Today is International Womens Day and I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine for over 20 years. Victoria Patchell, who has recently followed her dreams and established Indigo Surf and Yoga Retreats. Located in amazing destinations around the world including the Maldives and Java. Victoria believes that by getting away and ‘escaping’ it really rechargers you so when you return you have so much more to give. As Women we tend to think of everyone else first. Its so important to take time to feed your soul and recharge.Victoria has an energy that is so giving and relaxed. I loved talking all things travel with Victoria when we recently caught up during her last visit home.
What is your favourite Destination?
Ooooh this is always a tough decision, as I love so many places. In taking consideration into all the things I love when travelling such as delicious food, nature, culture, friendly locals, great service and accommodation options. It would have to be the Wild Coast in South Africa. It is such a magical off the beaten track paradise where you find gorgeous empty beaches; abundant nature, incredible cuisine and the locals are kind and genuine. Here is the only place on planet earth I have been able to surf pristine turquoise waters in the morning and go on safari in the afternoon seeing wild Lions, Rhinos, Giraffes and Zebras. The Wild Coast really provides a once in a lifetime experience and the people there are just so friendly.
What do you love best about travelling?
I love so many aspects of travel and am so grateful that I have been able to explore the world. Travelling reminds you that no matter what culture you come from we all speak the same language. A smile, kindness and laughter go a long way and can create connection with someone on the other side of the world of a foreign language. For me this is sharing a sandwich with a stranger on a bus from El Salvador to Guatemala. I also love the sensory indulgence of travel. It is just so fulfilling trying something new every day, when you are travelling you are constantly surrounded by new smells, sights, sounds and people. Breakfast in a foreign country even provides the opportunity for adventure and what a great way to start a day.
What was your first travel experience?
I was 19 years old with a one-way ticket to Glasgow, Scotland and $500.00 AUD of savings. I was on my way to reunite with my first love. Feeling excited and nervous my first travel conundrum was how I could possibly look fresh and dazzling on arrival after making a 36-hour journey (this was not possible, but he welcomed me none the less). Once I arrived the adventure truly began. I worked in Glasgow at a smoky Aussie pub for a 2 months until the nocturnal life became too much and then evacuated to the fresh mountain air of the French Alps. In the Alps I started my journey learning to snowboard and developed my deep fondness for wine and cheese. During this time I worked as a chalet girl and cook. For the next year I lived and worked around France and explored the coast surfing and working a variety of jobs. The most exciting job was ‘gardener for the Sultan of Oman’ at his palace near Paris. I was so grateful and lucky for this incredible opportunity and during it I learnt so much about getting out of my comfort zone and committing to the unknown, something I had never done before.
What was your youngest surf school student?
The adorable Byron from Canada, who was 3 years old, what a cutie! He loved surfing and was just so fearless and trusting. He stole my heart. It forever blows my mind how quickly kids can learn with the right encouragement and support. For kids under 10 years old we always teach with 2 instructors to 1 child so when we push the child on a wave we have a ‘pitch and catch’ technique which ensures the confidence and comfort of both the kids and there parents.
Why do we need to escape?
Everyone needs to escape, no matter how content you are in your regular environment it’s so important to get away and reconnect with yourself. I have always believed you are responsible for the energy you bring to every space whether it is with your family, friends or colleagues. By getting away and ‘escaping’ it rechargers you so when you return you have so much more to give. One of my clients recently sent a thank you email after she returned home to her family. Her words really moved me as she stated before she came on the retreat her tolerance to her kids and husband was short’ and she felt her’ resources where depleted’. However after returning from her ‘Escape’ she was reinvigorated with energy and love for her family and felt like she was now being ‘the mother she wanted to be’ as she had the energetic supplies and perspective.
What if I have never surfed or done yoga?
Awesome, well you are in for a treat. Over the years I have had countless clients compare there first wave to many great things but one of my favourite quotes was from a client that surfed her first green wave; ‘surfing is like sex, you hear everyone talking about it but catching that wave was like having my first orgasm, I finally understood what all the fuss was about’. Yoga is also an incredible release to those that try it for the first time. As a mother or just a woman in general we are always running lists and should, coulda, wouldas through our mind. When you practice yoga you become so set on the practice all the mind chatter disappears and for the first time in a while your mind is free.
Are beginners welcome?
Beginners are welcomed with open arms. In fact the majority of our destinations are selected due to their fantastic conditions for learning to surf. Our team of awesome surf coaches love nothing more than getting someone surfing for the first time or ‘popping their surfing cherry’ as we say. However you must be warned surfing is addictive and often once you start you can’t stop. This often results in a hot bod, excessive bikini purchases and additional beach vacations. All great things we feel.
What s your life mantra?
Do something you have never done everyday and live life knowing ‘your passions are not an accident they are a calling’. Doing something you have never done everyday is much easier to do than it sounds. One day it could be a new type of tea and the next could be a nude cartwheel or surfing in high heels… Its up to you, but living with this mantra keeps life interesting and opens you up to new experiences and personal growth.
I highly recommend you check out her website for more information on upcoming retreats. http://indigosurfescapes.com