Laura Abate shares her experience of the Pangea Dreams Bali Retreat in March 2018, and looks back at her journey towards becoming a full time content creator.

Travelling and discovering new cultures, healthy foods, and experiencing breathtaking views has been my passion for over a decade now, and I was always dreaming of my next destination. Instagram collections and Pinterest boards filled with blue oceans and epic sceneries are all I wanted to see. But like most people, with a University degree in hand, I went straight on the job market and I had been working the typical 9-to-5 office life. There was always that feeling like I needed more. Spending a lot of my time on Instagram, I came across accounts like Gypsea Lust and Do You Travel who were making a living out of travelling. That’s when I knew that is who I wanted to become! It combined my love for creative writing, photography, travel and having that social outlet gave a sense of community.

 Arielle, Pam and Laura loving life at the Bali Retreat!

Arielle, Pam and Laura loving life at the Bali Retreat!

The turning point

A few months later, I handed in my letter of resignation and packed up my trusty backpack with cute outfits and more bathing suits than underwear! I was ready to start making a career out of my passion and getting collaborations with brands who wanted exposure in working with me. Easy enough right? But in just a short month, the high of the excitement died down, I felt uninspired, and worst of all, no contracts were coming in. That’s when the flood of self-doubt started. Maybe I wasn’t good enough after all? Where can I start making a name for myself?

Feeling lost and frustrated, that is when I happened across Pangea Dreams from one of my all-time favourite travel bloggers! Lisa Homsy was radiant under the Tulum sun and was living proof that my dreams can come true by joining this retreat. Pangea was the answer to my questions! I immediately reached out to some of the ladies on that retreat to get feedback and a sense of the whole experience. When I saw how much the lives of these women were affected and all the positive outcomes, I couldn’t wait to join! I primarily wanted to belong to a group of like-minded women who share the same goals and similar lifestyle. To top it off, Bali was my number one bucket list destination and when I found out Lisa would be a host on the retreat in March, it felt like it was just meant-to-be!

Fast-forward a few months later, and now I’m on a 24-hour journey to Bali – my first time in Asia! It was such a special time to have been there during Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, where they celebrate with a parade carrying giant statues in the streets that are meant to chase evil spirits away. Having Pamela, our own Indonesian, with us was also incredibly special as she was able to explain the culture and even teach us traditional Balinese dancing! We instantly bonded and spent the rest of the week virtually inseparable.

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My first ever hike & a luxury hotel collaboration!

Hands-down, the highlight of the trip was, the day we woke up at 2 am to go hike up Mount Batur to catch the sunrise. It was the first hike of my life, and the feeling of making it up there was a testament to what I can achieve if I just push myself hard enough. All of us geared up in our Flexi-Lexi yoga wear, we were an unstoppable team! Getting up the mountain was no easy feat, but we were able to bond even more by encouraging each other to never give up. The view was so rewarding that I immediately forgot about my sore legs and just soaked everything in. Until we had to hike back down, and then my calves were a little less forgiving. But we didn’t stop there!

After that exhausting morning, it was still only 11’o’clock, so we headed towards the Kamandalu Resort for shooting in one of the most #viewgoals hotels in the world – with a floating breakfast!!! Add on the beautiful swing and it was pretty much the epitome of every Instagrammer’s fantasy embodied in this one afternoon.

Our next stop was the magical Tegalalang rice terraces for some more shooting and jaw-dropping views. When I look back, it’s crazy to think we got through all of this in a single day. Three breathtaking destinations, and oh so many more outfit changes! Honestly, the best part is that whenever I feel overwhelmed about having too much on my plate, I remember that day and know that I am capable of more than I initially think.  It was not just a highlight of the retreat, but memories I will cherish for a lifetime. I feel lucky to have a ton of gorgeous photos to remember that challenging day and the feeling of lying in bed exhausted that night knowing how thrilling and worth it all of it was.

My new-found family

It goes without saying that the Bali vibes are one of the factors that made this retreat special, but above all, it was the 13 lovely women I got to know and bond with during the week! Pangea Dreams in itself is special because these women became a family that continues to support each other even all the way across the globe. Each person brings a unique perspective and an expertise that can be shared, which adds an even greater value to the retreat’s workshops. We were lucky enough to be traveling with a life coach and were treated to an impromptu workshop focused on goal-setting. This changed my mindset into a state of clarity, avoiding procrastination and practicing self-gratitude, which has impacted my daily life ever since the retreat. It feels amazing to be a part of this inspiring community, and even if we didn’t join the same retreat, the Pangea alumni always welcome each other with open arms!

This testimonial would not be complete without giving a shout out to another exceptional woman I met thanks to Pangea Dreams. I feel so blessed to have met Arti, a fun-loving and kind-hearted spirit who quickly became my new travel bestie. Our values and sense of humour just aligned so perfectly, and we ended up travelling together for another three weeks around Bali and Singapore! I’m eternally grateful to have her in my life and for all the upcoming trips we’ll embark on together.

Having been surrounded by these amazing women who have been chasing their dreams and going for what they want with no reservations, really gave me a new sense of confidence. I had this irrational fear of rejection and completely undervalued my skillset, but after Pangea Dreams I am taking charge of my life and putting myself out there to grow my blog into a sustainable business. Thanks to this new-found confidence, I have already landed two collaborations with luxury villas in Thailand in just a few short weeks!!! Something I never thought would have been possible before.  

Continuing to grow

In achieving the results that I had been struggling with, I am consistently gaining followers and continue to have the motivation to keep growing and following my passion! A big part of that comes from having Sam as a mentor and I truly feel lucky to have met such a beautiful soul. She has an endless energy, entertaining stories, and not to mention her awesome closet! Her passion for photography and Lightroom really resonated with me and now that I can better understand my camera, I am getting so much more content and from seeing photo opportunities differently. There has been an much more solid communication with my boyfriend, who shoots me most of the time, into achieving the look that I have in my mind.

My aesthetic and creative eye have definitely switched to create more of a visual storytelling in my images. Alongside Tracy’s expertise on branding, these workshops allowed me to narrow down exactly what I want to project to my followers, define my personal mission, and also to have a more consistent feed. I’m forever grateful for that week of personal development and the genuine friendships I’ve made along the way.

Laura is a content creator and world-wanderer that is forever spreading positive vibes and chasing fairytale moments. Connecting with empowered #bossbabes is what led her to the Pangea Dreams retreat in Bali and to help her pursue her wanderlust dreams in hopes of inspiring others! 

Follow her adventures on Instagram and her blog!

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