a wonderlost|wanderlust welcome
Born out of the desire for a quiet inspirational place to commune with nature and be reinvigorated as a creative person and human being not human doing, this 17-acre slice of beauty and serenity is the actualization of a dream to create a community for camaraderie and creative endeavors of various forms.
Rewarding experiences occur when we get LOST – lost in thought, lost in a good book, lost in translation, lost in conversation, lost in place. Here you will be allowed and encouraged to do so at your own pace or in a more structured guided session or workshop.
Camp Wonder Wander is open year round. Committed to aiding participants and short-term artist/writers-in-residence in connecting to a deep, enhanced level of creativity & camaraderie. Please contact us to coordinate your stay whether it be a weekend, week-long or longer term retreat experience. This is a secular, not religious, environment supporting all walks of life, except conspiracy theories.
The goal is to provide a safe, carefree place for guests and workshop participants to Get Lost – to explore inner dreamscapes and rejuvenate one's inner spirit. You will be immersed in and on a beautiful mid-south Tennessee 17-acre property combing pasture with woods in the hills near the Natchez Trace Parkway that is walking distance to our Buffalo River 600ft of river front. Located in Lewis County which is named after explorer Meriwether Lewis is approximately 3 hours east of Memphis, 1.5 hours southwest of Nashville, 1 hour west of Columbia, TN and 1 hour north of Florence, AL.
Val Sloan, a certified Forest Therapy guide, is the founder of this Nature Immersion company retreat center. Since 1995 Val has been involved in a variety of educational experiences from being a Graphic Design professor to leadership role in AIGA, the professional association for graphic design. Walking away from tenure and academia in 2018 to focus on creating active learning environment in nature was a giant leap, but a rewarding one to share this environment for others. She is a people person with hospitality experience such as restaurant server and catering assistant, a nanny for numerous families, a Girl Scout leader for 5 years, and even seasonal work in Florida for the Mouse running a few rides and making sure people were safe while watching daily parades or evening fireworks. She grew up moving every few years and being a Girl Scout enabled her to make friends and connections, and when she graduated from college she returned to the organization as a volunteer leader coordinating everything from meetings to camping trips. In 2007, she coordinated and conducted a graphic design study abroad course in London and then in the winter of 2013 managed a similar feat of two weeks in Japan with a highly talented co-coordinator in World Literature.
She has moved from Professor to Coach and is successful working with students of various skill levels, challenging all to break the boundaries of their own creative box, to explore the world around them and discover a new visual language and mode of problem-solving learning through happy accidents and experiences with unknown or unfamiliar circumstances leading to unpredictable visual solutions. Her desire is to bring her coursework to more people than she can reach inside the walls of a University, to work with youth in bootcamps preparing them for their own college or career path, while also acting as a coach or mentor for the seasoned professional who is burned out or individuals ready to take a leap into a creative profession without incurring significant debts to pursue a traditional program at the college level. In her own lifelong learning endeavors, she has been inspired in her methods from attending design and teaching conferences to reading books such as "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp, "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, and almost every book written by Malcolm Gladwell.
Her desire is to create a space where people of various backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue their creative passions in a supportive environment. Where creatives can gather around the dinner table with a roaring fire in the background, to talk, share, commune away from invasions of pesky technology. Getting back to craft, getting back to human connections, getting back to nature.
THE WANDERFUL FARM
The farm aspect of the facility is a work in progress to expand the existing garden space and orchard to a larger production to provide sustenance for residents and guests, as well as a revenue stream to offset costs for retreats or residencies. In addition, Val believes in the power of active engagement in physical labor such as in the garden or even tasks that seem menial like cleaning or cooking as a vital aspect of energizing the human and inner creative spirit. Break through the procrastination or the creative block that is plaguing you by getting your hands dirty as a volunteer, if you desire, in the care and maintenance of the Wanderful Farm. Ultimately the goal is to have chickens, grazing farm animals, possibly a few Alpacas, and hopefully a community of honey bees. The three barn spaces provide interior space for developing craft opportunities such as candle-making, natural dying of fabric, or found object or scavenger hunt sculptures.
family style dining
cook together / commune
this is NOT a primitive campsite
bring your bike, hiking shoes, kayak or other recreational supplies to enjoy the surrounding area including the buffalo river
in the round
& grey water system
one day there might even be an Outdoor Hot-tub
"Clean out a corner
of your mind and
creativity will instantly fill it."
- Dee Hock
“Creativity is allowing oneself
to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
- Scott Adams
“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's
most beautiful gift.”
- Albert Einstein
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT TERMS & CONDITIONS AS WELL AS PERSONAL CONDUCT POLICIES, PLEASE REVIEW THE FOLLOWING.
Guide to Getting Lost
I encourage happy accidents, experiments, learning from failure, critical thinking skills and becoming a stringent observer of the world around us as the keys to successful problem-solving. Integrate a creative respite into your practice.
On Your Turf
Workshops To Go
Interested in organizing a design or creative workshop for your friends, colleagues, or students? Camp Wonder Wander workshops can be customized and brought to your turf - a day, weekend or longer. Send us a message to coordinate.
The goal of Camp Wonder Wander is to bring back the essence of childhood discovery and enjoyment embodied in summer camps. Make new friends, reignite your spirit.
It's summer camp for adults!