What happens when an alternative travel company empowering guests to reconnect in nature, a unique host with a passion for recycling and repurposing, and a nonprofit organization supporting young women with breast and gynecological cancers come together? One unforgettable Galentine’s Day weekend—where a group of 24 strong, brave women came together at one of Glamping Hub’s most unique accommodations and left as breast friends.
The Breasties is a NPO made up of a group of women who move mountains. With their own unique take on support groups, they host free wellness retreats and meet-ups across the U.S. that connect survivors and previvors of breast and gynecological cancers, as well as caregivers. This was their first retreat of 2019, and we were so happy to share this special weekend with FlopHouze.
Below the infinite blue Texas sky sit six “shipping containers on psychedelics,” i.e., FlopHouze. Here, you can find host Matt White, who is just as unique as his accommodations. All the shipping containers have been outfitted with recycled vintages goods, and each with its own special treasures from around the world. Similar to the Breasties—sitting around the campfire, opening up to one another about their journey—no two are alike, but they all have something in common: they tell their stories of the past and inspire hope for the future.
White went above and beyond to help make this event the unique success that it was. He introduced us to chef and women's healthcare champion, Monica Pope, and lead the women to the world-renowned music institute, Festival Hill, for Saturday's activity. Pope, who you may know from Top Chef, provided healthy, locally sourced, farm-to-table meals, as she believes in healing the mind, body, and spirit by using food as medicine. She also recently co-founded the organization I'll Have What She's Having in support of women's healthcare in the hospitality industry.
While we did our best to plan each and every detail, we all know that there will always be surprises. For Saturday's activity, The Breasties made there way to Festival Hill—a sprawling 210-acre campus, containing major performance facilities, historic houses, extensive gardens, parks and nature preserves.
Among its collection of rare artifacts, this site also holds a statue of St. Joseph, and a guide, Bruce, from Festival Hill tells the story of the statue's wish-granting powers and his own personal account of its lure. In short, the man was having trouble selling his house, when one of the founders of Festival Hill recommended he pay St. Joseph a visit.
Intrigued by the story of the statue, Matt and The Breasties trekked deep into the woods to see for themselves. As told by Matt and Breastie Bri Wesley-Majsiak in follow up conversations, when they found the statue, an unfamiliar sound began to arise. After a few moments, everyone realized it was coming from the birds. The forest had come harmoniously alive, as all of the birds in all of the trees suddenly decided to serenade The Breasties—an inexplicable and eerie coincidence, but a memorable experience shared together nonetheless.
Upon starting this partnership with The Breasties, I could never have predicted how moved I would be by this organization of women. I have not been personally affected by cancer, and I cannot fathom what these brave women and their families go through on a daily basis. It all started last September when was introduced to Bri Wesley-Majsiak by a colleague of mine from Glamping Hub. We started discussing ways we could potentially work together for a wellness treat, and I felt so inspired by the Breasties. I was in awe of their strength, yet I also had feelings of guilt. Were there things in my life I was taking for granted?
"Just imagine for a second that you are in your mid 20s or early 30s. You are living your best life. You have plans and dreams and goals and although you have not found "the one" you know the universe or God will send the right person at the right time and you will have babies and a house and each other and a career… you know… no rush. Then you get the call. You have cancer and it's bad. It will require your beautiful young self to go through rounds and rounds of chemotherapy that will remove every piece of hair from your body, it will ruin your nails, it will devastate your libido and the medications that come with the chemotherapy may cause weight gain and swelling. You will now be single, have no hair, look sick to the world, feel sick most days, maybe be at a weight you aren't comfortable with and then you will lose your breasts to an extreme surgery. Your self confidence will be at an all time low and before all that you will consider freezing some eggs if you can afford it. What now? How in the world do you even begin to navigate this ridiculous dating world with all these perceived disadvantages?"
If there was anything I did understand, it was that these women are unstoppable. “They are terrified but dance and sing to Cardi B anyway. They are filled with anxiety but laugh and joke and drink too much in hot tubs anyway. They are uncertain and scared but love with all they have anyway. They are sad and grieving but lift everyone up around them anyway," Pena went on to write. The Breasties are united beyond their diagnoses. They are a group of women who take nothing for granted, open their hearts, and love endlessly. Glamping Hub is honored and humbled to have been a part of this experience.
All photos and video were taken by Erin Panosian.