Part Two of Meet Our Retreat Leader Series brings you a gem of a person, Carly Fox. Carly brings a natural warmth and a quiet leadership to our retreats. She’s the kind of individual that radiates strength from within, and she possesses a deep well of knowledge and practice in the areas of yoga, meditation and self-exploration. Kind, compassionate, and strong, Carly creates a welcoming and comforting energy for those around her. Hailing from the winter heartland of Canada, Winnipeg, Carly has spent extensive time living abroad. Keep reading below to learn more!
You have lived quite an interesting life so far, with your lifestyle interests merging well with your career path, and it’s taken you on a journey of living abroad for quite some time now. Tell us how that came to be and where are you now.
I have always had the drive to follow my passions, maybe I can thank my parents for that. After university I spent a few years working, saving my money and taking long trips whenever I could to explore the world. It was then I started surfing which really changed the trajectory of my life. In September of 2011 after years of regular yoga practice I took my 200hr YTT in Costa Rica. I chose the training in Costa Rica because of the teacher, and then also because I knew there would be surf nearby on my days off! After completing my training I took a few months off with the plan to surf and get teaching experience in Central America.
In November of 2011 I arrived in Nicaragua on the hunt for waves and I never left! I lived in Nicaragua for 7 years and started my business Papaya Wellness there- with India Reinartz a fellow Canadian female surfer and yogi. We have been doing yoga and surf adventure retreats together since 2012 and it has led me to a lot of beautiful places and opportunities- including this one with Noorish and Dryft! Last month after 7 years in Nicaragua I moved to San Pancho, Mexico to keep exploring, growing and hopefully surfing a lot.
In addition to working with Noorish Tofino, you are the owner and operator of your own surf & yoga wellness retreat company, Papaya Wellness. What inspired you to start your own business?
Papaya Wellness from the start has been a project grown out of love. India, like me, lives what she loves. We connected through our complimentary perspectives on achieving a state of health through balance, daily creative movement, connection, travel, mindful breathing and a lot of ocean time. We both have the desire to create the space to share that lifestyle and energy in a fun and playful way with everyone we can! We created Papaya Wellness to share and celebration what has brought to our own lives so much joy and inspiration. I have found that when I slow down and connect with myself a beautiful path unfolds from there with more connection to nature, deeper and more compassionate relationships in the world and an overall feeling of health and vitality! That is our goal and the experience I try to create for our clients! Life is instant and we relate to each other through technology now more than ever. I view cultivating channels of connection to ourselves, to nature and the human beings around us through practices like yoga, meditation or going for a walk in the woods as holding the utmost importance to the overall health and wellbeing of the whole planet
A lot of people are going to read this and think, she’s living the dream! Working remotely in a warm destination, surfing all day. What is the reality of a typical day for you?
My days are super varied. I would be lying if i said I didn’t have days like you mentioned above. I try to surf a lot and when the waves are good I get in the water daily. When I’m at home I try to design my work day with enough freedom to schedule around the tide times for optimal surfing. What can I say, it’s an addiction! I work online and also am studying online so carving out unplugged time is vital to my wellbeing.
I also end up travelling a lot for work which is amazing and has it’s challenges. Maintaining balance and healthy habits can be tough when on the road and working retreats. On retreats most of my energy is flowing outward to be present in the moment for the guests and ready for anything (and unexpected things happen everyday!!). You have to walk a fine line of sharing a calm and loving space for guests while smoothing out the unexpected and sometimes hectic things that can arise when you are with groups in remote destinations
What would be your best advice to someone who wants to pursue their dreams and passions, like you, but are afraid.
Well, you have probably heard this before AND really you just have to do it. Whatever it is. If you can’t stop thinking about, it terrifies you and you keep coming back to the idea- that thing. Do it! I believe that we are all here on earth in this form to learn, to expand our understanding and to experience the wonders of being human. When you can approach any experience as a learning opportunity, you really have nothing to lose. Would you rather wonder forever what life would have been like if you stepped into the unknown and tried? I’m more of an experiential learner. When you are opened to finding the learning or catalyst for growth in any opportunity, truly everything can become a blessing- even a small blessing. What did you learn that you would have never otherwise known? That’s a gift right there! It doesn’t mean that it is always easy or rainbows but we truly do have the power to frame any experience however we like and that is an incredibly empowering space to live from.
What do you say to someone who might like to join you on a retreat but have never surfed or done yoga before?
I guess it’s along the same lines as above. There is so much capacity for learning and growth when we dance outside our comfort zone! That is a great reason!
Also because they are awesome! Obviously ;) but seriously- it’s a pretty special platform to meet really beautiful people, some that will inevitably become life long relationships.
What are you currently reading?
A friend gave me a book called the New Codependency that I just started to read. I’ve been sober for 2 years and am learning more and more about my relationship to substance and also how I operate and relate in most of my other relationships and this book seems like it has some practical tools.