Coming out of COVID, there has been a surge in wellness travel. And with good reason. People across the globe have a heightened awareness of the importance of wellness and a desire to break free from the confines of being cooped up.
Today, retreats have become popular, but they have traditionally focused heavily on relaxation and meditation. What has been missing is a way to marry people’s desire to travel with wellness and sport.
Addressing this gap, Activ Retreats emerges as the desired platform, offering a central location for active travellers to discover and book hand-picked retreats that combine their passion for adventure, fitness, and wellness.
Join us as we delve into the insights of Sarah Burry, co-founder of Activ Retreats.
Wander: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of Activ Retreats?
Sarah: I travelled the world in my 20s and 30s and have always sought adventure. I love to hike, ski, and run and have even been skydiving. But my love affair with health and wellness didn’t start until my late 40s when a running accident led to Fibromyalgia. This low point prompted me to reevaluate my lifestyle and develop a new appreciation for the mind-body connection. I started thinking differently about my diet, lifestyle, and even travel.
This experience became the catalyst for Activ Retreats. I wanted to be able to marry my love of adventure, travel, and wellness. I started looking and found incredible communities offering running retreats, hiking retreats, and even rock-climbing retreats, but they were distributed across the web. Finding these communities took hours. So, I started bringing them all together. It has been my labour of love.
How is Activ Retreats unique to other retreat booking platforms?
Many popular wellness travel platforms are designed with yoga and meditation in mind. Activ Retreats also offers yoga retreats, but we wanted to create a platform that uniquely married other adventures and outdoor pursuits with yoga because they also represent wellness.
I love a quote from John Muir that says, “Into the mountains I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” I think that is true for a lot of sports. They help rejuvenate the mind, body and soul and are perfect candidates for retreats. So, our retreats blend sports like running, cycling, surfing, and rafting with yoga, wellness, and travel. And in doing so, we hope to bring wellness travel to even more people.
We love that you have retreat offerings like rock climbing, golf, and swimming; we don’t tend to see those very often! How did you choose the categories initially?
Thank you! We offer retreats across 18 different categories of sports and outdoor pursuits. I was a swimmer as a child. My dad played golf. My husband rock climbs. My friends all ski and hike. I wanted to create a platform that everyone around me would find attractive. And as I dug into my research on one sport or adventure, I would stumble upon another, like dog sledding, which also made it onto our platform.
With the launch of the marketplace, how do you envision enhancing the overall experience for both retreat organizers and participants?
Finding and planning your next vacation shouldn’t be hard. But it often is. Some of the larger platforms offer thousands of trips. It’s like encountering 100 types of butter at a supermarket—you want variety, but not at the cost of hours spent searching.
Activ Retreats wants to make it easy for retreat hosts and travellers to work with us. We want to make finding the perfect getaway quick and simple. We have close to 500 hand-picked and curated retreats—but we will never have 10,000. We want to provide great choices, but we also ensure we never lose sight of the importance of making it easy.
Sustainable travel is becoming increasingly important in the industry. Does activ retreats integrate sustainability into choosing its retreat offerings and partners?
We are big believers in sustainable travel. We hand-pick our retreats and work with partners who also share our beliefs. We have also partnered with Stripe to donate 1% of our revenue to protect the environment. As we scale, we can continue to grow our contribution.
It is heartening to see so many organizations in the travel industry paving the way for sustainability and eco-friendly travel. There is a lot more work to be done, and we want to make sure Activ Retreats is doing its part.
How do you see wellness retreats evolving over the next few years?
That is a great question. I see several trends that are set to transform and customize retreat experiences, leading to the emergence of new and diverse offerings.
1. The need for digital detox
In our tech-dominated world, sensory overload is prevalent. As someone who has experienced multiple concussions, I may feel this more intensely, but its impact is universal. We find ourselves constantly working, playing, and connecting online, and this virtual realm is rapidly consuming our lives.
So, I believe there will be a shift to leverage retreats to do a digital detox, to get back to nature, to truly get away from this virtual cocoon we have created for ourselves.
2. The drive for sustainability
We are aware that our world is changing around us – just one look at our reefs tells us as much. So, I think there will be a push towards more sustainable holidays that allow travellers to give back.
There will also be more hosts that put sustainability front and centre of what they do. For example, I would expect to see retreats that offer an opportunity to hike and do trail upkeep with a little yoga thrown in.
3. The move beyond yoga
Wellness is here to stay. Yoga led the charge and is synonymous with how people think about retreats. But wellness is about working on your mental and physical state, and there are lots of active pursuits that help you get there.
I see diving and rafting and even fishing and golfing retreats. Really, it is about getting out, moving, and relaxing the mind, body, and soul. Who knows, we may even see curling and hockey retreats in the not-too-distant future.
Activ Retreats is headquartered in the Bay Area, California, and provides a simple and convenient way for people worldwide to discover and book active getaways. Their retreats, camps and holidays marry sports, travel, and wellness and help people see the world in a whole new way.
Visit activretreats.com to book your next adventure!