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Intensive personal development programs in Portugal

With Merkana, out of office adventure retreats, we offer intensive personal development programs for young professionals, combined with a week in the most beautiful and peaceful environment in Portugal.

We live in a fast-paced, busy world in which we often give ourselves little time to slow down and reflect on what we are doing. Many of us feel overwhelmed by the amount of stimuli. Especially millennials and generation Z experience tremendous performance pressure, so mental problems soon lurk. At the same time, these generations are driven by development.

Adventurous activities combined with professional coaching

The young professional will be challenged with adventurous activities like surfing, hiking, horse back riding, breathwork and climbing, combined with professional coaching and training about personal leadership themes. Having clarity on inner values and goals, improves self-confidence and productivity and reduces the risk of a burn-out.

When people feel balanced and take good care for themselves—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—they perform better, with more passion, for longer. As a result, a larger pool of healthy and resilient young professionals is available for employers.


We offer adventure retreats
for everyone

What does MerkanA offer me as an employer?

Your company becomes more attractive to young professionals.

An adventure retreat can act as a high impact intervention which accelerates the development of high potentials.

Young professionals are better balanced - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—they perform better, with more passion, for longer.

Results will be secured in the Personal Development Plan of the young professional.


Generation Z & millennials are driven by development

Young people strive for happiness and almost unanimously (96%) define ‘success’ as ‘being happy’. They seek happiness not so much in stuff, social prestige, or maximum earning, but mainly in the feeling of being on the way to a better version of themselves. Thereby, 40% of young people already have one foot outside the door.

There are 3 reasons why young people are driven by development:

They believe everything should be fun

They compare themselves to other successful people via social media

They believe life is makeable

Therefore, as an employer, it is important to offer young professionals personal development. Source: Careerwise research 2021

Why Portugal?

Portugal is a hub for personal development; physical distance enables emotional distance. The natural infrastructure of Portugal with the sea, the mountains and the climate is perfect. And finally: Portugal offers affordable prices for adventurous activities.

How to compensate the flight?

Merkana doubles the compensation of CO2 emission and during the program we will plant trees together.

Young professionals will be challenged on 4 levels


Several outdoor activities act as a mirror: what is my tendency when I am under stress? What are my patterns?


Science-based methods are taught: what exercises can make me resilient?


Repressed emotions are processed: How do I give space to all my emotions?


Young professionals restore the connection with nature and with themselves: what are my values and what is my purpose?


“From Frisse Blikken I know Saskia as a professional coach, trainer and sparring partner, with strong observation skills, broad expertise and above all as very pleasant to work with. With the substantive expertise that she brings in from different angles, she makes a strong and valuable contribution to the design of our development programs as a collaboration partner. As a coach and trainer of the participants, she is able to build a professional and warm relationship in a short period of time, to stimulate and challenge the professionals and to ensure that the program remains in line with their work practice as closely as possible. I think it’s a pleasure to work with her!”

Madelon Gijzel

Madelon Gijzel

Senior Project Manager at Frisse Blikken

“Saskia is a committed and passionate team and organizational coach. She helped us to take a closer look at our internal processes and the needs of our employees. During the team days she was empathetic and sharp. This ensured that the content of the conversation was well conducted. If your organization is ready for such a process, we can wholeheartedly recommend Saskia.”

Benjamin Wesselink

Benjamin Wesselink

Director of Wesselink Bouw en Insulation BV

“Saskia has helped me tremendously over the past 2 years by knowing how to ask the right questions at the right time. During her coaching, she always knows how to look at situations from a different angle in a very practical, accessible and applicable way that benefits you immediately!”

Koen Vogels

Koen Vogels

Financial Risk Manager at Knab

“I appreciate Saskia that she makes you think, stimulates and challenges you based on trust. And she teaches you that anything is possible. Saskia experiments with different forms of coaching, some outside my comfort zone. She has a good sense of what I need at what time. This has given me new insights into myself and I can talk about it more easily.”

Lotte Jongstra

Lotte Jongstra

Advisor sustainability policy at ASN Bank

“I got to know Saskia as a committed coach. She helped me for a year and a half to look at my strengths and areas for development from a different angle. This leads to personal insights that help me move forward. She makes very professional use of different techniques and exercises, but always combined with her sharp eye and personal approach. I can definitely recommend working with Saskia.”

Bart Cuijpers

Bart Cuijpers

Risk Manager at de Volksbank

“In 2018 I participated in a two-year personal development program of Frisse Blikken. Intensive coaching by Saskia was part of that. Saskia has a lot of knowledge and experience with coaching. She ensures a good alternation between theory and practice and holds up a mirror to you. Saskia creates the right atmosphere in an authentic and casual way to open up and get the most out of the sessions. As a result, I got to know a whole new side of myself!”

Martin Pott

Martin Pott

Financial advisor at Pott Assurantiën

“I was lucky that Saskia was my coach for two years during my traineeship at De Volksbank. Saskia is a coach who ‘looks through you’. She has a good sense of things and keeps asking questions until the core is clear.”

Berend Dumas

Berend Dumas

Data Scientist at Data Science Lab

“As a coach and trainer, Saskia brings energy, challenge and new insights in the context of personal development and group training. Because she has a clear view of what your personal development needs are and has extensive knowledge of various coaching and training methods, she can help you or your group taking steps in a way that suits you / you. And in addition, she is simply an open, accessible and pleasant person.”

Joris van Erp

Joris van Erp

Sustainability Risk Manager at de Volksbank

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In case you gave any questions about our community, you are welcome to write us.

ENDOFTROUBLES, Cerca dos Pomares, s/n, Aldeia Nova, 8670-013 Aljezur