Usually sold out in less than 48 hours, this tech-free retreat is one that the dreamers, thinkers and doers can’t get enough of.
For two blissful days each year, a group of like-minded Perth creatives make the 3.5-hour road trip to Donnelly River for an inspired weekend of making, doing, seeing and learning.
First established in 2017, &Co Retreat was born from a desire to learn from the abundant talent from an extended network in a system that didn’t use money.
“As freelancers we were also finding that we were isolated, and going away together was a way to take time out from our usual routine whilst connecting with others in a really authentic way,” says co-founder Jasmyn Woodford.
The retreat is structured for 20 people with around 2-3 sessions per day to choose from.
Previous classes have included perfume making with a popular Perth skincare label, flower arranging, pottery, botanical illustration, papermaking, yoga, social media and branding, nature walks, and learning about the ecology and Indigenous history of the South West. However, the relaxed nature of the retreat means that if you feel like going on a bush walk instead, it’s your prerogative.
“What you put in is really what you get out,” Jasmyn says. “I really love how the retreat fosters a sense of autonomy. This isn’t a retreat where someone caters to your every need. You help cook, you teach a session and we all clean up at the end. It means you have ownership over your experience.”
As the days come to a close, favourite dishes are shared in communal dinners where animated conversations usually stretch on well into the night.
On one evening participants are able to showcase their new projects, while a book club and tea circle (new to this year’s program) cater to a range of interests.
No wifi or reception at the site (except for emergencies) plays a crucial part in the retreat, offering participants the rare opportunity to completely unplug and immerse themselves in the creative project at hand.
No Facebook. No Instagram. Just authentic interaction with the people around you.
“One of my favourite bits of feedback was a participant who said they thought they were socially anxious and were very nervous about coming on the retreat,” Jasmyn explains. “But they learnt that they were pretty great at making meaningful conversation and the retreat just took away the excuses that usually get in the way for them.”
Tickets: $110-$160, includes accommodation, all activities and food for the weekend (delicious, nourishing and mostly vegetarian).
April 2019 retreat is sold out, however feel free to get in touch to be on the waitlist.