Sisterhood in Spain: LMDES Getaway
All photos by Tanya Weekes
Supportive, close female friendships are some of the most valuable relationships I am lucky enough to have in my life. Still, I didn't expect to show up in Spain with a group of women I'd never met and immediately feel like I'd known them for years. This is exactly what happened on the first ever LMDES Getaway retreat in Jávea, Spain this December.
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Las Morenas de España (LMDES) is a "digital platform and community that provides resources and experiences for expats and travelers worldwide." It's purpose is to inspire and empower others to move abroad and is managed by two American women living in Spain. I came across LMDES through its blog and then discovered all the other resources it offers: online courses, travel resources, and now, LMDES Getaways.
After seeing photos on the website of a beautiful villa in Jávea, a Mediterranean beach town, and reading a description of the food, workshops, and experiences included in the retreat, I immediately filled out the application form without a second thought. I figured I'd first see if I could get in and then figure out the money and details later, which I did (at the very last minute). I was put on the wait list at first, but eventually got a spot.
The experience was just as described on the website. There's no doubt the location was amazing, with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea from sandy and white rock beaches, cliffs, and rock formations. But aside from the beauty of Jávea, the group of women at the retreat couldn't have been better. There were talented and interesting women who traveled from the U.S., Namibia, the U.K., and other parts of Spain to share their experience with or learn about moving abroad and/or generally building a fulfilling, purposeful life.
The retreat included a number of fun and useful activities in addition to exploration of Jávea. The wine tasting workshop with Nicole Pearson of Nicole Angela Travel & Taste was the only wine tasting I've attended where I both learned how to describe wine through taste, smell, and sight, and cried from laughter. We also had morning meditation and healthy eating workshops and morning yoga with Sarah Somian of Deliciously Vibrant, inspiring me to prioritize healthy eating and self-care.
Sienna Brown, the founder of LMDES, led vision boarding and goal planning workshops, as well as a discussion and Q&A with women who moved to Spain and how they did it. In this discussion, I gained some great information that made me realize how possible it really is to move abroad, particularly to Spain.
We also had a Spanish cooking class led by Alicia and Rosario of Cocina Eneldo, where we learned hands-on how to make traditional Spanish dishes like croquetas, gazpacho, coca, tarta de Santiago, and more, and then sat down for a group dinner with sangria.
The LMDES retreat was exactly what I needed. The focus on self-care, Black girl bonding with like-minded women, and the ocean and mountains all around us made this a rejuvenating experience. I recommend LMDES Getaways to anyone who is interested in living abroad or traveling and wants to spend some time reflecting on what is possible in life. Even though the group only spent 5 days together, I know I will stay in contact with these women and that we'll continue to support each others' work and our efforts to achieve our best lives, whatever that may look like.
Links to the businesses mentioned above:
Deliciously Vibrant. Sarah Somian, a nutritionist and wellness coach, provides meal plans (including a 10-day sugar detox, which I purchased) and healthy tips for food and life.
Nicole Angela Travel & Taste. Based in Madrid, Nicole provides food and wine experiences in English, including tastings, tours, and classes.
Tanya Weekes Photography. Professional photographer and blogger based in Manchester, England.
Cocina Eneldo. Spanish cooking courses led by sisters Alicia and Rosario Villena Iniesta. (Only in Spanish)