Snippets from August health and productivity retreat – Cambodia

Snippets from our August Retreat in Cambodia


In August, I teamed up with Think Productive Australia to run a retreat in Cambodia which we hoped would offer something a little bit different.

As I’m sure you can relate, feelings of overload and stress are some of the highest priority concerns in our life and business today. So the aim of this retreat was to offer practical health & wellness education & open discussion. With mindfulness tools & experiences, relaxation & quiet time…and as much or as little connection and frivolity as people wanted.

It also was jam packed with tools from Matt at Think Productive on becoming a “Productivity Ninja”, encouraging awareness through knowledge, tools and techniques to increase productivity and joy in the workplace, but not at a personal expense of self-care and by using the easy to apply skills of the Ninja.

With practical and experiential learning, we had loads of laughs and fun…and made time to pause and reflect long enough to make changes for the better.

It was held in a casual resort called Knai Bang Chat in Kep, Cambodia. Kep is a small seaside village just far away enough from the busyness of Phnom Penh, but also close enough for ease of getting there by car. The car ride there was a feast for the senses in and of itself.

The retreat was coincidently filled mostly with a group from the Cambodian expat community. People from all over the world who had made Cambodia their home. It felt rewarding to be facilitating much needed time out and self-care tips for people who were making a difference to people in need, in this case the local Cambodian people and their communities.

I think most people know of Cambodia’s recent history of genocide and trauma. I was a bit too young to really “get” the extent of what was going on in Kampuchea, as it was called then. So, not only for me personally was it fantastic to teach in the retreat with my husband Matt and meet some gorgeous people eager to learn new things, I also learned so much more about the history of this fascinating place and it’s beautiful and resilient people. This history was not an easy experience in itself to digest and process.

We were fortunate to do some other volunteer work while we were there, through the expat community that we met. Michelle from Possibilities World and Stuart, a local ethical architect, both had Matt teach their Khmer teams to be Productivity Ninjas. And the wonderful Tanya from The Green Gecko Project (a progressive type of orphanage) invited me to talk to her kids about sugar.

There I was in front of about 50 kindergarten and primary age kids who spoke very little English. I turned up with MY slides and MY agenda. Ha! The humbling life lessons you gain in a place like Cambodia! I’ve never thought so quickly on my feet in my entire life. The slides were of no use as I was presenting in a traditional Khmer style building with a thatched roof and open sides (not conducive for seeing slides). With a deep breath and a quick prayer (not sure who too) I leapt in and went for it. Using lots of props, a translator in training, body language and games…and we did it!

One of the best jewels for me from the experience was at the end, one of the older Khmer girls who was helping me with translating exclaimed that she was shocked how much sugar was in her iced tea that she drank daily. Another gorgeous gem was the feedback months after the talk that Tanya gave me. Apparently, the kids got enough of the message because they kept counting how much sugar was in their drinks and bottled sauces and their behaviour around western style junk food was changing, for the better.

Overall the retreat and the surrounding experiences were humbling growth experiences for me…and I believe also the people we were fortunate to spend time with got a great deal out of the experiences also.

I wanted to share some of the experiences with you in some photos…



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