People come to Ibiza to lose themselves or to find themselves. When I first came to the island I was definitely in the losing myself camp – fresh out of university on an internship with MTV, putting on parties at venues like the old quarry and Space. I’d never danced outside before and it felt like the only place in the world to be.
We’d stay at Casa Datscha, a wonderfully 80s-style villa owned by an artist and set above San Antonio with views of the bay. The first and last time I’ve ever been in an entourage was in Ibiza. Days and nights went on forever in one big starry blur, the residue of the night bleached away by the morning sun. It was only ever somewhere for me to lose myself back then – it was like everyone I’d ever met or needed to meet was there on the dancefloor at DC10. When I was 28, my Saturn Return hit me, smashing me into smithereens. It came with illness, re-evaluation, an end to life as it was before and a new beginning. It went on for years, like pulling off a very sticky plaster. The thing I wasn’t expecting was that the Ibiza I knew would shapeshift and change alongside me. Of course this ‘new’, other side to Ibiza had always been there, I’d just had my eyes closed until then.When I eventually moved to the island permanently, it allowedme to be more me-like.
Here, there’s so much space. That’s the thing you notice when you move here from the city, that you aren’t contained in the same way. You spend more time outside in open space and the sky above you is endless and it opens up your creativity. Ibiza is known as the island of transformation. With all that space and without the frenetic urban buzz, you are confronted by yourself in your full glory. The people give you space,too. The local community is made up of artists, hippies, healers, dealers, musicians, bohemian business-men, retired celebrities – all sorts. People never ask what you do here. For years I had longed to move away from my business acting as a lifestyle fixer for a global client base and step into my dream of hosting wellbeing retreats on Ibiza. Being here gave me the courage to do that.
Ibiza has always attracted those who wish to retreat. The island holds a kind of glamorous fascination, and on
my retreats we have a mixture of intrigued first-timers, those who have partied here and want to see the ‘other side’ and wellbeing regulars who love the island. The thing that many have in common, whether resident or visitor, is that they are seekers and they come to Ibiza to find the answers to their mystical wonderings.
The wild beauty of Ibiza really calls out to those who need to escape the city. The lush pine forests that blanket the land, the little stone walls, the stunning beaches framed by fishermen’s huts, the gnarled olive trees, the sunrises and sunsets, the vast endless blue of the sky. You can go hiking with local guides, like Toby from Walking Ibiza, and learn about the history, geology, flora and fauna of the island. You can paddleboard or kayak or rock climb year-round. It’s the perfect backdrop for healing work. The climate is stunning with the odd rainy week over winter; with the right venue you can holiday here year-round.
Some of the best wellbeing practitioners and teachers in the world have set up home on the island so the talent offering is world-class. I work with yoga teacher Suzanne Faith who has a following globally, so we get guests travelling from far and wide to practice with her. Kim Lewis is our resident masseuse; she’s a veteran who has been practising for over 30 years. She sees her work as a meditation and never times her treatments. Super-coach Chris Connors works with global business leaders who have flown in to seek his counsel. There’s someone practising everything here, from energetic healing to Watsu sea massage to psychosynthesis counselling. Ibiza is well and truly on the wellbeing map.
When I think back to the things about Ibiza that filled me with wonder in my MTV days, they are actually still the same. The dazzling people I meet, the intense blue of the sky, the unlikely things I find myself doing here, the barefoot elegance, and the sense of being part of something exciting and endless– just the healthy version.
After leaving a fast-paced life in London, Erin Knowles founded My Island Retreats, collaborating with leaders in the field of wellbeing and spirituality, curating retreats for busy people who need to escape their day-to-day lives for a magical wellbeing experience.