A short story about my stay at Kathy’s Island Retreat

This is an interview with Camille on her stay at Kathy’s Island Retreat, Karpathos in Greece. She stayed there in August 2021 for 21 days. The interview was done at Dio Pigadia – our small permaculture farm in Greece.

kathys island retreat at evening time

How did hear about Kathy’s Island Retreat?

It was a time of my life where I decided to invest on my growth and my personal projects. At that time, I was practicing yoga for many years and I decided to do this teacher training for self-development.

There was a platform called BookYogaRetreats that kind of lists all the retreats of the world. I found this program, saw the pictures, the very nice reviews and I didn’t doubt about it. It was clear for me to go there, so the choice was made in about a few hours to participate at the payed teachers training.

How did you get in contact with Kathy’s Island Retreat?

Through the platform you just write a message to them. But before you apply, they make a call with you to be sure you both are align with each other. We had a 30 Minutes Videocall over Skype just to feel the vibes.

It’s a couple who created that place. They act for a bigger vision – the goal is to bring humanity together, to elevate the consciousness of humanity. The teacher training is a good way to reach people so they can spread the teachings. But they are not only doing trainings – during the year they have started an own community so they have many projects going on about the land, building stuff, gardening and so on. Basically, they want to bring people together.

Okay that’s interesting, tell us more about their Philosophy.

The Idea of yoga in the western country’s is mainly for sports. But the real philosophy of yoga goes further than that – it’s about how you approach life. The teacher training is not about knowing the perfect poses, their focus is to share the philosophy and the real roots of yoga.

One big part of the yoga philosophy is karma yoga which leads you to act for causes that go beyond your own interest. This is also what inspired me to join adventures as a volunteer.

This place is really a place that allows growth. The people are very supportive, you feel very safe being there. But Growth is not easy all the time. You face your dark sides, the limitations of the mind and your ego. It’s not vacation, its challenging – you really work on yourself. The teachers are always by your side to give you the tools to overcome the challenges. The teachings go wider than yoga, the teachers share also personal knowledge such as Bach remedies and sound healing.

21 Days sounds short to establish the teachings…

These 21 Days were really intense, it was enough to turn everything upside down. Teachers are aware that’s its short, that’s why they offer their support during the following year. It’s a weekly video gathering to talk, share and support each other. It’s really a dedication from them, expecting nothing in return. I am really thankful for that. You can really feel that they are doing it from the heart, for the vision and not for money.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Accommodations?

We had two different types of accommodations. Mainly we were sleeping in a house with several bedroom. You can share the room or can be on your own to have your privacy. If you don’t sleep in the house you can sleep in nice caravans. Everyone in the house had his own bathroom and comfortable bed with a beautiful sea-view. I was sleeping very well.

How did a typical Day look like?

  • We woke up for our first yoga class from 8 – 10 AM
  • Then we had a little breakfast.
  • After we had yoga philosophy class for about 2 hours until lunchtime.
  • We had around 3 hours of free time to enjoy.
  • Depending of the day we had different lessons in the afternoon.
  • After dinner we often had yoga related movie nights, singing, music, games…
the housing area with seafew

Here at Dio Pigadia we cook ourself: How does it work there?

There were about 5 volunteers (they are actually looking for volunteers) who cooked three meals a day for the 20 people. There was a rotation for the volunteers so in their spare time they could attend for free the morning yoga class as well.

The food was vegetarian with vegan options. It was organic, local and fresh – this was super delicious food!

What did you do in your spare time?

It is a remote place where the nearest village was 15 minutes away by car. It is located in front of the sea. You can enjoy swimming, beautiful sunsets. There are also big mountains for hiking.

We didn’t go out of the area during the week because of the packed schedule (we did 200 hours of training in 21 Days). Though on Sundays we went on different expeditions to very nice places with beautiful beaches and light-blue water. We also went to Olympos, a very traditional village in the mountains.

So you are still in touch with the other teachers and students?

The experience with the group is very intense so you build very strong bonds. The exchange was very deep so I have still contact with a lot of people from my time there. You developed true relationships so for me and for all the people I know it was a life changing experience. It inspired me about community living.

In Dio Pigadia we are also living in community with volunteers. What attracts you to this kind of lifestyle?

I love the idea of creating something together, to grow with nature, to have deep connections and also to work hard together for a bigger vision. Sharing with people and learning from others. It’s a lifestyle that allows me to live in full presence, away from the craziness of society.

Volunteering (Workaway, WWOOF … ) is a great way to experience this lifestyle. I am so glad for my experience at Kathy’s Island Retreat and I am really looking forward to have similar experiences on other projects like Dio Pigadia.

Thanks Camille for sharing with us your experience. At Dio Pigadia we support this same Mindset you experienced at Kathy’s Island Retreat. Creating a Community where you can have deep connections to people and nature.

We also aim to create a space for yoga surrounded by nature at our place 🙂 Are you more interested in Dio Pigadia? Check out our Instagram Profile.

What others think about us

  • Avatar R Bungener ★★★★★ a month ago
    What an incredible place where nature and humans work in collaboration to enable sustainable living and agriculture.
    Not only is Dio Pigadia in gorgeous
    … More setting, in the hills between Pylos and Methani, the people there are also really nice. A must visit whether you're a volunteer or visiting the area (they do hope evenings on Fridays!).
    They also have rental cottages (Nectar Pylos) which are a gem to stay in if you're visiting.
  • Avatar Jules Canquelain ★★★★★ a week ago
    What a magical place to take a break, get away from this world where everything is going too fast. Here, we get closer to the most essential things in … More life: the earth, love, autonomy, good vegetables, animals, crafting and the most important !! INCREDIBLE FOOOOOD !!
    All of this in a wonderful community of sharing and mutual aid.
    What a pleasure to take care of mother nature and help her as we can.
    This is where it all begins !
    Thank you family
    See you soon 🫶
  • Avatar Hugo Prd ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    We worked there as volonteers for a month and it was truely an amazing adventure! Such a good atmosphere and filled with nice people. We learned a lot … More ans had some small responsabilities in the community, which is a thing we loved.
    Jules is so welcoming and always ready to share about his project!
    We miss you already and can't wait to come back!! Love
    Julie and Hugo
  • Avatar Theresa Aston ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    Very impressive small-scale farm in the Peloponnese region of Greece. The olive oil they produce is the best I’ve ever had, as well as the tomatoes, eggplant… … More everything here is delicious! Truly a (healthy) culinary experience! The owner Jules is a very inspiring guy with a refreshing philosophy of what sustainable living entails. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit! Definitely worth it for the delicious food, friendly animals, and beautiful community :)
  • Avatar Kajsa ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Dio Pigadia is a little slice of paradise. A safe haven for people who want to slow down, get into the earth and reconnect with nature. Beautiful gardens … More and veggies, you can really tell that everything is made with the principles of permaculture in mind. Staying as a volunteer is so great, the work is fun and rewarding. The people who are attracted to this project are beautiful and I have learned so much! Thank you Jules and the rest of the team
  • Avatar Lucia Christ ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    Dio Pigadia...what a place!
    I came as a volunteer to stay for six weeks and it turned out to be such a great and interesting time. Learning "little"
    … More farming skills, building a relationships with all the animals around, laughing at the shared meals with all the other volunteers, getting an image about how we can treat our environment in a sustainable way...
    I would definitely recommend joining for some time as a volunteer or just looking by to enjoy some veggies and olive oil!
    Thanks for this experience Dio Pigadia and Jules, the "Master of Mesochori" (and the "chef" of the farm, but don't call him that ;)!
  • Avatar Noel Gilmartin ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    I recently visited with our family during the August peak, when the farm is open to visitors on Friday evenings.
    It was a perfect evening and the atmosphere
    … More in this secluded, elevated location with the beautiful evening sky and stunning countryside, with views all around was truly magical. You could feel the presence of the ancients who surely farmed these hills before us!
    On arrival we received a really friendly welcome from Jules, the principal, who immediately invited us on a tour of the farm and was keen to explain everything about the philosophy of the operation.
    Jules, a Frenchman, is the kind of charismatic, almost messianic, personality that you can connect with right away.  He's a great communicator and a very open person who has great enthusiasm and energy for this project. He doesn't have fixed ideas about how the farm, which is still in the early stages of development, should proceed. He knows he's doing, but seems very open to ideas and suggestions - for example a volunteer had recently set up a website and social media presence for the farm.
    Jules is passionate above all about farming sustainably, and you can see this from the mulching on the soil (contrasting with the usual ploughing / cultivation).
    But the overall impression on this particular evening was of serenity and harmony of people together with nature.
    The products on offer taste fantastic - e.g. organic peppers & varieties of tomatoes, aubergines, and jars of ratatouille, tomato paste, olive oil... wow!
    Jules is also aware of the current alignment of Dio Pigadia with the post-Covid zeitgeist - the great awakening or reset of values - that life is more than the corporate 9 to 5,  (a bit like the Woodstock generation?), and there's a better partnership with nature to be achieved, especially through the smart use of technology now at our disposal. Volunteers work on the farm and for a variety of tasks - the perfect environment to experience nature, sustainable farming and companionship. Pay a visit and see for yourself!
  • Avatar Jan Schulz ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    We stayed in dio pigadia for one month, it was our first time as volunteers and it could not have been better!
    To cook everyday with fresh vegetables from
    … More the garden, eat the freshest (and maybe best) olive oil, work with our hands and always be surrounded by animals was
    We also learned much about permaculture, biodiversity, sustainability, to compost and to cook marmelade or peti mezi, the nectar of the greek gods.
    However, for us the best and also most in depth experience was to talk with other peoples from all over the world and especially with Jules about our western society, climate change, to learn to question the way we live in every aspect and to get new ideas for the future.
    So it was a really enriching stay and we are full of respect for Jules, his project and his vigour to try to spread his ideas.
    We totally recommend to visit the farm when you are in greece and we hope to come back one time!! Thanks Jules.
    Inga and Jan
  • Avatar Hans Van Dam ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    The combination sailor and landman is a common one on the islands in the Netherlands (in the old days). It was very nice to see Jules recalling that principle … More in Greece again.
    He is equally good and dedicated to both.
    His dedication is seen for sailing in the beautiful work he did on his wooden sailboat and even more in his diligence with which he started and developed this lovely Dio Pigadia 9km from the sea.
    Using old and often forgotten principles of cultivating the earth and crop, he developed the most fantastic veggie garden and olive tree orchard.
    He is the one giving you biological olive oil and vegetables with the real taste they should have and nutritional value that mono culture farmers have long time forgotten.
    And for volunteers: the relaxed atmosphere Jules and your colleagues have on Dio Pigadia is enough reason to apply for a place where you can learn about permaculture.
    It was a real pleasure to meet you and I wish you all succes you deserve. Good Luck.
    Hans, Zephyr
  • Avatar Marie Weiller ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    A little piece of heaven that also shows that another model of food production is possible: delicious vegetables, fruits, olive oil, cheeses, herbs... … More are produced and prepared with the help of nature at its best - balanced, generous and smart. This kind of environment brings out the best in people. I recommend going for a visit and seeing it with your own eyes.