During the first week of January, we gathered a group of fourteen creatives and headed to Morocco for four days of work and play.  To understand what really happened during those four days, we journey back to the birth of the idea…

There’s something about open, undisturbed spaces. They present an opportunity for the mind to be creative and wander; not in a sense of abandonment (although that is not altogether undesirable). It is rather the opportunity to for the mind to roam without restriction into spaces of deep reflection and to somehow find and unlock a wellspring of creativity.

Sahara desert | Camel trek | Erg Chebbi | Morocco

It was while camping overnight in one of the world’s most unforgiving open spaces, the Sahara Desert, that we first came up with the idea of a retreat for creative entrepreneurs. With nothing but Berber blankets and tents for protection from the elements, the isolation, serenity and unspoilt beauty of our surroundings inspired dreams of creating a space where people could escape the routine of their daily lives to let their ideas breathe.

From our own experience, we have found that creative ideas get stifled for reasons which include procrastination, lack of resources or competing priorities. We are familiar with the frustration that often results when our passion dies a slow death as we tread the familiar paths of safety and routine. We felt an urge to change that trend in 2017.

So, exactly one year later, we returned to the city of Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic coast for DIPINTO17. This time, we were joined by twelve other entrepreneurs drawn from different creative fields. With some planning and collaboration, we had realised our dream of creating a space in which these entrepreneurs could breathe life into their ideas.

Our objectives were simple. We wanted to:

  1.     Give participants the time and space to think, plan and create;
  2.     Provide tools and knowledge to help them move their ideas forward; and
  3.     Leverage our travel experience to share our love for Morocco and its rich culture.

The timing of the three-day event was important. We wanted to exploit that limbo period just after the Christmas holidays but before the full swing of work resumed for the new year. The timing also meant that our participants could take advantage of off-peak travel fares.

We found a beautiful villa removed from the city hub of Essaouira, complete with olive trees, private bungalows, a giant swimming pool, an on-site chef and unspoilt views of the Moroccan countryside.

DIPINTO17 Villa in Essaouira, Morocco

DIPINTO17 Villa in Essaouira, Morocco

We invited our guests to enjoy the space (and the amazing food), engage with the content and resources we provided and identify opportunities to collaborate.

Although unintended, our struggle with internet connectivity in this remote village turned out to be an opportunity for participants to unplug from the familiar distractions of social media and digitally detox. Some great conversations ensued.

Our collaboration with Amanda and Youssef Mouttaki, two enterprising locals who run the popular Marrakech Food Tours, allowed us to introduce participants to Moroccan cuisine and culture. As well as leading the group on an intimate food tour in Essaouira, Amanda shared her personal journey and experience from blogger to business owner.

DIPINTO17 Essaouira Food Tour

Exploring the medina in Essaouira

We could say a lot more about DIPINTO17 including the nightly fireplace interactive sessions which were a particular highlight for us. However, at the end of our time together, the entire group felt energised and inspired for the year ahead. In addition, we all took away new knowledge and identified areas for further growth and development.

Below, we share some testimonials from participants who attended the retreat:

DIPINTO17 Malain McCormick

DIPINTO17 Kristine Irene

DIPINTO17 Nyla Helene

Our next two DIPINTO17 creative retreats will take place in Morocco (April), and in Portugal (Madeira). We hope you can join us. We look forward to welcoming you and helping you find the space and confidence to take your creative business ideas to the next level!

Find out about our next DIPINTO17 retreat in Morocco this upcoming April! We’d love to have you join us!


#DIPINTO17 Creative Entrepreneur Retreats


Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).