Living and working abroad may be something you think is a fairytale. Some crazy way of living that only a few people could actually do. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s not impossible at all! And it’s becoming so increasingly common that there are actually companies that contribute to the digital nomad life. One such company, PACK, runs digital nomad retreats around the world.
Let’s backtrack. Remote work kind of found me when I decided to quit my 9-6 job back in 2014. And ever since I stumbled on my first remote job, I haven’t looked back. The freedom remote working offers is something you just can’t get with any other job.
Back in 2014 when I started working remotely, it wasn’t as common. I honestly didn’t even realize that people traveled full time with their remote jobs. I was working from my couch and only taking a few trips a year. Over the years through my travels, I have met digital nomads and dreamed of living a life completely on the road.
Now I know there are so many resources for people who work and travel full time and I couldn’t wait to experience one for myself. That’s why I was so excited when PACK reached out to me earlier this year about their 30-day digital nomad retreats in Bali.
About PACK’s Digital Nomad Retreats:
PACK was founded by Michele DiLisio, a remote worker, and female entrepreneur. Most remote workers travel by themselves and it can become lonely if you’re not the type of person who becomes BFF’s with everyone they meet.
So Michele wanted to create a full-service, group travel experience for people who wanted a community to travel with and learn from. Travelers who were tired of the hostel life and wanted to get the most out of every trip while still being productive.
And that’s exactly what PACK does. They organize 30-day digital nomad retreats for digital nomads (duh 😋), freelancers, location-independent professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs, in different cities all over the world. You live, work, and learn with a group of 25 like-minded people. People who also love to travel and have created a lifestyle for themselves where they work entirely online. Or, people who are transitioning into that lifestyle.
This past November I joined PACK in their first ever retreat in Bali, Indonesia.
Where We Stayed:
Our home in Bali was Ubud which is a city where a lot of digital nomads live and work. We stayed at Villa Kakul, which was amazing. It was so much more than I was expecting. Definitely nicer than any place I’m used to staying during my budget adventures.
Each private room has a view of the pool. They also have villas with private pools and outdoor showers. Every room has a huge bed, kitchenette with complimentary tea and coffee, free soap and shampoo, A/C (a necessity!), your own WIFI router, a free toothbrush and toothpaste, and free water the entire month, which is so very important in a 2nd world country! They also clean the room for you every day.
They have a restaurant (with amazing food) onsite. The breakfast each day is served in the restaurant and is included in the price of the retreat. It’s also the best breakfast I’ve had during my travels. You can get traditional Balinese breakfast or American breakfast.
They also have their own spa on site with a ton of different treatments that are SO affordable. PACK also organized a 20% discount on all the spa treatments and the restaurant dining.
But the best part about this villa was the staff. Every single one of them was so sweet and welcoming and did everything in their power to make sure we were all comfortable. They even knew all of our names within the first couple of days!
Villa Kakul was far enough away from the city and all the crazy traffic and surrounded by rice fields, farmers, and rural Balinese life. But, close enough that everything, including our coworking space, was only a 5-15 minute scooter ride away.
Where We Worked:
A big part of the PACK experience is creating an environment where you can be productive and work since the trips are designed for people who work online. That’s why an amazing co-working space (and super fast internet) is SO important. And that’s what our coworking space, Outpost, provided.
Outpost was the perfect place to work in the midst of Ubud. The office space is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can work whenever you want. If you have clients back in North America and you need to have a call at 3 am, you can do that.
It was also only a 5-minute scooter ride away and had the most beautiful office view I’ve ever had (and I used to work in Miami Beach)
They have a couple different spaces you can work. On the top floor is a space where you can talk and discuss with fellow nomads. Downstairs is the “Quiet Room” where no one is allowed to talk and you can focus in a silent area. They have meeting rooms you can rent out as well as Skype rooms.
Outpost also has tons of events throughout the week including free yoga classes, free massages, and presentations with different experts. There’s a delicious restaurant right next door that can deliver food straight to your desk. Every member also has access to a gorgeous pool space so that you can take your breaks soaking in the sun.
How We Got Around:
A scooter is the best and most affordable way to get around in Bali and you can rent one straight from the villa. It can be a bit scary because they do drive on the opposite side from us in the US. They also don’t have rules and there are many things to watch out for so you have to be aggressive and very cautious at the same time. A scooter costs 650,000 rupiah/month (about $45 USD) to rent.
If you don’t feel up to driving around on a scooter, there are a lot of taxis and scooter taxis that are inexpensive. You won’t be going too far anyway. PACK also organized free transfers to Outpost every day at 8 am, 12 pm, and 4 pm. You could also Whatsapp the villa if you ever needed a lift anywhere.
What We Did When We Weren’t Working:
When we didn’t need to be at our desks, our group explored Bali as much as possible! Whether we were with the group altogether or just with a few members, we always had a great time and got to explore different parts of the island. Here are some of the things our group did during the month:
- Trips to Nusa Penida Island
- Weekend Trip to Canggu
- Weekend Trip to Uluwatu
- Monkey Forest
- Waterfall Tour Day Trip
- Sunrise Hike up Mount Batur
- Bali Swing
- Temple Day Tours
- Tegalang Rice Paddies
- Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
- Balinese Cooking Classes
- Shopping at Ubud Market
What We Learned:
PACK’s digital nomad retreats not only focus on making it a fun and productive month, they also want you to be able to grow and learn from the group. Every week you can sign up to give a casual talk to the group about something you’re knowledgeable about. It can be anything you want!
This makes it really exciting because everyone has a unique skill and something worth learning. Our group was diverse so we had so many different skillshare sessions. Here are a few that stuck out to me in our group:
- How to Sleep Better
- Cryptocurrency 101 & How to Invest
- SEO Fundamentals (from an SEO queen!)
- Enneagram Personality Types
- Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
And Pete taught everyone how to speak Spanish and Portuguese (including dirty words 😂)
We also had a goal-setting meeting at the beginning of the month where we discussed what we wanted to work on and other people in the group offered their help.
What the PACK Bali Digital Nomad Retreats Include:
- One month unlimited access to a coworking space
- One month of private villa accommodation
- Mount Batur Hike
- Welcome Dinner with Balinese Buffet
- Farewell Dinner
- Free transport to the coworking space 3 times a day
- Airport Transfers
- A SIM Card with 5G of data
- Breakfast everyday
- Discounts at the Villa spa and restaurant
- Weekly skillshare sessions
What the PACK Bali Digital Nomad Retreats Do Not Include:
- Any tours or trips you want to take
- Transportation for the month
- Flights to/from Bali
Shop My Bali Style Must-Haves:
Bali was simply amazing. It’s such a laidback island full of the sweetest and humblest people I have ever met in my life. And being able to explore the island and surrounding islands was the best. I love immersing myself in different cultures and Bali has culture for dayssss. Plus, it’s extremely affordable for Americans. You can def ball on a budget.
But, the best part about this experience, for me, was our PACK. The amount of information I absorbed from our group and the deep and insightful conversations I had is mind blowing and not something I was necessarily expecting. I’ve gone on other tour group trips before, but I’ve never been on a trip like this.
In our group, we had travel bloggers, big-time Instagrammers, investors, cryptocurrency experts, freelance writers, freelance social media experts, a travel visual journalist, and a successful female business owner. We had people from all over the US, people from Australia, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. We had people who just started traveling and people who have been to 40+ countries, lived all over, and have been traveling for years.
I learned something from each and every single person in this group. Whether it was relevant to my blog and business or I just learned more about their country and customs. I also learned a lot about myself and it strengthened my relationship with Pete (since we were with each other 24/7 for a month!)
That’s something valuable that you can’t get by traveling to a country by yourself. You don’t get that sense of community. You don’t have those immediate friends to explore with. I got so close to every single person and we have already started making plans to visit each other in the future.
And that’s what these PACK digital nomad retreats are all about and why they’re worth every single penny.
Every person who works from home should get their butts off that couch, onto a plane, and into a PACK trip. If you haven’t traveled yet because you don’t want to travel by yourself, this is a GREAT group to join. Or, if you’re considering working remotely, this is the perfect place to start and get your feet wet.
You can apply for their next Bali trip from February 24 – March 24th here.
You can apply for their Chiang Mai, Thailand trip from April 7th – May 5th here.
They also have a ton of other fun cities their planning for 2018 so keep a look out!
I can’t recommend PACK more. Get ready for the most inspiring and adventure-filled month of your life!
Thank you so much to PACK for inviting me to their first digital nomad retreat and sponsoring me during my stay! As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.