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Our wellness travel expert, Zoe Macfarlane, attended opera singer Wendy Doyle’s NOWW Retreat. She uncovers why Fiji is the perfect destination to complement any wellness vacay.

As I cast my eyes around the participants of Fiji’s third NOWW retreat, I can’t decide if I’m about to start a wellness holiday or head to the dentist. The vibes are a clash of excitement and nerves.

As someone who likes retreats (as much as I like the cakes that make them necessary), I forgot the apprehension first-timers experience. Whether it’s a life shift, a life pause, or a life lesson that’s sought it takes balls to say ‘yes’ to a retreat. It’s a commitment to being vulnerable to receive the rejuvenation that a wellness-focused holiday affords.

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Nerves settled once the retreat began.

Thankfully, for the uninitiated retreat goer, NOWW Retreats occur twice a year in Fiji’s popular Denarau area. NOWW stands for New Opportunities, Worth and Wellbeing, the core sentiment of Wendy’s own journey to a more purposeful life.

Fiji is a natural destination for wellness – beauty, peace, and a cultural inclination for the present moment. Many global retreats offer a jam-packed schedule. NOWW, however, purposefully schedules a healthy dose of ‘me time’ for integration and reflection. Being able to align with your pace is often missing from a retreat timetable. Wendy recognises in the NOWW schedule that every attendee’s journey is a personal one.

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There’s plenty of me-time to Spend at the Westin Denarau Pool.

Intentional or not, a journey is what almost every one of the 11 of us here has signed up for. Whether it’s emotional, spiritual, mental, or soul healing, we’ve all shown up with our suitcase, plus a bunch of excess baggage. Unpacking your mental clutter is included in a one-on-one session with the exceptional hypnotherapist and healer, Sonja Bollnow.

It’s up to you whether to show off your neat packing or bear your dirty smalls. Sonja works on an intuitive basis to fast track you through the pain, fear, or limiting beliefs that have held you back thus far. Whether it’s using Reiki, hypnotherapy, or a guided journey, everyone reported his or her 90-minute session to be life-changing. The release of guilt, grief, fears, and control issues are discussed at dinner on the last night. Conversations that would likely have never occurred without Sonja assisting in cutting those old ties.

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Try Aqua Yoga for something new.

The private session is accompanied by workshops, a spa treatment, yoga, and a lively vocal training session. I can’t carry a tune, but it was fun to learn techniques from opera singer Wendy. More power to my car singing, regardless of my X-factor.

Alongside time out to integrate the retreat workshops, fun was scheduled too, with a trip to Malamala Beach Club. Though unconventional in retreat land, ending on a note of play was on point for this group of wellness newbies. Especially after the release of some heavy sh*t from the sessions with Sonja.

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Take a day trip to Malamala Beach Club.

As the world’s first island day club, Malamala proved a great reminder that a little ‘let-your-hair-down’ goes a long way. Whether it was chilling on the pre-booked loungers, splashing in the infinity pool, kayaking around the island or swimming to the reef’s edge in search of stingray, it added to the harmony to the retreat.

Thanks to the Fiji spirit, these tropical isles offer natural support for the release, rebalance, and rejuvenation of your at-home woes. Skipping a crammed schedule and the demands of group sharing, NOWW offers retreat lite. It’s a gentle introduction to the benefits of wellness travel, a toe-dip into retreat life.

 

Have you considered dipping your toe into a wellness retreat?