Port parent plans transformative retreats for families to bond and connect
Port parent and resident Evan Freed founded The Family Journey this past summer. The Family Journey provides curated, transformational retreats for families focused on bonding, connection, and radical self-care. These trips are culturally immersive and allow for profound self-growth experiences.
Children adventure at local camps on the beach while the adults meditate, hike, and explore nature. Families and couples will leave the retreat with more self-love, patience and understanding of what your family members desire.
Freed’s experience with meditation and spiritual practices goes back to when he was in high school in Oceanside. Freed’s mom was diagnosed with cancer; although Freed and his brother didn’t know she was sick at the time, they noticed she began to meditate.
“It was kind of her own healing and way to cope with the fact that she might die,” said Freed. “So my brother and I started doing it with her, and we both got really into it, and we continued after she passed. We made it an important part of our life like it was hers. It connected us.”
Freed got deeper into meditation and spiritual practices. He earned his meditation teacher training and began working with others to teach meditation. This summer, he planned the first retreat for The Family Journey to Costa Rica. The retreat was a private trip with a single family.
The Family Journey offers group retreats with multiple families and private retreats with a single family.
Freed describes the private retreats as “making a statement for your family.’ The private retreat for a single family is a dream coming out of an individual family. It’s healing in that you are deciding this is the direction of your family.
“[The private retreats for a single family] becomes a transformative thing that can shift your entire family’s direction around,” said Freed. “We focus on lineage trauma because two families are coming together with separate traumas, and they are coming into one person. So we work on getting rid of this stuff that has made your life difficult without knowing it. It’s about putting your flag in the ground.”
Both private and group retreats focus on the importance of allowing parents the time to focus on themselves as individuals.
“Parents just don’t have time to get away from their kids or work to focus on themselves,” said Freed. “A lot of information out there will say things like ‘five tips to be a better parent’ and tell you to do this and that for your kid. But we also have to consider what are you doing for yourself?”
“If you’re not grounded or emotionally stable, no matter what you do, it’s not going to work,” said Freed. “Because kids will feel that energy, whether it’s chaotic or angry. Kids feel more than they hear. So on these retreats, it’s about working through things and helping you heal to get you to a place where you feel nourished.”
On private and group retreats, parents go hiking, surfing, visiting hidden beaches, and climbing mountains to see beautiful and unique sights. Then Freed guides meditations and talk about parenting and the journeys of life.
“Exploring nature and talking helps get to the core of what makes us tick,” said Freed.
When talking on the phone with parents to plan their retreat, Freed always asks ‘what do you desire?’ And for most moms, it’s always about their kids. “No one ever asks a mother, what do you desire? They do everything for everyone else,” said Freed.
When the kids return from the day camps, where they interact with local kids, make friends, and explore beaches, the families regroup in the afternoon and evening.
“Families come together, and we do communication activities,” said Freed. “One day on the retreat, we will do a full day of family fun and bonding. And every evening, there are activities to do; depending on the kids’ age, we have art-based activities and other creative activities to get kids engaged.”
“The goal here is, you’re separated, then you come together and now the parents can maybe hear their kids differently than they can at home,” said Free. “What are your kids really asking for? And what are they trying to communicate to you?”
On the group retreats, families and couples have the opportunity to bond with other families, share stories and help each other figure out the dynamic that makes your family thrive.
On each retreat, Freed likes to focus some time on local acts of service. While enjoying the lands of the locals, it’s important to spend time with them and their community in whatever ways they need. “With tourism, it’s important to give back to where you’re going,” said Freed.
The next retreat Freed is planning is this February break in Costa Rica, from the 15th to the 22nd. The Costa Rica trip is a group retreat that has turned out to be a single-mother families trip. In the summer, a group retreat to Southern Spain is being planned, and six families have signed up so far.
Freed is looking for a few more families to join in on each of the next retreats. He is also looking into planning a Spring Break trip to Mexico. If interested , visit familyjourney.com for more information.