Inpsiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Some call it the foothills of the Grand Canyon. Photo credit: the amazing Roxxe NYC Photography, a fellow guest on our trip who also happened to be an incredible professional freelance photographer. Thanks for the awesome photo, Roxxe! xo
This is not going to be my typical style of post, my friends. Today, I’m inviting you to pull up a chair (and a glass of lemon water/kombucha/green tea/raw milk) and let me tell you all about the incredible trip that Chris and I took in August with the Redmond Trading Company. There are some pretty amazing things that we did, learned, and saw – and I want to share them with you.
(This post isn’t sponsored, by the way, and they didn’t ask me to write this. They invited my hubby and I on this trip without asking anything in return because doing so jives with their company’s mission – to elevate the human experience. I just wanted to share the highlights for those who would enjoy this little peek behind the scenes of one our favorite naturally-minded companies.)
I think you’re all familiar with Redmond, right? They are the amazing company behind some of my absolute favorite brands of all time: Real Salt, Redmond Clay, Earthpaste, and Redmond Bath Salt. (Go check out their recently re-done main website – it’s gorgeous.)
I’ve loved these products for years, before I even knew that professional blogging existed. I started buying Real Salt over eight years ago. I first heard about it from a naturally-minded blogger back then, and learned on this trip that they actually don’t do traditional advertising – their business does great from word of mouth and working with blogs like mine because the products are so easy to love. (And, speaking as a blogger – it’s not hard to rave about a company like Redmond.)
I super-duper love and appreciate their products (and will be writing more about how I use them in these next few months), but thanks to this trip, I now have a deep respect and admiration for how they choose to run the company, too.
Redmond does business differently than most others. Their purpose and vision is about making the world a better place – their tagline is “elevating the human experience” – and I saw firsthand that it’s not just empty hype, and it’s not just a marketing slogan. They really, actually mean it. (Are you as blown away as I am by a company that’s actually driven by something beyond profit?)
And – they do it while respecting the natural product that comes straight from the earth, leaving it simple and unadulterated, and avoiding fillers, additives, bleaching, or other negative practices that other salt or clay companies use.
I walked into their offices at their packaging facility in Utah, and felt positivity oozing from every corner. There were Brené Brown (and more!) quotes on the walls, an open concept layout because the employees all love working together so much (yes, seriously), and a “celebration wall” to collaboratively write items of celebration or gratitude.
Their company culture – though I’m sure not perfect – is inspirational. It reminded me of the vision we have for our own household’s family culture, actually. We want to raise our kids to live their journey with their whole hearts, too, and to “find their voice and sing their song”. We want our family culture to be a peaceful and pleasant place to be, and we are taking specific steps to accomplish that.
So, you may be wondering – what did we actually do on this trip? Well, we didn’t just visit their packaging facility and offices (though that part was pretty darn awesome). We, along with other employees and key partners (like myself, as a blogger who works with Redmond) were invited to join their company retreat at Lake Powell, Arizona.
We were invited by Kimberly – a wonderful, multi-talented woman who wears many hats at Redmond, one of which is working with bloggers like myself, and she took care of our little group (other partners and guests like me who were attending) from start to finish – we felt so cared for!
In the few days before we joined up with the main group on the houseboats, Kimberly arranged for us to go on a tour of Antelope Slot Canyon (insanely, ridiculously cool), and have a tour of the Redmond salt mine. The mine is not open to the public – it’s only for employees and invited guests, which made our experience that much more incredible. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it was absolutely MIND-BLOWINGLY awesome to be 380 feet below the surface of the earth, surrounded by walls, floors, and ceiling made of salt, with cool air and the blackest darkness you could possible experience.
For the retreat, we stayed on five giant, gorgeous houseboats (the retreat was about 70 people altogether) anchored in one of the many bays. Lake Powell is crazy huge, with dozens and dozens of bays, coves, slot canyons, twists and turns. It was a forty minute speedboat ride just to where our houseboats had been anchored that morning. Oh, and there was no cell signal, so we were off-grid for 4 days which was pretty freeing and wonderful.
Our days at Lake Powell were full with water sport activity, daily half-day excursions, hiking, kayaking, cliff jumping into warm, clear water below, exploring on jet-skis, relaxing in the sun with the amazing 360 degree views, and watching thought-provoking Ted talks in small discussion groups each morning and evening.
In between all of that, we were fueled by the most incredible meals lovingly prepared by the cooking staff. We thought we’d died and gone to foodie heaven. There was all-you-can-drink kombucha and raw milk available at all times, nearly everything was organic, and everything was made with super clean ingredients. Not a single bit of junk in sight. Our last night’s dinner was grass-fed steak raised on their own farms in Utah, and wild king crab legs flown in from Alaska. Organic ice cream every evening after dinner. Organic real food healthy treats and snacks on each boat to grab whenever we felt like it. (Take me back!)
In case you’re wondering: Chris and I were definitely pinching ourselves the whole time.
I also did my first-ever yoga class early in the first morning. Gently stretching my tired body while staring up at the blue expanse above with wisps of cloud, listening to the water rhythmically lapping the shore, and seeing the majestic sun-drenched rocks as the sky filled with a fresh new day was a ridiculously awesome way to kickstart a new self-care practice, I must admit.
I had a mini epiphany there on the beach: I realized that I’ve thought of my body as weak and sick for so long that I wasn’t sure if I’ve ever feel strong and healthy again. On the beach that first morning, I realized that, “Hey, wait! I *am* strong, actually!” and instead of letting my weak spots hold me back from new efforts, I’m letting them be my motivation for pushing forward.
As it turns out, I am strong enough to hike a rocky canyon barefoot and climb up boulders and do yoga in the early morning hours. I’m strong enough to knee-board and drive a jet-ski with the wind whipping my hair into a knotted mess. I may have my weaknesses to work on, but I’m done with letting them hold me back anymore.
Finally starting a yoga practice was a big step after years of burnout, adrenal fatigue, and stress was so exciting, and I think my vibe was contagious. Just yesterday I even cajoled my dear hubby into doing it with me, after which he went out for some errands, and arrived home with a yoga mat for himself! (You should have seen my jaw drop when he came home carrying it proudly like a cat who’d caught a mouse.)
Our kids came downstairs yesterday morning to mommy and daddy doing the cat-cow pose in the living room, and didn’t quite know what to think. Needless to say – it has been an exciting time of shifts and changes in our home as of late.
So you may be wondering what they got out of it. The sad lack of business ethics in our world makes us cynics, right? You figure – there has to be a catch, somewhere. Why did they invite you on this amazing trip and give you this incredible experience?
Here’s what I’d say: I think that they are a company that believes that when you pour into your people, your people will perform better work for you. (Literally – that’s what they believe. The book they sent me to read before the trip, “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek, makes a clear and compelling case for successful business growth under this mindset.) And, when you invest in relationships outside of your small, everyday scope (ie. occasional partners like myself) you enjoy a rich diversity of perspectives that improve everyone’s experience.
We had more fun than I could have possibly imagined, and it was all topped off beautifully by the incredible people that we were surrounded by. There was such a perfect and lovely mishmash among us, and everyone there had such a giving and open mindset. There were deep conversations among silly moments, excellent memories of an epic thunder and lightning display enjoyed from the deck of the boat, and countless tiny moments of epiphany and realizations and awe to propel us forward in our journey toward simple, vibrant wellness in our lives.
It was simply an incredible experience altogether, and we are so very grateful to have had it.
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