Lifestyle Podcast Post

Curated Travel with Mary Blackmon

George Grombacher January 27, 2023

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Curated Travel with Mary Blackmon

LifeBlood: We talked about curated travel combining self-care and farm-fresh foods and ingredients, the value of reconnecting with yourself and how to do it, how to push beyond your comfort zone, and how to get the most out of your time off, with Mary Blackmon, Creator of Spa Addicts, Farm Star Living, and Farm to Wellness Retreats.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Mary Blackmon

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00

Unknown Speaker 0:15
this is George G and the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Mary Blackman. Mary, how you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:22
I am so ready. All right, let’s go. Mary is the creator of Spa addicts and farm star living her newest venture is Farm to wellness retreats, where she curates self care, travel experiences. Mary, tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:45
Oh, my goodness, well, first of all, thank you so much for having me, it’s just been something I’ve been looking forward to doing. And my personal life.

Unknown Speaker 0:54
You know, I’m really Passion Driven. And what I love to do is kind of tap into this wellness trends that I’m feeling that I need, pretty much and that I feel will resonate with other people. And I’ve built businesses based on those principles. And I have just started my newest business, which is Farm to wellness retreats, which is to promote wellness travel, but with a farm fresh twist. Because not only is wellness, one of my passion point, but so it’s farm fresh food, and things that are sourced right from the farm. So I’ve combined two of my passions into this new business to promote wellness travel around the world, at spas and resorts and even farm villas that offer not only mind body, spirit, healing and wellness, but they also involve something from the farm. So this is kind of a new approach to wellness travel, so that you can also either experience farms, either nearby or on the property, farm to table cuisine, or indigenous ingredients, or farm sourced ingredients and their spa products. So I’m really excited about it. Because personally, I feel like after COVID You know, I was so tired of being in my house.

Unknown Speaker 2:29
I really, you know, understood how important our health is all the time. And this to me was the answer to help people post pandemic, to reconnect with themselves, prioritize their health and healing and also just take time out for their own self care.

Unknown Speaker 2:52
Amen. I think that I think we all

Unknown Speaker 2:55
I think that we all certainly feel that way after, after COVID.

Unknown Speaker 3:00
And certainly, I appreciate what you were talking about how you

Unknown Speaker 3:06
you look for trends that that you enjoy and love and feel that other people will love. And I think that you really hit the nail on the head with people being a lot more concerned with the foods that we’re eating and and actually supporting the local

Unknown Speaker 3:23
companies and local farms. What better way to to be able to

Unknown Speaker 3:30
pursue self care goals and desires while at the same time, you know, supporting local as well as eating good food and getting really high quality ingredients.

Unknown Speaker 3:44
Exactly. Yes. And to me, I think that you can’t really have great health, mental health, physical health, even your spiritual well being how you feel about life without consuming foreign fresh foods in some fashion. So you know, the healthier you eat the healthier you’re going to feel.

Unknown Speaker 4:09
So you recognize that there is pardon my pun and appetite for this kind of thing out in the world

Unknown Speaker 4:21
and he say you know what this is this is this this would be pretty cool. Then there’s there’s a lot of ground in between that idea and then actually bringing this thing to life. So how do you get started on it? start researching looking around the world for different places that are cool. How does that how does actually work?

Unknown Speaker 4:40
You know, I keep thinking of that song because it’s been you know, the holiday season, put one foot in front of the other

Unknown Speaker 4:50
but it’s the truth. You know, we just put one foot in front of the other and

Unknown Speaker 4:56
you know I do have a background

Unknown Speaker 5:00
kind of uniquely, I have my first internet company was in the spa and resort industry promoting self care knee time to what I call the every woman.

Unknown Speaker 5:13
So I have experience through that, which I also gained, just you know, by throwing myself in the ocean. But but so I understand spas and resorts so I started researching them. And then my second internet company was the first to really put a whole spin on agriculture, and to elevate farmers. So I had that and it’s been around for 10 years now farm star living. So I’ve had experience in the world of farms and food,

Unknown Speaker 5:48
I really was immersed in that and working with produce companies and farmers. So I started looking at spas and resorts from the lens and the perspective of what did they have that’s incorporating a farm, or farm fresh food component. So I started researching the spas and resort, one at a time, from coast to coast. And then I started looking at also places around the world, different pockets, like in Italy, or France,

Unknown Speaker 6:25
in the Caribbean, that have these great places for self care or wellness. But that also had this one extra layer. So just a ton of research. And that’s kind of been the basis of this whole website, farm to wellness retreat.

Unknown Speaker 6:47
Excellent. So what are you what what what what should i

Unknown Speaker 6:54
as, as a consumer, who, who is who is your ideal client slash customer.

Unknown Speaker 7:04
I’m the person like myself,

Unknown Speaker 7:09
who is basically craving a chance to maybe unplug from the hustle and bustle who likes to work on themselves, who’s looking for a greater sense of vitality, who wants to have a better future, and who knows that sometimes you have to take yourself away from your day to day to reconnect with yourself.

Unknown Speaker 7:38
And then through things like wellness classes, or meditation or nutrition classes, or weight loss programs, whatever you personally might need. That is the person that I’m looking for someone who has, first of all the desire to make a change, and then who is inspired to go and work on themselves.

Unknown Speaker 8:06
One thing that I really love about what we’re doing, which I find very unique and really exciting, is we, when I say we, my team and I we feel like we’re matchmakers for people with their wellness wishes. So if you wanted to do things like maybe learn how to meditate, and you wanted to get outdoors and you wanted to go hiking, or you wanted to have like yoga experiences, you actually could look at our list of activities, which are our wellness wishes, and you can search for the properties around the world that offer what you feel like you need.

Unknown Speaker 8:50
Love it.

Unknown Speaker 8:52
It’s really cool.

Unknown Speaker 8:55
desire to make a change inspired to take action. And more often than not, we It does require that we that we disconnect from our everyday existence and changing the scenery, doing things that are different and being able to, to target you know what I’ve been wanting to do more hiking or learn about yoga or learn about mindfulness meditation. And sure I can do that online. But what would he be even better would be to actually immerse myself and combine it with some other passions of mine and, and be able to do all the things that you’ve been describing. I think that that’s, that’s, that’s that’s a really exciting thing is that starting points,

Unknown Speaker 9:44
you think that the term use was wellness wishes? Is that one of the starting points? Is it is it location is it all these things?

Unknown Speaker 9:55
You know, I think it to me if you can

Unknown Speaker 10:00
search by location. So if you know, you definitely want to go to Arizona, or Hawaii, that’s fine. Or maybe you wanted to go to Portugal, something like that, that’s totally okay. But I like to be open minded to knowing what I’m looking for. And then wow, it might lead me to a place I’ve never considered like bullies, I just returned from a trip to Belize, I had an amazing experience.

Unknown Speaker 10:30
And I don’t know that I would have sought out a property in Belize, or, for example, even the Dominican Republic, that is a country that is completely going through a metamorphosis, incorporating more wellness, travel and more destinations there. And, you know, that may not have been at the top of my list either. So I think staying open minded to where, and then looking for the experiences. So back to Belize, when I was there at this beautiful place called the nya Resort and Spa, not only going to have amazing wellness experiences there, they’re a little more ceremonial, somewhat spiritual, just, you know, enveloped by big trees with the huge palm leaves and lagoons covered with lily pads, and like the most beautiful bird singing everywhere. But not only was I loving that I had an excursion there, and they offer many. So I got to go on this incredible small farm tour of an organic cacao farm. And as I was doing that, you know, the really like enthusiastic farmer who’s been doing this for generations. He’s of Mayan descent. He’s educating me on what it’s like to grow caliphate. And he’s showing them to me showing how you crack them open. Then I went down the road, and I made my own dark chocolate, and got to eat it. And it was really strong, definitely not like Hershey.

Unknown Speaker 12:13
What an incredible experience.

Unknown Speaker 12:16
It was, and actually, while I was there, they were like, Yeah, Prince Harry and Megan was there, right there. Just a few months before? I was like, You’re kidding, in this remote little part of Belize. That’s amazing. You know, so it’s, it’s also the excursions you can have, and I would not have experienced that. Except, you know, there.

Unknown Speaker 12:41
Yeah, I think that that’s incredible.

Unknown Speaker 12:45
Really, but how far outside of of your comfort zone? Do do you think? Well, is that essential? Or is it you know, push it a little bit, push it a lot? How do you think about that?

Unknown Speaker 13:02
You know, God, that is such a great question. I’m someone who has lived at the edge of my comfort zone.

Unknown Speaker 13:12
I really have. So I think it is necessary for growth.

Unknown Speaker 13:19
But I also think when you push it too hard, it’s kind of like the pendulum swing, if you go too far over, sometimes it’s gonna swing way far back. So I like to push it. But I don’t want to go so far that I have like backlash. But you don’t grow where you’re standing, you grow from where you’re pushing yourself. So I try to live on that edge of my own comfort zone.

Unknown Speaker 13:50
I think that that makes sense. We are still interested in in recharging our batteries. So I don’t want to be stressed out and have anxiety about something that’s a little too far outside my comfort zone.

Unknown Speaker 14:04
That’s right, no anxiety attacks.

Unknown Speaker 14:08
Let’s just push ourselves. But you know, that’s why like, you know, with comfort zones and pushing yourself and change. I really, I’ve done all the work myself and I continue to and it’s always a process. What is the saying perfection has no peak. You just keep climbing the mountain and you’ll never really reach it. So the fact is,

Unknown Speaker 14:36
a good morning practice like meditation for me has been really essential. Because as you do find yourself kind of on the edge of your own comfort zone or maybe extending a little further than you would like. If you have a good grounding practice.

Unknown Speaker 14:55
Then you can kind of return to that and recenter your

Unknown Speaker 15:00
So, and that gets you back on your own two feet, you feel like, okay, I can handle this. But I really think that’s an essential tool to have in your toolkit. So all this change, pushing oneself is great, but you need to make sure your feet are firmly on the ground, or at least you can return to that. I think that will mitigate any anxiety or feeling overstressed? Yeah, I think that makes a ton of sense. So through the process of, of, of starting this new company, we talked about just one step at a time when one foot in front of the other.

Unknown Speaker 15:44
And you mentioned that the Dominican Republic is, is working hard to make something like this more, more possible. What What have you been surprised by? Or has there been anything that’s really been surprising?

Unknown Speaker 16:05
What have I been surprised by?

Unknown Speaker 16:09
Well, I think that it’s an industry that is booming, but there’s still room for growth in the industry.

Unknown Speaker 16:19
So I think there are a lot of properties that are understanding how people really need this. And they’re working hard at creating new programs that will help people kind of mind body spirit, feel like new, feel better, feel more grounded. And I think that,

Unknown Speaker 16:46
you know, a lot of different companies are recognizing this is really essential. So I think some properties are at different levels of their ability to really offer it. So that’s kind of been a surprise. So some of them are really well advanced. And some are kind of new, you know, striving to make this happen. And there, there are pluses and pros for both of those, because those that are already very well established and doing this, and they’re pros at it, that’s one thing, but the other properties that maybe are kind of newer and working on it, they are really caring about your experience. And they also are going out of their way to make sure that it’s a really good. So I think, you know, whether they’re just now starting to offer these wellness services, or they’re, you know, they’ve been doing it forever. I do think you can have great experiences at both.

Unknown Speaker 17:44
I think that that makes a lot of sense. If I wanted to, if I wanted to really roll my sleeves up and actually, like work on a farm, are there properties that that make that available?

Unknown Speaker 17:58
You know, there is farm internships, and I came across those with my business farm star living. There are definitely places you can go and volunteer, you can have internships, there is a process. In fact, this was kind of cool. With my company, farm star living, I had a really talented and earthy young lady working for me. And she wanted nothing more than to do that. And she found a place in Colorado up in the mountains that had, you know, working farm animals, they grew certain types of produce. And anyway, she wanted to work there. And she ended up doing that I wrote her a great letter of recommendation. And she was awesome. So she ended up moving there and actually living there with the family on the farm work in the farm. So there are pleased, I know, it took her on a whole new path. She became a naturopath and started making products and keep down her own niche in that industry. So it’s a great thing to do if that’s something that interests you, for sure.

Unknown Speaker 19:16
I love farmers. I mean, there’s no one to me that is more down to earth and no pun intended, but who’s just real? And you know, being in this industry for as long as I have been. I’ve gotten to meet a ton of farmers from all walks of life. And I’m always inspired and grateful to them for sure.

Unknown Speaker 19:44
Yeah, literally and figuratively some of the most down to earth people on the planet.

Unknown Speaker 19:50
Love it. Well, Mary, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn about Farm to wellness retreats, give us the sites and how people getting

Unknown Speaker 20:00

Unknown Speaker 20:01
thank you, George, what’s been great to talk about my passions and thank you for inviting me. So farm to wellness That’s the website you can find all of your own wellness wishes and wonderful properties around the world. We also have some beautiful posts on Instagram. So look for us at farm to wellness retreats, on Instagram, on Facebook. And you can also follow farm star living, which is also on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. So I’d love for y’all to to have your own wellness journey and I hope that I can be a part of it. Love it.

Unknown Speaker 20:42
If you enjoyed as much as I did, share your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to farm to wellness And check out all the wonderful things that Mary is working on the experiences that she’s curated, check out the properties and the wellness wishes. Find them on Instagram and Facebook as well. And you could find farmstyle living on social media also, I’ll list all those in the notes of the show. Thanks again, Mary.

Unknown Speaker 21:12
Thank you, George. Appreciate it. Happy New Year. Happy New Year to you as well. And until next time, remember, do your part but doing your best

Transcribed by

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