In today’s episode, I have my good friend Faten Zardi on the show to talk about how she sets up her retreats. She’s hosted her first retreat and already planning her second!

Faten is an event planning consultant and founder of MERAKI Travels, specialized in “workations” and retreats for digital nomads and location independent professionals. She has the skill to create real connexions and bringing people together through her events. She doesn’t like touristy destinations and that’s what’s make her events special. She’s a passionate traveller, loves street art, eats dessert before the main course and enjoys life to the fullest!
Faten has already put on one retreat and is in the process of putting together another. I thought it would be GREAT to bring her on to talk about this because this is something I would love to do myself as well!
I know retreats are a big thing in the digital nomad space so if you’re thinking of putting one on yourself, or even if you’re just attending one, you’ll get a good idea of the things you’ll need to consider.
Two of the big ones being:
  1.  Retreats need a theme
  2.  Plan AT LEAST 6 months ahead of time!

Here are some of the pictures Faten took whilst on the set of Star Wars (which we mention on the show):

Star Wars Set

Star Wars Set

Star Wars Set

I hope you enjoy this episode Dudes and Dudettes!
*fist bump*

IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:

  • Present myself
  • How I plan my retreats: different stages of putting together a retreat
  • Unexpected things that happened during my last retreat
  • What I’m going to do differently from now on
  • Different activities I have during my retreats
  • Sharing a fuck up.

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Wanna connect with Faten?

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Transcription:

Read Full Transcript

LT: So, Faten, thank you so much for coming onto the show and co-hosting this episode with me. I’m really excited to talk about the topic that we are going to talk about.

FZ: Thank you. Thank you, Luke, for having me.

LT: So I did introduce you to all the dudes and dudettes in the intro, but would you like to just introduce yourself to everybody, let them know who you are and what it is that you do online?

FZ: Okay, so I’m Faten. I’m thirty-something. I’m an event-planning consultant. Born and raised in Tunisia. I have travelled quite a lot as I was a child – when I was a child – as we followed my father’s professional requirements. So we travelled – in Tunisia and after Tunisia, which was not a bad thing after all because now I know a lot of countries and I know my country better than everyone and I love every bit of it. So I’ve always been told that I have this ability to bring people together, and so, I think that being in an event planner was a good gig for me. So I started this – working in this field – like for a decade now. And I discovered the digital events and I started planning events for them, so yeah, it was a coincidence actually. I have attended a digital event and I liked the vibe. The people. The lifestyle. And I have made a lot of research about them and I travelled and tried to live with them and understand them. And after a while, as I told you, I started planning retreats and vacations for a digital event.

LT: Yeah I see you talking in your Facebook group and you know, you’ve got something really good going on and I know you’ve just put on your first retreat or you’re about to put on your first digital nomad retreat. Is that right?

FZ: Yes, I have already put together a retreat in December in Bansko, Bulgaria. So, we went in collaboration with the community digital nomads. So we went to Bansko, we spent a week there. It was a lot of fun, it was – we had a blast because we discovered Bansko. I had never thought that Bansko was this beautiful, so yeah. And there is a community of digital nomads that are coming to Bansko more and more. I think it will be the next hub of digital nomads. Yeah, that was my first one. My second one is going to be in Greece.

LT: Nice.

FZ: Yeah. In collaboration with (inaudible). So it’s going to be about plant-based diets. Then there will be another one about Star Wars. This one is going to be in Tunisia because Star Wars was filmed in Tunisia in the Sahara so we’re going there to discover the set and discovered the Sahara and have a digital nomad detox. Offline, off the internet, off WiFi, off the work. Just to breathe in, breathe out and discover things that are not really known about by digital nomads, I think that not a lot of people have been to Tunisia.

LT: Yeah and I’ve seen some of the pictures that you shared in not only your Facebook group but also in the dude’s brood as well of you on the set of the Star Wars – and some of those pictures look pretty cool. So I’ll be sure to chuck those in the show notes.

FZ: Good. I hope that you could come to the retreat.

LT: I would love to. Once we – we’ll have to talk afterwards and figure out dates because I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan but I like the movies, so it would definitely be something that I would like to check out, for sure.

FZ: Yeah it would be an experience.

LT: For sure, definitely. So for today’s topic I would love to talk about how you went an organised not only the retreats you’ve organised already but how you’re planning and organising the retreats you’re planning in the future as well. Because retreats are something I would love to put on for my community as well so I would love to – not only learn about this myself – but I‘m sure there are other people listening who would love to know how to put on live events – and especially events that are in other countries as well. So I know you’ve, like, got – you sent me a list of things you wanted to talk about so I think we should just jump straight in and, you know, just start going through them and if I have any questions or questions that I think other people would have then I will throw them your way and let’s just see what happens.

FZ: Okay. So want to plan a retreat? You just pick a place, put together a Facebook event and that’s it – you have an event.

LT: That’s simple.

FZ: That’s simple. It’s not that complicated – everybody can do it. Seriously, to put together a retreat you have – the first thing that you have to do is you have to choose a theme. You need to know what your retreat is all about. In order to know who are the people who are targeted, who ae the people who will be coming to this retreat, for example as I told you – for my next retreat is going to be about the plant-based diet. It’s going to be yoga, of course, meditation et cetera, so I think a lot of people would like to come to that because it’s something that they are interested in.

So yeah, really to have – you need to have a theme. You need to know what your retreat is about. That’s the first thing. So the second thing, as I told you, is when you know what you’re going to do, you will attract the people that will be interest in your retreat so who’s your niche? It’s going to be either digital nomads, photographers, I don’t know. Anybody who will be interested in your topic. Afterwards, you have to choose a date. The date or I would recommend not choose a date in the holiday season because the flight prices will be, like - - -

LT: Ridiculous.

FZ: Exactly. I paid ridiculous amount for my retreat. For my flight in Bansko, so yeah, that’s something I will come back to later, but yeah, just avoid the holiday season. Also, avoid the high season in the place you’re going to because the prices will be ridiculous too. Try to go in a place where for example, in Greece we are going to do it in May because, starting June, it’s going to be crazy. Crazy crowded with tourists and the prices would be much higher even than the prices that we have now.

LT: So one question about that, really, quickly is – so you’re saying the next event that you’re putting on is going to be in May. How far in advance do you recommend people should, like, plan these things ahead of time? Like, do you give yourself, like, six months to plan all of this, eight months, nine months?

FZ: Six months. For me it’s six months. I’m working on this retreat since November, so yeah, six months is a good amount of time to start working on it and then we’re going about it the end of January.

LT: Perfect.

FZ: Six months is a good time, a good amount of time. Do you have any other questions?

LT: No, that was it for then. You were talking about, saying it was in May so I was like, “That’s interesting, how far in advance do you, like, normally, like plan something like that?” So six months is a good length of time.

FZ: Yes, I think six months is a good amount of time. So after choosing the date you have to pick a place. I’m personally interested in non-touristy places. I hate when it’s too crowded – it doesn’t give the opportunity to the group to bond, to do things together, I think, when it’s too crowded and there is too many people there. And then when you go to places that are not really touristy it’s cheaper, which makes it more affordable to my niche because I am targeting the – let’s say – people that can afford a certain amount – I don’t (inaudible) it’s not the point, my point is to bring people together and to make connections between them, so yeah. Just try to go in non-touristy places or just choose a place other than in the high season.

LT: Perfect.

FZ: Then, yeah, and also I want to go to non-touristy places in order to – I want to contribute to the economic development of the place we are going to. If you can help people there then why not? So yes, that’s one of the things that I always do in my retreats. And then after picking the place, I put together a rough program because I want the participant to participate and say what they would like to do in the retreat. So I put together something really like the basis of the retreat and then the details I want always to do it with the participants that attend. And then, yeah, afterwards, go live and try to attract as much people as possible. That’s – this is roughly how I plan my retreats.

LT: So how – for the very first time you did last year – how did you sort of, like, promote the event to get people to sign up and go along?

FZ: Yeah. So the first retreat was special because as I told you it was a retreat for a female community of digital nomads, so we targeted the groups – the Facebook groups or the LinkedIn groups of digital nomads, so it was really, really special. But for other retreats it’s, yeah, Facebook, website of the place we’re going to, my own Facebook group, LinkedIn is a really good place to attract people. I use a lot of LinkedIn, twitter, Instagram – all of the social media I can also. I use that.

LT: Awesome. Attract people using LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are probably the main three you use?

FZ: Twitter. Twitter too is a good place to go to too.

LT: Awesome.

FZ: Yeah.

LT: So next I’d really love to talk about some of the things that happened in that last retreat that you did that was, like, especially being the first one that you ran? What sort of things came up that you didn’t really expect when you were planning that retreat?

FZ: Okay so I have one good thing and one bad thing. So I’m going to start with the bad thing – is that one of the participants didn’t show up because she missed her flight. That pissed me off a lot. But I couldn’t do anything about it. So yeah, you will have a lot of unexpected incidents like this. You have to be prepared for it and just let go because you can’t change things sometimes. And the good thing is that we interacted well – very well with the community of digital nomads in Bansko. It really was great, I didn’t expect to find as much digital nomads there, so that was really, really great. And then something that surprised me a lot was how cheap Bulgaria is. I mean, the prices are ridiculous. Seriously. Like you can go to a restaurant, you can order a three-course dinner with a bottle of wine and it’s like seven euro.

LT: Wow.

FZ: Yeah. It was crazy, yeah. So yeah, that’s the three main things that I didn’t expect in my retreat.

LT: Awesome. And so, going forward now – now that you’ve sort of done that first retreat and you’ve seen some things that have worked really well and you’ve seen some of the mistakes that have happened or some of the bad things that have happened. What do you plan on doing differently with the two events that you’re planning right now?

FZ: The first thing is not do it on holiday season.

LT: That’s a good one.

FZ: Oh yeah. The flight prices are just, like, no – I paid the high price for that. The flights were really, really, really expensive. So no high season the next time. Have more like (inaudible) like people interested in the same thing, having the same expectations from the retreat. It was awesome. I mean, we really interacted really well together. There was no cat fights, although we were all girls, but we weren’t all digital nomads so you can sense that a lot of people didn’t have the same expectations as others. So yeah, maybe having a more (inaudible) group.

I would interact more with the locals maybe, I don’t know, maybe doing something volunteering or something with the locals because in the last retreat in Bulgaria – maybe it was also the language. A lot of Bulgarian in Bansko didn’t speak English so we couldn’t interact with the locals. Yeah, I would prefer next time to choose a place where people talk English. And then I really would like to do a cooking lesson next time. I think that cooking brings people together and it’s always fun and discovering the culinary side of the country is always interesting and always fun.

LT: That’s a very good point actually, like, both things that you mentioned there because I did my very first cooking lesson I did here in Toronto and they put on this weird, sort of, Canadian dish where basically everything had maple something in it. Like maple syrup, or had something to do with maple. I think that was the only way they could call it Canadian, but that was an awesome experience. I think it was like a four-hour lesson, but yeah, it was long. We made this five-course meal and we learnt how to make this cool maple-based drink and then, yeah, it was incredible and like you said it definitely brings people together.

And the other thing you said about interacting with locals – I sort of have a rule where if the more you can interact with locals, the better, because you get to see the real side of the country or the place that you’re in. All of my best travel stories – and all of the stories I hear from other people, or some of their favourite moments of being in a particular country – have always been because of something that happened either with a local or an experience they managed to have with a local. So I think if you can incorporate those two things in your retreat then people will definitely have memorable experiences.

FZ: Yeah and I think also because, in this retreat, like, we always eat in the chalet we went to, and I think for the next retreat it’s going to be just breakfast and eating together out. I think it will be nice. It will be nice. And it will be an occasion too, and an opportunity to meet more locals.

LT: Yeah, for sure. I think that’s definitely something that not only people putting a retreat to do but anybody travelling. Make sure you – or try your best to interact with locals as much as possible, because you really will see a different side of the country and it’s just a unique experience that a tour guide or a booking agent that you, like, book a rip with – they’re not going to be able to give you the same experience or – the same experience that you get just even having a conversation with someone from the area.

FZ: Exactly.

LT: It would definitely make the whole trip or the whole experience different for you.

FZ: Yeah, but as I told you it was a little bit difficult in Bansko because people didn’t talk. I mean, not all people were talking English, but it was fun. It was really fun. Actually there are a lot of English folks – British folks – in Bansko, so a lot of people bought houses in there and yeah. But they are old. They are not our niche.

LT: Not our niche, but they’re going to be somebody’s niche for sure.

FZ: Yeah that’s for sure, that’s for sure. Yeah, I think that would be more – it would be more fun for the participants and for me, too.

LT: Yeah. So next I’d like to – something that you wanted to talk about was the different activities that you have put on in your retreats. I know that before via email we were talking about some of them and one of them I really, really liked and I’m hoping that we can both share one in a minute. But yeah can you just talk about some of the activities that you’ve put on during retreats and ones that have gone down really well with people that have attended?

FZ: Okay, so, most of the time in my retreats – I organise workshops and (inaudible) sessions. So the workshops is the kind of sharing skills and knowledge. I think it’s sharing knowledge with the other participants is not only encouraging but it is exciting, rewarding and wonderful and powerful. It also allows the participant to promote their business, their skills, what they would love to do and – yeah – I think it’s a very good thing to do. And also, we do most of my sessions – if you have a business challenge you’re facing you can have the input of the other participants that are mostly like-minded people. They can give you’re their input; they can give you advice, because you’re different. Any one of us has his own experience and when you have a lot of people with different experiences you can have a lot of – the experience is more enlightened for you, so definitely that.

And also you can learn a new skill because – for example, in our last retreat we had someone who is like a god in Wordpress and he taught us how to choose themes for our Wordpress website, what are the plugins that we need to put in our websites and it was really enlightening. So yeah, that’s the first thing we do in my retreats – the second thing I do is really I don’t like retreats where all each other’s (inaudible) all day, so that’s why I do the group activity planning session. I want to respect each other’s schedule and if you want to have your own time to work on your own projects you can do that, and then we can have our group time. The group time and the own time, that’s for sure.

LT: Yeah.

FZ: Where else? We – oh yeah, we do the ‘fuck up’ night.

LT: So yeah, can you just – yeah, definitely explain what ‘fuck up night’ is because when you told me that I just thought it was brilliant.

FZ: Okay so the ‘fuck up night’ is – we celebrate our failures. Without our failures we wouldn’t be the person we are today, so we grab a couple of drinks and every one of us talks about something that he or she really fucked up – in her business or his business or in life. And then we talk about it and have a good laugh about it and we drink. That’s one of the major activities; the ‘fuck up night’, yes, it’s an activity and it really – it’s really fun but it’s also a way to know people’s personalities. If you see that how they react to failure tells you so much about their personalities. You can tell if someone is a quitter or if it’s someone who is persistent and perseverant through their stories. So yeah, the ‘fuck up night’ is definitely one that we do every time. And also it depends on the destination too; the last one we had a working session in a hot spring and it was awesome, really a buzz and brilliant. Because we did work with the community when we were in Bansko and it was a nice session, it was an ice breaker and yeah, everybody had so much fun. And then we had a fiesta of course.

LT: Of course.

FZ: We celebrate. Actually, I had a story about the fiesta thing – I’m going to tell you about it at the end. So yeah.

LT: Yeah, I think the ‘fuck up night’ is an awesome one because, as you said, people don’t celebrate failures; they see them as a bad thing whereas if you can see them in a positive light and learn from them – and, you know, like you said you wouldn’t be the person you are if you didn’t have that experience, and the fact that you can, like, bring people together so you can share and to like hear other people’s fuck ups – I think that’s an awesome idea and I think that really helps, sort of, like, bring the group together which is exactly what you want at a retreat like this.

FZ: Exactly. Yes, exactly. And as I told you it’s funny, it’s really fun, because you have a good laugh at it, and after doing that fuck up and talking about it – it’s a good story to tell, so yeah.

LT: Awesome. So are there any sort of last bits of advice you’d like to give people if they were planning their own retreat, whether or not that’s something that like a Star Wars type of event in the future – whether it’s around something fun like that – or whether it’s a like a business-themed one, like the last one that you did which was aimed at, like, the female digital nomads? Is there any sort of advice you’d give somebody who’s trying to plan their first event and is maybe feeling kind of overwhelmed by it all?

FZ: It’s normal to be overwhelmed. Seriously, you’re going to be overwhelmed because it’s a lot of work. At some point you will have that feeling of, “Why am I doing this? I’m going to quit.” But don’t do it, don’t do that – because if you love what you’re doing, just go for it. A bit of advice is do a lot of research about the destination that you go to because you will have a lot of questions from the attendees and you have to have all of those questions so you have to be very good and know very good the destination you are going to.

The second thing I would like to advise is really do it for a purpose – don’t do it just for the money, because if you’re doing it just for the money you’re not going to last long, because people will feel that, will feel that you’re just doing it for the money. And if you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it, just quit it, because really event planning is a long, long and hard process. So if you’re not passionate about it, just leave. Ditch it. Another thing is try to find a partner in the places you are going to; that will be really, really helpful for you. Those partners can, for example, help you with transportation or – let’s say help you with the logistics which is a very, very tough thing to manage, so yeah. Try to find partners in the places you’re going to. That’s the three advices I would like to give anybody who wants to start.

LT: I think the one about the money is probably the most important one because it is very hard to make a lot of money while – I’m not speaking from personal experience, but speaking to people that have put on live events – it’s hard to make money off live events like this. So especially for your first one, a good goal is just to break even. Especially if you’re doing it for your own community or trying to do it around a specific topic, if you can just break even, it was a success. And, you know, doing it – putting one of these events on because you’re passionate about the event or the theme that the event’s on, or just because you want to bring a group of people together and help them network and help the skill-sharing stuff you were talking about at the beginning – do it because you want to see the result that people are going to get or you want to give people a unique experience. Don’t do it for the money, because, especially for small retreats like the ones that you are more likely to do abroad – you’re not going to make a lot of money on them, only if you charge a ridiculous about of money and then you’re going to have trouble getting people there. So yeah, I think that’s the best, sort of, like, final piece of advice to leave people with, it’s a good one.

FZ: And you know what, Luke, I actually tried to change people (inaudible) experience was the retreat I attended two years ago - - -

LT: Sorry could you say that bit again because you cut out a little bit?

FZ: Okay. So if you want to put together a retreat, put it together for a purpose as I told you. The purpose would be change people’s lives, give them something they always wanted to have. For example, for me, I attended a retreat – a digital nomad retreat – two years ago and that retreat changed my life, because when I attended that retreat, I was still a nine to five job person and after attending that retreat I quit my job six months later. Six months later I had quit my job and I started doing what I am doing today.

LT: Awesome.

FZ: So yeah, that retreat changed my life and that’s what I’m aiming to do is trying to change people’s lives and give them the best experience they can have.

LT: Fantastic. I absolutely love it. And I think it’s a great way to end this episode. And yeah, I think, retreats is definitely something I want to do in the future, help bring all the dudes and dudettes closer together and help give them, like, these unique experiences. I think I’ve had some cool experience in the past with, like, scuba diving and, like, mountain climbing and feeding sharks and all this cool stuff. I’d love to give people, like, unique experiences that they’re going to remember for a long time. So all the information that you’ve given on this episode today, I think people will be able to go away and at least have a good idea of where to start when it comes to, like, putting on retreats and, you know, not making, like, the same mistakes that you made and just starting off on the right foot. So thank you so much for sharing all of that.

FZ: You’re welcome, but they need to do their own mistakes.

LT: Of course.

FZ: They need to.

LT: Of course, everybody’s going to make mistakes. It’s just important to learn from them and have your own ‘fuck up night’ and share them with everyone else.

FZ: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that’s the funny part of it. You need to fuck up something in order to learn from it.

LT: Exactly. So before we end this episode, we do have one last thing that we need to do and that is the rapid fire questions.

FZ: Okay.

LT: Are you ready for this?

FZ: Yes. Go.

LT: So question number one: what is your favourite country that you’ve been to so far?

FZ: Spain.

LT: Number two: what is the last YouTube video or movie that you’ve watched?

FZ: Beyoncé. Oh my god, it was Yoncé from Beyoncé.

LT: Awesome. Number three: what is the weirdest thing that you’ve eaten?

FZ: It was lamb belly, yeah. Lamb belly.

LT: Okay, yeah. Number four: what is your favourite drinking game?

FZ: Oh there are a lot of them. I just love drinking. No games.

LT: Just drinking, you don’t need a game to play.

FZ: Yeah, yeah, just drinking.

LT: Number five: if you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?

FZ: Seriously?

LT: First person that comes to your head.

FZ: Obama.

LT: Sorry?

FZ: Obama.

LT: Obama?

FZ: Yeah.

LT: Perfect. Number six: name one book you would recommend everybody should read.

FZ: Oh, Work Rules from Lazlo Bock.

LT: Number seven: what is your go-to song when you need to get into the mood to get shit done? Your pump-me-up song?

FZ: Oh. One song? I have a playlist. I don’t have one song. I’m going to say, yeah, Coldplay – I love Coldplay.

LT: Coldplay? Ugh.

FZ: Really? You don’t like them?

LT: I’m not a fan.

FZ: Oh, Luke, come on, dude. Come on, you know, I’ve been to a Coldplay concert in Zurich in June and I made voices I didn’t know I could make when they – seriously, it was one of the best moments of my life.

LT: It’s okay, I’m, like, in Toronto right now and I’m a big fan of Nickelback so I get a lot of shit from everybody in this country, so.

FZ: Come on, Nickelback? Ugh.

LT: Question number eight: what is your favourite swearword that you’ve learnt in another language?

FZ: “A rupta noaptea.” It’s in Romanian and it’s like really – “a rupta noaptea” – like you’re really ugly – ugliest in the night or something like that. Yeah. There’s also “inchuda ploaie” and that’s a really bad word, I don’t even know what that means, but I know it’s a really bad word – it’s really bad.

LT: And that’s Romanian as well?

FZ: Exactly. Yeah I have a lot of Romanian friends who teach me a lot of good things; thanks to them I know a lot of bad words in Romanian.

LT: Question number nine: what is your favourite podcast apart from this one?

FZ: Really seriously I don’t hear a lot of podcasts so, yeah, I’m going to say this one.

LT: Okay I’ll – you can be the exception and say this is your favourite one.

FZ: Yes, this is my favourite one.

LT: Okay. Final question: can you give me your best travel story that you have in under five minutes.

FZ: It’s not my best, I would say it was in – It was in 2004 I think. We went to Egypt and we went to those motor taxi – and the guy was, like, driving very, very slowly, and we were wondering why he was driving very slowly and he said, “Don’t worry, it’s just I don’t have brakes.” So yeah, he didn’t have brakes and we didn’t have the right to worry about it, but it was nice, he was a really cool guy.

LT: Driving around in a taxi in Egypt without brakes.

FZ: Without brakes, exactly, you can’t imagine that.

LT: That would be scary if that was for me. How long were you driving around in that taxi for?

FZ: 20 minutes, I think, yeah.

LT: 20 minutes without brakes.

FZ: Yeah, without brakes. Come on, I’m from Tunisia so it’s not something that sounds really scary for me.

LT: Fair enough.

FZ: Yeah, it’s very casual thing. But yeah, I can share with you a very bad fuck up I did. So this one I will never ever, ever forget in my life, so – I’m very engaged in my community so I work a lot with charities, and there is a charity that wanted me to organise an event for them. So the event was a celebration for women from the slums because it was the International Day for Women. So the idea was to bring some women from the slums and get them to in the salon and pamper them and sort of makeover and then get them to a very nice boat, go sailing, have lunch on the boat and then go bac and have a tour in the city – go see museums et cetera and that was the day. So we did that, we brought like 28 persons and we got them to salon, makeover. They were all so pretty, and then we brought them to this very nice boat, and it was all fun and games until the first wave hit the boat.

And all those pretty women turned out to be throwing up machines – I mean, everybody was throwing up. I swear to god it was horrible, it was a nightmare. And the guys on the boat were, like, running with buckets and, “What’s going on, everybody is throwing up.” And they called the owner of the boat because we rented it. And he called me he was telling me, “What’s going on, the guys told me that people are throwing up in my boat,” and I said, “Nah, just a couple of girls got seasick,” and you can hear the background people going “blergh”. It was horrible, and I remember, one of the girls of the charity came to me, and she was crying, and she thought they were going to die and we were going to jail. And, you know, that very moment I wanted to jump off the boat and to die. Really, it was a nightmare, so we went back to the harbour and we got them off and, yeah, that was my major fuck up.

LT: I used to work on a boat in Australia when I was a scuba diving instructor and I remember one day we went out – and very similar situation with, like, people, like, throwing up everywhere. We – the captain and that – were talking about potentially turning around because it was a pretty rough day. And I think we had – I think it was like 154 people on the boat – and I kid you not, about 120 of them were throwing up. It was terrible. And you see all the boat staff had rubber gloves on and had, like, like, travel sickness bags coming out of their pockets with, like, clear and bin liners and garbage bags to throw all the full sick bags into.

And we were trying to get everyone outside to get some fresh air, and yeah, this boat trip was like an hour, so we – Actually it was a two-hour boat trip but the rough patch always happens for, like, this hour because it’s in open water. And yeah, this day in particular was terrible, and the annoying thing was that, like, there was like two toilets on the boat, but you couldn’t throw up in the toilets because – I don’t know – I think because they’re like chemical toilets. So we had to, like, stop people going into the bathroom and telling them they had to throw up in this bag instead. And then there was all like, inside as well, and you could feel the heat and smell and, yeah, it was terrible.

FZ: Yeah, yeah, that’s the nightmare. The smell of it, it’s too strong.

LT: Yeah.

FZ: Oh, that – yeah, now I know never, never, ever organise something on a boat.

LT: Never do anything on a boat again.

FZ: Never. That’s the good thing. You always learn from your mistakes.

LT: Perfect. So, again, Faten, thank you so much for coming onto the show today and talking about your experience with putting on retreats. I’ve definitely learned a lot and hopefully the people listening in have learnt a lot as well. And if people wanted to reach out to you online, whereabouts can they find you?

FZ: I have a Facebook page, which is called Meraki Travels: Workations, retreats and meet ups. I am still putting together my website so I will be posting in your group as it is ready, and also they can reach to me on Instagram, it’s Meraki_travels. Yeah.

LT: Perfect, and I will make sure both of those go into the show notes for today’s episode, so if you want to reach out to Faten and join her Facebook group or follow her on Instagram. And hopefully by the time this episode goes live, your website is around so we can link to that as well. But until then, Faten, it was an absolute pleasure talking to you today. It’s nice to finally actually hear your voice – we’ve been talking for a while now over Facebook.

FZ: Yeah. Thank you for having me.

LT: You are more than welcome, you are welcome on at any time.

FZ: Thank you. Thank you, Luke, and thank you for (inaudible) your group. I think what you’re putting in your group is very interesting and this podcast is going to kill it.

LT: Thank you. Thank you so much. So until next time, Faten. I will speak to you again soon.

FZ: Thank you. Bye.

- END OF TRANSCRIPT -

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