Arriving in Bali on November 4th, I had no expectations.
I had just journeyed over 30 hours to meet my PACK (of digital nomad peeps) in Ubud, bringing my laptop and phone – AKA my business – in tow.
Maybe it's best to always enter a new situation with zero expectations?
Because what followed was a month of *explosive* surprises.
(Oh, and P.S. —> I’m hosting my next retreat in Bali in February 2019, and you’re invited. Check out your invitation and all the details here!)
Here are my top three favourite moments from my month in Bali with PACK.
1. Eyeball wins: seeing the beautiful sights of Bali
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that Bali is an INSTAGRAM. HEAVEN.
One of my favourite aspects of my trip to Bali with PACK was being able to see so much of the beautiful island.
Here are highlights of what I LOVED seeing in Bali.
The Variety of Ubud (While Living There for 4 Weeks)
Ubud is a hub of Bali for good reason. The amount of gorgeous sights in close proximity to the town is crazy. Here are some of my faves.
Gunung Kawi – an 11th-century temple
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Climbing Mount Batur
What's more satisfying than getting up at 2:00am to climb a volcano in the pitch black to see the sunrise over Mount Agung (right before it erupted)?
It might sound hellish but believe me when I say –– it was worth it.
The Surf of Canggu
Canggu is known as a surf town... but that didn't stop us from checking out its beach clubs and cafés! 😁
The Most Gorgeous Aerial View of a Beach on Nusa Penida
You've probably seen this view from someone's post on Instagram (teehee) but viewing it with your own eyeballs is indescribable.
Pasih Uug Broken Beach
The Prettiest Sunset in Uluwatu
What's better than crawling through some sandy caves to discover a shipwrecked beach and be delighted with the most spectacular sunset?
Secret Beach in Uluwatu
Dreamland Beach in Uluwatu
Guess where we’re headed on my next digital nomad retreat?
One small, magical word: BALI.
It was a total full circle moment for me as I came to Bali on my first remote working trip almost 3 years prior, after juuuuust going full-time with my own services business which is now Canupy. (Oh, and a breakup. A bad one. Grrrrreat timing.)
I mean, after 3 years of intense hustle, learning and scaling, the fruits were starting to appear.
Online business freedom really is a long game.
I see so many people hustling a day job and a side biz to make it happen... and it might feel like the wins are few and far between... but I say: keep going.
I do believe that those who stick with it to build a biz with solid foundations get there one day – whether it's in 6 months, 1 year, or 3 years (just not overnight 😉).
The other cool thing that happened in my business while I was in Bali?
I taught my Instagram masterclass IN PERSON for the first time ever at Hubud.
Another full circle moment as Hubud was my goal when I worked in a 9-5 back in 2013.
I was dying to work from Bali and so when I reached Hubud at the start of 2015, it was a dream come true.
So to come back almost 3 years later and teach a class at the same place... like, woah.
Lastly, from a hard numbers perspective, I'll mention this other win.
I was working probably half the hours I normally would and yet, because of a promo I ran for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, November was my best sales month all year.
I definitely had more *pinch me* moments as I'd be out and about Ubud, riding around on my scooter, and still getting notifications on my phone of sales coming in.
Talk about freedom, right?
3. Erupting Mount Agung wins: seeing it with my own eyes
Rounding out my third favourite moment from my time in Bali is having the chance to see Mount Agung erupting with my own eyes.
I had heard the news of the eruption starting right before our early morning Mount Batur hike.
From Batur, I could see Agung in the distance with a little steam coming out of it.
Then a few days later, I heard the news of the major eruption.
And the next day, it became very, very real.
While we were back in Ubud and masks were being handed out as a precaution, a group of us from PACK decided get up early the next morning and drive towards the volcano to get a better look.
We honestly didn't know if it was the stupidest idea or an opportunity that couldn't be passed up.
You can read the full story of that morning here in my Instagram caption, but in short, it was pretty spectactular.
The alarm goes off at 4:30am. .. You feel confused, unsure about reality, and slightly nauseous. .. Against all logic, you turn on the lights, put warm clothes on, grab your face mask, and walk out into the night. .. Once on your scooter bike, your hands grip the handlebars tightly as your eyes scan the darkness for bumps in the road, lights flickering in the distance, and the red light of the scooter in front of you -- the one you’re supposed to keep up with. .. The sky begins to light up, and slowly, the shapes of the streets begin to take form. .. Your nose takes note of a new smell in the air. Chemicals burning? Sulphur? .. After over an hour of driving further up, towards the cold, your eyes begin to burn. Not sure if it’s the dust or ash in the air, you tighten your face mask and bring your helmet’s visor all the way down. .. (You feel more like a Balinese scooter pro than ever before.) .. To the right, you see the ominous ash cloud and Mount Agung, set as the backdrop to a local rice field. .. In the golden rays of the morning, it looks eerily beautiful. .. You pull over, eager to see this view with your own unshielded eyes. .. For about 10 minutes, you soak in this wonder, thinking this might be the only time in your life you’ll see a sight like this. .. The sun rises further up; the golden rays turn to bright white light, and the sunrise over the erupting volcano is over. ••• And THAT is the story of how these volcano photos came to be 😛
While we as tourists were safe and were able to see some stunning views of the volcano erupting, it really highlighted the peril that the locals living around Agung were in.
Thousands of people relocated away from the volcano, their lives totally disrupted and without means to take care of themselves, they were left to rely on government resources for food and shelter.
For most tourists, their major disruption was the airport closure for two and a half days.
I'll admit that I was freaked out by the prospect of being "stuck" in Bali, potentially missing my flights to Vancouver, Hawaii and Kenya (I know, I know... first world problems).
But as luck would have it, the volcano slowed its ash spew, the airport re-opened and I was able to get a flight out just a day later than originally planned (thank you EVA Air!).
As a final farewell from Agung, I actually saw it from my airplane seat as I flew out of Bali.
It was a bittersweet goodbye to an island that I love so much, and I already can't wait to go back (maybe for my own little remote working, mastermind retreat...? 😁).
If you have any questions or comments to share about my month in Bali, hit the big button below and chat with me inside my free Facebook group.
And if you're ready to see if the digital nomad, travelpreneur life is for you, grab the free checklist below.
Until the next trip!
Convinced that Bali should be your next spot?
What a coincidence! It just so happens that Bali is where I’m hosting my next digital nomad retreat in 2019.