Questions and Answers

 

La Finca Family Retreat- Connect To Your Self and Your Family Through Nature 

What’s a normal day like?

Facilitating retreats has taught me that over-organization does not allow space for reconnection with True Self and spiritual awareness, so we make an effort to let the days unfold as they will. There is, however, a basic structure to each day.

Each morning you are welcome to receive Reiju, a Reiki energy empowerment  that helps us open and be present to our awareness of self and spirit. During breakfast we’ll discuss what lies ahead for the day and I may pose a question that is an invitation for you to reflect on throughout the day. Afterwards, I will lead a group activity (which you are always free to opt out of), such as a guided visualization or meditation, designed to deepen your awareness and help you tap into your essence. All group activities are open to all retreatants; the children on the retreat (ages 8 and up) are always welcome to participate in our child-friendly group activities geared towards adults, and I will also facilitate adult-friendly activities specifically created with the children in mind, especially geared to deepening the enjoyment of nature.

A modern house and it’s garden

Afternoons are open for you to follow your inner promptings. You may choose to explore the tropical cloud forest, alone or with others, you may want to go horseback riding in the pastures, to climb a mountain, to read in the comfort of the retreat houses, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views. Because the farm poses minimal dangers (using basic common sense), I encourage the children, as much as the adults, to explore the vast landscape, solo or with others (and in case someone feels lost, we provide everyone with whistles). This kind of exploration is a singular opportunity!

I will also be available in case you feel the need for a one-on-one coaching session or ritual.

At night, we’ll have dinner and relax. We’ll talk about the highs and lows of the day, discuss the question posed that morning, enjoy one another’s company, perhaps share stories or play indoor games with the children, and go to bed. Once again, you are always invited to follow your inner promptings and choose to do something else.

Frankly, some day’s “agenda” will simply go out the window because the promptings and energy take us in such different, but equally wonderful directions.

If you choose to make use of your time this way, each day can provide an opportunity for solitude and journaling. We encourage you to be alone with your Self and your spiritual awareness in the natural environment. It is one of the most powerful, reconnecting and spiritual experiences you will have during your retreat!

Is the retreat open to all faith traditions, especially if I am not religious?

Absolutely. Our retreat is open to people of any faith, undetermined faith or questioning faith. Nature is a perfect place to renew, discover and confirm our relationship with the Divine. This retreat is built for spiritual exploration and deep questioning in a setting that encourages this to occur. We will not preach or tell you what you should believe, and we request that you show the same respect for retreat participants.

a basket of colorful flowers

What are the accomodations like?

La Finca is a working dairy farm and also a weekend getaway. You will be lodged in one of the family’s three weekend houses and apartment. The accomodations are comfortable for spending time indoors, with spacious public areas and large picture windows, but they are also very basic, without a central heating system other than the fireplace, no Internet or telephone connections, or even laundry facilities. They do have electric lighting and running water. Hot water comes from small tanks, so long showers can run suddenly cold! If that is the case, there is always a porch or a terrace to warm up on with the noonday sun!

The oldest house is La Casa Rosada, or the pink house. In La Casa Rosada, there is one bedroom with two single beds, another bedroom with a single bed, and there are two futons that will serve as beds in the living room (often children are the ones sleeping in the common areas). There is one bathroom with a shower in this house.

There are two newer, more modern houses (one is pictured above). The first of these houses is La Casa de Oma, which has two bedrooms, with two single beds each. This is where we will do our indoor work, have our meals, gather after dinner or when we are looking to be with others. This house has two bathrooms with showers. Under la Casa de Oma, in the basement, is a studio apartment, called El Sótano, with a double futon bed, a bathroom and shower.

A palm plant in the forest

The other new house is La Casa de Tommy. This one has a bedroom with a double bed and another bedroom that can be divided in half, with two single beds and two trundle beds. There are two sofa beds in the living room, which we will use as well. This house has two bathrooms with showers.

What is the time-frame for the retreat?

You should arrive in Bogota at least a day before the retreat is to begin (we will transfer you from the airport to your hotel and make any recommendations for dining and transportation, etc). You will be picked up on Sunday morning at a previously designated hotel, to be transported to La Finca. The retreat will begin as soon as we arrive when we call a circle and connect to the place.  It will run over the course of the week, and end on Friday at 4 p.m., at which point you will be transported to the designated hotel. You can plan to return home the next day or continue your trip through Colombia!

What is the facilitator’s experience?

I am a life coach and Reiki Master Teacher (read more here), and have been holding workshops and retreats for close to two decades. I also grew up on La Finca, leading countless local and foreign visitors into the forests there. In preparation for my work in Colombia, I have trained with the Red Cross in wilderness first aid.

Is there any danger?

Physical safety

La Finca is found in a beautiful, quiet part of Colombia, in the vicinity of the capital, where it is safe to visit. Still, it is important that you are aware that Colombia has been regarded a dangerous place, and in some difficult-to-reach areas still continues to be.  Nonetheless, as I said earlier, the region where La Finca is located has been historically safe for locals as well as for foreigners.

A travel warning issued by the US Department of State mentions Colombia’s history of guerrilla and drug trafficking violence, particularly in distant rural areas.  (Here’s a Huffington Post article that speaks to how much that has changed.) Some areas of Bogotá continue to be unsafe for unaware passersby who may be pickpocketed or robbed, as is the case in any other large, urban area. Colombia is a destination to enjoy, just bring the common sense you would need to travel anywhere! You can read the Lonely Planet’s glowing recommendation of Colombia in their on-line guide: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/colombia.

a view of a clearing in the cloud forest and the side of a houseThe region where La Finca is found is about 45 minutes away, by car, from Bogota, the capital, and close to the town of El Rosal. There has been no known history of guerrilla or drug trafficking in the area, and as the retreat does not include spending any time in local towns, La Finca is a great place to experience the beauty of the Colombian landscape in a safe environment.

Health

La Finca is located in the mountains, at an altitude of approximately 9000 feet. Most healthy people have no issues with the altitude, but some may be prone to altitude sickness, especially when coming from sea-level (Chicago is sea-level). If this is the case, you may require a day or so of not exerting yourself physically, in order for your body to acclimate to the altitude. If you have a history of circulatory or respiratory conditions, you should consult your doctor before signing up, but if you are healthy and moderately physically active, you should be fine.

Children’s safety

Part of the magic of La Finca is the freedom that children can experience, discovering nature on their own terms. This is only possible if the children have common sense. If you feel that you need to keep your children closely supervised to keep them safe, this may not be the retreat for your family. Most children who have a balance of natural curiosity and caution while in nature will thrive with the experience!

Where is La Finca?

For information on Bogotá, located in the region where La Finca is located, read here: http://iguide.travel/Bogota

 

Do I need a visa?

Not if you will be traveling with a valid United States Passport. For other nationalities, check: http://www.consulcolombia.us/visasingles.php

orchidWill I experience Colombian culture and interact with the locals?

Not much. The purpose of this part of your trip is to retreat to your Self in nature, and that is what we will do. During the retreat, you will not have opportunities to visit local towns or interact with other locals than those who will be working on La Finca and helping make your stay comfortable. If you are interested in experiencing more of Colombia, we suggest you extend your stay in Bogotá or travel to Santa Marta or Cartagena in the Caribbean.

 

What physical condition do I need to be in?

You do not need to be in great physical condition to thoroughly enjoy your time at this retreat. If you have not been physically active in a while, spending some consistent time in a doctor-approved exercise program will decrease the likelihood of injury and increase your enjoyment of the experience as you combine the spiritual with the physical. You will be able to choose what physical activities you participate in, and we advise that you keep your condition in mind when you do. If you have a history of circulatory or respiratory conditions, please read the section on danger and health, above.

 

What equipment do I need to bring?

Although there are no seasons in Colombia, La Finca is often a wet and cold place. You should be prepared for this. Temperatures in La Finca can range anywhere from the 30s at night, to the high 60s under the sun. As is customary in Colombia, there is no heating in the houses where we will be lodged. Please bring many layers; boots, waterproof jackets, and fleece are strongly recommended, as well as warm socks and pajamas. If you keep a journal or notebook to draw in while doing spiritual exploration and inner work, please bring that as well.

 

green trees and shrubs of the cloud forest landscape

What about insurance?

You must have your own health insurance policies that cover you overseas and cover emergency expenses.

What about getting flights and reserving a hotel in Bogota?

To find a flight to Bogotá, we suggest going on-line to a flight search site, such as Orbitz or Expedia. Many airlines provide flights to Colombia, including, among many others: Continental Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines, among many others, provide service to Colombia. For a quote on tickets from American Airlines, you may have to call or visit their website directly.

Once the application process is completed and you have paid your minimum deposit, you will be given the name of the hotel we will be meeting at, to be transported to La Finca. We suggest that you make your reservation there, but you could also request other recommendations from us or do an on-line search for a hotel. If you choose to find your own hotel, I strongly urge you to talk with me before you make your decision, so I can tell you about the area of town where it is located and how easy or difficult it will be to reach our meeting place from there.

What if something comes up and I can’t make the trip?

Please read our policies regarding cancellation: https://lafincaretreat.wordpress.com/policies/

Who do I contact about this retreat?

Please do contact me, Andrea Friedmann, by telephone at 773/338-7890 or by email at andrea at vibrationsreikitouch.com. I can provide you with further information or get you an application form. I look forward to having a conversation with you!

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