Traveling for creative retreats: A holiday spent with nature and art to inspire change and new perspectives

Traveling for creative retreats: A holiday spent with nature and art to inspire change and new perspectives

Dreamers alike

Text: Janice Sim

Image: Instagram,

These days, the definition of a holiday has kind of strayed from the conventional; we don't just fantasise about digging our toes into the sand, or conquering a new city for an epic shopping haul. Instead, we dream about healing, fitness, or perhaps a spiritual awakening. The goal is to come home stronger (be it mentally or physically), smarter, and a better version of ourselves.

Which is why local botanical watercolour artist, Lucinda Law who owns nature-led consultancy Within, has founded an initiative of creative retreats. By transporting participants deep within the skirts of nature, and fulfilling a programme that dabbles in the arts of her major, watercolouring, as well as guided tours of flora and fauna.

Lucinda Law

Her upcoming retreat takes place in Chiang Mai in a mysterious montane forest and stretches across five days with partners like The Ironwood and Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens partnered up as the main fortresses. Ahead of that, we chat with Law on the preliminary thoughts, and why creative retreats could be the best form of healing for any city-dweller.

How did the idea of a creative retreat come about?
Time in nature always nurtures my creativity and brings rejuvenation and inspirations. Five years ago, I connected with nature during my sabbatical time in nature spots. Those experiences largely shaped why I decided to become a botanical artist, teach nature-inspired art and started Within, a creative studio specialising in nature-related art and design work. So I wanted to conduct creative retreats where guests can immerse in nature and art to get in touch with their passion and their creative side surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Creative retreat Lucinda Law

What would be the purpose of a creative retreat?
It a great way to set aside time to relax in nature and explore your creative side. Who knows you might just find innovative ways to open up new ways of thinking and doing in any parts of yoir life.

Are creative retreats just intended for creatives? Or could they just be for anyone?
The retreat appeals to mostly women who wants to spend time getting in touch with their creative side at any stage of their artistic practice. The programme is created to facilitate whatever they are passionate about. It is inspiring, healing and rejuvenating. We've testimonials from our guests who have found creative confidence to embark on a new stage of their life such as signing up for a Masters in Fine Arts programme after the retreat. One other participant launched her jewellery business. For others who are dedicated hobbyists, it has brought healing from grief or recovery from an illness. Art and nature has the power to nourish us in unexpected ways. Thriving busy professionals who have been to the retreat has shared with us that they found rejuvenation and new perspectives in their lives when they returned to the cities whether it is developing a greater appreciation and care for the planet or they realised they want to make more impactful positive changes in their work space.

Creative retreat Lucinda Law

How important is the location?
It is important for the retreat to be held in nature-endowed destinations and properties, where we have access and can learn about the beauty and biodiversity of nature in a natural setting, whether near a botanic garden or natural reserve.

Tell us more about the trip in Chiang Mai.
We are lucky to collaborate with local partners in Chiang Mai such as Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, Forest Bake and The Ironwood, who have been generous with their support and hospitality. We're currently in talks with travel agencies and hotel groups who understand and can help to enhance our highly experiential nature-meets-arts travel programme to take care of our guests even better.

Creative retreat Lucinda Law

How would a creative retreat be different from a usual holiday?
The retreat is dedicated to develop your creative expressions while also facilitating your connection with nature.

A piece of advice to anyone who's about to embark on one.
Start where you are. We all find unexpected magical ways to open our hearts! I hope you will find your keys to creativity with us in nature through this creative retreat.

Within's creative retreat in Chiang Mai takes place from 25 to 29 October. Click here for more details.