A yoga retreat feet from the ocean, plant-based food for every meal, and discussions on environmental activism with like-minded individuals. You could say it was my recipe for paradise. I had the opportunity to attend Kate Nelson’s Plastic Free Mermaid Retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii with 6 other women. So what do we did for the week we were there?
This is my first trip to Hawaii and getting off the plane hearing the traditional Hawaiian music I couldn’t stop smiling. Kate picks us all up and our first stop is a thrift store where we find reusable containers for our to-go lunches. We purchase as many as we could find before heading to the natural food store to pick up snacks. I have never seen avocados and papayas so big!
Driving about an hour south of Kona airport we spend the car ride getting to know everyone. Some women traveling from as far as Australia to be apart of this retreat. We finally make our last turn down a winding dirt road. It feels like we are heading straight for a ditch but is actually a beautiful and secluded paradise! A private bay, locals splayed out on the beach and just a few meters away is our home for the week, Hale Kai Ocean Front Retreat.
Photo Credit – @AlisonsAdventures
Owners David and Deborah Teal run the retreat. It is a place to recharge and connect with your body and with your surroundings. The entire retreat is earth friendly. It is completely off-grid, no electricity, and the solar batteries are non-toxic and last almost forever. 85% organic and non-toxic chemicals are used to tend to the gardens, fertilizer, and home improvements. The toilet paper is single-ply and uses very little toilet paper. The showers are tankless heaters and only ignite when water is on. The water heats only on demand, unlike traditional water heaters that store it and cool it down, so it was definitely a nice wakeup call under the cold stream!
I love learning about this because it shows me my environmentally friendly options when building a home. (Future Home-Owner Aimee is very excited!) Every night we fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and one of our girls would play the Ukulele, I have never slept better.
We begin every morning with a yoga and meditation practice to open up our bodies and connect to the day. Kate was a wonderful instructor and I feel myself getting more flexible and stronger each day. Focusing on our breathing and setting intentions for the week, this is how every day should start. Some of the other girls even brought their own crystals and oracle cards to help provide guidance after our sessions.
The meals are made fresh and we nourish our bodies with all vegan dishes. I will be honest, at first, I worry I will not be getting enough protein and fat from the food but I have never eaten better. My body is so happy with the ingredients; I will definitely be going more plant-based. Can we just all drool over these dishes below!
We swim in the ocean like mermaids with fish and reefs surrounding us and some of us were lucky enough to locate some dolphins!
During the retreat Kate wants us to think about a local issue that we can help raise awareness for the community. In Hawaii, there are no commercial composting facilities on the Big Island. We visit a smaller local one to see how they manage the waste. We learn more about bioplastics, some of these terms and why they are so confusing. (Stay tuned for more clarification on this later).
We visit recycling centers and have environmental discussions around plastic-free living. There are a lot of ways to move back to natural products. One day we make our own deodorant, toothpaste, face scrub and more. I was blown away by how easy it is. All the ingredients are found in any natural food store and we store it in containers that we have lying around.
Here is a little video to recap the whole magical week. P.S wait until the end!!!!
Looking for more plastic-free tips? Here is a great place to start.
Happy Earth Day and Every Day