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Do You Need A Tour Or A Retreat? 

Did you know that The Big Reconnect Sleepover is now doing annual tours? Yes, we are! So, to better help you choose which you most need, here is exactly what a tour is and exactly what a retreat is.

A Tour

– is several days of touring around a country or region and seeing as many of its high notes as you possible can during those handful of days. These are great if you only have a limited time to go see someplace on your bucket list. The tour is completely organized. You don’t have to research the area(s), pick and choose which spots to see and which to miss, check TripAdvisor for safe/tasty restaurants, haggle with drivers or wrangle the driving yourself, and you can just load yourself on and off the bus to enjoy the dozen wonders of the region you are touring.

Important points and tips for selecting and enjoying a tour:

* Use a tour company with excellent feedback on second-party websites, such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Facebook, Lonely Planet, etc. It is especially great if you know someone who has used the company before and can give you direct feedback.
* Review your tour’s itinerary closely. You will likely be covering a lot of ground and have some long days, your organizers probably won’t let you sleep in, so don’t stay up too late.
* Be prepared for plenty of walking coupled by plenty of sitting on a bus. Pack good shoes, bring a travel pillow.
* Be careful if you have specific food needs, these things are easily mixed up when traveling in large groups. Bring your favorite snacks along.
* Bring a little guide book so you don’t miss anything if you can’t hear your guides at all times or they skip over something you may find interesting.

A Retreat

– unlike tours, the intention of the retreat is not to cross off a place on your bucket list, but rather it is to go to a nice space for reflection, contemplation, self-care and self-development. Retreats allow us to step away from the everyday rubs and strives. Instead of the one doing the looking after and organizing (like you do in daily life and even on regular vacations), you become the looked after, giving you the opportunity to gather yourself and reconnect on various levels. A retreat may include visits to some touristy sites in the region you are in, however it is more about slowing down and investing in exploration of your inner world. Just like a tour specific things are prearranged for a retreat and there is a set itinerary.

Important points for selecting a retreat:

* Be aware of what is and isn’t included, niche retreats such as for yoga or other may only include accommodation and yoga/other classes: meals may or not be included, any extra activities you want to do in the area won’t likely be included, and flights and local transportation aren’t likely included.
* Check the itinerary closely – is there time scheduled for both relaxing and enjoying? Is it a working retreat with lots of classes and workshops? Are the prepaid organized activities ones you would like to do?
* Review the accommodation – is it aligned with your lifestyle? Perhaps you don’t want to be somewhere that alcohol is served or the environment is too… something else you are uncomfortable with. Go ahead and ask about these things, you want to be very comfortable on a retreat.
* Check with the organizers if there are specific extra activities you would like to do while in the area, they should be able to help sort you out.

Hope that helps! Please visit our home page to see which tours and retreats we having coming up this year.

And email us (info@thebigreconnectsleepover.com) if you have any other queries.

“Why Muslim women shouldn’t wait for X,Y,Z to travel and enjoy the world” on The Muslim Vibe

Thrilled to be featured in this article about women traveling on The Muslim Vibe website:

The Big Reconnect Sleepover (TBRS)  blossomed as a result of co-hosts Brooke Benoit and Khalida Haque recognising the shortage of space for Muslim women to retreat to as well as the lack of travel opportunities for them. Their personal and professional lives helped them to see that this was something that was much needed (and wanted) within the Ummah (Muslim community) – although they welcome non-Muslim retreaters with the understanding that the retreats are ‘Muslimy’ in content. The retreats purposely choose locations that are very Islamically inspiring and pack the itineraries with activities encouraged by the sunnah. In Morocco, we have the unique opportunities to ride camels, pray Jummah in an 800-year-old mosque, practice Islamic-influenced arts and even swim in a completely private pool. While in London we surround ourselves in a green setting full of Allah’s bounty and beauty in the natural world, practice archery and have a sister-led halalqa in our own private little mosque. On all retreats, we also eat great food, laugh a ton, challenge ourselves, get much-needed rest, and very importantly – make meaningful connections to other sisters, both the women attending the retreats and the dozens of women who work hard to make these vacations so special.

Please read the rest of the article here.

“The Retreat that Saved Me” in SISTERS Magazine

The Big Reconnect Sleepover 2016 was blessed to have writer/editor Khadijah Hayley join us in Marrakech. Khadijah wrote about her experience and interviewed Khalida and Brooke for SISTERS magazine:

…I felt connected. Not just with myself and my identity as a Muslim, but connected to a truly special group of sisters. The intimacy felt at #TBRS16 was inspirational. Our presence hugged each other, comforting each other through the trials we were all facing, but didn’t have to talk about.

With each fun and joyous activity bringing a smile on our faces, we bonded. We bonded on the roof of the riad in Marrakech, as we were guided through a group visualisation activity, we each visited a place within ourselves that taught us something new. Tears were shed and hearts were lifted. Like I said, we didn’t have to share the home truths we found, we simply accepted them in a safe and comforting environment. We bonded over delicious home-cooked meals, complete with mint tea and light-hearted discussions, sometimes late into the night. We bonded amongst the gushing, yet tranquil sounds of the waterfalls. We bonded as we clutched onto each other whilst we stumbled down the mountains. We bonded over spices and tagines as we learnt to cook the traditional Moroccan dish.

We bonded. We laughed. What makes this retreat genuinely incredible, is the variety of personalities it accommodates. I am a mother and wife. But whether you are single, divorced or without children, this retreat provides an amazingly unique and personal experience. Whatever battle you are facing at home, be it with family, work, friends, or even with your deen, #TBRS16 was designed to strengthen you and enlighten you to your true purpose and identity, and using this enlightenment, you find the energy and clarity of mind to return to your life and duties with a smile and a fresh perspective. And it is all down to Sisters Brooke and Khalida, without whom, this retreat, this breath of beautiful fresh air, would not have been possible. What was going through their minds as they planned this incredible retreat?…

Read the entire article and interview here.

SISTERS Logo

12 Steps to Practicing Vital Self-Care” in Fitra Journal

No one can so thoroughly explain self-care for Muslim woman like The Big Reconnect Sleepover’s co-host Khalida Haque

…Self-care is also a divine responsibility. Our bodies and selves, just as everything else, that Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us, are an amanah (a trust) upon us. When I think of self-care, I remember the following two ahadith:

The Prophet (SAW) once asked a companion: “(Is it true) that you fast all day and stand in prayer all night?” The companion replied that the report was indeed true.

The Prophet then said: “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave (it) at other times. Stand up for prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.” (Bukhari)

….It is difficult to be strong when we are spent and empty. And as we know through hadith, the strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer (Muslim). This strength refers to an internal strength and relates to imaan (faith) which becomes eroded if there is no self-love and compassion. Everyone has an internal voice and it is often negative. It is generally an internalisation of a critical parent. This voice, this harsh inner critic that many, if not all, of us possess is not as influential if we take care of ourselves. It loses power if we practice self-care, though it may try to sabotage us when we do. This voice does not believe we are deserving of care, love, affection or indeed anything positive.

I don’t think it is possible to express just how important looking after ourselves is…

 Really best to just go read the whole right here.

 

“Moroccan Retreat for Muslim Women” as seen on the Muslim Gift Guide

Thank you to the Muslim Gift guide for featuring The Big Reconnect Sleepover!

MGG

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