Oaxaca, Mexico: A Journey to Restore Your Soul

Travel to Find Your Purpose

Vista Leadership Academy’s next retreat takes place October 21-28, 2017, when participants gather in person for an immersive cross-cultural experience in Oaxaca, Mexico. Customized peer-learning workshops are designed to transform your ideas into action so that you return with concrete next steps and a renewed sense of purpose in work and life.

Drink in Oaxaca’s Traditions

While you may be shaking off the last chill of winter, the month of March is one of the hottest times of year in Oaxaca. During Lent, Oaxacan locals celebrate Good Samaritan Day by giving away cold agua fresca in the street. Large containers filled with naturally fruit-flavored water are decorated with flowers and placed on tables lining the main street, while locals serve up cups of refreshments to visitors passing by.

Just like a cold drink quenches your thirst on a hot day, the Academy’s retreat in Oaxaca is designed to have the same restorative impact. By taking time away from your daily grind, you achieve clarity of purpose. Traveling provides you with fresh perspectives and new learning experiences. At the retreat you deepen you social bonds with fellow Academy participants, who help keep you focused on achieving your goals.

Traditional marigolds and other flowers adorn graves in honor of Día de los Muertos, 2016. Photos by Mary Stelletello.

The 2017 Academy retreat also offers a unique opportunity for participants who want to stay in Mexico to venture out on their own and explore the region’s world-renowned Día de los Muertos traditions. Similar to All Saints Day, or All Souls Day, in other cultures, Día de los Muertos is considered a unique example of the intersection of indigenous, Pre-Hispanic and Christian traditions. From October 31st through November 2nd, locals celebrate the memory of loved ones who have passed away. The rich cultural traditions include decorating graves and creating ofrendas, or altars, in honor of the dead. The festivities are both solemn and revelatory as locals rejoice in the return of their ancestors.

Give Back at Partner Site Visits

The retreat experience is not limited to touring Oaxaca’s cultural heritage sites, markets, and ruins. An integral part of the Academy’s leadership development program is for you to engage in local community action in a different part of the world. Local community work while in Oaxaca seeds global thinking, reflection and awareness of your personal impact, inspiring you as a leader to connect and contribute in innovative ways. This level of understanding and awareness helps today’s leaders achieve excellence at home as well.

Members of Vista Leadership Academy will volunteer with Puente a la Salud Comunitaria during the leadership retreat in Oaxaca. By supporting Team Puente, you will be helping local farmers cultivate amaranth, a highly nutritious grain indigenous to the region. Your service will contribute towards the food security of the Oaxacan community.

Another highlight of the retreat is the Academy’s site visit to Vida Nueva, an all-women cooperative of artisans who use large floor looms to weave 100% wool rugs and carpets, hand-dyed with natural earth pigments. Beyond supporting their families through textile sales, the collective re-invests proceeds in annual projects to benefit the broader Teotitlán del Valle community.

Are you ready to start your journey?  If you want to lead with positive social impact, apply to Vista Leadership Academy before May 15, 2017.

Photo below of Oaxacan Good Samaritan Day tradition by Hope Bigda-Peyton via Instagram.


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