Victoria FittsMilgrim poses for a photo along the Animas River Trail recently. In November, FittsMilgrim will be headed to Thailand, where she will host several six-day women’s-only retreats. The retreats will focus on self discovery and gaining new perspectives on life./Photo by Jennaye Derge

A heroine’s journey

Victoria FittsMilgrim leads women on trips of self-discovery

by Stew Mosberg

Durango is a Mecca for physical fitness, offering an endless array of options from the great outdoors to cross fit gyms, yoga studios and personal trainers

But when it comes to emotional and spiritual wellness, particularly for women, the options may not be so clear cut. However, for the last dozen years, local spiritual guide and life coach Victoria FittsMilgrim has been helping many local women on that path to self-discovery through her business, True Life Coaching.

According to FittsMilgrim, she helps to address the whole person, “with an emphasis on action and uncovering learning that can lead to more self-knowledge and greater balance.”

She does this not only through one-on-one coaching sessions, but small group, women-only outings and retreats. As the word implies, the retreats represent a moving away from the old self and finding of the new. They also offer an opportunity for women to get outside of their normal routines and focus without the interruptions or distractions of daily life.

One retreat that has proven popular over the years is an annual five-day trip on the Green River, in Utah. Entitled “River Wisdom,” the program is meant to help women who are facing change in their lives, using the river as a real life metaphor for navigating life’s journey, she says. Those retreats are meant to equip the women with a new set of tools for transformation and often result in the participants becoming lifelong friends.

 “Discovering new perspectives can create powerful awareness and shifts in your life,” FittsMilgrim says.         

Now, FittsMilgrim will be taking that4  concept of new perspectives farther afield, with a series of six-day programs in Thailand. FittsMilgrim, who leaves Nov. 2 and will be there for six months, will be using a curriculum she calls “The Heroine’s Journey.” Based on writer Joseph Campbell’s book Hero’s Journey, FittsMilgrim takes cues from his philosophy and the suggestion to “follow your bliss,” but from a female perspective.

A former board president of the Women’s Resource Center and a recipient of its “Extraordinary Woman” award, FittsMilgrim describes her exotic Asian retreat as a chance for women to, “Step away from everyone else’s idea of who you are and what you should be doing, and discover what inspires and awakens you.”

She will be conducting nine workshops starting in early November at the Tharn Thong Lodge in northern Thailand. The exotic locale, located in the mountains about 20 miles outside of the city of Chiang Mai, also acts as a catalyst for transforming and learning to be comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.

One might ask, why Thailand? FittsMilgrim has traveled extensively to teach and learn, and not long ago was sharing her knowledge with a group of Myanmar refugees in Thailand. She came away from that experience wanting to share it with others. As such, the six-day Heroine’s Journey seminar includes one-on-one meetings with FittsMilgrim, as well as group meditation and visualization sessions, yoga and massage, and what she calls, “wisdom and learning” guidance.

In accordance with the Dali Lama, FittsMilgrim says she believes women will be the ones who lead the world into a time of more balance and fulfillment. And her retreat is a perfect way to harness that power. “Spending a week in the beautiful mountains of northern Thailand and incorporating physical, psychological and spiritual elements provides participants with increased self-confidence and vision for living their most authentic lives, and (also) making a difference in our world,” she says

If this sounds a bit elusive, long-time advocate and client Jeanine Surber, a metals analyst living in Durango, enthusiastically endorses FittsMilgrim and her approach.

Surber was first coached by FittsMilgrim approximately 10 years ago at a retreat at Blue Lake Ranch, near Hesperus. After that, she embarked on two years of private coaching as well as group coaching sessions, group conference calls and in-person sessions over the years. 

Surber said FittsMilgrim’s approach appeals to her because FittsMilgrim tends to spend less time looking back at the past, and more time looking ahead. “She also doesn’t mess around with being ‘too nice,’ she wants change in her clients’ lives and pushes them to achieve that, even if it feels uncomfortable,” she says.

With her retreats, Surber says FittsMilgrim opens up a safe and caring space for women to come together and be themselves. “It is free of judgment from others and ourselves and a place where we can explore what’s happening in our inner worlds in a supportive environment,” Surber says. “It is a space where we are truly heard by other women and receive the wisdom of the collective minds in the circle.”

As testimony on how the program has helped her, Surber says she is able to let go of fears and “what ifs,” which has helped her go through major life transitions with minimal distress or disruption. “I now live in a state of awareness and trust that everything is unfolding just as it is meant to, which creates incredible peace in my life,” she says.

Metaphorically speaking, FittsMilgrim likens her Heroine’s Journey to Dorothy’s plight in “The Wizard of Oz.” Challenged over and over again while seeking to find her way home, Dorothy ultimately learns her own courage, heart, intelligence and belief in herself is all she needs.

For information contact: or (970) 903-0803.

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