Meet Our Retreat Leader Series - Carly Fox

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
— Carly
Carly on Beach Laughter.jpg

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. 

Photo Credit: Papaya Wellness

Photo Credit: Papaya Wellness

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

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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

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

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. 

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

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. 

Photo Credit: Gerald Acevedo

Photo Credit: Gerald Acevedo

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. 

We are so thrilled to have Carly join us on both our upcoming retreats to Morocco and Tofino. 4 spots left for our southern Morocco trip in May 2019 and now accepting reservations for Tofino June 2019. You can also join Carly on a beautiful retreat to Mexico with Papaya Wellness, in February and March 2019

Why It's Time To Let Go Of Your Fears

Do something that scares you

We all have fears. Small ones, innate ones, big scary dark ones. Ones that grip us and freeze us into stone. Ones that keep us from moving forward and help hold us in place of the same decision making and behaviour patterns. Even as I write this post and face a blank page, I feel fear. Fear of not being able to express exactly into eloquent words what I want to say. We put off doing things, confronting things, saying things due to our fears. And it’s time to let go and taste the freedom that erasing our fears can create.

Jump....or No?

Jump....or No?

When we overcome the ideas and thoughts that hold us back, we learn something new about ourselves. We feel empowered because we’ve taken control and created our own narrative. Our own self-limiting thoughts may have prevented us from doing the things we wanted to in the past. How many times have you wanted to pursue something that scared you slightly but yet excited you? Did you push past those negative thoughts and went ahead or did fear paralyze you?

A confession: I have a real deep rooted fear of failure. Despite being academically successful in my youth and having established a decent career in my field. I love starting projects but I can have a real problem finishing them. Why? Due to my self-imposed pressures I create and the thought that I will not meet my expectations. But as I approach the age of 40, I realize it’s time to shed those binds holding me back and push ahead with my vision. There is something very scary about starting your own business. I am putting myself out there, my ideals and thoughts. What if no one likes what I have to offer? Or, how can I possibly compete with that xyz? But by avoiding the deep calling I’ve felt within me to create Noorish Tofino, I won’t ever know whether this idea will spring into life. To overcome this fear, I must re-frame what I think of failure. Failure isn’t always bad. Failure is a learning opportunity if I can expand my horizons and learn from my mistakes and those of others.

I had a childhood fear of diving. It actually stemmed from being upside down, which meant I couldn't do handstands until about the age of 27 when I started practicing yoga regularly. It would be another 10 years before I actually learned to dive, head first, into a swimming pool.

I had a childhood fear of diving. It actually stemmed from being upside down, which meant I couldn't do handstands until about the age of 27 when I started practicing yoga regularly. It would be another 10 years before I actually learned to dive, head first, into a swimming pool.

So do something that scares you - once a month, a week, a day. You might surprise yourself. When I first tried surfing, I was terrified before I even stepped into the water. I couldn’t imagine myself out there having fun. I was afraid of the murky gray and cold water and of the waves sloshing around. The fear physically gripped me and I wasn’t breathing properly. My mindset was already in self-sabotage mode. Fortunately, I had a very kind and patient instructor who with her smile and calm energy, coaxed me out and on her first push off the big floaty foam surfboard, I stood up and felt the magic of “standing” on water for the first time ever. A smile spread across my face and I was hooked. Without pushing past my initial gut feeling of fear, I may not have ever started surfing, a sport that has brought such incredible experiences into my life and introduced so many wonderful friends I now know.

Are you making excuses, putting off plans, or avoiding something so you don't have to face your fears? Photo by  gabrielle cole  on  Unsplash

Are you making excuses, putting off plans, or avoiding something so you don't have to face your fears? Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash

What is it that scares you? You may instinctively know or you may need to contemplate deeply to find the answer. Maybe you are afraid to try new things because the unknown is scary, or maybe you are anxious to travel without your family because you believe without you they will fall apart. You find excuses to avoid the task; you put it off and procrastinate. Whatever it might be, try to recognize the triggers. Note how it makes you feel and try to understand where those thoughts came from and what behaviours it’s creating (or not creating, as in avoidance). Our fears can be created from previous bad experiences, or passed down from our family since early childhood. Once you recognize what you’re dealing with, you can find a way to overcome the blockage.

This is not an article instructing you how to beat your fears. That, is a path you must find. Rather, it’s recognizing that each and every one of us have things that give us anxiety. And by knowing what that is for you and how it limits you, you can focus on taking the power back into your hands. Living without self-limitations will give you new sense of freedom and a feeling that you CAN, do and achieve anything.




5 Reasons Why Should You Go On A Women’s Retreat

Before starting Noorish Tofino Retreats, I embarked on many women’s only retreats in my quest for adventure, soul replenishment, and fun. Each trip I took brought me a new perspective on myself and the world around me. Every experience I had, without the comfort of family and my home surroundings, has shaped and driven me to who I am today. I am immensely thankful for these opportunities.

I have girlfriends who never go on women’s retreats, or have never traveled solo without their husbands or kids. I have girlfriends who make it a priority to travel, whether it is yearly or every few years, on a women’s retreat, with their friends or by themselves. Many of those who have never been on a women’s only trip will tell me they have either never thought about it, or didn’t think they would enjoy it, or are afraid things will go sideways at home or at work if they are away. Well my friends, I am here to tell you, if you are on the fence or even if you think it’s not your thing, you might be surprised by the incredible experience a women’s retreat can provide you with.

There are all kinds of womens retreats available out there. Those featuring yoga and meditation, those for artists and photographers, and those for adventurers and nature lovers. Almost always they provide an opportunity to self-reflect through independent travel, to see the world through a new lense via the exploration of a new place, and to build a feeling of support and community through new friendships. Below are the top five reasons I believe, why you should go on a women’s retreat.

Reason #1: Deepen Your Connection

When you take the time to slow down, to listen to your inner thoughts and feelings, you are able to deepen your connection to your inner self. Away from the hustle of everyday life and the noise of everyone else’s needs, you can find that time and space to tune into the heart’s desires. Women’s retreats are the perfect getaways to achieve that deepening connection. At Noorish Tofino Retreats, we provide 1-2 yoga classes each day that provide us that space to deep breathe, recharge and to allow our minds to float and wander. We provide dream making workshops so you can have fun using your creativity to find your vision. As a personal experience, I find the word ‘nourish’, was a theme that kept coming to my mind as I meditated during a retreat to Nicarugua nearly 5 years ago. Although I did not know it at the time, this work kept resonating with me and has led me to the creation of Noorish Tofino Retreats. If you take the time and provide yourself the space to tune in, you too can find clarity in your inner voice.

Reason #2: Push Your Personal Boundaries

Traveling alone and meeting up with a group of strangers can seem daunting. Trying to surf for the first time, or going away from your children for an extended period to a new place can be terrifying. Even being out of your routine means you need to adjust and be flexible. But I truly believe in doing things to scare you once in a while is good for the soul. A challenge that you can overcome, be it through mental toughness o physical strength or deep soul searching, can be a real confidence booster. And you might even find it fun and exhilarating. 

Reason #3: Make Friends With the Most Interesting Women

Why is it that some of the most interesting women travel on women’s only retreats? I don’t have the answer but I do find the real soul sistas I’ve met on retreats, whether they are other traveling guests or retreat hosts or coaches, are some of the most interesting and strong women I’ve never met. A retreat brings together women of many different backgrounds, experiences and cultures, and the playing field is level as everyone is starting on the same page. Doing adventurous things together and providing emotional support for one another is a sure-fire way to create lasting friendships which often span continents and cultures. I met two of my favourite ladies, Liz and Carly, now partners with Noorish Tofino Retreats, through a surf retreat.

Reason #4 Focus On Your Own Needs

Photo by  Mayur Gala

Photo by Mayur Gala

Breaking out of your routine means you are now available to focus in on your needs, FIRST. As women who may have busy careers, or managing households with children and pets, we often put those around us first and we only get to ourselves at the end of the day, when everything is done. By then, we are exhausted. Going on a womens retreat means not just taking an hour here or there for yourself, but actually investing in extended time to nourish your soul. You will come back feeling refreshed and calm; ready to take on the world. 

Reason #5: Revel in the power of Feminine Energy

Photo by  Seth Doyle

Photo by Seth Doyle

Being in a group of all women brings out a soft yet strong female energy. It’s as if being in our own pack, out exploring new places and doing new things together, creates a energetic force field that elevates us all. We believe in the positive energy that this exudes, giving each and every woman confidence and a sense of community.

Here at Noorish Tofino Retreats we provide intimate small-group retreats for a high level of service and customization. So whether it’s your first women's retreat or your 50th, we want to help you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. We believe in nourishing the mind, body and soul. Start your retreat planning today with our signature Noorish Your Connection Retreat in Tofino, BC, Canada or check out our Moroccan Moon Surf & Yoga Retreat. Don't see a retreat that fits in with your schedule? Contact us about private groups and retreats.