The Utopian Newsletter : Shopping Issue August 22, 2018


What to buy & our faves

favorite markets • Yoga clothes • Retreat gear

Our favorite (and weirdest) Markets on retreat


A labyrinth of treasures at every turn…Morocco

First and foremost we have to mention the souks in Morocco. We’ve loaded our suitcases with everything from kaftans and shoes to saffron and 10’x12’ rugs. The possibilities of what one might find wandering the souks in Marrakech are nearly endless. And let me say, trying to get a group of shoppers from one point to other is like herding cats! but we have a great time getting there.

Some must-haves from Morocco are :

  • Spices like turmeric, sweet paprika and ragaout and saffron is affordable and great
  • Argan oil – all of it from cosmetic to culinary (we buy it by the liter alternating between Rose and Neroli each retreat!)
  • An epic kaftan (we found our favorite at the souks of the Mamounia)
  • A rug…any size you can afford and take back
  • Poufs! They are just fun and look great. Buy them empty for ease in packing and fill them when you get home.

How the heck do we have a house full of goodies from around the world? We pack with a plan. 

Typically before we take off for 4-6 weeks on the road we pack as light as we can so we have space to bring home what speaks to us on retreat. First, we place a medium-sized suitcase inside our largest suitcase making sure there is space around the smaller one to place pairs of shoes and cosmetics bags. Then we will the medium sized suitcase with our clothes for the next six weeks. In our professional packing experience, the best way to pack your clothes is simply laying each piece perfectly flat…one thing on top of the next (no packing cubes, not rolling things…FLAT. If you don’t believe us, test it out for yourself!) We also keep a large empty duffle bag in the front pocket of our medium sized suitcase in case we need it later.

So as you can see, once you arrive you’ll have basically an empty large suitcase to fill up along your way with goodies from your travels. Keep an eye on weight as most European airlines keep tight limits on what they include in the flight. You can pay for extra kilos which is cheaper than paying for international shipping usually and you don’t run a huge risk of losing the goods and you have it immediately when you get home. We find that unpacking for a long trip is like Christmas as we tend to forget the little bits and pieces we’ve gathered along the way and we fall in love again with our finds as we place them around our home in Tulum.

If you find a rug you love (I have flown with 7 different rugs over the past 5 years from Morocco and Turkey), go for it! Obviously, you’ll barter for it and try to shop in smaller cities like Essaouira where things are less of a hustle than in Marrakech and the quality is higher. The rug dealer, who is likely now your friend as you’ve probably shared a mint tea together and seen every rug he has in your color palette, will happily create a little bundle for you to take with you on the plane if you like. They roll it up and wrap it in plastic burlap with a duct tape handle and you can write your info on it in permanent marker so the airline knows it’s yours. Then you check it as a piece of luggage. Check the pricing with them on shipping it home vs. the airline charges for each kilo/pound and see what makes more sense to you.

Look out for our Guide to Shopping the Souks in Morocco for more coming later this year.


Our next fave is the shopping in Greece

We never leave the island without a new pair of gorgeous leather sandals and a bag full of awesome Korres beauty care products. Can you guess what our favorite scent is?! There are some products from Korres available online and in stores but the full range is only found in Greece and we stock up when we are there! Our favorite shower gel scent is Santorini Vine and their Wild Rose Vitamin C Serum is divine!

But what takes the cake in Greece is the fashion. Greek designers are edgy and sophisticated. For more affordable, hip finds take it to the streets of Thira and for higher-end super special pieces hit up the strip in Oia (but bring your credit card!) Zeus+Δione and Daphne Valente are some of our faves!


Don’t leave Greece without these gems :

  • Quintessential Greek Sandals (Sofi’s faves are the gladiators!)
  • At least one piece from a Greek designer to add to your wardrobe
  • Rose petal jam
  • A bottle of wine (or two)
  • Amazing photos of yourself with the backdrop of the Caldera


Weirdest market experience in Cartagena!

The most bizarre shopping that we sought on retreat our has to be the local market in Cartagena! We took it off the beaten path and found everything from local eats to these guys who threw up a welcome sign for us in their local style!


Yoga Clothes: our top picks

Unique tie-dye yoga pants by Muskoka Tie Dye are available by custom order.

Off-the-rack Yoga clothes

When it comes to yoga clothes we know the market is saturated! Obvies we look for locally made, conscious clothing but these are some of our faves :

Hardtail Forever (both above) offers a great style and sexy look as well as comfort and ease while you practice. Their hoodies and layers are also adorbs.

Prana (above, left) has a great ‘extended sizes’ collection and a forgiving waistband that a gal ANY size can appreciate! Teeki (above, right) used recycled plastic bottles to create their yoga pants. Yeah!

Unique looks for your practice

For a more original approach, we like to shop around and choose what we consider to be ‘yoga attire’. Our faves when it comes to pulling our own look together are bralettes and tanks with cool cut-out back designs from Free People and we LOVE the original tie-dye pants by Muskoka Tie Dye. They create one of a kind cotton pants from capris to full length that are comfy and perfect for yoga or snuggling up with a good book and a cup of tea.

Shibori indigo pants by Muskoka Tie Dye (above, right). This pair has one leg of love which makes them super unique. They also create one of a kind linen pieces using natural dyes like sumac, chamomile, and avocado.

What gear to bring on a yoga retreat

These ‘repeat-offenders’ took their Greece retreat seriously and coordinated their yoga outfits daily, brought the same travel mats, and even the same book! Now THAT’S dedication <3

There’s a ton of yoga mats and props out there and most locations offer all the necessities so you don’t need to bring anything along but some of our retreats are in unique, off the beaten yoga path locations so bringing along some essentials is key. Our favorite travel mat because of its grip and weight is by Liforme. The mat is not a flimsy sheet of poly, it’s got a thin layer of cushion, alignment markings just like their regular mats and if you haven’t tried the grip on this mat get on that STAT. It’ll change your practice & it only weighs 3.5lbs!

For cushions on a retreat we usually just grab something off a sofa or one from our room to use like a bolster. If I didn’t throw a strap in my bag I typically have some kind of sarong or scarf that will double when I need some extra length. I practice with a block and like to have one handy. That is the one thing I will make space for in my suitcase on a yoga retreat. There are plenty of inexpensive and lightweight ones that are easy to throw in a bag if that is something you like to have handy…otherwise, a shin or forearm to the thigh will do in a pinch!

Now that you’ve got the scoop on shopping before and during your retreat, it’s time to choose dates and start looking at flights! See you on the mat somewhere in the world soon <3



Christina Thomas

Christina is the creator and visionary for Yoga & Adventures Worldwide. She strives to create yoga retreat experiences that open the eyes of the traveler, offering them the opportunity to consider another possibility as they explore the world around them and the world within. Her yoga retreats are designed as if she were the guest, attending to each and every detail as she would want done for her own travel leaving just the right amount of room for that incredible serendipity that makes life so special.

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