nicole bensen

Global retreats are on pause due to, well, you know, so sign up below to be notified once we’re traveling again.

All retreats will include our signature wellbeing content featuring simple, yet research-backed, ways to increase happiness, build resilience, practice mindful self-compassion and feel worthy beyond accomplishments. See more info in the FAQs below.

The choice is yours as to whether you’d like to learn these tools in the mountains of Switzerland, surrounded by vines in Napa Valley, or be in the bustle of Silicon Valley. 

Locations will be ever-changing, so feel free to share with me where you hope to travel with us.


The places on my growing list:
- Switzerland (Lauterbrunnen, Zurich, Lucerne)
- San Francisco and Sonoma County
- Napa Valley
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Hudson Valley, New York
- An olive grove in Southern Italy
- France, maybe Paris, maybe Nice
- A castle in Germany
- Amsterdam

Can’t wait that long, or travel’s not in the cards?
Join my virtual program, Next Level You.
You’ll learn all the tools—just need to bring your own snacks. 

European Luxury

Animal Adventures

For Foodies

Restore

Silicon Valley

Very Merry Christmas

Experience ultimate relaxation with this rejuvenating, renewing (any more “r” words we could use here?) week. This will be time for you to slow down, breathe and reflect. Perhaps a Korean scrub one day and a Turkish bathhouse the next. A mud bath followed by an ayurvedic massage. A sensory deprivation tank visit in the morning and a facial in the afternoon.

If you’re looking to complement the inner work you’ll be doing with physical body kindness and spa treatments, this is a retreat experience you’ll love.

Have you ever wondered if Google really has free food and places to nap? Or wanted to take a picture for Instagram in front of Instagram’s headquarters? #inception Or dreamt of practicing yoga led by a Tech Leader who also happens to be a yoga teacher?

Join us for a tour of some of Silicon Valley’s household names and see what these companies are doing in terms of wellbeing for their own employees. Along with our signature self-compassion and connection workshops, you’ll learn about Google’s #IamRemarkable campaign and how to confidently articulate why YOU are remarkable.

This Western, secular (non-religious), Christmas-themed retreat will be held sometime between April and September for people who can't get enough of this delightful holiday.

If you shake your head at the holiday displays in stores in September or think Christmas tunes are only appropriate post-Thanksgiving, this is not the experience for you.

‍We'll have a week filled with merry goodness, starting off on day one, aka "Faux Thanksgiving," cooking up a feast and sharing some gratitude. The rest of the week will include our signature happiness, resilience and wellbeing content mixed with activities like baking and decorating sugar cookies and gingerbread houses, maybe "crafting" stockings, wearing comfy pajamas and watching Christmas movies.



This retreat will be in picturesque Switzerland with activities like cheese-tasting, chocolate-making, and spa activities.

Think goat yoga and equus coaching (experiential learning with horses) alongside our self-compassion and connection workshops.

We’ll spend time on our self-compassion and connection workshops and enjoy activities like a farm-to-table food tour, learning to make chocolate truffles or French macarons, visiting a distillery or winery, and meeting the cows, goats and sheep responsible for tasty Bay Area cheeses.

frequently-asked questions

Think of us as a tasting menu of wellbeing retreat experiences. You will try a little bit of many things. 

Our signature program is a week-long journey where you will meet people in a small-group setting to explore simple, fun ways of building resilience and happiness—experimenting with self-compassion and mindfulness through things like cheese-tasting, macaron-baking, journaling, beginner's kayaking and goat yoga.

A typical day will include:
- Breakfast
- Lunch
- Dinner together or a free evening
- Wellbeing content and practice
- Movement like a gentle yoga class or nature walk
- Activity (Examples: cooking class, spa time, tea party, perfume-making, kayaking, cheese-tasting)
Each retreat has a theme, so the wellbeing content will remain similar, while activities will be based around the location and theme. We won’t share full details prior to keep some surprises at the event, but you’ll know the important things like recommended attire.

Inspiring, intentional, curious and charming experiences designed for connection, renewal, exploration and joy.

This answer is intentionally in first person because it really comes from my heart. I created this retreat style to be helpful to people who were like me. I was in a corporate role that I loved, but I was burning out, big time. I didn't have time to go on a one-week silent retreat in the mountains, then a women's conference for high-achievers, then a spa week. I wanted a one-stop-shop retreat that could provide me with physical, emotional, intellectual, and relational tools. I created Tentacles and Tea because I never found that elusive unicorn. We are the tasting menu of accessible wellbeing experiences.

The curriculum:
Learn simple ways to get happier, build resilience, and achieve success without burning out. Dip your toe into mindfulness without going full "woo-woo." There is science and research behind all the practices.

The accommodations:
We won't be sleeping in a tent or basic dormitory. Soft sheets, bubble baths, and room service in luxurious locations are more our speed.

The food:
We'll eat really good food. I love truffles (chocolate and fungi alike), wagyu and caviar, and I also love bacon, butter and heavy cream. Most of all I respect others' rights to choose how they nourish their bodies.

This is not a vegan, clean-eating retreat, yet we do our best to provide choices for your dietary preferences. If you have specific needs, please let us know. (The Foodie Retreat and Very Merry Christmas Retreat will have fewer food choices for particular eating plans.)

The bottom line:
Tentacles and Tea retreats are planned to give you your creature comforts, while you are exploring new ways of being. We want to take care of all the details, so you can relax, rejuvenate, meet like-minded women, and maybe even learn a thing or two that could change your life.

Nope! We’ll spend about 2 hours each day on content (and still not in a conference room); most of the time we’ll be exploring the culture and community. (Very Merry Christmas has more time at the “base” than others due to activities like baking cookies, decorating gingerbread houses and relaxing [optionally in pjs!]). 

No. We might practice yoga on a retreat, and we’ll have some times of looking inward—for example, peeling back our automatic thoughts to understand why we have a particular core belief, or a 1-minute tool to practice mindful meditation—but there will not be hours of silent meditation, as example. We won’t be diving deep on any one practice; remember, tasting menu of wellbeing experiences.

Our program is designed to give you the opportunity to explore what wellbeing ideas make sense for you and your life. We invite you to adopt an open and experimental mindset, knowing you’ll find a few things that “click,” and you may try things you’ll never try again. This is by design. Be curious and receptive, and you just might surprise yourself.

Do I need to have experience in yoga, meditation, etc.?

No. Zero knowledge about these practices is required.

What if I am an expert in yoga, meditation, etc.?

We are delighted to welcome various backgrounds and skills. Our goal is to introduce a variety of wellbeing practices and spark connection.

If your sole intent is to become more knowledgeable in yoga and meditation, we’re not going to be right for that. If you are there to have new experiences, hear new stories, and connect with others, welcome.

Yes! I have corporate workshops (one time, weekly, monthly, etc.) available online and in person (post- COVID lockdowns...). I’m happy to talk about content only, or partnering to create full offsite and retreat experiences. Just drop me a note.

For birthday parties, bachelorette parties, book clubs, yes, I’d be delighted to plan a bespoke event for you. Most planning takes several months depending on location. Let’s chat!

I have long been fascinated by octopuses (If you’re about to correct my usage of this word, please see the note below). They are intelligent and curious; they are able to squeeze into tight spaces to escape or get something they want, puff themselves up in defense, camouflage themselves, even self-amputate a limb to escape a toxic situation. (Check out “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix to see this amazing creature in action, as well as a really touching story.)

My wellbeing content is designed to help you be more like an octopus. Be flexible yet strong. Know sometimes it’s best to leave a situation; sometimes it’s best to fight for yourself, and there might be times when cutting off a part of your life is the best thing you could do.

And “Tea” because it imbues a sense of decorum (just like saying the phrase, “imbues a sense of decorum”), and I’ve always loved the fancy fun a tea party brings: donning a feather fascinator, sampling delicious foods and spending time with friends.

Tentacles and Tea retreats combine wellbeing content with delicious foods, fun experiences, and connection with others. They are quirky, merry explorations for your mind, body and soul.

‍ Two notes for anyone who’s made it this far:
1. Yes, the plural of octopus is octopuses. If you prefer octopi or octopodes, this video from Merriam Webster may be helpful to understand the origin of the word.
2. Technically, octopuses don’t have tentacles; they have appendages (arms) that have suckers the full length, and tentacles only have suckers at the end, but this is the story of how the octopus influenced the name Tentacles and Tea, so there you have it.

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