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Tis the Season to be Jolly..

Where has the year gone?

Um hello, what happened to the year? Where has it gone? One day it was the middle of July and now it’s only just over 2 weeks until the end of the calendar year! I hope you are starting to wind down and relax a little after what has no doubt been a busy year for many of you. Hopefully you will have some time to sit back and relax and reflect on your year over the coming weeks. This year has been a busy year for SoulFit adventures with lots happening including the inaugural yoga and cycling retreat to Italy back in June. That retreat was such a success that I have developed 2 new Italian offerings for 2013 and will be running 4 trips in total!

One is a ladies only retreat welcoming women travelling on their own without being alone. No kids, no couples, only other likeminded women at any one time. The holiday is a soul soothing retreat for women who want the ultimate relaxation hassle free travel experience. The week includes daily yoga, cooking classes, wine tastings, shopping excursions and, it wouldn't be a SoulFit adventure if there wasn't one day of cycling! The other one is for all the wanna be Cadel Evans or Bradley Wiggins out there and will be run in the lead up to the 2013 UCI Road World Championships which take place in and around Lucca, Pistoia, Prato and Florence in September 2013. It's the eightieth Road World Championships and the first time that the event will take place in Tuscany, one of the heartlands of Italian cycling! Perfect forcycling enthusiasts wanting to get some cycling in (with daily yoga of course!) before the action starts.

Both of these new retreats will be held in and around our luxury accommodation, Villa Santa Maria al Lago, an elegant 14th century country house which has amongst other unique features, its' own private lake and which is set in Marlia, a small hamlet at the base of the Lucchese hills. If you are wondering why Lucca is the base for all of our Italian retreats, then check out this article which was published this week to see just some of the reasons -

Laos At the end of October a group returned from SoulFit adventures signature 11 day yoga and cycling tour through Northern Laos. I wasn't able to accompany the group this time but from all reports it was a fabulous trip and one to remember. The lovely Maggie, who was a participant on this trip kindly offered to write a brief summary of her experience and I thought I would share it with you today. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did when I first received it. Take it away Maggie.. “That was the best holiday ever! When we first flew over Laos and into Luang Prabang, I was a little concerned at how mountainous it was and how I would cope cycling up all those hills! Luang Prabang is one of the loveliest places I have ever been to. No rush, no traffic, no congestion, a slow and beautiful pace. The minute I arrived in 100% humidity and 30 odd degrees I felt an instant calm.

10 days of yoga and cycling around the northern part of Laos was indeed a trip to remember for the rest of my life. I needn't have worried about those massive hills over mountains though. Laos is a totally landlocked country and yet we were beside water every day. All the roads in the northern part of Laos are beside the Mekong and the many rivers that flow from her and, we rode beside the river. Cycling through little villages with the children running out of homes and schools to stand on the side of the road waving and wanting to “hi 5” us as we rode by. Markets with very different produce for sale than what we would not normally see in our shops. The Laotian people waste nothing and eat everything. The beautiful tropical fruits, the chickens, dogs, ducks, pigs, buffalo, cats all roaming the roads around the villages, all part of the Laotian way of life.

We stayed in wonderful accommodation, the food was to die for and everything was so clean and tidy. Most of the towns we stayed in, we were the only “Phalang” but never once did I feel unsafe or unwanted in their towns. We travelled beside the river every day and stayed by the river every night. There were 2 days which we spent on a boat travelling down the river. One day in a traditional skiff and another day in a very luxurious long boat both equally as exciting and interesting. The river provides so much livelihood for the villagers and the riverbanks were dotted with vegetable gardens and water buffalo. We visited Pak Ou caves where the locals hid during the war. Pak Beng where most of the people from China, Thailand and the north come into Laos on the river. Muang La which was a little bit of paradise in the middle of nowhere and where I had the pleasure of spending my birthday! Thank you to Isabelle, our fantastic yoga teacher - the best way in the world to start the day and thank you Virginia for organising such a wonderful itinerary.

I could go on and on about the wonderful 10 days I had in a country as yet untouched by mass tourism but you need to go and experience it yourself and cycling around Laos and practising yoga every day with SoulFit adventures is the best way to see it. Laos is a truly beautiful country and I certainly feel SoulFit and will be doing it again! ” Maggie Jennings, Sydney, Australia If you would like to read more comments from this trip and others, then check them out on our testimonial page on the website!testimonials. Maybe that has inspired you to join me on a SoulFit adventure next year. I certainly hope so..:-). Why not do something that's good for you whilst relaxing and bring home some memories to last a lifetime.

Dates in the Diary Laos 20 May to 30 May 2013 - Yoga & Cycling Tour 14 October to 24 October 2013 - Yoga & Cycling Tour 30 December 2013 to 9 January 2014 - Yoga & Cycling Tour Italy 8 June to 15 June 2013 - Soul Soothing Italy Yoga & Cycling Retreat 15 June to 22 June 2013 -Soul Soothing Italy Yoga, Biking & Hiking Retreat 31 August to 7 September 2013 - Soulicious Ladies Retreat 7 September to 14 September 2013 - Soul Soothing Italy Yoga & Cycling Retreat If you get in now you can take advantage of the early bird specials which have been extended from 31 December until 31 January 2013. Book and pay your deposit by 31 January for any retreat or trip in 2013 and receive $50 off the cost. Better still, if a group of 2 or more sign up together then you all receive $100 off the cost!

For more information on any of the exciting trips planned for 2013 and beyond, contact me directly.

Thank you all for your support over the last 12 months. It's been a busy year and 2013 is shaping up to be even busier.

Until next time, I wish you and your families all the very best for the coming festive season and here's to a safe, healthy, abundant and properous 2013!

Virginia Virginia Slevin SoulFit adventures

"There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is call tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live". Dalai Lama XIV

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