I’ve limited my retreat offerings in 2018 due to becoming a Gogo the past year. Gogo is grandmother in Shona, the indigenous language of Zimbabwe. My two grandbabes, both girls, live in northern California, so now I do too.

Recently, I hosted my first writing circle 531980_10151217867502781_1361779791_nat my California home. My grandbabes, Sunny and Rayna, both hung out for three hours as their mother, Harley, joined us for the writing circle. The girls are only one-year-old and two-months-old (Harley, their mother, is truly a supermom). As we each read our stories out loud, Sunny, the one-year-old, listened intently. It made me think of my trips to Zimbabwe when the women gathered around the fire and shared stories as the children played nearby. I loved that my grandbabes were part of the storytelling circle like they were being initiated into the ways of being a woman.


It’s said when two or more women get together and speak their truth, the sacred is present. The writing circles are a way to bring the sacred into a written and spoken expression. Through writing prompts, we look deeper into what is guiding our spirits, how to tell the hard stories, and discover where our own stories connect to a bigger story.

Where spiritual enlightenment used to come from silence, more than ever we are being asked to gather and share. Our collective voices are a path to honoring the golden thread that weaves between our stories and our lives. Maybe our collective voices are a path to salvation. I definitely feel alive after being in a writing circle.




“Writing my memoir with Betsy’s guidance has made me feel a part of a greater story of standing in truth upon this earth. I am eternally grateful for Betsy and her loyalty to truth and healing.” 

~Maggie Marie 




Here are ways to join me for upcoming writing retreats in September and October. It may be the beginning of a new writing ritual, the inspiration to start your book, or simply to honor the stories of your life by sharing them because they matter.


London September 1st- 2nd

Story Flow with Betsy & Jo  

Writers Betsy Blankenbaker and Jo Carnegie are offering a special London writing weekend to look at The Story Before The Story. The weekend is open to all levels of writers (women only). If you don’t think of yourself as a writer, then let’s just call you a storyteller.

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”

~ J.K. Rowling

Save the date. Registration opens April 1, 2018. Location: 42 Acres Shoreditch



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Bali October 6-13    

Qoya Write Your Soul Story at Soulshine Retreat Center in Ubud, Bali


Everyone has a story.

Many women want to go on a writing retreat but don’t think they are writers, yet they tell stories about their lives that make people cry, laugh and cheer.

You may be writing a book, you may be writing a blog, or you may be writing just for yourself. No matter who you’re writing for, you have stories to tell.

Are there stories that feel stuck in your body?

Do you want to start a daily writing routine and feel inspired to stick to it?

Is Bali on your bucket list but you keep putting it off?

If you enjoy writing and it makes you feel good, this retreat will help you remember and believe: your voice matters.

You can alchemize the events of your life into a powerful story of grace and beauty — your soul story.

This retreat is a unique invitation to dance your stories before you write them, get out of your head and into your body, and tap into the sacred soil of your intuition.

By saying yes to this outer journey to Bali, you’ll feel empowered to go on the inner journey and use your stories to heal.

More details at http://www.qoya.love/bali-2018


“Going on a Qoya retreat led by Betsy Blankenbaker is pure bliss. No matter what happens she moves with ease and grace that is contagious. Last year I attended her retreat at Soulshine in Bali. I appreciated her knowledge of this special island and its people. Betsy held space and set the stage for much transformation in such an idyllic setting. She has many secret gems of people and places she will introduce you to. I am grateful I took the leap and saw Bali through Betsy’s eyes.”

~ Tara Dixon
Painter living in Bali for 2018



Country temple in Bali

October 21-29

Bali Writing & Storytelling Intensive

The Bali Writing & Storytelling Intensive with Betsy Blankenbaker is an opportunity to explore your stories in the mystical land of Bali. The focus is on memoir – how to tell the stories of your life. You’ll be guided in finding your voice as a writer and crafting your story into an engaging book that readers won’t want to put down. IMG_2013 (2)

The intensive begins at the enchanting hideaway of Bambu Indah where you’ll spend your first days focused on engaging your imagination and calling in an intention for your writing. Then we move to a private estate for five nights focused on intuitive flow and illumination of ideas for storytellers.

Part of the retreat will be spent at the popular Ubud Writers & Readers Festival where you’ll listen and engage with writers from around the world. The annual festival offers an eclectic program of events and speakers that may spark the muse in you to share your stories in bigger ways.

The intensive includes daily writing circles, five massages, Temple visits, local ceremonies, blessings & cultural experiences; and admission to the Ubud Writers Festival. You will also have your own private suite or home throughout your stay.

This intensive is limited to five people. To apply, go to https://seekretreat.com/events/527-Bali-Writing-Storytelling-Intensive and click Request Booking.


“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories from your life–not someone else’s life–water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. That is the work. The only work.”

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“The Bali retreat with Betsy was profound in so many ways it’s even hard to describe but I’ll try- magical, spiritual, beautiful, enlightening, warm, accepting, nourishing, rich….I could go on.  If you’ve never been on a retreat of any kind, go on one of Betsy’s. She is gentle, kind, and so full of love. She just gets it–whatever ‘it’ is to you.”  

~Keira Chassman