her hand first if she wants to be greeted – if she does not do this, a man should bow his head in greeting.

Public displays of affection in Morocco should also be kept to a minimum, as this is a conservative culture. Any gesture you make in Morocco should be done with your right hand (yes, even if you’re traditionally a lefty!). The left hand is considered impure and is saved for bathroom duties and cleaning chores. Always keep tissue on you!

What's the weather like in Morocco in April?

April is spring in Morocco with average daily temperatures between 57 – 79 degrees farenheit. However, weather in Morocco is predictably unpredictable, so be sure to check on the estimated conditions the week before you travel. Also, it can be quite warm by day, it is usually quite cooler at night so pack clothes that you can layer.

What should I wear in Morocco?

Morocco is a Muslim country and women generally dress more modestly than in the US or Europe. Like elsewhere, dress codes are gradually becoming more lax and there is a lot of tolerance for tourists, but wearing modest clothing that covers shoulders and knees shows cultural respect, good taste, and common sense.

We recommend lots of layers! Cotton pants, light long skirts/dresses, long sleeves, and/or wraps and large scarves over tank and tee shirts, plus a sweater and light jacket for chilly nights. Your most important fashion asset: comfortable shoes!

What's the food like? What if I have a specific diet?

All meals will be provided featuring local flavors. If you have specific allergies (i.e. peanuts, wheat, gluten, dairy, etc.), it will be harder, but not impossible, for you to find food that suits your needs. We are unable to cater to any specific dietary issues – you will need to manage this on your own. All meals will have vegetarian courses.

Do I need travel insurance?

You are required to get travel and medical insurance for this trip. There are many companies out there that offer insurance for travelers, including World Nomad.

Do I need immunizations?

Please check the CDC website for recommendations for traveling to Morocco.

How will I get to the retreat center from the airport?

Transportation from the airport to our hotel will be provided in the morning and afternoon of April 1st. If you’d like to arrive earlier, you will be responsible for your own transportation fees. We can help you arrange your transportation and extra nights if required.

Will we be painting everyday?

Painting, drawing, photography and daily creativity practices will be woven throughout our time together, but we will not be painting every single day. Our three long painting days will happen when we arrive in the Sahara, however we will be incorporating other forms of creativity and self reflection exercises throughout the entire retreat.

Do I need to bring my own art supplies?

All your art materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring additional supplies you love to work with (ie your favorite pens, etc).

How should I pack for this trip?

A detailed packing list will be sent upon registration.

Is there wifi in Morocco?

You will have access to wifi at our hotels and some restaurants, but the connection can be slow at times. We encourage you to take as much time away your devices as possible to recharge 🙂 Also, be sure to turn off “roaming” before you land in Morocco to avoid large international cellular fees. We will give you more details about this upon registration.

Do I need to be present for the entire retreat?

Yes. It’s important that everyone is present for the entire retreat to create a safe and inclusive container, and we will be traveling across the country as a group. Each day of the retreat will build upon the next in a cumulative fashion.

Please arrive in Marrakech by the afternoon of April 1st, and plan to depart no earlier than the morning of April 12th. Additional excursions will be available if you with to stay in Morocco longer.

How much physical activity will be do doing?

This retreat is quite physically active. Between daily movement sessions, walking through the Medina and adventures out in the desert, we will be on the move!

How do the payment plans work?

You will have the option to pay in full or pay in a series of three payments — one now to hold your space, followed by two more payments each spaced one month apart. For example: October 16, November 16, and December 16, in equal increments.

If you choose to use a payment plan, you will receive an email when your next payment is due. You can pay it by logging into your account on florabowley.com.

If we haven’t received your final payment by January 1st, we will need to refund your deposits (minus a $100 processing fee) and open up your spot to our waitlist. Thank you for understanding!

How does the waitlist work?

If anyone drops out a retreat (it does happen), we will notify everyone on the wait list. The open spot will go to the first person who responds to the notification email and confirms registration!

Can I extend my trip to include other adventures?

Yes! Michelle has a variety of “add on” packages available and is more than happy to help you plan extra excursions. If you are interested, we will put you in contact directly with Michelle.

Can I sign up with a friend?

Yes! You will both need to register and pay separately for the retreat, but we are happy to put you in a shared accommodation if you let us know who are you traveling with.

We are unable to “save spots” for friends.

Can I bring my kids?

All participants of the retreat need to be over 18 years of age.

When will I hear about the schedule and all the details?

Once you’ve paid your deposit, you will receive a short confirmation email. A more detailed email regarding travel to Morocco, packing lists, and other ways to prepare for our time together will follow in the coming weeks. Please feel free to email any questions to teamlove@florabowley.com. We are here to help!