What do olive oil, meditation, and clay all have in common? You are about to find out! Mazda invited me to a special weekend retreat at the luxury Rancho Valencia Resort, near Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego, to show me what Mazda means to them. They picked me up in the CX-9 and took me to a champagne reception at this incredible place.
That evening, Mazda demonstrated why relaxation is the cornerstone of enlightenment. I checked into my room, which was a beautiful over-sized suite with stone tile and all the trimmings. As I stood on the back porch, I noticed for the first time that I could finally hear myself think. The sound of the city and all my stress was now in the back of my mind.
The following morning, Mazda invited media representatives to a gathering, where we learned about the 6th generation of Mazda vehicles, and how Mazda evokes emotion in all aspects of their creative process. From concept to creation, Mazda explained why they focus on relaxation, joy, well-being and, as we were about to soon discover, exhilaration, to perfect their craft.
Test-driving the 2017 Mazda CX-5
To demonstrate exhilaration, Mazda handed over the keys to their CX-5, which is their take on an exciting sports utility vehicle. I hit the desert road, thrilled by the sound of the engine under the bass of the music; and enjoyed the extra space. The CX-5 is packed with accessories, like the premium-addition of the Bose 10-speaker audio system with Centerpoint2 and AudioPilot2 and makes for an entertaining and comfortable ride.
Mazda wanted us to remember this moment, and as we approached our destination in the olive trees, I could see a picnic table in the middle. As we tucked into Homestyle food, we shared our driving experience and the excitement of racing through the desert. For me, home-cooked food, and a long table filled with friends can only mean one thing; joy. And for Mazda, joy is what underlines everything they do.
Before long, Mazda handed us the keys to our next ride, their gorgeous MX-5 sports coupe, with information on our final destination. The group was immediately revved up. The MX-5 is a great looking car, and a real headturner. As my hands gripped the wheel, I loved driving into the sensation of the MX-5 hugging each curve – it really is a thrill to drive.
We arrived at our destination an hour later and was greeted by a Sensei, who taught us some incredible meditative practices that we could use at home. The Sensei embodied the Mazda spirit; from the minimal décor to the attention to detail, she gifted us with an experience that was in sharp contrast to the exhilaration of driving in the desert.
In meditation, you learn the importance of well-being, and how to look after yourself in a way so that your body, mind, and spirit can function in harmony – it’s not unlike the intricacies of a car engine, where each part plays a central role. It was the perfect way to put us at ease before meeting later that evening with the group for a tequila tasting.
That night we learned about the aging process of tequila and saw an artist modeling and carving clay in a way that construed emotion. We were encouraged to get our hands wet and to touch and interact with the clay in whatever way felt natural to us. It was a fun and tactile way to discover how Mazda create their canvas, and to see how new cars might come into creation from a feeling or emotion.
As we parted ways, I felt rejuvenated, relaxed, and was grateful to take away incredible moments of bliss and overall well-being. I came to see more clearly how Mazda approach their journey and will take a leaf out of their book on how to approach things in a new and exciting way. There’s a lot to be said for taking the road less traveled!