Sisterhood and Travel

Wild Hive Women's Retreats

Many of you know that in addition to creating Wild Bum, I have the absolute privilege of curating and guiding retreats for women with my company Wild Hive. I’ve dedicated the past decade to utilizing music, dance and my background in Human Biology / Positive Psychology to build + unite community, provoke our wild and live with a sense of adventure. All with an undying aspiration to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

I am not certain that I intentionally sought to create these experiences solely for women when I began curating our retreats, however, after the first one – I knew that I was tapping into something truly special.

The formula

I took two things that I hold dearly –
#1 – a passion for the life-changing magic of travel and
#2 – cultivating space for women to come together to feel supported and celebrated.
Combine these in the most beautiful settings, where I buy out an entire resort, and design experiences that touch every human sense, and voila! I have now witnessed so many women, myself included, experience how profound these adventures truly are. I’d love to take this opportunity to reflect on what makes them so unique and impactful.

Mariah Brink Photography

Women supporting women

We hear it all the time. Women supporting women. Yes. However, do we really feel it?! I’ve been in plenty of situations / gatherings / network events where the intent is to bring women closer. Yet, sadly, it doesn’t just happen on its own – it must be cultivated.

When I host a retreat, the very first thing I do is establish the tone or atmosphere to acknowledge the kind of space we are expecting from one another. And, to invite everyone to take agency for how they show up to create this together. I can set the vibe, yet it is something that must be accomplished as a squad.

And, when women truly support women, there is nothing more glorious! Moreover, it ignites so much belly laughter, and good / juicy conversation. We feel silly and vulnerable and joyful. And, we are here for it all.

From the minute we start chatting via WhatsApp to running in the airport to catch a connecting flight, each woman has the other woman’s back. Holding the plane, doing whatever it takes!

Again – unfortunately, this is not how women typically treat one another. It’s magnificent to see and experience it in action. It is magic.

Mariah Brink Photography

True Connection

When women support / see / value / celebrate other women, it opens the flood gates for true connection. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve known one another, we immediately bond over shared experiences. We discuss topics that we rarely talk about at home. During our travels together, we highlight our life goals / dreams as well as challenges. We build each other up and support our deepest wishes for this one wild life we’ve got.

*TMI warning* – on our last retreat, our connection was so powerful that all of our menstrual cycles started early! Even women with IUDs who hadn’t had a period in over two years. There is something extremely special about this feminine energy that I haven’t even been able to process yet.

True connection is life-giving. And, because these adventures also entail dancing, we are bonding and healing in ways that are entirely embodied and immersive = i.e. dance floor magic.

Mariah Brink Photography

Stretch, stretch, stretch

I often say that a Wild Hive adventure is not meant to be perfect (I mean, what is?!). There are always going to be opportunities for growth. A chance to go inward and reflect on how we show up in various situations. And, often a sense of empowerment at how we cope / conquer / thrive.

On our Fall 2021 trip we got stuck at the Nicaragua border and ended up with an entirely different experience than the one I dedicated months and months to planning. To say that it was devastating would be an understatement. It was a challenge for every single woman there. AND, we had the time of our lives. We did not take a single moment or experience for granted. We celebrated the hell out of that week.

There are the crazy travel mishaps (that oftentimes make the best stories), and then there is the philanthropic component that many of our adventures have entailed. We’ve been in the homes of Mayan women (who are often raising many children on their own), where we installed water filters for clean drinking and stoves for safer cooking. We’ve renovated a rural school where we worked hard alongside a construction crew and danced away with the students during our breaks! We helped fund a first-ever community center where we learned a traditional weaving technique to create the doors. And, the latest, just as enlightening, a beach clean up where each one of us had a new outlook on how we shop and live at home.

I recall every one of these projects leaving us speechless. Oftentimes we’d go into them with a tenderness (from what we thought we knew in our cushy lives here in the states)…yet consistently left with the realization that we might have some things backwards. Blown away by the abundance of joy, gratitude and contentment from each community we had the pleasure of getting to know.

And, for the science nerds like me 😉

With these opportunities for reflection and growth, we return home as a better version of ourselves. And, those of you who know me well, endlessly listen to me geek out over the science behind travel. Our stories and experiences are the ones that ignite those physiological changes. Returning with more zest for life, improved problem-solving skills, increased creativity and inspiration. We live with more intention. We are never the same after one of our adventures. And, everyone in our lives benefit from it.

Mariah Brink Photography

Awakening our wild

Listen. Let’s face it – at home we have so many responsibilities. We are moms, wives, daughters, sisters, bosses, you name it. We carry many duties and wear so many hats. When I curate a Wild Hive adventure, together with the amazing resorts, we plan every moment so not one woman has to make a decision all week long, unless she wants to 😉

A week to feel more like ourselves – our true nature, our wild.
A week to: awaken our inner child, let our hair down, be curious, feel silly, laugh until our tummies hurt, cry happy tears, get down on the dance floor, let incredibly talented chefs feed our bellies, toast over shots of tequila, swim in the rain, learn a new skill, not wear any makeup or brush our hair, read a book without interruption, jump off cliffs. The list goes on. And, it’s ALL there for the taking.

Mariah Brink Photography

Now – the biggest challenge…

We create a bubble of joy, magic and good vibrations. We reflect on our dreams that have not yet come to fruition. And, often return home with a lot to unpack, process, and for me, a feeling of urgency and excitement.

We are not the same as we were before we left on our journey. We had this crazy intense experience together, and often discuss how challenging it is to find the words to describe it to anyone who wasn’t there.

Admittedly, it’s hard to come home.

Maybe that’s ok. Perhaps we are supposed to feel some discomfort every once in a while. We shake up every cell in our bodies so that we can return and create ripple effects within our own communities. To live with more intention and agency. To live with more play. To experience more joy. To be more vulnerable. To be kinder to one another. To live with courage and go after our dreams.

When I see these women on the dance floor, post-adventure, we look at one another and there’s a special spark in our eyes. A little flame, uniting us for life. A gift that keeps on giving. It’s not tangible. Not necessarily describable. Yet – life-changing nonetheless.

It’s the intersection of sisterhood and travel. And, as I am still processing, learning and growing from our shared experiences, I am also very much aware at how damn good it feels.

See you soon. xx ~ Mollie

All Images: Mariah Brink Photography

Many of you know that in addition to creating Wild Bum, I have the absolute privilege of curating and guiding retreats for women with my company Wild Hive. I’ve dedicated the past decade to utilizing music, dance and my background in Human Biology / Positive Psychology to build + unite community, provoke our wild and…