Creating life beyond childlessness

"Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to hit the brakes and slow down."

Appalachian Trail

Asheville NC, USA | March 23 - 26, 2023​

Being a woman who is childless-not-by-choice can be a lonely journey. Maybe you feel that you are just going through the motions and not sure what your next move should be? You know something needs to change, but you don’t know where to start. I remember those feelings so vividly.  

What if you could take a pause from your usual routine, join a carefully selected group of amazing women, and kick off spring with a 4-day forest bath on the longest footpath in the world? Walking triggers the release of endorphins, chemicals in our brain that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood. And on top of that, physical exercise can reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms.

By the end of this transformational hike, you will feel calmer, have more clarity on what you want out of life, have the road map to get you there, and learn powerful tools and practices to stop waiting and start living again. We offer a supportive and inclusive environment for self-discovery and growth. And… nothing is more transformational than experiencing something this unique with people who get you. 

“The quality of your life, ultimately depends
on the quality of your relationships”

The women that join us are positive, ambitious and have a burning desire to move forward and live a consciously created life. Join us to find your voice, reclaim your power and create a life that not only looks good, but feels good. 

Wait, let me reframe that, a life that feels AMAZING!

It’s an opportunity to take some time for yourself and connect with others who understand the unique experience of being childless not by choice.

Book your spot today and get ready for an unforgettable experience!

Kick Off Spring 2023 with a 4-Day Forest Bath

My signature framework will form the base, combined with coaching tools, interactive games and hiking in nature to help create new paths and insights, to reconnect with yourself, others and your purpose, in a soul-nourishing adventure.

Thursday, March 23

Disconnect to Reconnect

Disconnect from everything that doesn’t support your wellbeing and give yourself the time and space to recharge.

Day 1 is all about deeply connecting with yourself and others.

Friday, March 24

Release & Surrender

Notice your emotions, acknowledge your experiences, and allow them to move past you.

Day 2 is all about emotionally letting go of negative emotions in a healthy way.

Saturday, March 25

Rediscover Your Roots

Recreate a solid foundation. Roots form the basis of our personality, they define our being.

On day 3 we rethink our life, and explore how we can live in alignment with our personal values and desires.

Sunday, March 26

Spread Your Wings

Jump into a created life. Wings give us the freedom, to go out in the world and explore new things.

On day 4 we express our innate curiosity, and discover new ideas and opportunities.

Meet Your Host & Guide Rianna Hijlkema

My name is Rianna, originally from The Netherlands, but currently living in Argentina. I’m a multi-passionate serial entrepreneur living a nomadic life for the past 11 years. Traveling to 40+ countries and working on four continents has taught me to approach life (and business) with resourcefulness and resilience.

Sounds pretty good, right?

Yup, until infertility knocked on my door. The first 4 years I’ve kind of wasted my life (even though I was laying on white sandy beaches, hiking mountains and ‘living the life’) on the inside I felt so terribly lonely. Nowhere could I find friends who understood the challenges I was facing.

Along the way, I rediscovered my love for walking and connected with childless women all around the world. Those connections became a huge part of my recovery as I worked on my overall health and well-being. If I was a doctor I would prescribe friendships for everyone, but I’m not so… I provide opportunities instead!

And the ‘Appalachian Trail’ is one of them!

This retreat is an opportunity to connect with women (like me!) who understand the triggers, confrontations and other emotions that arise. Together, we are going to create memories that will last a lifetime! 

What Others Say About Working With Me...

"I am beyond grateful for your quality time and effort to guide me. You've inspired me to follow my heart and intuition as of lately.

Thank you for pushing me to really evaluate what I wanted, it helped so much.

Also thank you so much for your insights. Your words mean so much to me and just being around your energy fills me up with inspiration."
Carolina M.
Student Master Therapy/Psychology
"I felt lost and emotionally out of balance. The support that Rianna gave me, was the perfect gift to help me move forward. The framework she is using clarified many things, which led to revelations during the week, which helped me make new decisions. Rianna guided me to open up the different layers and then helped me flip this information into something practical for the future. Rianna was a crucial piece in the transition that I was going through."
Laura - testimonial women empowerment coach Rianna Hijlkema
Laura Giosh-Markov
Positive Discipline workshop facilitator, Parent consultant, Counselor, and Music Therapist
"I contacted Rianna, because I was going through a deep down. I was feeling lost, I didn’t know where to start, I was overwhelmed with self-doubt and I had no clarity at all on where to go, or even to start. I resonated with Rianna and was provoked by her way of living her life. Rianna gave me the tools to sit down, work through them and understand why I feel a certain way. Rianna does an amazing way of guiding; very encouraging, supportive, but also challenging."
Maria Kacharava
Support Service Team Leader

Appalachian Support Team


Cathy Sharpe is a Grief and Trauma recovery counselor. She holds a Masters in Psychology, International Accredited Holistic Health + Mindset Counselor, & Integrative Medicine Practitioner. 

Cathy will be there with us to provide effective, quality Complex Trauma Recovery, and is able to support us in our own unique journey.

LinkedIn Profile RiannaHijlkema.comj

François de Neuville is a former commando-paratrooper, tsunami survivor, and certified high-performance coach. He’s also my amazing husband and has been my rock throughout this whole journey.

François will be with us to set up the camp, prepare our meals, provide first-aid and make sure we have an incredible experience.

What's Included?

* Pre-retreat connection call (Feb. ’23);
* Transportation from Asheville to the Appalachian Trail on Thursday;
* Transportation from the Appalachian Trail back to Asheville on Sunday;
* 3 nights in shared tent, including sleeping bag, pillow, and sleeping mat;
* Daily three-times vegetarian meals, prepared by François;
* Daily morning, afternoon & evening coaching sessions hosted by Rianna;
* Grief counseling and ongoing support by Cathy;
* 2% donation to support girls and women empowerment initiatives in Nepal;
* Optional: 10x group coaching calls & text support

"A unique and empowering experience"

Pay deposit | $500

All-inclusive 4D3N Hike

Remaining balance due before Feb 1st.
EU residents may be subject to VAT

Pay all at once | $1799

All-inclusive 4D3N Hike

Please book before March 1st.
EU residents may be subject to VAT

Pay deposit | $500

All-inclusive 4D3N Hike

Remaining balance due before Feb 1st.
EU residents may be subject to VAT

Pay all at once | $1799

All-inclusive 4D3N Hike

Please book before March 1st.
EU residents may be subject to VAT

Frequently Asked Questions

I looked for what I’ve now created for you. I’m here to guide you how to transform fear into faith and design a life where you thrive from the inside out both physically and mentally.

Grief has changed me but has not destroyed me. I’ve discovered new things about myself. I can build on strengths developed through adversity. I’m no longer my ‘old self’ but I’m still me. I face the future with confidence. Life is worth living because I can love and be loved.

And now I’m at a place in my life where I promise you I will not deal with anything I don’t have to. I’m leaving, I’m unfriending, I’m unfollowing, I’m blocking, and doing anything I gotta do to not deal with people & situations where I’m not respected or valued. My peace is my priority. And I’m very much looking forward to seeing you do the same.. it’s called love.. self-love.

I know what it takes to redesign your life. I’ve done it multiple times after a cheating boyfriend, leaving the Netherlands, becoming a nomad, and now being childless after IVF. Trust me, it requires more than just time. It requires a community, a supportive environment, tools and practices, and new experiences. Transformation is triggered through experiences and then reflecting on that experience. When you do that in a group, the effect can be exponential.

Also, when others share their thoughts, and you see yourself in their experiences, you realise you’re not alone in your struggles. Childless women can truly benefit from childless friends, I’ve seen and experienced it time over time. And knowing my limitations I’m bringing a grief counselor on board to support us through whatever comes up during the retreat.

There are many ways in which you give meaning to your life, but you have to discover for yourself how you do that and what suits you best.

After talking to hundreds of women who are childless not by choice, I know that not taking action can leave you stuck in grief for decades, maybe even your whole life. Just existing and not living can lead to anxiety, depression and loneliness. And I believe that life is too freaking short for that!

If you are interested, but can’t make these dates, reach out to me (email: and I will keep you in the loop on upcoming dates! 

If you booked and can’t make these dates, please check the cancellation policy in the terms & conditions and send me an email.

This is a transformational program that gives you the tools and awareness to feel empowered, guided and supported to create the shifts necessary for your happiness and success, through nature-based coaching where you, me and nature co-create this experience.

I know that you didn’t plan to end up with empty arms and so reimagining your future can be confusing.

This transformational retreat will guide you to explore your desires, create new paths and insights, and build meaningful relationships so that you can redesign your plan A. Taking a step forward doesn’t mean this loss is no longer important. It means you are important too.

Research has shown that trauma gets trapped into our bodies.

Emotions that aren’t dealt with can affect the way you think about yourself, how you deal with stress, your physical well-being and your relationships with others.

One of the ways to release this tension and repair your nervous system is intentional movement.

Nature is healing in so many ways. Research shows that only 20 minutes in nature calms your heart rate, slows down your breathing, decreases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and restores your mind.

After 3 days your prefrontal cortext (the part of you that’s in charge) relaxes. It resets! So it helps you to think clear and be more creative.

That’s why we kick off spring 2023 with a 4-day forest bath.

This retreat is exclusively for women who are childless-not-by-choice. 

Being childless-not-by-choice is not a one-and-done kind of thing. You don’t get over it and move on. You will still have times when you wish things had turned out differently. That’s ok. It’s ok to grieve the life you didn’t get. It’s ok to be angry. But remember, even though you have to do it all by yourself, you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got you!

Yes and no. We welcome all fitness levels, but to hike in the mountains and carry a pack comfortably, you should at least be able to walk several miles in your neighbourhood without taking a break. The more in shape you are, the easier it’l be. That said, I’ve chosen this specific section of the Appalachian Trail because it’s suitable for  a beginner hiker. 

We hike anyway! In case of severe weather: thunderstorms, ice, snow or extreme cold, we may postpone the trip.

Having a travel insurance is recommended.

With your reservation confirmation, I will email you a detailed packing list. Most important is comfortable and broken-in hiking shoes.

What about food?

We have food! We offer a variety of dehydrated meals, dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, oatmeal, you name it. We pack fresh fruit and veggies for snacks, and yes we have instant coffee for breakfast! We’re more than happy to accommodate dietary restrictions and preference whenever possible. Just give us a heads up in advance.

Please ensure that you arrive on Thursday 23rd of March at 12 pm in Asheville, NC. We will be back in Asheville on Sunday 26th or March at 2 pm latest. There might be an afternoon activity, but that’s not confirmed yet. Ask before booking in case of doubt.

Need help finding the right flight?

Please send an email to me (email: and I will help you find the best flight, please be sure to send the state/country of departure and all details if you do.

  • Connection call (virtual, 2 weeks before arrival)
  • Transportation from Asheville to the Appalachian Trail on Thursday
  • Transportation from the Appalachian Trail back to Asheville on Sunday
  • 3 nights shared tent, including sleeping bag, pillow and sleeping mat
  • Daily three times vegetarian/vegan/regular meals, prepared by François
  • Daily morning, afternoon & evening circle sessions hosted by Rianna
  • Grief counseling and on-going support by Cathy
  • 2% of your full payment will be donated to support girls and women empowerment initiatives in Nepal

Additional requested meals and drinks

  • Airfare & transportation to Asheville
  • Arrival visa
  • Insurance (health & travel)
  • Personal expenses (alcohol, souvenirs, etc)

Questions, doubts or something else?

Making such a big investment in yourself is scary. I totally understand.

Please reach out to me at if you have any questions, or book a virtual coffee chat to get a feel of what it would look like to spend time together.