For those who are unfamiliar, Pangea Dreams is a women's only retreat. Their website claims they are a "global community that empowers, educates, and inspires female creatives and entrepreneurs" and"a collective of women who rise together". But does it live up to the claim (and all the hype online surrounding the retreats)?
I was not easily convinced to go on the retreat, to be honest. I am a huge money saver and I don't love the idea of spending a huge chunk of money, especially when it's on myself. I usually feel like whatever it is that I'm spending money on, I don't really need or I can live without. So I watched the Pangea Instagram for well over a year. Thinking about it but never wanting to commit. But, I spent a lot of time a few months back re-doing my blog and I was sitting on a fairly large Instagram following and doing pretty much nothing with it. From my copious amounts of online research, I knew Pangea offered workshops in things like website SEO, Instagram, Media Kits, Marketing etc. which is just what I needed.
But, what really pushed me over the edge to go was my desire to meet women who were like me. I have been living a fairly nomadic life, having lived in seven different cities (in four different countries) in the past six years. I love to travel & explore and I also have a passion for blogging and Instagram. And as much as I adore all of my friends, none of them share these passions. I would look on Instagram and see women traveling in pairs or even in groups and I didn't even know where to begin to find anyone who would want to travel with me (and travel with content creation in mind, which is a whole different ball game). Pangea sells itself as a supportive community leading to life-long friendships with like-minded women, which is just what I felt I needed at this time in my life.
So, I bit the bullet, and applied to the Bali 2019 retreat. And here are my thoughts:
My retreat had five leaders, three main trip leaders, one trip leader in training and one guest host. I was extremely lucky to be on Sam's (one of the main trip leaders and the photographer) very last Pangea Retreat. She had been there from the beginning, but she has now moved on to a new life journey and is living her best life in Bali. I'm really sad for everyone else after my retreat because Sam is a true gem. But, knowing the Pangea team, I'm sure they have brought on a new photographer that is just as great! The two other main trip leaders are the ones that attend all the retreats, whereas the other hosts are currently rotating through. So, if you are considering a retreat, you will definitely meet Lauren and Carly. And to be honest, I cannot say enough good things about these two women. I felt instantly understood and supported by them both. They exude a level of positivity that is hard to come by these days. They are wonderful listeners while at the same time willing to offer advice. They were honest and open. I felt of all the hosts, these two were willing to share everything they knew with us. They truly wanted us to succeed.
I primarily chose this retreat because I really wanted to go to Bali. If you don't know much about me, I am a travel blogger and expat primarily focused on the Asian continent, so sticking with that theme, Bali interested me the most. To be honest, I will need to go back to Bali again, since there's not enough time on the retreat to really explore in a meaningful way. But...what we did see in the short week we were there, was totally worth it. That's the beauty of going with a retreat and being with leaders who have been to Bali before...they know all the best spots. We went to the Tegallalang Rice Terraces to take photos, we explored and shopped in the Ubud Market, we went cafe hopping in Seminyak, we frolicked in the Sacred Monkey Forest and relaxed on the beach. Along with days jam-packed with workshops (more on that in a bit), this was all we had time for but each place we went was amazing. I had so much fun on our 'explore' days and it really made me want to return to Bali to see more.
We stayed at the Chillhouse in Canggu, Bali. Overall, the accommodations were very nice. What really sets the chill house apart is the staff. Day 1, they already knew my name. They went out of their way to do everything we needed and more. When I say they went above and beyond, I truly mean it. They were an absolute delight and brought me a lot of joy every single day. The other thing I adored about the Chillhouse is that it's restaurant is an outdoor cafe, next to the pool, which serves only vegan and vegetarian food (literally my dream come true). The food was honestly one of the best parts of the trip and I'm still craving it every single day. Breakfast and lunch were always to order (and they have a huge menu full of amazing sweet and savory options) so we could get whatever we wanted for main dishes and side dishes (hello homemade almond butter on homemade toast) as well as fresh smoothies and juices. Dinners were buffet style with a different meal every night of the retreat. Whenever they had a vegetarian dish, they always made a separate vegan version just for me. And it was always amazing. They also made a big fruit tasting for us so we could try all the local fruits (some of which I love and wish I could have again and some I am glad do not grow in Israel). The cafe was also a hot spot for expats, so if youre in Bali and looking for some expat friends, look no further!
The actual facilities were nice, but I wouldnt call it luxury. The hotel does have an outdoor yoga space, two pools and potentially some rooms are more luxurious than others. We stayed in standard rooms. Each room is in its own little villa, which is really nice. The rooms could probably use a bit of a spruce, but it goes along with the overall chill Bali vibes. Overall, I'd definitely recommend the Chillhouse! It was a really wonderful and homey experience.
Over the course of three days, we went to eight different workshops (so much learning!) And I learned SO much. Some were more helpful or more relevant to me than others, but I got so much good stuff out of these workshops. I left Bali with so much to do...things I never even thought of before. The workshops were:
Building your Personal Brand & Finding your Niche
Building a Dedicated Community on Instagram
Pitching and Media Kit Creation
Passive & Active Income Strategies
After each workshop, I felt genuinely excited. I had so many actionable steps to take after each one and since the retreat, I really feel like I've made a lot of progress! I genuinely feel like the workshops (and the retreat overall) brought back my passion for travel blogging and content creation. It really lit a fire under me. I used to be really inconsistent with my blogging and my Instagram posting, and it sometimes felt like a chore. But now, I look forward to it, because I'm doing it for a reason. I have a vision and a path to get there, thanks to Pangea. I honestly don't think I'd have gotten to this place without the retreat.
As I mentioned above when thinking about location, traveling with leaders who have been to Bali before makes it so you hit all the best spots...it also makes it so you hit all the most Instagrammable spots. Between the beauty of Bali, the great vibes at the Chillhouse, a professional photographer, and being surrounded by content creators, the opportunity for great pictures is abundant. If you need/want new content for your Instagram/Pinterest/blog etc. this retreat will definitely not disappoint. At the end of the retreat, we all swapped hard drives and SD cards, so I got pictures from almost everyone in attendance, which is super awesome, especially coming from the world of tripods and self-timers.
"A Collective of Women who Rise Together"
Pangea prides itself on bringing together like minded women to an inspirational and supportive environment during the retreat. My retreat happened to be fairly small, just six girls. At first, I was disappointed because I really wanted to use this retreat as a way to expand my circle and meet more people. But, I quickly realized what a blessing it was. I got to know the other five girls on my retreat really well. I shared really vulnerable moments with them as well as empowering moments, breakthroughs and tears. I text my roommate, Luci, almost every single day, talking about everything from how to use Pinterest, to how we can stay accountable writing blogs, to personal triumphs and hardships. This is one of the reasons I'm most thankful for Pangea Dreams. I've been going through some low moments lately, feeling very lonely living abroad, and Pangea helped to bring me up. They made me feel heard and understood and cared about.
Some of the less shiny
All in all, my answer is yes. Pangea Dreams does live up to everything it claims on its website and all the positive reviews online are accurate. My week in Bali with Pangea Dreams was enlightening, inspiring and motivating. I feel like I'm in a different place now then I was before I left. The only thing I wish, is that the retreat was longer. So my advice if youre thinking about applying for a retreat in 2020 (or beyond), is that you do it. Save up your money (they also offer payment plans!) and go. Invest in yourself because it's the best thing you'll do!
Check out my Pinterest board for more Bali pictures!