Alumni Reunion Retreat in Bali, Indonesia

Somehow, over the course of 6 wild years and 30+ workshops on 6 continents, we’ve spawned a community of 433 (and counting) cherished workshop alumni… world class professional photographers from 35 countries on 6 continents… all of whom have trusted and shared in our 3-day workshop experience… all of whom have become part of our chosen photographic family… none of whom we’ll ever forget. The experiences we’ve shared with these spectacular humans at METANOIA (and Balls Out) workshops around the globe has inspired us beyond words, shaped us as humans, built this international community and gifted us lifelong friendships the world over. For this, we are forever grateful and always missing our friends.

After each and every workshop, we’ve had the same dream… to one day host a legendary alumni reunion in an extraordinary location. A chance to reconnect, re-inspire and celebrate with as many of these spectacular humans as possible. At long last, this year, that dream finally became a reality! Not a workshop, but a gathering of friends… an invigorating retreat… a celebration life… what transpired is hard to put into words, and perhaps best left swirling around inside our hearts and minds as feelings without words. But here are some beautiful ones that hint at the magic…

I’ve been wanting to write something for days, but haven’t yet been able to find the words, to sum up, our experience in Bali with you all. I’ll mirror what I said during our final night, and say what a gift it was to be able to spend that time with you all. What a gift to hear about how lucky we all are to be alive right now, to be able to spend time together, to trip the light fantastic. What a gift to sit in a circle and talk about our fears, our loves and laughs, and our superpowers. What a gift to wave our hands in such a way that we felt connected, alive, scared, weird, loved, vulnerable, and any other number of emotions. What a gift to wake up with the sun and do Qigong, Yoga, and other exercises together, or just sip coffee quietly and start the day. What a gift to laugh into the night over a margarita, glass of wine, or Bintang. To float in the pool, watch the storms, dance, sing, embrace the music and each other. What a gift to share our knowledge, our expertise, our hopes and fears, to remind each other that we are not alone. You have all changed my life, and I know we will see one another again. Thank you for your gifts. – Dave Moss

I’m not going to go into too much detail about what transpired over the course of the three days because it feels more meaningful to keep some of those memories just for us. That said, here was my overall impression: When thirty-some wedding photographers from all over the world gather together in one place, you’d expect there to be a fair share of ego involved. As it turned out, nothing could have been further from the truth. There was no posturing, no dick-wagging, no name-dropping – none of the egotistical bullshit I’m all too used to seeing at other industry events. Every single person in attendance was humble and warm and open and vulnerable. Never have I had so many meaningful conversations consecutively with such a disparate collection of individuals. We spoke of our hopes and dreams. Our fears and our failings. We ate, drank, laughed, cried and planted the seeds for what I hope evolve into lifelong friendships. It was an experience that I will never forget and one that I don’t take for granted for a second. As Janna put it during the closing comments, “Don’t be sad because it’s over. Be glad that it happened.” Needless to say, I am VERY glad that this happened. – Jesse La Plante

To the stars and back again… meeting all of you guys and being amongst such extremely kind, talented people was one of the best experiences of my life. No hidden agenda’s, no self seeking motifs, no jealousy or affectation. Believe me, this can be extremely refreshing and hopeful when you have spend so many time experiencing otherwise during college and work. As a non girly-girl, especially amongst women (there is a show called Mean Girls for a reason..). But you totally turned me around. – Linda Berretty

As I transition back to some sense of normalcy here at home (the jet lag is particularly bad this time), I find myself periodically reflecting on those beautiful couple of weeks we spent together in that magical place. And by periodically, I mean daily, sometimes several times a day. I keep thinking about Lanny’s opening words – “we are the lucky ones” – and how incredibly lucky (and blessed and grateful) I feel to have crossed paths with each and every one of you. Thank you for one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Thank you also for reinstating my belief in the power of connection, compassion, and collaboration. I can’t wait to see what beautiful things will come of the tremendously powerful collective energy that now flows through us all and, at the same time, binds us to one another in a way likely none of us could ever have predicted. Like a newly chosen family. Thank you. For doing the work you do. For being your beautiful selves. For being a part of my life. Anisa Rahman

Thank you to each and every one of our beloved alumni around the world. We know most of you could not be here for this reunion, but you were all there with us, inside our hearts… and we’re already dreaming up another one!

Those who came from far and wide, thanks for believing in this dream come true with us! The magic was on an inexplicable level, thanks to each and every one of you.

Thanks to Jesse & Moira for taking us to the stars and back, Tree & Jos for that powerful new language, Dave Moss for yoda-esque coaching, Abigail Taylor for ocean-side QigongRalf Czogalllik for controversal hip hop sales, Devon Knudson & Brandon Russel for the underwater party, Alycia & Jana for summer camp vibes, Brother Joe for live musical journey, and Jesh de Rox for unraveling the knotted mind.

Thanks to Pandawa Cliff Estate for the infinite pools, balinese food, endless cocktails, and spectacular setting!

Thanks to the universe… 1 in 10 to the power of 2,685,000!