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Salty Soul Highlight: Anna & Jodie of To The Sea Retreat

Erin Wilson

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Instagram is an amazing tool for discovery.  And this exactly how we came across To The Sea Retreat, founded by Anna Rijnders and Jodie Roberts.  We have been drooling over all of their photographs and cannot wait to attend one of their surf and yoga retreats in Portugal.

You might think these ladies are from Portugal, but no.  Anna grew up in Amsterdam and Jodie in Bristol, UK.   So what we wanted to know was how did this dreamy life come together?  

They both traveled a lot and eventually their paths crossed in Canggu, Bali where they lived in the same house. This was just the beginning of their Bali-inspried retreat in Portugal.   They were kind enough to answer some questions so we can all learn more about these two Salty Souls and their retreat. 

What were you doing during all of your amazing travels to earn a living? 

J: I’ve been a dive instructor for a lot of my time abroad (Thailand, Australia), also an English Teacher (Australia), Restaurant/ Manager (Australia), and content writer and social media manager for the dive industry in Indonesia (Bali).

A: As a digital marketer I was able to work from anywhere, and there are a lot of digital nomads in Bali.

What made you start To the Sea Retreat?  And what do you think makes it special?

We both love Bali - the ocean, the active lifestyle, the food, the villas, the magical combination of it all that makes us so happy to be alive! We adore how the ocean calms your mind and enlivens your senses, and for us the magic increases when we share these moments with others. As Europeans, we wanted to live closer to our families, and we missed the European architecture, and wine! 

We realized that by recreating the Bali magic for others and incorporating the best of both Bali and Europe, we can help more people experience their own magical moments in new surroundings. This is what makes us special, a genuine desire to make our guests their happiest in a relaxed and intimate setting, becoming part of a new family. Our guests feel like they’ve been with us for years by the end of the first day, and leave floating on cloud 9 with bookings for the next year already!

What language is typically spoken at your retreats?  Do you welcome guests from all over the world?  

English is spoken as it’s the easiest international language, but we speak Dutch, some German, a bit of French and of course Portuguese. We get inquiries from all over the world, but mainly Northern Europe and USA.

What's a typical day like at the retreat?

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We start each day with an outdoor energizing yoga session, followed by a Bali-inspired deluxe breakfast, then it’s surf and beach fun for the rest of the day, broken up by a gorgeous, healthy, organic beach-side lunch. When we return to the villa around 5pm we unwind with a restorative yoga session designed to stretch out and relieve those paddling muscles. The evening is free to do what you like, you can join us for dinner, go out and explore the town - it’s your choice. 

What if you are new to yoga and want to try surfing for the first time, do you welcome all levels?

We welcome all levels as we love watching people get hooked for the first time, or finally progress on to the next level - wherever you’re at, we are here to support you and cheer you on.

Tell us about Algarve, it looks amazing! Will that continue to be the home-base for your company?

Algarve is amazing! The beaches are just stunning and the water is the most incredible shades of blues and greens. The contrast between the golden, dramatic cliffs and the turquoise water never gets old. The people are so friendly too, they really go out of their way to help you out and are so laid back you feel relaxed just looking at them. The food and drink are great too - all the colors and flavors you’d expect from a sunny, Mediterranean country. And we get an average of 300 sunny days a year which is just insane. The tiny villages with cobbled streets and old churches are a photographer’s dream too.

We follow the waves depending on the month, heading further West to the better waves as the year progresses. It keeps us feeling semi-nomadic, and we love to find hidden gems for our guests to explore in all the areas. Having the flexibility to hold retreats wherever we like means we can craft the perfect retreat for groups too, with no numbers or requests too big or too small.

Coolest hidden spot in Algarve?

There’s a great hidden beach that’s only accessible at low tide, with amazing rock formations and the most perfect water. It’s one of our happy places, for sure. We can’t tell you where, we’ll just have to show you!

Why do you love the water?  How does it make you feel?

J: The content, calm feeling you have when you’re by the ocean is nature’s wonder drug. You can watch the waves forever, totally mesmerized and mind gone blank. You feel this sense of awe at the expanse of it, and this helps you feel more connected to everything - the world is great, and we’re all in it. You feel happy and relaxed, how could you not love it?

A: Working out is good for the body, but exercising by water is amazing for your mind too. You feel tired but invigorated, with a healthy respect for nature and a connectedness with your body, your mind, and the waves. The moment you dive in and your body gets lighter in the water, so does your mind. I feel happy, healthy, and glad to be alive!

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We are inspired and hope you are too!  To learn more about To The Sea Retreat, check out their website: www.tothesearetreat.com and follow along on Instagram: @tothesearetreat

Photo credits:  To The Sea Retreat.