How Renew Retreats Came to Be: Our Business Story

Photo Credit: Whitney Palmer

Photo Credit: Whitney Palmer

On Saturday, August 10, we celebrated the launch of Renew Retreats with a party in Vancouver, BC. Our Founder Danielle shared the story of how the business came to be. We wanted to share the story here with you too!

I was a not a fan of the outdoors growing up. My Mom will be the first to tell you! She used to take my sister and I on these camping trips, which we were far from excited to go on. My Dad didn’t even come. But I do fondly look back on the banana boats and baggie omelettes we made. All to say, my love for the outdoors and being active did not start at a young age.

Seven years ago, almost to the day, I moved to Vancouver to go to grad school and didn’t know anyone. By this time, I had developed a passion for yoga, kale, and all things wellness - but I didn’t have the first idea how to start hiking.

I was bored with nothing to do until school started. Everyone kept telling me about the great hiking in BC so I googled ‘easy Vancouver hikes you can get to by bus’ and landed on Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. Off I went totally clueless! I didn’t tell a soul, barely brought anything with me - which is shocking now, given I brought 2 pounds of Larabars on an 8-day trek last year - and had no idea what I was about to ignite: a new thirst for adventure and a serious passion for hiking, exploring, and being outside.

I still remember how I felt partway through the hike sitting out on the rocks overlooking the ocean: accomplished and incredibly proud - and a little surprised - that I did this on my own.

Since that hike 7 years ago, I have gone onto do things I truly never fathomed I would do:

  • Climb to glaciers at sunrise in Strathcona Provincial Park with two other women I met on Instagram and who have since become friends

  • Finish 3 marathons

  • Finish a 50 km trail race in the hilly Marin Headlands of California

  • Hike to extinct volcanoes in BC’s backyard

  • Hike to waterfalls in middle-of-nowhere Alaska

  • Complete a 160 km trek around Mont Blanc in the Alps

  • Hike among the wild buffalo on Catalina Island and the red rocks of Nevada

  • Start not one but two businesses

Photo Credit: Whitney Palmer

Photo Credit: Whitney Palmer

Hiking has not only empowered me with newfound self-confidence and self-belief but connected me with incredible women and people, repeatedly pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and provided an at-times much-needed escape and break from daily life. Renew Retreats was created out of a desire to bring these experiences and the positive impacts of hiking to more womxn.

In the early stages of the business, I began speaking with more womxn in my community who wanted to get outside and start hiking - but were scared to do so alone, had no one to hike with, and didn’t know where to start. Approachable education and proper preparation have become core values of the Renew Retreats experience.

And let’s be honest, I still don’t like camping and I really like a shower. I also wanted to create a retreat that doesn’t skimp on the mountain views and adventure, but also offers a comfy bed and tasty dinner at night and hot mug of coffee and healthy breakfast in the morning.

Upcoming Retreats

I would love for you to join me on an upcoming retreat. We roll out our one-day retreats this month, with weekend and multi-day retreats in the works for the coming months and 2020:

  • One-day retreat to Bowen Island for intermediate hikers: guided hike up Mount Gardner on Sunday, August 25. Everything you need for a safe hike and relaxing day in the outdoors is provided. Details here.

  • Half-day retreat in West Vancouver for beginner hikers: guided hike in Lighthouse Park on Sunday, September 15. Details here.

  • Hiking 101 Workshop for new and beginner hikers: evening of Wednesday, September 11 with guest speaker Kristine Krynitzki, Founder of Hikes Near Vancouver. Details here.

Celebrate our launch and save 10% on retreats

In celebrate of our launch, we are offering 10% off on all summer events between August 9 and Tuesday, August 13. Use promo code LAUNCH10 when you register.

What’s next for Renew Retreats

We’ll be sharing more details in the coming weeks and months on what’s to come - make sure you’re on our email list (sign-up here) so you don’t miss out! Here’s a few things you can expect from Renew:

  • Weekend and multi-day holistic hiking retreats in BC and abroad (we have Canada’s East Coast, Costa Rica, and the Alps in mind) designed with the new hiker or seasoned adventurer in mind

  • In-person workshops on all things hiking, the outdoors, and wellness

  • Group hikes open to a larger group and all genders with proceeds going to a social cause. Our first group hike will be Saturday, October 12 in North Vancouver with proceeds going to WIRTH Hats. Stay tuned for details!

  • Online resources, guides, and courses to help you prepare for and feel confident about your next adventure - big or small

Leave the details - and the food - to us. Join us on our next retreat and get renewed.

Danielle, Founder