Why Your Story Matters
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 story matters.
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. Our 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 the bigger human story.
In addition to our daily Qoya classes, writing circles, pilgrimages to temples, and other cultural experiences, you’ll have abundant time to lounge, rest, and indulge in onsite massages (only $22 USD!) with healthy meals cooked by our private local chef, with some meals out so you can experience more culture of the area. During the week, your body and spirit will be well nourished so your soul can remember the stories it’s ready to share.
"Going on a Qoya retreat led by Betsy Blankenbaker is pure bliss. Last year, I attended her retreat 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 will introduce you to many secret gems of people and places."
TARA DIXON, past retreat participant
"I love how Betsy swallowed the sun and now it beams out from everything she does—pleasure activism, writing, loving her kids, loving her community, and most of all loving herself. I love the way Betsy has transformed what has hurt her into what heals her, and how she's danced forward into the eternal What’s Next."
JENNIFER GANDIN LE, writer and editor
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, so every woman can enjoy and benefit whether it's her first class or her fiftieth.
More than a movement practice, Qoya is 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 Damayanti yoga shala, and 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
"I have such gratitude for how gentle and encouraging Betsy was with my writing and how that feeling of safety allowed me to dig deeper."
ELISABETH, past retreat participant
Betsy writes about sensuality and her path to enlightenment through the body. Her first book, Autobiography of an Orgasm, describes healing her body and spirit—and the impact of sexual assault and being silenced. The book goes beyond the physical to the emotional and spiritual experiences of being a woman and a mother. In 2018, Betsy premiered her solo show, “The O Diary,” based on her books. Betsy was born in Indiana and raised her four children between Indiana and Miami. She now considers northern California home between offering Qoya and writing workshops and retreats around the world. You can find out where she is teaching at www.betsybmurphy.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
Check-in: 2:00 PM
6:00 PM: Dinner
7:30 PM: Opening Circle in yoga shala
8:00 to 9:00 AM: Breakfast
9:30 to 11:30 AM: Qoya Class
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM: Writing Circle
1:00 PM: Lunch
2:00 to 6:00 PM: Pool & Playtime or afternoon excursions
7:00 PM: Dinner
8:00 PM Evening Rituals
7:30 to 9:00 AM: Sunrise Qoya Class
9:00 AM: Breakfast
10:00 AM: Blessings for the next adventure
LOCATION: THE DAMAYANTI HOTEL IN UBUD
The Damayanti is a beautiful new boutique hotel owned by a long-time Qoya, Tiza Tjokroadisumarto. The sacred is woven into every detail of your stay, as all the rooms are named after Hindu deities and characters and furnished with exquisite antique Javanese furniture. You’ll enjoy delicious healthy food prepared by a local chef, daily Qoya classes and writing sessions in the cozy yoga shala, and individual attention from the friendly, welcoming staff.
It is an intimate space as there are only 7 rooms on the property. You can also attend the retreat as a commuter for $1,100 if you live locally or have other accommodations. If you’d like to book other accommodations, the Damayanti is close to Soulshine Retreat Center.
ADD-ON: WRITE WITH BETSY MINI-INTENSIVE
Do you have a book you’ve been thinking about starting or a manuscript you want to polish? Join Betsy for a half day private writing intensive.
You’ll be guided in finding your voice as a writer and crafting your story into an engaging book that readers won’t want to put down.
The focus is on memoir – how to tell the stories of your life. We’ll discuss publishing options from big publishers to Betsy’s choice to self-publish and launch her independent collective publishing platform, Beautiful Infinity Books.
October 19th from 2:00-6:00 PM
October 20th from 9:00AM-1:00PM
Includes an extra night in private room (October 19th) at the resort before the retreat begins.
Only 4 spots available. Simply add on Write with Betsy at checkout in order to join.
"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.)
Private Room, Double Bed: $2,400
Shared Room, Queen Bed: $1,900
Shared Room, Twin Bed: $1,700
Your tuition includes:
7 Night Accommodations
Qoya Classes and Writing Circles
Waterfalls and Water Temples
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Your tuition does not include:
flight to Bali (DPS)
transportation to/from the airport (approx. $35 airport shuttle)
taxis for shopping excursions to Ubud
onsite massages for 300,000 IDR (about $22)
additional cocktails, smoothies, and snacks
Payment plans are available through August 15th.
If you have local accommodations and wish to pay for the retreat and meals only, please register as a commuter:
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. Upon registration, you'll receive info on how to book a private or shared shuttle to the retreat center (about $35 one way, less if shared). When possible we will try and match you will someone coming in at the same time to save on costs. It's a good idea to arrange transportation in advance if you are arriving into Bali early in the morning (1-5am).
If it's your first time to Bali, we recommend pre-booking the VIP Meet & Visa Express at the airport (about $100). With so many tourists, many times the visa lines can be long. The VIP greeter will greet you at your plane, walk you through getting your visa, put you in a lounge with AC and water while they collect your bags, and then walk you out of the terminal to meet your driver or shuttle. Sometimes this saves several hours at the airport.
Arrival/Departure Times: Please plan on checking in around 2pm on October 20th and departing by 10am on October 27th.
+ 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.
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 free, 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 and double-check the guidelines before you depart.
+ Can I bring my partner?
Yes - contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your partner and make payment for their cost of room and board.
+ 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 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). You can purchase these ahead of time, and 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 are included; you will be well fed! We will cater for any dietary requirements provided you let us know when booking.
+ I have more questions. Who do I contact?
Any questions we haven't covered here? Email us at email@example.com.