Ever wondered what it would be like to pack your bags and go work abroad for a month?
I did just that in Bali with Find Your Pack. It’s a digital nomad retreat founded by Michelle DiLisio, a female entrepreneur who had enough of that dull cubicle life.
When I went full-time with my freelancing business in November 2016, I had no idea that retreats for location independent professionals even existed. I thought everyone just did their own thing and casually bumped into each other along the way.
But this month in Bali has shown me just how valuable it is to connect with other digital nomads. Over the last 30-days, I’ve learned tons about Instagram, Lightroom editing techniques, investing in crypto-currencies and met a #girlboss who has inspired some new business goals.
I also thought I would totally HATE the co-working space (in my mind it was just an excuse for a fancy office), but a month later, I’m it’s biggest fan.
If you’re on the fence about joining PACK’s digital nomad retreat or want to know more about it, here’s a guide to everything you can expect!
Who Should Attend PACK’s Digital Nomad Retreat?
Location independent professionals of course!
But don’t rule the retreat out if you don’t fit squarely into this category.
Going abroad for a month and meeting online entrepreneurs and remote workers, is great for those in transitional periods. You’ll be in an excellent position to learn how digital nomads make their money and it might spark business partnerships or a startup idea.
It’s even doable for 9 to 5ers who want their holiday to be more than just sipping cocktails on the beach.
A digital nomad retreat is also perfect for those that have never travelled solo. Maybe you’ve been a remote worker in your city for a few years, but don’t want to handle the logistics. Or you are scared you won’t have any friends to go on adventures with and that no one will speak English. Digital nomad retreats can be the solution to whatever is holding you back from packing your bags and taking your business abroad.
You won’t have to worry about any of the logistics or feeling alone in a country halfway around the world. Instead, you can focus on meeting your business goals and fitting in all those day trips.
What Are The Benefits of a Digital Nomad Retreat With PACK?
- All the logistics are taken care for you with quality in-country support.
- You’ll have a decent WiFi connection to keep you online 24/7.
- Comfortable accommodations in beautiful locations.
- Global mobility and the opportunity to make the world your office.
- A productive co-working environment and peer-to-peer workshops.
- Like-minded people to learn from and share new experiences with.
Accommodation in Bali for One Month
Kakul Villa is located just outside of Ubud’s city centre, overlooking rice fields and day-to-day Balinese rural life.
It has its own restaurant, spa and a gorgeous pool lined with lounge chairs perfect for working on your tan. The only downside? Unicorn floats are not included.
Each villa boasts it’s own private pool, with outdoor showers and deep tubs – perfect for bubble baths.
I stayed in one of the private rooms, overlooking the main pool and restaurant area. As I’m usually one for hostels, I felt super pampered having a whole room to myself – plus a private safe for my wayward passport.
The room also included a basic kitchenette, with complimentary tea and coffee. There is also a fridge to keep any leftovers as well as free shampoo, conditioner and even a toothbrush!
Each room and villa also has its own dedicated WiFi router, so you don’t have to share those precious uncapped gigs with anyone else.
And of course, there is aircon. AKA my best friend.
It’s not a trip to Bali without indulging in spa treatments. While the massages aren’t as cheap as they are for American travellers, it’s still a FANTASTIC deal for South Africans.
Plus PACK organised a much appreciated 20% off all treatments.
I used my time to sort out the situation brewing on my toes after hiking in Rwanda and get weekly aromatherapy massages.
- 60 min Aroma Therapy Massage: R 165.00
- 45 min Mud and Honey Body Wrap: R 90.00
- 60 min Traditional Facial: R 165.00
- 60 min Manicure or Pedicure with Polish: R 179.00
Kakul boasts it’s own on-site restaurant. As a guest, you’ll be treated to a daily all-inclusive breakfast. Choose from a traditional Indonesian start to your day or fill up on a hearty American breakfast.
For lunch and dinner, you’ll have a robust number of options to satisfy your hunger. I highly recommend the Green Thai Curry! The restaurant is also able to cater to any dietary preference and didn’t mind swinging a few extra tempeh slices my way.
With the villa being outside of the city centre, you’ll need some wheels to get around.
To get to the co-working space, the villa offered complimentary transfers at 8:00, 12:00 and 16:00 every day. We were also able to Whatsapp reception if we ever needed a lift to or from anywhere in Ubud.
For those that want more independence (and didn’t mind tackling Ubud’s traffic), there were scooters for rent from the villa.
The Coworking Space
Outpost is where you go to shit done in Ubud. It’s Bali’s largest coworking space, and the membership is included in PACK’s monthly fee.
The location in Ubud is located right next to a hotel, and you’ll have access to its gorgeous pool. The offices feature a quiet room for those who don’t want to be disturbed, meeting rooms, and open spaces to encourage productivity and collaboration.
- An on-site restaurant that delivers noms straight to your desk.
- High-speed Wi-Fi.
- Skype rooms.
- Bottomless tea and coffee.
- Free weekly 30 min massages.
- Free bi-weekly yoga classes.
- Skillshare and networking events.
- 24/7 access so you can get work done whenever you’re at your most productive.
Bonuses with PACK
Besides all the above, one of the main reason you want to work abroad is to explore a new country.
PACK will help you organise anything you want to do and also throws in a few extras to make your time in Bali extra special.
Here’s what was included in my trip:
- Welcome dinner and drinks.
- Weekly group lunches.
- Weekly PACK skillshare sessions.
- A sunrise hike to Mount Batur.
- Airport pick up and drop off.
Of course, everyone also organised loads of other day trips during our month in Bali. With so much to do, a month seems too short to get through all the amazing things the island has to offer.
Here’s a Glimpse of What My Group Got Up To:
- Temple Tours.
- Waterfall Day Trips.
- Weekend Trips to Nusa Penida, Canguu and Uluwatu.
- Bali Swings.
- Tegalang Rice Paddies.
- Exploring the Local Markets.
- Scuba Diving and Snorkelling.
- Traditional Cooking Classes.
In My Opinion
What I Liked About This Digital Nomad Retreat
As someone who usually plans all my trips in detail, it was nice to take a break from that and leave all the plans in someone else’s hands.
I also learned so much from the other digital nomads on this trip, and it’s proved to be an invaluable experience for my personal and professional growth.
Another thing that I didn’t think I would like was travelling with other people. As a hardened solo adventurer, I’m not used to planning activities around other people. But with my group from PACK, I was having such a great time learning about photography that I looked forward to exploring places with them and watching their processes. Plus, it was great to share experiences with people in real time and not just through my blog and social media.
Bali as a location is excellent for a digital nomad retreat. The co-working space is amazing, and there is enough to keep you busy in between the hours you aren’t grafting. But what really sold me on the island is the price point for South Africans. It’s possible to eat out at local restaurants and only spend R 14 – R 30 per meal.
How crazy is that?!
What I Would Like to See Improved
Nothing in life is perfect, and this wouldn’t be a fair review if I didn’t include a section on where I think PACK can improve. As this was their first retreat, some of these things are definitely growing pains and I don’t think any of these are reasons to not book your trip with them.
I’d love the accommodation for the next trip to be more centralised. As someone who can’t ride a scooter, I didn’t get to explore much by myself as I had to rely on taxis or other people to get around.
Before we left for the trip, we were asked to indicate which activities we were interested in doing. There were a lot of other influencers on this trip, and I know a lot of plans got derailed because of people wanting to see popular Instagram shots. It would have been great to be able to see who voted for what, especially for future trips that will have more professionals than Instagrammers.
Transport from Outpost back to the villa wasn’t included. Again, this became an annoying cost for me that could have been avoided if it was safer to walk back. It’s not dangerous in the sense that you’ll get mugged, but more from the lack of sidewalks and crazy traffic.
With the skillshare sessions, I found them to be super useful, but I think there is room to make them even better. The talks are casual and topics are decided a week in advance. While there is nothing wrong with this at all, the planner in me would have liked to know the topics before I even left South Africa. It would have made me more excited to know what I could learn, but at the same time, only once the whole group met did we realise what value we could bring to each other.
So Would I Recommend PACK’s Digital Nomad Retreat?
Hell yeah! Whether you’re a seasoned digital nomad or a relative noob like myself, the retreat is great value for money. A month felt way too short, and I still feel like I had so much more to learn from everyone else.
Thanks to PACK for inviting me to their first digital nomad retreat and sponsoring my stay! As usual, all opinions are my own.