Photo: A. Stokelj

Culture is an essential element of travelling. The spirit of a destination, its heartbeat, is often first perceived in the geographical context. Can you imagine if the whole world knew just one culture? Every nook of the world would seem familiar, all the heritage appear alike, we’d be feeling a deja vu everywhere, authenticity would simply mean familiarity. Isn’t another world precisely what we’re after when we are on our way?

8 January 2018 …

Monday. The new year is in full swing, the holidays are over, it’s time to turn another page and start the next chapter. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, they’re just not my thing, but I do believe in optimistic wishes, firm goals and courageous decisions. I pick up my planner, writing in uppercase a quiet hope for this year: TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.

Beep …. I’m startled by a computer sound. The top of the screen flashes “You have a new email message”. I open my mailbox, the subject reads: “Invitation to the meeting of Europe’s top young women entrepreneurs, 8 March 2018, Slovenia”. Hmm … makes me curious. I click on the message:

Dear Madam Entrepreneur!

On a very special day, the International Women’s Day, we kindly invite you to a special gathering taking place in the marvellous subalpine country Slovenia. Code: selfness.

What: Best Young Women Entrepreneur 2018

When: 8 March 2018

Where: Podčetrtek, Slovenia

Subject: selfness

Program: in the attachment

Dress code: daytime – sports leisure, evening – evening wear

RSVP: by 1 March 2018 at selfness@ifeelslovenia.si

We’re looking forward to meeting you,

European Community of Women Entrepreneurs

Opening the attachment, there’s a stylish and curious programme. I Google “Slovenia”, diving into the Pinterest sea of gorgeous photography. Shimmering lakes, misty mountains, foaming waterfalls and dazzling slopes, emerald rivers and dark-green forest, scenic landscapes wrapped in morning fog, Mediterranean sights next to strange caves, castles and cobbled city lanes, smiling people in nature … Green, lively, appealing. Love at first glance! Without hesitating, I confirm my attendance.

Two months later …

It’s 8 March. The International Women’s Day. This year, we’re celebrating it with a slightly different business event. One hundred of Europe’s most successful young female entrepreneurs are gathering under one roof, to exchange stories in the style of the #selfness philosophy of business meetings. What’s that like?

We’re staying in the splendid nature of eastern Slovenia, nicely removed from the urban commotion. After an organic breakfast, it’s time for some deep relaxation – a yoga sun salutation outdoors. The air smells like springtime, the forest creatures already chirping their symphonies. “A well-rehearsed orchestra!”, I think to myself. Filled with positive energy we’re ready to start the formal part, the annual meeting of Europe’s most promising young women entrepreneurs. Inspiring speeches, engaging content, expert panels, but also breaks with gong therapy and relaxing massage. A balance of mind and body, nourished by a healthy power lunch and a pleasant chat.

We’re ready for a fun afternoon challenge: the Instagram “photo-adventure” contest. With a playful dose of competitive spirit, we set out to hunt for the best photograph. Which of the ladies can manage to snap the most captivating, most vivid, most #selfness motive from the fascinating nature all around? Coupled with a Nordic walk, the photo-adventure turns out to be a perfect mix. Engaging, creative, and still a good workout! Climbing a steep hill, I forget about everything for an instant. When I snap back to my senses, there’s something magical in the air. The sun is just setting, the light is soft and warm, nature’s created a stirring shot in front of me, the colours are magnificent, and … snap! I’ve got it, my perfect photo!

With the selfness concept of business meetings, we nurture attention to the self. We explore how to take a moment out of our frantic realities and still live that »Carpe diem!«, hand in hand with the path we feel is our own. The selfness concept was developed here, in this adorable piece of the world, in harmony with nature. After an invigorating day we celebrate the amazing female energy, delving into an evening of culinary pampering. A trio of the best Slovenian chefs have picked local ingredients from the surrounding farms and marketplaces, preparing dishes that showcase the flavours of the locale. The Wine Knights paired them with premium Slovenian wines, embodiments of the surrounding terroir. Mmmmm … a holiday for the senses.

Alright, it’s time for the announcement of the winning photo entry. Drum roll … the heart skips a beat as trumpets chime in with the results. I gaze up at the screen and see my photo! 746 likes, and there’s my name, too. “Mine? That’s just cute!” Simple joy, having always wanted to dedicate more attention to photography. Perhaps, I really will steal some time for that advanced course recommended by a colleague … What a pleasant day!

Ommmm … Pure Zen, the land of Slovenia. Peaceful and scenic, a place where you can truly return to the first principles. Back to nature, back to the self, genuinely and profoundly. Soul-searching is always a grateful deed, and Slovenia leaves me with a valuable gift: remembering the significance of grace towards the self and others. I’ll be taking a little piece of the selfness philosophy with me, into my office and professional circles. Rested and recharged, with genuine attention to the world inside and out, I’m ready to brighten up everyone’s day.

Thank you, Slovenia, and till next time.

Sounds pleasant? Follow “4 by 4 Slovenia” at www.slovenia-convention.com.

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