INTERNATIONAL GAY RETREAT

2024 INTERNATIONAL GAY RETREAT
Joyful exploration, relaxation, fun and intimacy for GBTQ-men.
Co-created by GaySpiritFriends & Spirit Journeys.

When: Saturday Oct 5th - Thursday Oct 10th, 2024.
Check-In: Saturday, October 5th, 14.00h (2 pm)
Farewell: Thursday, October 10th, 12.00h (12 pm)

Where:
Charneux, Belgium
Price: € 1095,-
Early Bird Price: € 1045,- (€ 50,- discount until the end of March or until sold out!)


IN SHORT: WHAT IS OUR WEEK ABOUT? 
The International Gay Retreat is built around four themes:
- Exploring the gifts in your shadows;
- Celebrating your unique talents and gifts;
- Seeking a new vision and setting new intentions;
- Integrating and implementing all of these new insights when you go home again. 


WHY JOIN A RETREAT?
The magic of a retreat!
No matter how happy we are in life, a retreat offers us the opportunity to get away from the daily hustle of our lives and to distance ourselves from everything we think we know.
It offers the possibility to experience ourselves, others and the world in a new powerful way.
We create a safe space to re-experience what really matters to us, see our potentials and set new intentions.
With new intentions set, we can experience a new reality in our daily lives.

WHY A RETREAT for GBTQ-men?
Because we experience ourselves as gay, bisexual, trans or queer, we share certain themes that are important in our lives. These themes that can be very different from those that straight men deal with. Sharing our stories with others who share similar themes, hopes, dreams, and challenges can create a powerful experience of safety, belonging, and clarity around ourselves and our lives. 

A retreat for GBTQ-men 
is also a wonderful opportunity to meet gay, bisexual, trans and queer men in a whole different setting. Although we have more options to connect through social media and dating sites than ever before in history, the quality of our connections has decreased dramatically. 
For deeper, more meaningful connections we need a real social setting. At the retreat we have the opportunity to connect with our minds and hearts. A retreat offers a safe, fun and often magical setting. We will create supportive, loving community to understand and reclaim the gifts that each of us bring to this life. Whoever you are, this is a place where you can be yourself, the way you want to be!


THE PROGRAM

We offer a variety of workshop experiences during the week and a multidisciplinary approach. 
Some of the workshops that you will experience during the week will be described below. 

21st CENTURY
CONSCIOUS CONNECTED BREATHING

Our breath is a powerful tool for health, healing, and transformation.
At the retreat, Hunter will introduce you to 21st-Century Conscious Connected Breathing.
He will provide you with amazing insight into your own breathing patterns, exercises to free your breath and practical skills you can use every day for the rest of your life.
Drawing from the latest discoveries of interpersonal neurobiology,  polyvagal theory, sports physiology, and proven spiritual practices from around the world, the conscious breathing practices offered can set your breath and your life free.
With powerful conscious breathing, you can:
- Breathe easy, recharge, relax, sleep better, and feel more at ease in your body.
- Relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and the little traumas life brings.
- Cultivate awareness, self-love, authentic power, and spiritual connection.

NATIVE AMERICAN
SWEAT-LODGE TRADITION

Hunter will introduce you to the Native American Sweat-lodge tradition.
He has trained, been initiated, and been given permission by his Two-Spirit Native Elders to pour water for (to facilitate) this ceremony and share these teachings and has been offering profound and safe sweat lodge ceremonies for over twenty years.

Sweat lodges have been or still are a tradition in many cultures around the world, including here in Europe.
It is, among other things, a very powerful ritual for purifying body and mind, connecting you with your own truth, and revealing new possibilities in your life.
It has the power to transform you in ways you couldn't imagine.
Hunter will guide you through the process in a very gentle, loving, and expert way, with the greatest respect for everyone’s personal boundaries.


POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
The science of happiness, well-being and flourishing.
We implement new scientific tools for cultivating happiness, well-being, optimal potential, and the ability to cope with stress and problems more effectively and healthily.


ABOUT OUR ACCOMMODATION

The old stone farmhouse dates back to + / - 1650 and originally served as a syrup distillery. Nowadays the farmhouse is used as a holiday accommodation after thorough renovation.

The accommodation is situated on a hill with beautiful views over the meadows. It is located in Herve, in the triangle Maastricht-Liege-Aachen. The accommodation has a large capacity and an interesting layout of rooms and floors. It exudes nostalgia and atmosphere and has many surprising rooms and corners to discover. The property also has a large attractive workshop space, where we will withdraw for the workshops.


OVERVIEW OF PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Included and not included in your week

YOUR WEEK INCLUDES
- Lodging in a beautifully renovated 17th century farmhouse, with 21st century comfort;
- Tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners;
- Suggestions and help with travel arrangements;
- Inspiring fun workshops and lively discussions​;
- Lovely hiking trails through the wandering hills of the Belgian and Dutch countryside;
- Free time every afternoon and playful, soulful experiences with GBTQ-men from around the world;
- Steam Sauna, and use of community rooms (with pool table, shuffleboard, table tennis).

NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR WEEK
- Travel and transfer costs;
- Insurances: we recommend that everyone purchase travel, cancellation, and liability insurance.
- Bedsheets and towels are not included in the price. You can select these for a small additional price in the webshop during registration.
- Costs for drinks and meals outside the house. 

YOUR JOURNEY ALSO INCLUDES:
- Beautiful rituals and ceremonies like an Ancestor Ritual and Traditional Trance Dance;
- Mindful and compassionate touch, movement, setting boundaries, and community practices; 
- Fun energizers, meditation, psychodrama, and writing exercises;
- Lovely and nourishing meals;
- Relaxation, hugging, music, dancing, laughing, and more than enough playfulness; 

The entire program and more details will be handed out on the first day of the retreat. 

LANGUAGE

LANGUAGE
All workshops will be presented in English. We can translate it into Dutch or German. During exercises and breaks, or if you have questions, you are free to express yourself in your native language. Occasionally, we may be able to offer some translations in other languages, but only if there are participants who can help with those translations. 

SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS

SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS
There are NO single rooms available. All rooms accommodate 2, 3, or 4 people. You will be randomly assigned to a room.

SNORERS AND LIGHT SLEEPERS

SNORERS AND LIGHT SLEEPERS
Please be aware that you are staying in group accommodations!
While it's a beautiful house, we have limited space to relocate people to other sleeping areas. If you are aware that you have a significant snoring issue we recommend exploring possible solutions before signing up. In the spirit of fostering a harmonious environment for everyone, we will have to
relocate heavy snorers to a separate sleeping area. In our experience, most light sleepers sleep well during our events, but they should be aware that they do not sleep alone in the bedrooms. We will place light sleepers together where possible.

THE ACCOMMODATION, limitations and possibilities

THE ACCOMMODATION, limitations and possibilities
We will be staying in a beautiful old renovated stone farmhouse with a large capacity and an interesting layout of rooms and floors. Please note that there might be some steps and staircases that could pose challenges for some individuals. If you have any serious disabilities, please contact us first to discuss possibilities and limitations. This is a residential retreat: all participants are required to lodge in the house (rather than hotels, camper vans, or local accommodations).

FOOD

FOOD
We do not follow any specific nutritional philosophy, but we do our best to provide plenty of healthy, delicious food, including a mix of tasty Burgundian local dishes prepared by our professional cook. If you have any dietary restrictions, or if you are vegetarian or vegan, we will do our best to accommodate you. There will be an opportunity to mention it later in a questionnaire we will send you after you've signed up for the event. 

TRAVEL SERVICE (plane, car, train)

TRAVEL SERVICE (plane, car, train)
We can help you with extra suggestions to plan your trip.
Some flight suggestions:
- Flight to Brussels Airport (Belgium) and follow-up journey by train, approximately 1 hour. 
- Flight to Amsterdam Airport (Netherlands) and follow-up journey by train, approximately 3-4 hours. 
- Flight to Cologne-Bonn Airport (Germany) and follow-up journey by train, approximately 1,5 hours.
Carpools: 
- We will create a carpool suggestion list once we have relevant sign-ups to make combinations. 
- Travel buddies can be a fun part of your journey. 
- The location is easy to reach by car and parking is free. 

LEISURE TIME

LEISURE TIME
Besides the workshops offered, there is also plenty of free time to get to know the other men, take time for yourself and explore every corner of the beautiful house, or take a nice walk in the surroundings. There is also a 6-person sauna where you can relax and a recreation room where you can play games (including a pool table, shuffleboard, and table tennis). Nearby is an old monastery with a store where you can buy various regional products.