Write Your Soul Story
Qoya and Writing Retreat
Everyone has a story.
Many women want to go on a writing retreat but don't think they are writers, yet they tell stories about their lives that make people cry, laugh and cheer.
You may be writing a book, you may be writing a blog, or you may be writing just for yourself. No matter who you're writing for, you have stories to tell.
Are there stories that feel stuck in your body?
Do you want to start a daily writing routine and feel inspired to stick to it?
Is Bali on your bucket list but you keep putting it off?
If you enjoy writing and it makes you feel good, this retreat will help you remember and believe: your voice matters.
You can alchemize the events of your life into a powerful story of grace and beauty — your soul story.
This retreat is a unique invitation to dance your stories before you write them, get out of your head and into your body, and tap into the sacred soil of your intuition.
By saying yes to this outer journey to Bali, you'll feel empowered to go on the inner journey and use your stories to heal.
Bali is known as the Island of a Thousand Temples, and this retreat is designed to explore the sacred temples within Bali as a way to remember the sacred temple and soulprint within your own body. Through movement and dance, you’ll excavate the stories that are ready to be revealed, with writing sessions to help you pour them from your body onto the page.
The daily writing circles include discussion and writing prompts. It’s said when two or more women get together and speak their truth, the sacred is present. The Soulshine writing circles are a way to bring the sacred into a written expression. We’ll look deeper into what is guiding our spirits, how to tell the stories that help us make sense of our lives, and find the places where our own stories connect to a bigger story.
Portions of our days are spent visiting temples and other cultural experiences, lounging by the pool, onsite massages (only $20 USD!), and a beach day. All meals are provided by Soulshine, most of it coming from their own garden. During the week, your body and spirit will be well nourished so your soul can remember the stories it’s ready to share. The retreat includes an optional session on publishing for anyone who is interested in sharing their stories in bigger ways in the world.
"Going on a Qoya retreat led by Betsy Blankenbaker is pure bliss. Last year, I attended her retreat at Soulshine in Bali and decided to move there for a year! I appreciated Betsy's knowledge of this special island and its people. Betsy held space and set the stage for much transformation in such an idyllic setting. She has many secret gems of people and places she will introduce you to."
TARA DIXON, Painter living in Bali in 2018
Qoya is based on the idea that through movement we remember our essence. There are no levels in Qoya and no way to do it wrong. There are no levels in Qoya so every woman can enjoy and benefit whether it's her first class or her fiftieth.
More than a movement practice, it's a shift in consciousness that evolves the way we've been taught to move our bodies as women. Classes combine benefits of fitness — including strength, flexibility, balance, and agility training — with a unique empowering approach that is feminine, expressive, and most importantly, fun.
The daily Qoya classes take place in the rooftop yoga studio at Soulshine Bali surrounded by stunning rice fields. Each class ends with a long restorative rest to connect you to the sacred land of Bali and to the sacred beneath your own skin.
"Taking Qoya with Betsy is better than a morning at the spa - she's gentle and loving as a facilitator, yet I walked away from each class with major shifts in my beliefs about what's possible for myself and the world."
EMILY B, playwright and screenwriter
Betsy Blankenbaker writes about sensuality, spirituality and the sacred body. Her first book, Autobiography of an Orgasm, goes beyond the physical to the spiritual and emotional experiences of being a woman. Betsy guides women to share their stories both through writing and spoken word events. She is the mother of four children and grandmother of two girls. Betsy leads Qoya and writing classes and retreats around the world. You can find out more about her writing and where she is teaching at www.betsyblankenbaker.com.
"Betsy is smart, funny, and uncommonly perceptive. She can find the story in anyone."
CORTNEY, Qoya France Writing Retreat 2016
"Writing my memoir with Betsy’s guidance has made me feel a part of a greater story of standing in truth upon this earth. Working with Betsy was one of those experiences where the veil lifts and you realize just how magical life can be—that is not to say writing my story of trauma was easy, but she lovingly guided me through the process. I am eternally grateful for Betsy and her loyalty to truth and healing."
MAGGIE MARIE GENTHNER, USA
"Muriel Rukeyser asks, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Betsy did the thing I haven’t read anyone else do before. She said all the things out loud. With her voice and the sharing of her story, she gives you permission to acknowledge and heal your own trauma, to grieve your own losses, to celebrate the sacred moments of divine perfection, to learn the wisdom that lives in the body and most importantly to embrace and honor the journey."
ROCHELLE SCHIECK, creator of Qoya
Day One – Arrival
2pm: Guest Check-in
4pm-6pm: Opening Circle
7pm: Balinese Welcome Feast
8-9am: Breakfast Buffet
9:30am-11:30pm: Qoya Class or Writing Circle
12pm-1pm: Buffet Lunch
1pm-4pm: Free Time for pool, massage, shopping, or private writing sessions
4pm-6pm: Qoya Class or Writing Circle
7-8pm: Soulshine Dinner
8pm-9:30pm: Share Your Story Circle, Despacho or Fire Ceremony
Day Eight - Departure
9:00am-10:00am: Closing Circle
Departure by 10am & blessings for your onward journey
Soulshine Bali is musician Michael Franti's boutique hotel and yoga retreat oasis located five minutes outside of the village of Ubud, Bali in Indonesia. It's a place of happiness where you can relax, adventure, eat great food, play in the sun, and get back to yourself. All of the people on their amazing team come from nearby villages, and will make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive.
"We created Soulshine to be a place to stretch out, find inspiration, and hit the reset button on life."
MICHEAL FRANTI, founder of Soulshine
You can opt for a Single room (having the room to yourself) or Shared room (staying with a roommate) during the retreat. If you opt for a Shared room, we will pair you with another women on the retreat. If you wish to stay with a friend who is also attending, please contact us after you register to let us know.
Each of Soulshine's rooms is crafted with care for a unique experience and provides A/C. Browse the options of Garden Bungalow, Terrace Villa, or Shared Lotus Rooms here, then make your selection on the checkout page.
You can also attend the retreat as a commuter if you live locally or have other accommodations.
ADD-ON: PRIVATE INTENSIVE WRITING SESSIONS
Book a private writing session with Betsy to discuss your writing and ideas on publishing. Sessions are 60 minutes long, and include a Writing/Publishing Resource Packet. To book, simply add on at checkout.
Investment: $111 for a 60 minute session.
"Betsy’s intuitive writing prompts have been a deep inspiration. They have uncovered the story within and taken me down writing pathways I could’ve never imagined."
MELANIE ERICKSEN, www.soulplay.us
COST + REGISTER
Pricing is per person. The Qoya and Writing Circles are for women only. You are welcome to bring a partner with you to share all other aspects of the retreat. (Pricing is the same.)
Your tuition includes:
7 Night Accommodations
Daily buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Four Writing Circles
One Self-Publishing Circle (optional)
Cultural Balinese Dinner
Sacred Water Temple
Closing Fire Ceremony
Your tuition does not include:
flight to Bali (DPS)
transportation to/from Soulshine ($40-50 airport shuttle)
taxis for shopping excursions to Ubud
onsite massages for $20
cocktails, alcohol, smoothies, and snacks
If you have local accommodations and wish to pay for the retreat and meals only, please register as a commuter:
If you’d like to stay at Soulshine, please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch to let you know if rooms are available.
Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel for any reason and we can find a person to take your spot, we will refund the amount paid minus a $500 non-refundable deposit. If we cannot find a person to take your spot, there are no refunds; however, you can transfer your paid spot to someone else, so you can send a friend or family member to the retreat in your place.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I get there? Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) is the international airport you will be flying into. Remember you can lose up to two days with the time change and flight time, so double check your arrival date and retreat start date.
We can arrange all airport pick up and drop off. A driver will be waiting at the airport with a Soulshine sign. The cost is $50 one way (per car up to 4 passengers) or $40 one way (1 person). It's a good idea to arrange transportation in advance if you are arriving into Bali early in the morning (1-5am).
Please plan on arriving around 2pm on October 6th.
Please plan on departing by 10am on October 13th.
What currency do I need in Bali? Indonesian rupiah. You can bring your own currency over and convert it, or use ATM machines to withdraw Indonesian currency. ATM withdrawal fees vary bank to bank, so make sure you check in with yours to get all the info. Many restaurants and stores take credit cards. Don't forget to let your bank or credit card company know you are traveling.
Do I need a travel visa? Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa in advance or you may be eligible for a visa on arrival. Please check this link to verify your status: http://www.balitourismboard.org/immigration.html. Right now, US citizens can get their visa on arrival ($35 for 30 days).
Make sure that you have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the arrival date or you will be turned away from your departing city. You must also have proof of a return ticket. If you are staying under 30 days, you can enter at no cost. If you want to stay over 30 days, you must buy a visa on arrival for $35USD, then extend your visa before it expires on Day 30.
Visa regulations have been changing in Bali for almost a decade, so it is recommended that you check with your consulate for the most up to date information.
Do I need vaccines? Traveling outside of your home country can expose you to bugs your body might not be used to. The odd case of "Bali belly" (diarrhea) is not uncommon. Packing an anti-diarrheal can put you at ease. It's always nice to check in with your family doctor or local travel clinic if you need any information on vaccines or medications to bring with you; a common prescription to take along is Cipro in the event of a bacterial infection from accidentally drinking unfiltered water. We've got some great pharmacies ("Apotek" in Indonesian) and an awesome health clinic nearby Soulshine Bali in case you need anything.
What is the electrical current/outlet in Bali? Bali electricity runs at 220V. Adapters will be necessary if you're bringing any electrical items. Bali uses the European plug (two round pins). There will be adapters for you to borrow, and all our rooms have at least one American adapter to plug directly into. You can also easily purchase adapters once you arrive.
What will the weather be like and what should I pack? Because we're located near the equator, Bali tends to have fairly stable weather with the "wet" season occurring between November and March and the "dry" season between May and September. The sun still shines bright during the wet season, and it's generally always hot with temperatures hovering in the mid to high 80s and up. We recommend light clothing that breathes but can also protect you from the sun. Being near the equator, our sun is hot and can burn much faster than what you might be used to. Sleeves or a light jacket are also helpful in the evenings if you decide to take a scooter ride. We've got great natural bug spray and SPF 25 sunscreen, but don't forget to pack your own if you have favorites.
Can I bring my own food and drinks? All meals and snacks are included; you will be well fed! We will cater for any dietary requirements provided you let us know when booking. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can purchase snacks and smoothies from the Soulshine al la carte menu throughout the day.