“I couldn’t find my own wellness after 20+ years of taking well-worn paths into doctor offices, rehabs or quietly trying to sort my own mental health,” says Alice, who decided to take matters into her hands, launching a series of retreats delivering a fresh, science-backed approach.
“I’m not proud of my battle with drinking. After 26 trips to rehab, I knew the 27th wouldn’t work. You wouldn’t take your car somewhere 26 times and expect a different result on the 27th. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to get well, but what I did find was a pathway to wellness through wilder ways, simpler ways, some that didn’t cost a cent,” explains Alice; an author, US tennis scholarship recipient and owner of a Grand Design Australia featured home.
“Since 2019, I haven’t set foot in a rehab. But I have set foot in icy Tassie highland tarns. I jumped in the ocean 158 days in a row for cold water therapy, checked in with gratitude, tapped into experts in fields lesser known, poured pristine Tassie water into me, learned how to breathe and connected with powerful communities. These became daily rituals that formed the blueprint to Wild Wellness.”
The Wild Wellness experience
Wanting to spare others the pain of her two-decade search for wellness, Alice felt compelled to share her story in hope it would give others permission to be vulnerable and openly talk. Now she’s sharing what she has learned so others can take the fast track.
The Wild Wellness team includes a doctor, psychologist, NLP practitioner, personal trainer, yoga instructor and nutritionist. And it’s all served up with a hefty dose of Tasmanian wilderness. The life changing retreats involve walking the likes of Tasmania’s famed Three Capes Track, trekking along some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs before reaching welcoming lodges complete with plunge pool where a qualified Wim Hof Method instructor guides guests through cold water therapy and breathwork.
“We walk. We talk. We stop. We learn from qualified nature guides. We journal. We sit by fires and watch them flicker. We get up for sunrise, we listen into nature, we take the plunge and come together in powerful breathwork and more,” says Alice.
There are two Wild Wellness pathways, both set in epic wilderness. The first is for those seeking to optimise general well-being through a holistic approach, while the second is aimed at those who, like Alice, are keen to shift their relationship with alcohol. And when you consider how many Australians turned to the bottle to get through COVID19 lockdowns –– spending an extra $2 billion on alcohol in 2020 compared to 2019 –– there are quite a few of us.
“The ironic reality is that our good mate the drink has rewarded with more despair – whether it be less productivity through to sad scenarios of drink driving, domestic abuse and more” says Alice.
“Yet, we still consider it an essential service during lockdown?”
Wild Wellness’ Alcohol-Free Wild Wellness Retreats are an Australian first; transformative sessions served up with a good dose of seaside relaxation. The retreats provide specific tools, including a 30-day meal plan specific to nutrients a drinker needs to replenish. It’s not a quick fix but a lasting recalibration.
“Wild Wellness is truly a unique and innovative approach for Australian Mental Health,” says addiction specialist Dr. Chris Davis, a Sydney-based GP and Director of East Sydney Doctors and founder of the Clean Slate Clinic, who is adding his years of expertise to the program.
Scientific research supports the Wild Wellness philosophy of the power of nature with papers out of Harvard that confirm such. So much so that Japanese doctors have been prescribing what they term “Forest Bathing” as a treatment for stress, hypertension, and other maladies of the modern world. GPs on the remote Shetland Islands of Scotland are also on board, trialing ‘Nature Prescriptions’ with patients for several years.
“Anecdotally, I know when I head into the Tasmanian wilds and I’m wrapped in its scents and silence, my worries seem to vanish into fresh forest air. I think most can feel the difference between being hunched over a computer with stressors flying versus wandering through tall eucalypts,” explains Alice.
Wild Wellness for everyone
You don’t need to be struggling with alcohol to enjoy a Wild Wellness experience. There are retreats specific for those with addiction challenges hosted by doctors to psychologists to NLP practitioners in the great outdoors. But there are also general retreats for those who might just need time out to stop, check in and breathe.
Along with walking expeditions there are more relaxed retreats where the menu is more about cruisy stretching, yoga, massage, and plenty of time to simply rest and recharge.
Whether you’re someone who want to lap up views of Bass Strait while being fed nourishing meals or enjoying a massage, or someone who wants to take a deep dive into the things that are keeping you feeling stuck in life, there’s a Wild Wellness retreat for you.
“We want people to be able to access Wild Wellness at any level; whether that’s through the free online course, an immersive few days in the wilderness, or one of our retreats focused more on relaxation,” adds Alice.