I believe in magic, and because of this, I have experienced some enchanting things on this journey. If we keep our eyes open, life is full of glimmers, of serendipitous moments. But once in a while, there are the life changers, those experiences that create more space in your heart for love, and more wonder in your mind for creativity and imagination.
So, on July 3rd, a series of synchronicities, a pinch of generosity, and a dash of fate, handed me an opportunity to teach Yoga at a wellness festival retreat in this mysterious place I didn’t even know existed, Bonjuk Bay.
I did what we all do when going anywhere new in 2023 - stalked them on Insta. It looked incredible, Bonjuk was shown as a private bay in South Turkey, a hidden gem tucked away from the world, a realm of wonders and enchantment, play, and beauty. I was hoping the reality was as epic as Instagram made it seem.
I expected magic and wonder, but what I received from that experience was beyond my expectations.
From Manchester to London, London to Dalaman I set off on a long and arduous journey. After almost a day of travel, we entered the gates of Bonjuk, the concealed Bay, separate from the outside world. We (myself and my two friends who are now family) were greeted by the staff (who were all incredibly easy on the eye), with warmth and radiant smiles. Looking around it was hard to tell who was working and who was a guest… everyone had this certain joie de vivre, riding on the same loving, harmonious wave.
As I scanned the Bay, my senses turned on to the maximum, and everywhere I looked, an expression of life, pura vida…sprang to mind. Peacocks were roaming free, adults were either playing on slacklines, practicing Yoga, or laughing, and young children were being shared between the women. Directly ahead, a small group of people dancing in front of the DJ booth, others sunbathing by the water, and the resident rescue dogs of Bonjuk, protectors of the land, sleeping in the shade.
I immediately had a sense of being part of something greater than myself. Any cares of the world I had with me faded away, almost instantaneously. I remembered the taste of freedom, freedom to revel in the wonder of the present moment.
Is this real?
Within less than a an hour, Bonjuk felt like home, time seemed to be sliced thin and it was like I had always been there. An ancient part of me rose to the surface, a remembrance of how my ancestors once lived and thrived. Gazing in the distance of the crystal clear waters, sunshine shimmering directly over the ocean for the most idyllic sunset, I felt every cell in my body take a long exhale, my heart rate slowed down, and the first tear of many that week fell down my face…just wow.
I danced to Afro-House, captivated by the sun as it transitioned to dusk, and that deep connection with the universe re-awakened within me. Standing beneath the painted sky, watching the ebb and flow of the ocean, my heart resonated with the rhythm of nature. The radiant hues of pink, orange, and gold embrace the horizon, giving warmth and love to all of my senses.
As the first day came to a close, I went back to my bell tent and remembered that the lifestyle of the community, warm people, fresh food, sunsets, and play, is for some people, everyday life...and that once upon a time, not so long ago, it was mine.
Questions arose, why don't I live like this? You are so happy in this environment, this is living! It was only the first day and I had realized that Bonjuk Bay had reawakened the wanderlust inside of me, and there was no putting her back to sleep.
When I am not bombarded with to-do´s, emails and constantly feeling like I have to keep up with the Joneses, I found myself asking… what do I actually need to be happy?
Conversations were not your typical surface level, and strong, genuine relationships were forming very quickly. It was the sense of togetherness, dancing together, watching the sunset together, and eating together three times a day.
Meal times were particularly special, to me, the sacredness of eating together, of meal time, and of how much abundance we can experience through food.
Picture this, thirty plus people sitting together on cushions with low tables by the ocean, as the sun turns to dusk, served a nutritious dinner made with love. Then walking twenty meters to the DJ booth to progress into a dance with the full moon appearing through the palm trees. Waow, Thank you, God.
From that moment, I knew that life would never be the same again. The week spent in Bonjuk Bay reminded me of the true essence of joy, kindness, and friendship. And so, I returned home, forever changed, with a longing to spread the magic I had experienced to everyone I met.
And thus, the magical tale of Bonjuk Bay lives on, etched in my memories and heart, reminding me of the extraordinary beauty that exists in this world.
Thank you to every single person that contributed to make this one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.