If it has no soul, I’m not going.

Claire had traveled to DC on the morning flight with my dad to celebrate Uncle Pete’s 80th birthday.  I booked last minute using miles: what ticketing options remained were for a flight leaving 8 hours later.

I was settled into my back-row-middle-seat at the departure gate when she called me from hotel: “You didn’t choose this hotel, did you?” she stated. “You’re going to hate it.” 

TBH there was really nothing wrong with the hotel – it was an American Mc-Hotel Chain with a sterile lobby, dozens of rooms lining a long carpeted hallway on each floor, heavy doors that slam 24 hours a day as you hear, but never see, guests come and go.

Elevator rides are quiet and awkward; no guest or hotel staff acknowledges the other. A stale smelling restaurant with no windows tucked in the back served up mediocre buffets seemingly straight from Sysco that had me immediately erupting in hives.

It was fine.

But she knows I’m a travel snob. And if a stay has no soul – and isn’t luxurious, charming and unique – I’m not going.

… Unless Uncle Pete is involved.

Obviously these aren’t the worst problems to have, and I question the annoying-factor of even sending this commentary into the ether, but also …

Another non-negotiable is high quality food, a property’s commitment to supporting and employing local communities, and the ability to have a glimpse into surrounding culture and nature… you know: soul.

I personally screen all of Twist Yoga retreat properties through my own lens. I take a hard pass on many. 

The destinations I select for your travel experiences are where I’d return again. This what makes Twist Yoga retreats unique: I’ll never host to a region or property I’ve not been personally.

This I promised myself 15 years ago after being a customer on a terrible retreat experience hosted by a teacher I thought I idolized and trusted but turned out way overcharged for cheap venues vetted from pictures on the internet.

I was a schoolteacher at the time, and scraped together funds that I couldn’t really afford to book an experience I’d been dreaming of for years with a leader whom had no firsthand knowledge about the destination and was as confused and surprised by reality on the ground as the rest of us…. Then defensively gaslit us at a truly revolting and unsafe hotel experience by telling us to accept what is because “it’s part of the practice and we must be blocked from the teachings.”

God I hate the way the wellness industry can be manipulative like this. 

For sure, travel can be uncomfortable and tiring and not meet our expectations and we need not to be a dick about it, but this was next level sketchy and I don’t think any of us slept a wink that night. 

So when I visit a potential destination, some questions I ask myself:

  • how quality is the food and where does it come from? 
  • are the beds comfortable, and, while they may not be Western style, are the bathrooms clean?
  • Is this an experience that is unique and eye-opening?  
  • Can this place support a group? 
  • Is the spa clean and relaxing? 
  • What’s happening next door? 
  • Are activities unique, fun and a learning experience? 
  • Most importantly: How welcome and safe do I feel as a female solo traveler? 

The answer is often: No. 

Morocco was a yes.

I – along with my sidekick Claire – do the vetting so you don’t have to – we’ve ended up in some questionable places that have resulted in some good stories, so I can feel confident the retreats we offer are safe, relaxing, and nourishing experiences of a lifetime. 

You’re in good hands here. 

Our September Magical Morocco retreat is half full with a roster of delightful travelers.  A $500 deposit saves your spot.  

Summer Camp For Grownups this June with Elena and Sarah has one cottage left. Glamping and tent sites are available.

On the books is India, again. Our 8th? 9th? Retreat there begins March 9, 2025. It’s booked: I’ve just not put it on the website yet. If you’d like to get on the launch list, email hello@twistyogaedmonds.com