About Us

Meet Benjamin and Beth, the passionate facilitators behind The Ikigai Retreat. With a shared vision of creating a life filled with purpose and meaning, Benjamin and Beth bring together their diverse backgrounds and expertise to guide you on a transformative journey.

Benjamin's fascination with Japanese culture and language ignited at a young age when he started writing to a Japanese penpal at just 12 years old. This initial connection blossomed into a lifelong passion, leading him to become an exchange student in Tokyo, pursue a degree in the Japanese Language, and travel extensively throughout Japan.

His immersive experiences allowed him to delve deep into the local culture, connect with its people, and develop a profound appreciation for the beauty and wisdom that Japan holds.

Beth holds a Professional Certified Coach credential with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) with a wealth of experience in executive transformational coaching. Armed with multiple certifications in this field, she has empowered countless individuals to unlock their true potential and live their dreams.

Through her own business focused on executive leadership and dream coaching, Beth has cultivated a unique skillset to guide others towards personal and professional growth.

In 2016, Benjamin and Beth crossed paths in Poland and quickly became kindred spirits and best friends. Bound by their shared passion for personal growth and a globally focused lifestyle, they embarked on a journey together to merge their talents and create something truly meaningful.

Now, as facilitators of The Ikigai Retreat, Benjamin and Beth invite you to join a curated and intimate group of like-minded individuals from around the world. Together, you will embark on a transformative experience where mindfulness, cultural immersion, and the powerful Ikigai framework converge.

Through their combined knowledge, warmth, and guidance, Benjamin and Beth are dedicated to creating an environment that fosters personal growth, connection, and lasting transformation.

Get ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery, ignite your inner purpose, and forge lifelong connections with Benjamin, Beth, and your fellow retreat participants. The path to a life filled with meaning and fulfillment starts here.

Meet Your Facilitators

Benjamin Trotter

Founder, Translator, Japanophile

Elizabeth Lenherr, PCC

Facilitator, Foodie, Dream Coach

Benjamin's History With Japan

Discover the enchanting tale of my lifelong romance with Japan, ignited by penpal letters, fueled by determination, and deepened through immersive adventures.

In 1991, my enchanting journey with Japan began with a simple act - writing letters to a penpal. As I eagerly awaited her responses, the mysterious characters on the envelopes fascinated me. Little did I know that these "pictures" were part of a rich culture that would become my lifelong passion.

My determination led me to dive into the complexities of the Japanese language. I embarked on a quest to conquer both alphabets, and then set my sights on the intricate world of Kanji characters. Their evolution from historical pictograms to modern symbols captivated me. I spent countless hours practicing strokes, perfecting characters, and exploring their origins.

As my fascination deepened, I turned to language learning resources, including cassette tapes, to hone my comprehension skills. The journey wasn't without challenges - deciphering sentence structures seemed daunting at first. I often wondered, "How will I ever distinguish individual words in these sentences?" But one day, it all clicked. The rhythm and cadence of Japanese sentences became clear, marking a pivotal moment in my language journey.

In 1994, I embarked on a transformative adventure to Japan, accompanied by a Japanese friend and her family. Living with a Japanese homestay was a turning point that enriched my understanding of the culture and language. Returning home, I continued my practice, delving into children's books and folk stories.

High school provided an opportunity to earn college credit for my Japanese proficiency. By the time I entered university, I excelled in Advanced Japanese. My sophomore year presented the chance to study abroad in Japan, a dream come true. Living independently in Tokyo, I formed lasting friendships with both international students and Japanese locals.

These relationships offered unique insights into Japanese traditions, especially during holidays spent with my penpal's family. My journey continued, culminating in achieving N2 proficiency - a nationally recognized language milestone. Connecting with Japanese friends and seeing their astonishment at my fluency fueled my passion for language and communication.

Since that pivotal year in 1999, I've returned to Japan numerous times, exploring its diverse landscapes, savoring its cuisine, and immersing myself in its vibrant festivals. Tokyo remains a cherished place to reunite with old friends before venturing into new, uncharted territories. Each visit reaffirms my love for this language and culture, inspiring me to share this passion with others.