Saturday 6th to Saturday 13th January 2018

Ctrl+Alt+Retreat is a week-long retreat exploring mindfulness, practical philosophy, and how to live a better, fuller and more joyful life. It’s an opportunity to spend time on the big questions in the company of other people like you, to gain clarity and feel more confident in who you are and the choices you make. It’s also a chance to slow down, reconnect with yourself, and look to horizons old and new.

The retreat is designed for people aged 18-40. The week includes a lot of activities around reflection, mindful attention, and connection with others through discussions, collaboration, and some fun too! The week draws on a wide variety of traditions, including philosophy, the arts, and Eastern and Western spiritual practices. We get participants from all sorts of backgrounds, and most people leave feeling refreshed, centred, and clearer for the year ahead. Connect with us on Facebook


What can I expect to do during the week? What does a typical day look like?

Mornings start bright and early! We begin with some yoga or tai chi, followed by meditation and mindfulness practice, then breakfast.


Morning sessions are a mix of group discussions, reflective activities, and mindful work (which can be anything from cooking to cleaning to gardening). There’s a break for morning tea, to have fun or just chill.


Lunch is usually a sumptuous affair with lots of goodies on offer, followed by a quick clean-up.


Afternoon sessions run similarly to morning sessions, with a mix of group activities and mindful working.


Mid-afternoon includes a solid block of free time (a couple of hours at least), where you can do anything you like – play some ultimate frisbee, relax with a book, or even grab a coffee down the road.


Evenings include meditation and a full dinner, followed by free time and optional evening talks. The days are quite packed with activities, so some people like to go to bed early, but others stay up a bit to chat, relax and have fun.


One evening is usually dedicated to our own talent show, where you can show off your singing, stand-up comedy, talk about a topic close to your heart, or show us photos of that one time you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.


Why should I come?

People come for many reasons – to take a break, to get away from it all, to explore a big question or issue in their lives, or just to connect with a group of friendly and like-minded people.

We find that most people go away with a newfound sense of peace, balance and happiness not common in everyday life; a new appreciation for things within or around them, or in other people; a renewed focus, clarity and energy.

Who usually attends?

Ctrl+Alt+Retreat is open to anyone aged 18-40 with an interest in self-discovery.  We welcome people from all walks of life, from across Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.




Who runs it?

Ctrl+Alt+Retreat is its own thing, but it is supported by the School of Practical Philosophy in Sydney, Australia.  A lot of the tools and practices we cover during the week come from those learned in the School, but we like to mix it up a bit.

There is also a Ctrl+Alt+Retreat run in the UK – you may have found their website too (www.ctrlaltretreat.co.uk).  The Sydney retreat is organised by a different group of people, but we’re linked via the global School of Practical Philosophy community.

Where is it held?

Ctrl+Alt+Retreat is held at ‘Mahratta’ – 25 Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga NSW 2076.

Mahratta is an art-deco mansion set in beautiful garden grounds – it’s pretty impressive!  Check it out at www.mahratta.org.au if you’re curious to know more.

What will the food be like?

Good food is important.  Ctrl+Alt+Retreat serves a varied and delicious vegetarian menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.  Don’t worry – there will be plenty of food!

One of the most enjoyable parts of the week is preparing food together, under the guidance of a head cook (also a very skilled and experienced volunteer).

Dietary requirements can be catered for; please let us know about your needs when you register.

What are the sleeping arrangements?

Rooms are basic but comfortable, and are generally shared between 2-4 people.  Note that male and female rooms are separated for the week.  Sheets, blankets etc will be supplied.

If you require a special sleeping arrangement, please let us know in advance.

Is there alcohol on the event?

We ask you that you refrain from consuming alcohol or other intoxicants during the week.We find a dry week helps with meditation and mindfulness practices.  It offers a good opportunity to ‘detox’ and recover from stress of busy working life.  Please email us if you have questions or concerns.

What do I pack and what clothes should I bring?

Bring several sets of clothes, and plan for a range of activities. Casual clothing is great, but include some clothes suitable for housework, gardening, and sport (if you’re keen). It’s common but not compulsory to dress up a little for dinner, so you may want to pack some smart casual too.

We try to get to the beach one day in the week, so bring swimmers, goggles, hat, sunscreen and a beach towel – whatever you’d usually want for the beach!

Also bring all the personal items you’d normally use during a week away – toothbrush, hairbrush, chargers, sunglasses, any medications (please let us know if you have any particular medical requirements and we’ll assist however we can).

Consider bringing a book, a ball, or some social games for free time.

It’s fine to bring a laptop in case you need to work, but we’d recommend leaving it behind if possible so you can get the most out of the week.

We provide bath towels and all bedding, including linen, pillows and pillowcases, and blankets. (But if you’re especially attached to your own towel or blankey, we won’t stop you bringing it along.)

How much free time is there?

We set aside a block of over two hours’ free time each afternoon to give you an opportunity to rest, relax, get outside, and have some fun.

There are also breaks for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and free time in the evenings.

Is there any flexibility with payments?

Ctrl+Alt+Retreat is run by volunteers, and our registration fee is there just to cover the costs of the week.

We get that money can sometimes be an issue though, and would prefer that it not be a barrier to people attending.  If you’re having difficulty making the full payment right away, please email us and we can discuss different options, such as a payment plan.

How do I get to the event?

The retreat will be held at “Mahratta”, 25 Fox Valley Road Wahroonga.

If you intend on driving to Mahratta for the retreat, there is on-site parking available. Please aim to arrive at Mahratta by 3 pm on Saturday, 6 January.

If you’re flying in into Sydney Airport, there will be a group shuttle bus to take you to the retreat (see details below).

Alternatively, you can catch a train from the airport to Warrawee train station (about 10 mins walk from Mahratta), so if you’re arriving outside the shuttle bus pick-up time, you’ll be able to make your own way via train. Please note that you will need to change trains at Central Station to get to Warawee. Warrawee station is located on the T1 North Shore Line towards Hornsby and Berowra.

Airport shuttle bus details:

We will provide a complementary shuttle bus service to reach the retreat from Sydney Airport. This service will depart Sydney Domestic Airport at 2 pm on Saturday, 6 January. If you would like to travel on this bus to the retreat, please make sure you book your flights to arrive at Sydney Airport with plenty of time to meet the bus by 2 pm. We suggest booking domestic flights that arrive no later than 1 pm and international flights that arrive no later than 12 noon, as if you’re coming from overseas you will need to travel from the International to the Domestic airport.

At the end of the retreat (which finishes at 11 am on Saturday 13 January), the shuttle bus will depart Mahratta at 11.30 am and will arrive at Sydney Domestic Airport at approximately 12.30 pm. If you’d like to use this service, please book your return flights accordingly.”

Who are the facilitators?

A group of young (or young at heart!) facilitators are available to guide and coach participants during the week.  All of the facilitators have volunteered their time and aim to bring energy and light to benefit everyone. They have practised the tools and techniques for many years themselves.




Chris is medical doctor, yoga teacher and keen cyclist. He joined the School of  Philosophy in 2003, inspired by a ‘I’ll have what’s she’s having’ moment. Completing yoga teacher training in 2007 at the Gita International School of Yoga, he has been teaching hatha yoga infused with practical philosophy ever since. Chris’ love of learning, interest in wellbeing and innate desire to help others lead him to further study, undertaking a Masters of Wellness at RMIT and recently completing his MD at the University of Notre Dame.

Chris has been a guest speaker and facilitator at various events from workshops on workplace wellness and resilience at the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Annual Inspector’s and Mediator’s Conferences to leading World Yoga Day events, Macpherson Smith Future Rural Leaders Programs, Living Leadership, and Catalyst. Among his many interests Chris is a keen researcher in the topics of resilience and rural health. Most recently he has presented at the NSW Rural Health Research Congress. Chris invites you to ‘reset’ during the week and immerse yourself fully into the reflective journey.


Carla has attended the School of Practical Philosophy in both Melbourne and Brisbane for the past seven years, and loves this retreat so much that she has attended five times as both a participant and a tutor (we can’t seem to keep her away!)  What Carla loves most about the retreat is the fantastic people she meets and the inner strength and serenity she feels when she leaves.

In her professional life, Carla is an Organisational Psychologist and works to develop the leadership capabilities of managers.  When she’s not at work, she enjoys any activity that involves culinary delight, the outdoors, and/or a dash of adventure.


Atousa is a skilled and experienced conflict management and conflict resolution practitioner. She was admitted in 1990 as a Solicitor of the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of NSW and has over 25 years of experience working in a range of legal roles as a litigator, policy adviser, legal management consultant and conflict resolution professional. Atousa has been passionately studying and teaching with the School of Practical Philosophy for well over a decade, and she’s super-excited about facilitating on this retreat.


James works as a full-time Lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, in the Discipline of Work and Organisation Studies, where he teaches management and leadership, and researches the impacts of mindfulness on employee engagement, commitment and leadership behaviours. As well as teaching and research James has a consulting practice, working with organisations to enhance resilience using mindfulness-based approaches.

James has been a student of the School of Practical Philosophy for over 15 years, and has (and continues to) derive great benefit from the study of philosophy and meditation. He is passionate about developing wisdom personally and using that to benefit the world. He has been helping to run annual retreats for young professionals for nearly a decade, and loves being a part of them!


Thomas has been involved as a facilitator in a number of these retreats. Working as a Social Worker in a High School for disadvantaged young people Thomas is able to passionately work with others to help them discover their potential. Thomas has been a student in the School of Philosophy in Brisbane for 18 years and thoroughly enjoys tutoring groups at the School. When Thomas isn’t working with the community or trying to free himself from the shortcoming of the ego, he enjoys playing in his band coming to a bar near you soon.


Click on the image below to be taken to the registration page where you can choose your afternoon elective, add your details and register for the event.