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Solitary retreat offer

I hope this does not come across as an advert, because it really is not. I stumbled into an opportunity about 5 weeks ago to set up a solitary retreat location in Spain. It was just a guy who owns some land and property in the mountains, but who didn't use it through the winter. I suggested it be a good location for people to come and do solitary retreats, and he liked the idea.

We should be ready within a few weeks, but because it is short notice, it's probably going to be difficult to find retreaters. I'd really like to use this first season to help out anyone who'd like to do a retreat but couldn't afford the normal prices. I'm not the owner.

My role is as a kind of on-site caretaker (and at the same time I can do my own retreat for the six months which was my motivation behind this), and the owner also wants to give me 20% of any profits because he thinks it is an incentive for me (it isn't).

So that is the situation. If anyone here is interested in doing a solitary retreat then please feel free to reply or message me and hopefully we can work out a good rate for you. Again, this is not an advert from my side, just a wish to help out anyone who might be here who'd like to do a retreat. I hope this is ok with admin here.

Comments

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    What would be the ballpark price estimate?

  • @Kannon said:
    What would be the ballpark price estimate?

    I think this would depend on how long the stay was. Personally, I got into this because it meant I could do my own six month retreat, and setting it up as a retreat for others was my way of earning my keep there. So, for me, I'd go as low as covering costs, especially if someone was dedicated and sincere about their practice, and especially because this is our first season and its short notice and so may as well offer an opportunity now and fill up the spaces.

    Are you thinking for you? If so, how long would you like to do?

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran
    edited September 20

    @mindatrisk

    Well I am still a novice but I have been learning about Buddhism for years now since I was 16. It helped pull me out of a deep depressive episode so I stuck with it. As for practice, I go through phases. Earnesty came around 18. Now I am almost 20. I am going to take some time away from the Sangha in a bit to return to therapy, quit cigarettes, work on my transition, etc. Arriving at a stronger practice and faith is part of those goals. So coming back from that I hope to be more serious and dedicated than I am now. After facing my self. I have long thought about traveling somewhere by myself. It would be a great journey.

    I work at McDonald's and am a community college student. Don't have a lot saved up. I can start I'll just have to know how much and when and prioritize.

    I would probably stay for 2 weeks.....more would be the dream, but I am not sure if I could do it. I would love to though.

    Are we talking sometime early next year?

  • @Kannon said:
    @mindatrisk

    Well I am still a novice but I have been learning about Buddhism for years now since I was 16. It helped pull me out of a deep depressive episode so I stuck with it. As for practice, I go through phases. Earnesty came around 18. Now I am almost 20. I am going to take some time away from the Sangha in a bit to return to therapy, quit cigarettes, work on my transition, etc. Arriving at a stronger practice and faith is part of those goals. So coming back from that I hope to be more serious and dedicated than I am now. After facing my self. I have long thought about traveling somewhere by myself. It would be a great journey.

    I work at McDonald's and am a community college student. Don't have a lot saved up. I can start I'll just have to know how much and when and prioritize.

    I would probably stay for 2 weeks.....more would be the dream, but I am not sure if I could do it. I would love to though.

    Are we talking sometime early next year?

    The retreat will be open from early October and run through until the start of April. Are you in the UK? I few from Newcastle to Reus (closest airport) for about £25, and then you'd need a food budget (I'm sure you know how to live cheap), and then your retreat budget. I'd have to speak to the owner, but maybe I could get you in for approx £20 per night.

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    I live in the US but if an international ticket is the price for a reduced spiritual retreat it is one I am happy to pay (:

    Thanks for considering me.

  • @Kannon said:
    I live in the US but if an international ticket is the price for a reduced spiritual retreat it is one I am happy to pay (:

    Thanks for considering me.

    Then work out the best deal because it might be cheaper to pay a higher retreat price and not have to pay an international flight. It's up to you. It is a solo retreat, btw... no classes. Just you and your practice. :)

  • Another option for anyone interested is that you come here and do a retreat but pay your way through doing some work, approx. 25 hours per week, for which you'd receive accommodation and food. We could only have one other person at a time doing that, and it would be only in certain time frames, and we'd also prefer individuals with certain skill sets (DIY, engineering etc.), but it's an option.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Contracts, contracts, contracts.

    Make sure you have a legally-acceptable and binding agreement document with regard to personal responsibility, damages and injury, payment, remuneration, schedule, duration of retreat, caveats, exceptions, inclusions and participation.
    Cover every single conceivable base.

    I'm serious.

    Court TV programmes are full of foolish, trusting 'ex-friends' who are suing each other for whatever compensation because of some technical disagreement, but had 'nothing in writing'.
    It's the most basic and logical premise for 'covering your ass'.

  • I am looking to find place where I can do a solitary retreat without all of the structure of programmed content. I've done a couple solitary retreats with a friend at Catholic sites a few years ago. I focused on my practice while she pursued a more Catholic direction. Somehow we got caught up in far too much "volunteering" for their site which was somewhat disappointing. I did, however, gain some benefit but haven't tried this since then.

    I am in the process of setting up a week to teach English classes in Spain for a week and might be interested at some point in tagging on a retreat of this nature after my week's work is completed.

    Since I am in the US and have a full time job the details are a bit complex. I am not certain I can pull everything together in the near future but perhaps in the late winter/early spring. I could probably only do a week or a week and a half given the constraints of my situation with work and other responsibilities.

    What are the accommodations like? Sleeping? Bathrooms? Where exactly in Spain is the site located?

    What are transportation options? How does a person buy/prepare food?
    Is there someone to converse with regarding emergencies?

    The more details you can provide would be helpful.

    And yeas I agree with federica about the contractual concerns. It would be wise to draft a contract with as many details covered as possible.

    Finally, I would like to thank you for your offer. I hope you are successful with this. It sounds like a great opportunity for some people.

  • @Marcelle said:

    What are the accommodations like? Sleeping? Bathrooms? Where exactly in Spain is the site located?

    What are transportation options? How does a person buy/prepare food?
    Is there someone to converse with regarding emergencies?

    The more details you can provide would be helpful.

    And yeas I agree with federica about the contractual concerns. It would be wise to draft a contract with as many details covered as possible.

    Finally, I would like to thank you for your offer. I hope you are successful with this. It sounds like a great opportunity for some people.

    I'm building a website at the moment which will be more comprehensive and with photos etc. Send me an email to happyvalleyretreats@gmail.com and we can remain in contact that way.

    Transportation... I can collect you from Maella, which is the closest small town, about a 7km drive from the retreat centre. You'd probably be best flying to either Reus or Zaragoza, and I think then train / bus to Maella. These details will be sorted out.

    Food... I am the site manager / caretaker. The plan is that I will do a weekly / bi-weekly food shop. You'll provide the cash or a bank card and a shopping list.

    Emergencies... I'll be living on site.

    Information / instruction / rule manual will be created. You will have to sign to agree to the rules of the retreat. I'm researching rules / info that other similar retreats use and basically copying them, since they have the experience and knowledge, and, well, I don't!

    Hope this helps for now. Feel free to ask more questions etc. I hope this is a good opportunity. Me and the owner and more than happy to simply cover the costs of this season. What we'd like in return is - as much as honestly possible - good reviews & good, constructive feedback so we can build for future. For that, we will try to give the best rates we can. I've seen some that start at 90 euros a night, others starting at 50 euros a night. We'd like to start at 30 euros, and for those committed to longer term, i.e. 4,5,6 months, maybe get it down to as low as 15 euros a night... but no promises! Costing still needs to be done!

  • @federica said:
    Contracts, contracts, contracts.

    Make sure you have a legally-acceptable and binding agreement document with regard to personal responsibility, damages and injury, payment, remuneration, schedule, duration of retreat, caveats, exceptions, inclusions and participation.
    Cover every single conceivable base.

    I'm serious.

    Court TV programmes are full of foolish, trusting 'ex-friends' who are suing each other for whatever compensation because of some technical disagreement, but had 'nothing in writing'.
    It's the most basic and logical premise for 'covering your ass'.

    Definitely! I went to a retreat centre in France to work recently to learn more, and the owner told me the same. We both share a naive sense of humanities goodness which makes us prone to overlook how dickish some people can be.

  • @Marcelle said:
    I am looking to find place where I can do a solitary retreat without all of the structure of programmed content. I've done a couple solitary retreats with a friend at Catholic sites a few years ago. I focused on my practice while she pursued a more Catholic direction. Somehow we got caught up in far too much "volunteering" for their site which was somewhat disappointing. I did, however, gain some benefit but haven't tried this since then.

    I do not want volunteers here! It's a small site that I will take care of. You will, of course, prepare your own meals and clean up after yourself. You will wash your own clothes and clean your own accommodation. But there is not much more that needs to be done. Plus you will be in silence... not even eye contact, no internet, no phone or computer etc. Not just to encourage your own practice, but to support the practices of those around you. I want to create a sanctuary and a circumstance that best supports and enables serious practice. We will be strict in enforcing this. I'm not having anyone here watching movies on an evening or walking around with their head in their phone... no way, Jose! Keep your money! I'll do everything I can to protect and serve the integrity of the place so it is of the highest service possible to those sincere and serious about their practice. And if you're not, then you leave! How's that for customer relations?! :awesome:

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @mindatrisk said:

    @federica said:
    Contracts, contracts, contracts.

    Make sure you have a legally-acceptable and binding agreement document with regard to personal responsibility, damages and injury, payment, remuneration, schedule, duration of retreat, caveats, exceptions, inclusions and participation.
    Cover every single conceivable base.

    I'm serious.

    Court TV programmes are full of foolish, trusting 'ex-friends' who are suing each other for whatever compensation because of some technical disagreement, but had 'nothing in writing'.
    It's the most basic and logical premise for 'covering your ass'.

    Definitely! I went to a retreat centre in France to work recently to learn more, and the owner told me the same. We both share a naive sense of humanities goodness which makes us prone to overlook how dickish some people can be.

    I think a good idea would be to liaise with other centres that rune xtensive retreats and see what kinds of agreements they have, then do your best to leave nothing to chance.
    I've heard of a lot of people launching businesses - and even short-term personal agreement plans - who take DIY contracts straight off the internet. All very well, but this means they believe everything therein is clear cut and taken care of.
    It isn't.
    You MUST develop an agreement that is both suited to your precise specifications, AND legally binding.
    It's also important that, while you outline what a guest is responsible for (as you have in the above reply to @Marcelle) you make stipulations of penalties for non-compliance (such as retention of deposit) and that you specifically detail what they will get and what your contribution is. (Will you provide refrigeration for foodstuffs, for example, secure places for valuables, that kind of thing....)

    If you decide to launch into a venture where you will be providing accommodation and a service to members of the public, you absolutely MUST ensure you have insurance, and an absolutely airtight/watertight contract.

    I know I keep banging on about it. And 9 times out of 10, you won't be bothered by anything, and it will run smoothly.
    It's that one time out of 10, though, that will prove a hefty headache, if you don't make provisions for such an incident.
    That one time out of 10, will put the 9/10, in the shade.

    David
  • @federica said:

    @mindatrisk said:

    @federica said:
    Contracts, contracts, contracts.

    Make sure you have a legally-acceptable and binding agreement document with regard to personal responsibility, damages and injury, payment, remuneration, schedule, duration of retreat, caveats, exceptions, inclusions and participation.
    Cover every single conceivable base.

    I'm serious.

    Court TV programmes are full of foolish, trusting 'ex-friends' who are suing each other for whatever compensation because of some technical disagreement, but had 'nothing in writing'.
    It's the most basic and logical premise for 'covering your ass'.

    Definitely! I went to a retreat centre in France to work recently to learn more, and the owner told me the same. We both share a naive sense of humanities goodness which makes us prone to overlook how dickish some people can be.

    I think a good idea would be to liaise with other centres that rune xtensive retreats and see what kinds of agreements they have, then do your best to leave nothing to chance.
    I've heard of a lot of people launching businesses - and even short-term personal agreement plans - who take DIY contracts straight off the internet. All very well, but this means they believe everything therein is clear cut and taken care of.
    It isn't.
    You MUST develop an agreement that is both suited to your precise specifications, AND legally binding.
    It's also important that, while you outline what a guest is responsible for (as you have in the above reply to @Marcelle) you make stipulations of penalties for non-compliance (such as retention of deposit) and that you specifically detail what they will get and what your contribution is. (Will you provide refrigeration for foodstuffs, for example, secure places for valuables, that kind of thing....)

    If you decide to launch into a venture where you will be providing accommodation and a service to members of the public, you absolutely MUST ensure you have insurance, and an absolutely airtight/watertight contract.

    I know I keep banging on about it. And 9 times out of 10, you won't be bothered by anything, and it will run smoothly.
    It's that one time out of 10, though, that will prove a hefty headache, if you don't make provisions for such an incident.
    That one time out of 10, will put the 9/10, in the shade.

    It's something I definitely am taking seriously, and it's a great idea to contact other retreats to get some guidance. I'm sure they'll be supportive. As I said, I got the same advice from the retreat owner in France... she's in all kinds of legal tangles now for her initial naivety. I don't fancy that. I don't like responsibility enough as it is without going there. I'd much rather do as you say and get everything sorted up front... better to prevent than solve, aye. Thank you!

  • We have a website! All feedback will be very kindly welcomed!

    https://happyvalleyretreats.wordpress.com

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