It was my first time, but surely – not my last time.
I’ve been in the freelancer world since 2013, and the digital nomad world since 2014.
And in all that time, I had never experienced a “digital nomad retreat.”
I mean, I've worked from some amazing co-working spaces in Nicaragua, Portugal and Australia.
But never had I joined in on a retreat – where all details are planned and taken care of for you.
So what is a digital nomad retreat, exactly?
I liken it to an all-inclusive resort.
With PACK, you pay a one-time fee when you sign up and from there, the main logistics are taken care of:
mastermind and learning opportunities
planned activities to see the sights
networking with likeminded people
as well as the all-important DATA CARD
Public Service Announcement: DON'T travel without an unlocked phone! ❌
After spending 4 weeks on a digital nomad retreat in Bali with PACK, here's why I think the experience is a *must* for any freelancer – aspiring, new or seasoned.
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For most freelancers, they've chosen the path of being their own boss because they were sick and tired of working in the office.
So they quit their jobs, itching to get out on their own.
To make their own schedule.
And to make their own coffee.
And to be their own boss.
But then they start working on their own... and realize how lonely it can be.
This was exactly what happened for me when I quit my job in the summer of 2014 to run my services business Canupy full-time.
Just me and my pancakes 👇🏼
One of the coolest aspects of traveling throughout Bali with PACK was the built-in community.
Truthfully, I wasn't sure I'd like traveling with a big group of people all that much.
But my mind totally changed when I saw the benefits of traveling with a group of hand-selected, fellow digital nomads:
Mastermind classes on new topics like cryptocurrency, SEO and sleep
Community over competition when it came to helping each other grow on Instagram (there were Lightroom tutorials happening, shout-outs in posts, and Instagram collabs happening everyday)
Photoshoot help and assistance (cuz hey, when you're in Instagram heaven – AKA Bali – sometimes you need a helping hand in nailing the shot)
Dinner companions whenever I wanted
Scooter driving lessons so that I could be a free bird and get around Ubud
My point is: if the thought of "community" turns you off because you're more of a solo traveler or are just wary of spending 4 weeks with people you've never met before, I'd ask you to reconsider and have an open mind.
While I'm usually one to want to do things on my own or figure things out for myself, having the built-in community actually turned out to be the biggest benefit of my entire month in Bali.
With the built-in community of PACK came... connections.
Meeting 15 people from all walks of life and countries like South Africa, Bulgaria, the UK and Australia meant that there was a LOT being brought to the table.
I'm talking: connections to media outlets, major brands, big bloggers and even just high-end equipment like drones.
As a result of one connection I made while in Bali, my Instagram growth and monetization course InstaGrowth Boss WAS FEATURED IN FORBES. 😱
Talk about a goal come true.
The article featured my Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal that I was running at the time, so my business even grew in revenue as a result of the article.
Now while there is no guarantee you'll go on the next PACK trip and be featured in Forbes too, I think the lesson here is that when you leave your normal, comfortable bubble and put yourself in a new environment, you never know who you're going to meet and how your business or life is going to change.
Ahhh... nothing like working from your couch in your PJs to really get. shit. done.
Most freelancers will find this is actually NOT the case.
Working on your own with little accountability means that it's a whole lot easier to turn on that Netflix show than to actually sit down and get 6-8 hours of productive work done.
Sitting elbow-to-elbow (or barefoot-to-barefoot in the case of Outpost where shoes ain't allowed) with fellow digital nomads, tapping away at their laptops with furrowed brows of concentration is just down right... motivating.
No one wants to be that schlump who's just goofing off, scrolling through Instagram while others around you are making calls, sales, posts or progress.
Now it's true that you don't need to travel to Bali to get this environment (you can look up any co-working space in your area in 2 seconds), but there is a special sense of solidarity when you look around the room and see people from all around the world... working together in the middle of a jungle.
When you're looking a digital nomad retreat, I know the first thing most people will do is crunch the numbers.
"Okay, now if I book my own accommodation and get a bus from the airport and work out of my hostel bar and make food in the shared kitchen, I can save myself approximately $13."
The truth is, you CAN go the budget route.
But in return for saving a few bucks, you're actually sacrificing A LOT in comfort and convenience.
Going on a digital nomad retreat isn't necessarily for the budget-focused, hostel traveler.
It's an experience that's designed to make YOU as comfortable as possible, so that you can – quite simply – get shit done in your freelance business or entrepreneurial endeavours while still seeing the beautiful sights of Bali.
You might be tempted to book your own month-long stay at a villa and then find your own co-working space in order to save a few hundred dollars.
But after my experience with PACK, I know that all the extra perks (like the Community, Connections and Acceleration) are worth far more than pinching pennies.
If it weren't for PACK, I wouldn't have:
learned how to ride a scooter through the wild streets of Ubud
learned more about cryptocurrency than I ever knew I wanted to know
received tutorials on Lightroom
seen amazing spots around Bali on weekends like Canggu, Nusa Penida and Uluwatu
received a feature in Forbes
Up next: Part 3 of my 3-part series covering my month in Bali with PACK.
Guess where my next Digital Nomad Retreat is going to be…..
If you guessed BALI - then you’d be 100% right!
I’m bringing it full circle and taking 20 amazing people with me to Bali in February of 2019. Join us!