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Where Are They Now? Success Stories from the First She Hit Refresh Retreat

Where Are They Now? Success Stories from the First She Hit Refresh Retreat

In April 2019, we took 10 incredible women to Morocco for the first-ever She Hit Refresh retreat! It was a magical week of new friendships, happy tears, aha moments, and unforgettable memories.

What makes our retreat unique is that is a physical manifestation of the support, empowerment, and connection that we have cultivated in our online community. The retreat connects like-minded women for a powerful week packed with inspirational discussions and beneficial workshops focused upon tangible, real-world “refresh” strategies.

We aimed to help our attendees gain clarity and the momentum to take action on their refresh dreams. And that’s exactly what happened. Please read along as we check in with a few of our refreshers one year after the retreat to see where are they now and how their lives have changed as a direct result of the retreat. 

Carol Vandiepen, 45 years young

Why did you sign up for the retreat? 

I wanted to learn about how to hit Refresh in my life and was interested in meeting like-minded women and do the workshops. I initially was not going to go because I let fear of the unknown and not liking the way I looked because of being overweight. I always had the mindset of “When I lose weight I will…..” or “When I have enough money I will….”  Life is not perfect and you cannot wait for perfection to follow your dreams. It was several women on the She Hit Refresh Facebook group that convinced me to go and I cannot thank them enough!!

What was your situation like before the retreat?
I worked in a typical corporate job living a mundane life of getting out of bed, dealing with a commute, sitting in an office all day long, coming home, watching TV and going to bed to start the day all over again. I hadn’t traveled anywhere in 6 years prior to the retreat. Life felt boring and I was overwhelmed by how to change it around. 

 
What is life like now, post-retreat? What are the tangible results from the last year you’d like to share? 

 One year later and my life has improved drastically. I also learned the kind of life I want to have. I was able to find a partial remote job that I can work from anywhere that has wifi. I am based in one location and that is ok with me. I learned that I want the freedom to travel when and how long I want, but I really like having a home based and a community to come back to.

I save two hours a day from not having to commute and I have a new freedom to be able to focus on new goals and dreams for the future. I lost 40 lbs and feel great. I was able to travel to Morocco, England and Spain which is amazing considering I hadn’t traveled in 6 years prior to the retreat. I also came away with wonderful new friendships!!

 
What breakthrough did you have as a result of the retreat?

At the beginning of the retreat, I didn’t think it was possible to find a remote job and I had done one type of job for so long that I feared losing stability. I realized that I do have options and there are other possibilities. The workshops and other women helped me see things in a different way. I finally believed that I could be like all these other people I read about on the Facebook group who were able to hit refresh! 

What was your favorite moment from the retreat?
It is so hard to pick just one favorite moment, but I guess it would have to be our hike in Imlil. I remember walking through the countryside and thinking, “Wow, I am in this exotic country I never would have thought of going on my own with these amazing women.” The air was invigorating and I remember feeling a lightness. I didn’t feel trapped by society pressures to live a “normal” life and I finally believed I could have this amazing exciting life. I wanted more moments like the one I was experiencing during that hike. 

What would you tell someone considering our retreat? 
JUST DO IT!! GO!! Don’t let fears or self doubt stop you from going. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
This retreat and the women on it helped change the direction of my life. I will be forever grateful to Cepee and the She Hit Refresh community for showing my that my dreams can become a reality!

Barbara Smith, 57 years young

Why did you sign up for the retreat?

I was an early member of SHR, so knew the group and its vibe which I found positive and inspiring. I’d always wanted to go to Morocco, but would never have gone alone, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to visit a place I’d always wanted to see with a group of like-minded women.

What was your situation like before the retreat?

Although I’d already “technically” hit refresh by moving abroad in 2016,  I needed clarity about my life direction. I wasn’t happy, and felt like I was drifting. 

Years earlier, I’d fled a toxic alcoholic marriage, survived breast cancer, found a job teaching English in Thailand, and bought a one-way plane ticket. I’d spent 3+ years rebuilding my physical and mental health, but knew I was ready to set some goals and find happiness again. I just didn’t seem to be able to do it on my own.

I’d also spent several months right before the Moroccan retreat, traveling with a friend who wasn’t good for me. Her constant criticism and negativity had really brought me down, so when I arrived  and met the refreshers, it  was like being enveloped in an environment of warmth and understanding.

What is life like now, post-retreat? What are the tangible results from the last year you’d like to share? 

The Passion test was incredibly impactful and clarifying for me.  I listed my top 10 passions, then ranked the top 5 most important ones.

I’m much happier now.  I came home from Morocco and finally had the motivation to file for divorce.

What breakthrough did you have as a result of the retreat?
I’ve accomplished the top 5 already! 

  1. Financial freedom
  2. Fit, strong, and healthy
  3. Connected to great friends locally and internationally
  4. Seeing my daughter 2-4 times/yr
  5. Emotionally free from the past and looking forward  

My divorce is almost done, and I feel like the retreat definitely got me ready to move on.

What was your favorite moment from the retreat?
Getting to know these women on a deep level during the retreat.  Everyone was emotionally open and willing to share their struggles and feelings.  We each had something special to offer one another.

What would you tell someone considering our retreat?

This retreat changed my life, and the lives of everyone who went on it.  Some people had small changes, but many had dramatic changes.  Lifelong friendships were forged.  We saw beautiful cities, mountains, and beaches. 

We visited amazing markets, and drank in the Moroccan culture with the help of our wonderful guide. Most importantly for me, I was able to get clarity on what was important, set goals and make a plan, and understand my life in a new way.  I had been feeling adrift and unhappy, and after the retreat I was clear on what I needed to do, so I went home and did it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

You’ll meet amazing women, share on a deep level, develop powerful bonds, understand others, and feel understood. Morocco is beautiful.  

If you need clarity and want to make a plan to live a life of travel, remote work, adventure, and self-discovery, I highly recommend this retreat.  

Join our next retreat!

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Barbara Escudero, 40 years young

Why did you sign up for the retreat?

I signed up for the retreat because I loved the idea of getting together with other women who had the same hopes/desires for their life as I did – to hit refresh and live the life of their dreams through travel. 

I didn’t have anyone else in my circle of friends or community that I shared this in common with and the idea of getting to connect with other like-minded women, learning and growing together as well as supporting one another on this journey sounded amazing to me.  AND, the bonus was I doing this while also having the opportunity to travel to a magical country I had never been to. 

What was your situation like before the retreat?

Before the retreat, I was living in Austin – I had been living there for three years (having moved there post-divorce from NYC).  It was my way of starting fresh in a new city but also dipping my toes in the travel and work thing by doing it state-side.  I wasn’t happy while in Austin but in retrospect, it was exactly what I needed at the time – a “soaking space” and place away from everything familiar to just be and breathe.  I knew deep inside that Austin wasn’t permanent and during my last year there, I felt a strong pull/call for something more.  I didn’t know what that pull was calling me towards, but I knew it wasn’t where I was – literally and figuratively.  Enter the SHR retreat… the first step towards following that pull.

What is life like now, post-retreat? What are the tangible results from the last year you’d like to share? 

WOW.  There is so much to say here that I don’t even know where to begin.  It’s amazing and a bit unbelievable how much has changed.  After the retreat, I decided to give up my apartment in Austin, sell all my things and spend celebrating my 40th birthday year (I turned 40 in June) by traveling and slowly creating/living a life that I love.  My first stop was Budapest for a couple of weeks and then I headed to Javea, Spain (where I stayed through October with a short trip to Austria in-between and a quick stint in Madrid). 

In Javea, I tried my first co-living/co-working experience and absolutely loved it. I experienced the most joy, fun, connection, awe and overall love for life that I have in my entire life! In August, while in still in Javea, I decided to take another leap of faith – I listened to my heart and finally signed up to pursue my life coaching certification.  In November, I decided to get certified as a Passion Test facilitator and completed that training last month!  I am now building my coaching practice to support women (especially women of color) (re)connect with the Truth of who they really are – their beauty, their brilliance, their power and to pursue the life of their dreams.

I’m currently working with clients 1:1 and soon will start leading workshops and retreats virtually and globally! In terms of my location, I am currently back in the States due to some health challenges that I had to address but, I know this is just a “pause” in my travels that is forcing me to make sure my body is in the best conditions possible so that I can truly and fully enjoy this beautiful life I am creating.

What breakthrough did you have as a result of the retreat?
I would say I had two breakthroughs as a result of the retreat.  The first one is around the Passion Test. Discovering what my passions were and going through that process was incredibly powerful and game-changing for me.  It gave me clarity on the things that matter most to me and gifted me a compass with which to ground and direct my decisions and life on.  In fact, it was so powerful that I decided to become a certified passion test facilitator so that I can guide and support women though the same process towards defining their own passions and creating their own compass! 

The second breakthrough I had as a result of the retreat was learning just how much I deeply value authentic relationships and community.  I didn’t realize how alone I was in Austin until I got to Morocco and experienced what it was like to connect with other like-minded women in the way I did – it was beautiful and powerful.  It nourished and filled my spirit in such profound ways.  I am so grateful for the connections I made on this retreat, the memories we created together and the friendships that blossomed as a result.  These women are my soul-sisters for life!

What was your favorite moment from the retreat?

Ah! SO many that it’s hard to choose! My favorite moment has to be climbing (err… crawling lol) up the side of the Atlas mountains while in Imlil. I wanted to experience this with the group even though I am deathly afraid of heights!  I cried, I laughed, I cursed, I crawled, I stalled, and at one point, right when I was approaching the end of the hike, I honestly didn’t think I could go any further.  I remember shrinking into a ball, sobbing and literally feeling like I could not continue.  But, I heard my sisters at the top of the mountain cheering me on, I had one of my sisters, Tanya by my side (she did the entire hike next to me) and had another sister, Allison, standing in front of me helping to guide me to top. 

With their support and encouragement, I made it to top and was received with so much love and even tears of joy.  It was the most amazing feeling and was the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically and mentally.  I honestly still can’t believe I did it.  Looking back now, that climb serves as such a powerful metaphor and reminder for me as I pursue/create the life of my dreams – I am strong, I am courageous, and I CAN reach new heights.  Keeping going! Step by step – feel the fear and do it anyway.

What would you tell someone considering our retreat?

GO! Don’t think too much about it or let any fears get in your way.  You will meet amazing women that get you, that believe in you and that will support you as you carve your own path and pursue your goals and dreams AND you will do the same for them.  If you’re looking for inspiration, for growth, for connection (with yourself and others) and for community – this retreat is for you! Do it- you won’t regret it. <3

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you Cepee and Annette for dreaming up this group and for making it a reality. Connecting with you both, being a part of this group, and attending this retreat has all played a pivotal role in my journey and I am incredibly grateful for you!  

If any of you have questions about my experience on the retreat or are seeking support in your own refresh – don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Christina Lord, 40 years young

Why did you sign up for the retreat?
As soon as I saw SHR were doing a retreat I was in! I loved being in the FB group & wanted to meet like-minded women in-person & combine my love of travel with my love for connection with kindred spirits! I loved the sound of exploring 3 locations in Morocco whilst growing my mind with the planned workshops throughout the week.
 
What was your situation like before the retreat?
I had just set up my own coaching business, after moving back to my home town in the UK, to support my Dad following his Cancer diagnosis.
 
What is life like now, post-retreat? What are the tangible results from the last year you’d like to share? 
A year on & my business and confidence has grown. Many seeds of possibility were planted in Morocco, which have spouted into bigger ideas & inspiration to grow my business. I still keep in touch with my fellow retreaters & have gone on to Coach some of them, helping them further their refresh plans or giving them general support to increase their personal confidence through 1:1 coaching sessions. I was thrilled to be asked to run a workshop in SHR Retreat in Morocco this year! As my refresh keeps evolving my plans in include combining my love for travel & helping women through 1:1 coaching & workshops!
 
What breakthrough did you have as a result of the retreat?
The realisation that I had what I needed to create the life I wanted! I just needed to remind myself of that & keep moving in that direction.
 
What was your favorite moment from the retreat?
Ooooh!? This is tricky, as there were so many!! From wandering around the streets of Marrakech together to our hike in the beautiful Atlas Mountains in Imlil, I particularly loved the mastermind session where we split into small groups & helped come up with ideas for each person as to how they could create the life they desired. The different perspectives were very powerful & really planted powerful seeds of possibility in my mind & I know it did for many of others.
 
What would you tell someone considering our retreat?
Just go! You will not regret it! Not only will you connect with like minded women, it will feed your heart & soul in ways you never knew it could! And you will meet friends for life!
 
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just to say THANK YOU Cepee for creating this EPIC container for this fierce tribe of marvelous women… & now adding retreats into the mix adds a very special opportunity to connect more deeply & help give & receive support in a very powerful way!

Join our next retreat!

Want to be the first to know about our upcoming retreats?

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