Creativity Retreat in Spain

November 6 - 13, 2023

*$4,200 per person (*subject to currency fluctuation)

A Week of Creative Immersion, Inspiration, and Play

This small group experience is designed to awaken your senses and will be capped at 12 students. We'll have expert guides, exclusive, behind the scenes access in Barcelona and Costa Brava, delicious food and wine, and thought-provoking themes to explore, including joy, igniting creativity, life meaning, traveling through time, and more. You'll walk away feeling inspired, energized, and with rich, new stories to tell. 

This experience is for you if you are looking to: 

  • Have a unique and meaningful travel adventure  
  • Learn about the world and yourself 
  • Cultivate greater self-awareness and appreciation for your own story
  • Meet other like-minded women 
  • Tap into your most creative self 
  • Connect with your voice and help bring it onto the page 
  • Craft new stories that can be further developed or shared 
  • Enjoy learning about and feasting on delicious regional cuisine and wine
  • Appreciate the fullness of life
  • Laugh and uncover the heart of your creativity
Sign Up Here!

About your Retreat Leader

Nancy Sharp is an award-winning author and sought-after speaker and trainer who helps people cultivate greater resilience by telling and owning the stories that have shaped who they are and who they want to become. Nancy received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College and certification to teach Guided Autobiography through The Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies.  She teaches Guided Autobiography and workshops on writing ethical wills to hundreds of students nationwide.  Nancy authored the memoir Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living and the children’s book Because the Sky is Everywhere.  Her work has been published in several essay anthologies, and articles, essays, columns, and letters by her have appeared in The New York Times, Katie Couric's Wake-Up Call, Woman’s Day, The Huffington Post, journals for the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and elsewhere. Nancy has guest lectured at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Regis University's MFA Program, The New School, and Marshall University. “When we own our stories, we own our lives,” says Nancy.  

 

About your Retreat Leader

Nancy Sharp is an award-winning author and sought-after speaker and trainer who helps people cultivate greater resilience by telling and owning the stories that have shaped who they are and who they want to become. Nancy received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College and certification to teach Guided Autobiography through The Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies.  She teaches Guided Autobiography and workshops on writing ethical wills to hundreds of students nationwide.  Nancy authored the memoir Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living and the children’s book Because the Sky is Everywhere.  Her work has been published in several essay anthologies, and articles, essays, columns, and letters by her have appeared in The New York Times, Katie Couric's Wake-Up Call, Woman’s Day, The Huffington Post, journals for the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and elsewhere. Nancy has guest lectured at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Regis University's MFA Program, The New School, and Marshall University. “When we own our stories, we own our lives,” says Nancy. 

Itinerary 

MONDAY November 6, 2023

 

DAY 1 - Alegría de la Vida - (Joy of Life)

10:30am Meet at the outdoor cafe of Palau de la Música Catalana, right next to the main box office. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/D55hHZ

From here we will be met by our driver and begin a 1hr30min drive northeast to the Costa Brava.

12:15pm Arrival at Sant Roc Hotel in Calella de Palafruguell for check-in. Once you are settled, please come downstairs.

1:00pm Orientation lunch at hotel patio. We will enjoy a fantastic 3 course lunch all together, while overlooking the Mediterranean. This will be a great opportunity for you to get to know all the participants and your two hosts. 

3:00pm After our long leisurely lunch, enjoy some free time in Calella de Palafruguell.

5:30pm -  WORKSHOP: Alegría de la Vida - (Joy of Life) 

This first workshop sets the stage for our adventure in Spain. We’ll talk about Spanish hospitality and culture and look more closely at “joy of life” in Spain and in our own lives. This is the overarching theme for the week. In this first workshop we will also discuss the assigned book that everyone will have read prior to the trip. 

7:30pm Cocktail Party and group dinner orientation session with drinks and tapas dinner.

TUESDAY November 7, 2023

DAY 2 - Igniting Creativity

 

8am Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

9:15am We will be joined by our minibus, driver and Dalí expert and begin our drive to Portlligat, where Dalí lived and worked. You’ll head up the coast to learn all about the master of surrealism, Salvador Dalí. We’ll visit his home in Portlligat where he lived with his wife, Gala. There you’ll see how a traditional fishing hut was curiously re-imagined by the eccentric artist.

11:00am Arrival in Portlligat and prepare for the visit to the Dalí House-Museum. After a walk through the house we will reconvene in Dalí’s garden and set up for today’s workshop

11:15am - WORKSHOP: Igniting Creativity

Where does creativity come from? And how do we unleash it? We’ll do some focused exercises and storytelling that will help to tap into our most creative selves amid the splendor of Salvador Dali’s garden. "Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure--that of being.” said the artist. What a rich tapestry to explore the powerful theme of creativity in our lives. 

1:30pm After the visit, we will drive over to Cadaques, an amazing white washed Mediterranean town. Here you will have some free time to get lunch at your leisure (we will recommend our favorite places!)

3:00pm Explore Cadaqués, a beautiful Mediterranean beach front village. You will have plenty of time to pop into little cafes, and work on the day’s exercises, or just soak in the pretty town and explore at leisure.

4:30pm Depart for the hotel and begin our drive back to Calella.

6:00pm Arrival at hotel for relaxation and more writing time in Calella. Evening at leisure.

WEDNESDAY November 8, 2023

DAY 3 - Traveling Through Time

 

8am Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

9:30am Our guide and driver will pick us up and drive the group to the medieval town of Besalú. This incredibly charming stone village was the former seat of the counts of the same name, and is a magnificent historic-artistic site, renowned for its beauty and the 11th century Romanesque bridge that once was necessary to adjoin this small village to land. 

10:45am Upon arrival to Besalú, we’ll all head into a local cafe for today’s Workshop.

11am - WORKSHOP: Traveling Through Time

The Los Angeles Times called Besalú the “ most interesting Spanish village you’ve never heard of.” Drawing upon this picturesque, historic village, we’ll play with time in our own lives. If you could travel backward in time, what period would you revisit? Would it be in your own lifespan or a time before you were born? The medieval castles of Besalu evoke an age of kings and queens. What would you do if you ruled your current "village"? In Besalu we will ignite our imaginations and dreams. 

12:30pm Work on your own in Besalú, individual help available. In this time we also encourage you to take a brief historic walk through Besalú’s old quarter.

2pm Meet for an amazing leisurely gourmet lunch with wine (we will point out where earlier on in the day), with an incredible view of the old stone bridge. Often this meal is described as one of the gastronomic highlights of the trip!

4pm Depart Besalú and return to Calella de Palafruguell.

5:15pm Free evening. Your host will lead an optional hike along the coast for those who are interested. Dinner is at leisure on your own.

Thursday November 9, 2023

DAY 4 - Expressiveness: From Grape to Glass

 

8am Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. We’ll then have a relaxed morning to say goodbye to the coast.

10:15am We’ll begin our day with a short drive down the coast to tiny wine region, D.O. Alella, and a tour of two of the best wine producers in the area. You will learn about the natural park where the winery makes its home, and how the nuances of such a unique landscape, the influences of the sea, and the natural, sustainable practices used help to create such delicious wines, followed by a complete tasting afterwards. 

11:30am Arrival at the winery where we will be greeted by our hosts. On arrival we will set up and enjoy our day’s workshop. 

11:45am - WORKSHOP: Expressiveness, From Grape to Glass

Using the wine making process as a metaphor for life, we’ll delve into the subtleties of our character. What makes us unique? In what ways are we complex? Velvety? Robust? How do we express ourselves so that we leave a lingering finish? 

1pm Following the workshop we will enjoy a brief tour of the vineyard, we will then have a fabulous farmhouse lunch paired with each of their top wines. 

4pm After our lunch and tasting, we will head to a second boutique vineyard for a visit and tasting. It will be very interesting to see how in such a small region, there are so many different wine styles! 

5:30pm  Head towards Barcelona and arrive around 6pm and check into the Casagrand Luxury Apartments. 

6:00 pm - 4 hours

OPTIONAL ADD-ON - Barcelona Cultural Immersion Food & Wine Tour

This evening's food and wine tour is all about decoding Barcelona using its great bars and restaurants. You will learn about Barcelona’s gastronomy, history and a strong cultural identity while you eat and drink your way around its small charming streets and soak it in firsthand. You will be led through various neighborhoods of Barcelona with a local expert and learn all about the colorful history and cultural nuances of Barcelona and the region of Catalonia. From Roman conquests, wine tasting techniques, local dining culture, to the societal impact of the modern Catalan separatist movement, we'll get into it all! We will visit local establishments for tasty gourmet dishes and a wide variety of wines from around Spain and Catalonia. Wine connoisseurs and foodies, as well as those who simply enjoy eating and drinking, are assured a fantastic time, with loads of information from an English-speaking, personable guide about wine, food, culture and the history of the city and region. This is a walking tour with about 10-15 minutes between each of the destination restaurants. We exclusively include great local establishments, keeping the experience unique, fun and memorable. We recommend comfortable walking shoes for this tour!  Additional fee for this tour is 105 Euro per person.

Friday November 10, 2023

 

DAY 5 - A day at Leisure in Barcelona

Enjoy a day at leisure in Barcelona to let all that you have learned and experienced soak in.
 

OPTIONAL ADD-ON - Medieval Mountain Village Hike

Following our departure from the city we'll drive just under 1.5 hours east of Barcelona to the mountain village of Rupit. Upon arrival to the village, we'll have a mid-morning snack of fresh pastries, some cured meats and a beverage in one of the two local bakeries. This is the perfect day outside of the city, with a visit to the amazingly well-preserved 16th century stone village of Rupit, breathtaking scenery in the mountains and higher-altitude valleys in the area, and the opportunity to work up an appetite while exploring the winding cobblestone streets of the village and enjoying a 2-3 hour hike. This hike will take you to some amazing viewpoints overlooking a 360-foot / 120-meter waterfall surrounded by breathtaking cliffs and a beautiful valley below. All of this is followed by a huge, traditional meal in a 200-year old village restaurant, which may be the best, most authentic Catalan meal you'll have on your trip to Barcelona. This village is home to about 100 people and is still very much a lived-in village. Visiting here is almost like stepping back in time and it is hard to ever put away your camera, as there's another beautiful spot around every corner. After lunch, we’ll return to the city around 6.30pm.

ADDITIONAL FEE for this tour: 135€ per person.

Saturday November 11, 2023

 

DAY 6 - Awakening the Senses

8am Breakfast on your own. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby, or you are welcome to grab some food from a local market and prepare yourself a simple breakfast at the apartment. 

9am - WORKSHOP: Awakening the Senses

Gracia is the ideal location to explore a wholly distinct community, artsy boutiques, and charming restaurants and cafes widely coveted by foodies. Today’s program will take place on the rooftop of the Casagrand Luxury Apartments. Get ready to awaken all your senses on and off the page.

10:30am Meet your private guide in the morning to start your tour through the neighborhood of Gracia, with a unique atmosphere different from the rest of Barcelona. Immerse yourself in the artistic feel and look of this neighborhood full of great bars, cafes, lovely restaurants, fashionable stores, art galleries, and more. The area of Gracia was an independent village for centuries before it was incorporated into the official Barcelona city limits, and was developed after a convent was established there in the 17th century. This tour offers a unique look into one of the lesser-known areas of the city! Taste your way through the neighborhood, trying some of our favorite local dishes and the tastiest sweets that Barcelona has to offer. 

3pm Afternoon and evening free to explore BCN. You might even enjoy a siesta, a time-honored tradition of daily rest. There’s nothing like a siesta to restore the body and mind.

Sunday November 12, 2023

DAY 7 - Tasting Life

8am Breakfast on your own. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby, or you are welcome to grab some food from a local market and prepare yourself a simple breakfast at the apartment. 

10am Meet guide and head to the Sagrada Familia by metro. The urban development of Barcelona was defined towards the end of the 19th century by the Eixample (urban expansion). An extensive grid, with large avenues and chamfered corners, joined the irregular layouts of old districts and outlying towns to the surrounding hills. The emerging Catalan bourgeoisie chose this place to build its mansions and palaces, following the most daring principles of Modernism. We will discover some of the key works of Modernism around Barcelona, including Gaudí’s spectacular unfinished church La Sagrada Familia. Head inside for a private tour with an expert guide. 

12:45pm After our visit at the Sagrada Familia, we’ll head to a private home inside Casa Thomas, an amazingly preserved 19th-Century modernist apartment. Walking into the apartment is like stepping back in time to 100 years ago, as every element is still exactly as it originally was. Here we will enjoy a final workshop and retreat recap while a private chef prepares lunch for us. 

2:30pm - WORKSHOP: Tasting Life. 

It’s only fitting that our final workshop bridge history and modernism in a spectacular private settingWe’ll reflect on our week of travel and adventure, connecting the dots between Catalan history, culture, and food with powerful takeaways for our own lives. You’ll leave today feeling a deep swell of intention, adventure, and, of course, connection to a community of like-minded women who joyfully embrace life. 

5pm We say our goodbyes following an inspiring trip around Catalunya.

Monday November 13, 2023

DAY 8 - Final Goodbye

Check out of Casagrand Luxury Suites and say goodbye to everyone! If you would like to add any nights, reach out to Danny at our travel partners Adler & Marlow and he can help set  you up!

Terry Rubin 

"I have discovered how to express myself more confidently with Nancy's guidance, encouragement, and support.  She truly brings out the best in her students." 

Lisa Culhane

"Working with Nancy has impacted my life.  And I know I'm not alone. Her guidance and teaching is some of the best I've experienced."

Phyllis Hanfling

"I feel like I'm developing a new muscle.  Storytelling.  And I can't wait to use it."

Come Join Us!

Please Register Me

What's Included

  • 3 nights stay in boutique hotel on the Costa Brava
  • 4 nights stay in luxury Barcelona apartment
  • 6 Creativity Workshops led by Nancy Sharp
  • Keepsake Adventure in Spain journal with all the themes, storytelling exercises, and Inspirational readings
  • Private guide and local host to lead the itinerary
  • Small Group (12 people max) curated itinerary as described
  • Transportation by comfortable Minibus
  • 4 Breakfasts at the Costa Brava hotel overlooking the sea
  • 5 leisurely Mediterranean style lunches with wine 
  • 1 Welcome Tapas Dinner with wine
  • Entrance fee and Private tour of Dalí's house
  • Entrance fee and Private tour of Sagrada Familia

*$4,200 per person subject to currency fluctuation

 

Not Included

  • International flights to and from the US
  • Tourist taxes (normally not more than 2€ per person per night paid directly to the hotel)
  • Other meals not mentioned above 
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuity for the tour guides
  • Transportation to and from airports
  • Taxi or other public transportation where not specified
  • Covid tests
  • Travel insurance