This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.
In need of a little respite from the real world, I booked a stay at the San Diego Spiritual Retreat Center an hour northeast from San Diego near Julian, California. The retreat promised stillness and yoga, two things I could definitely use more of.
As I drove through the countryside just a few dozen miles from my city, I marveled at how quickly the terrain and culture changed. In Ramona, rodeos and horses were at the center of society. Even further up in the mountains, people might not ever go to San Diego. Unfathomable. How did they ever shop at Target so removed from society, my city brain wondered.
By the time I pulled into the drive at the retreat center, my shoulders had untensed and I was already feeling remarkably better. Jennifer, the owner, greeted me warmly, showed me to my lodgings (I was lucky enough to be the only person at this retreat, so I had an entire apartment meant for three to share all to myself), and left me with a generous hug.
I was itching to get into the green (we don’t have a lot of that in San Diego), so I dropped my bags and headed up the overgrown dirt road outside of my cabin. I found a cluster of rocks overlooking a valley and just sat and soaked it all up. The healing I needed was happening with little effort on my part, the surroundings were so therapeutic.
Connecting with Community
There may not have been others there for the retreat, but there were several other people staying at the center, some to work through a cool site called WorkAway that pairs people from all of the world with others who need help. They work for room and board.
Over the next two days, I met people from Turkey, France, the Canary Islands, Maui, and Ohio. Each had his or her own story as to what led them to this center. I marveled at how free they each were, letting the wind blow them where it would take them.
While I thought I needed to go to the retreat to be silent and alone, it turned out that being a part of this vagabond community, if only for a few days, was what I needed.
Plenty to Keep You Busy…or Not
The center has different retreats each month. Some focus on cooking vegan cuisine. Some center around yoga. All include hikes to the summit of the breathtaking Volcan Mountain (it’s breathtaking because the view is amazing and because it’s pretty steep!). You can create a vision board. Join a drum circle. Soak in the hot tub. Or just go off on your own.
There’s also the largest labyrinth in California to spend time in, so don’t miss that!
The food served at the center is primarily vegan (which I’m not) and is so amazing it inspired me to make some tweaks to my own cooking style.
Julian is a fun little country mountain town that’s close by. It’s known for its apples, and its apple pie and cider aren’t to be missed. Check the town’s calendar to plan your visit around something cool like fiddle picking or apple picking (one’s picked off of trees; the other, not so much).
Need to Know
Retreats start at $189 a night for a shared room, and $300 a night for a private room. All meals are included, as are activities. You do have the option to add on massage services for an additional fee.
Check in: 4:00 pm
Check out: 11:30 am
If You Go
San Diego Spiritual Retreat Center (619) 733-1045
PO Box 369
Lakeside, California 92040