Reset with Restival Founder Caroline Jones

Reset with Restival Founder Caroline Jones

Here we interview founder Caroline Jones about how she chooses the unique locations around the world, her most magical moments and why it’s the perfect experience for a solo traveller.

you haven’t heard us raving about
– the unique concept which combines a retreat and
festival – now is the time to listen up. Here we interview founder
Caroline Jones about how she chooses the unique locations around
the world, her most magical moments and why it’s the perfect
experience for a solo traveller. If you like what you hear,
register for Arizona Restival in September or Morocco Restival in
February 2017 here.

How did the first initial idea for Restival come about?

It came to me on the underground, I often daydream on the tube.
Watching people with no signal still using their phones, I thought,
what if you combined a retreat with a festival? A fun event
combined with wisdom which is wifi free! Rather than getting out of
your mind, you found out more about yourself and others by
switching off.

What are four different reasons someone should experience

Finding happiness by switching off completely. Meeting a diverse
collection of people from around the world. Reconnecting with the
earth. Connecting with an ancient culture.

What are the key pillars of the concept?

Wellness – We focus on nutrition, nurturing the body, taking
care of yourself through yoga, meditation and a spa with excellent
body workers.

Comfort – in order to disconnect I think you have to be
comfortable and truly feel looked after. Tribes – for centuries we
have ignored so much tribal wisdom and I think it’s time to wake up
to what other cultures have to say. I’ve learned so much from the
Navajo. They have an gentle, yet infinite wisdom that’s delivered
with humility coming from their love of the earth. We can learn
without technology, by simply listening to people who respect the
laws of nature and understand the cosmic order of the universe –
better than any TV show or video can ever demonstrate.

Discovery – this happens on many levels, from the land, to the
tribe, yourself and of other people. Guests who attended last
year’s Restival called themselves the Restival Family – they
created their own clan through discovery and truly connecting with
one another.

Has the concept evolved since its inception?

Yes, we’re constantly evolving since we work with different
tribes and learn so much from them. In the US we’re collaborating
with the Navajo and in Morocco the Berber. You learn so many wise
ways from indigenous cultures – Restival is all about evolution and
reconnection to yourself, others and the earth.

The Restival clan (the team who produce Restival) are constantly
evolving with the movement. It’s so wonderful to see everyone
growing, including myself – I’m learning and evolving too, I’m a
work in progress. I love my clan, Restival wouldn’t happen without
their dedication to the movement. We work together incredibly well
with a lot of patience, kindness and laughter. We don’t always
agree either, which is good. They know I love them, I tell them all
the time. It may not be the corporate way, but Restival is about
doing things differently and so, I also swim upstream.

Why do you aim to link with tribes in specific destinations?
What does that bring to the experience?

Restival has been granted rare and privileged access to
indigenous cultures who have immense wisdom on life, Mother Earth
and how the universe works. Their abundant knowledge is utterly
captivating. We can adapt these learnings into our every day lives,
and that’s what Restival’s wishes are – to equip people with the
tools to handle modern life by learning from an ancient culture and
helping the people of the land by educating the future

Part of the proceeds from Restival will go towards education
facilities such as the STAR School in Arizona. These unforgettable
moments with the Navajo bring wisdom, history, undiscovered magic,
pure light, creativity, energy, laughter and much more to the
experience. The Navajo are incredible artisans with a wicked sense
of humour.

What were you doing before you started Restival?

I started working in events in 1994, starting at the Shepherds
Bush Empire during the Britpop era. For the last 10 years I have
been running my own events company, Miss Jones & Co.

Why did you want to create an experience for solo

I actually wanted to go on holiday on my own without going to a
retreat or a ‘singles’ holiday. So I created a place where you can
connect without feeling awkward and not be labelled this or that.
Just a place where you can be yourself and have a laugh, dance and
create. Plus rest. We all need to rest more.

Restival is currently only for 100 people at a time. Do you
think this would ever change?

My friend who’s a festival promoter and I had a big debate about
this recently. You lose the intimacy when you tip over a certain
number of people, so I’m loathed to make it into a big event.
Guests develop cliques and stop interacting with people they
haven’t met when events are on a bigger scale. Walking into the
dining tent in the Sahara was like someone turning the volume up –
everyone was talking, discovering something new about a stranger
and truly connecting with one another. They sat on cushions, eating
close to the ground on round tables, tribal style.

What makes Restival different from other retreats/festivals out

I think we’re completely different to anything out there. That’s
why some people can’t quite get their head around it! The clue, I
suppose, is in the name. Restival is not your average festival of
staying up all night and pushing your body to physical limits. At
Restival we find new highs in camping under the stars in the Sahara
and discovering the cosmos with our astronomer, before dancing with
the Berber around a campfire. You’re in the hands of a sage and
surrounded by satisfied people, and you’ll have something new to go
home and talk about. There’s nothing wrong with a rave, but
Restival isn’t a rave. You’re likely to discover more about
yourself at Restival than a standard festival.

Is yoga a massive part of the Restival experience?

Yes it is part of it but not a must do – there are no musts at
Restival. We practice yoga every morning and evening but nothing’s
prescriptive. You can choose to do whatever you wish at Restival.
Sit and watch the view and reflect or go to a writing workshop.
There’s lots to do and nothing to do at the same time. We just want
you to recalibrate and be happy.

Do you think people should think more about why they travel
rather than just where to?

I think people should be more conscious about the experience
that occurs when they travel. It’s not a badge, it’s a journey that
stays with you long after you’re home. The problem these days is
that we’re so busy when we get home after a couple of days it feels
like you haven’t been away. That’s why I created Restival – to make
a difference, to create a movement with a legacy.

What are some of the most magical moments you have experienced
at Restival?

Watching the sun rise over a dune, dancing with Morning
Gloryville. The gratitude I felt from the guests. Walking into a
room and seeing so many happy people in the Sahara.

What type of person goes to Restival? Were there any unlikely
guests at the last one in Morocco?

A managing director of a big multi-national company who had
never practiced yoga before is now a regular meditator. He was
pretty skeptical but joined in and my abiding memory will be of him
rolling down a sand dune laughing his head off. We just had so much
fun together as a tribe and it doesn’t matter where you’re from or
what you do – we all come from stardust as the Navajo Astronomer
told me.

What is so special about the destinations that you have chosen?
And why did you expand to Arizona?

The uniqueness of the destinations comes from the vast plains
that you look out onto, with no aeroplane trails in the sky, no
traffic noise, no advertising. Pure silence and energy from the
earth as it’s untouched by humanity. We found Arizona by mistake.
My friend was looking for the Roden Crater and found the Ranch
which sits beside the Crater. Whilst spending time with the owner,
she realised what a perfect spot this would be for Restival
Arizona. The owner also runs the STAR School where the Navajo
children are taught the Navajo way, so that’s where the tribal
connection was made.

The land in Arizona is a perfect mix of majestic beauty and
eccentric artworks in the middle of nowhere with a gigantic
meteorite crater as your neighbour. The vista is jaw dropping. It
sits atop an ancient native American reservation and you can see
rocks where their old dwellings used to be. We find crystals in the
ground all the time, it’s just bursting with energy.

The Sahara Desert also has this incredible vastness to it and
the sky at night is phenomenal. Almost everyone sees at least two
shooting stars. You could easily just sit and look at the sky all
night with the music from the Berber nomads in the background.
That’s a theatre show in itself. Pure nature on display.

Can you describe the way the Arizona desert makes people

Grounded. Totally, the geological history of the place is so
dense with grounding energy you feel completely connected to the
earth. Also it’s at quite a high altitude so you sleep so soundly.
It really is a place to rest and connect.

Register for Arizona Restival in September or Morocco
Restival in November here.

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