The Shared Space: Why Topia Boutique Retreat Is Designed for Connection

Posted by Chelle Swierz on

If finding community & connection is important to you… read this.

The decision to share a room with people I did not know during retreats and trainings has been one of the most enriching choices I’ve ever made. It is also why we designed Topia as a careful balance between private and communal space. 

Chelle from Topia Retreats popping in with a personal anecdote about something that Kris and I receive questions about quite frequently. That is the topic of shared rooms versus private rooms. 

Why Topia Is Designed for Connection

I’ll dismount any soapbox about the importance of connection in today’s world; we aren’t here to convince retreat leaders or guests of anything. But I want to share my personal experience with roommates during retreats and trainings. These rooming experiences deeply influenced why Kris and I designed Topia with a majority of shared suites for our 21-guest boutique retreat center here in sun-drenched Baja.

The shy kid inside this adult body is likely thinking: "Why would I want to share a room with strangers when I could have my own private oasis?" This was me, and is probably still me if given the option. It can feel like turning the shower on cold in the morning, or saying yes to a public speaking opportunity. Why would I subject myself to such discomfort?

Connection, Growth, Joy: It’s Worth the Discomfort.

At Topia, we've intentionally designed a majority of our rooms as shared suites. This can be directly traced back to my personal experiences as a traveling yoga teacher and student. What I discovered: while alone time is important, a community is only built when we share both meaningful and mundane moments together.

As someone who tends to edge on the side of introversion, I enjoy having my own space to decompress and recharge. But in my experience, sharing a room can lead to a meaningful connection. It can mean the difference between just a getaway or an ultimately life-changing one–– because of who you meet. 

In addition, transformation happens when we exit our comfort zone. While spending time in a hammock or on a beach walk by yourself can reset a weary nervous system, it may not offer as much in light of enrichment, growth, or belly laughter. If solitude is your default, staying in the safe zone alone can only do so much for the soul.

Our rooms and suites, shared and private, have all the modern conveniences, with en suite bathrooms, to be ultimately comfortable. Take a look at our accommodations here.

My Story: What I Learned About Sharing Rooms

In 2011, I attended my first sleep-away teacher training. I noticed groups of friends forming around me and wanted that same sense of connection. After digging deeper, I discovered that those building meaningful friendships were rooming together. 

For my next training, I signed up to share a room with three other women. We worked hard during the day and at night, we shared about our lives and laughed until we cried. It was a truly transformative experience that I'll never forget.

As a retreat facilitator, watching others bond has proven to be extremely rewarding. During the first retreat I led, I witnessed two strangers form a lasting friendship. Watching their connection grow and blossom was truly heartwarming. 

Alone Time Is Still Important on Retreat

You might still be thinking, I really do need my alone time. And that's totally valid. We've made sure to create spaces for solitude and reflection throughout our retreat center. Quiet nooks for reading, and easy access to the beach for solo walks as needed. Take a look at our gallery here. 

But if you or your group is really seeking solitude, perhaps there is a better space to facilitate your experience. If your group is wanting community, and growth through connection, we’d love to host your next retreat!

Our vision: To provide a space where guests can engage in activities, growth, and learning together, forming bonds that may last a lifetime.

So, to the retreat leaders who may be hesitant about offering shared rooms: I hear you. But I encourage you to ask your guests what type of experience they want to have. 

If connection and friendship are high on their list, then Topia may be the perfect fit. 

And who knows? They may just leave with a new best friend or two.

To learn more about booking your next retreat with us, go here.

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