JESSICA'S EXPERIENCE - NICARAGUA 2017
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN US ON A RETREAT? WHAT EXCITED YOU MOST ABOUT THE RETREAT?
I decided to join the Pangea Dreams retreat in Nicaragua because it spoke to my dreams and desires to create a different life for myself. I’ve been working in the corporate world for a while, and the tiny feeling of wanting more for myself has evolved into a full fledged determination and obsession since attending the retreat. The possibility of making my life about following my passions and learning how to create a life I love is what excited me most about attending.
WHAT TOP 3 THINGS DID YOU LEARN WHILE ON THE RETREAT?
The top 3 things I learned while on the retreat were not really what I expected to be the most valuable. I learned that ordinary women like myself have had the courage to create a brand for themselves and be successful in a career they love, without having to feel like they are working at all. It made me realize that this is actually within reach for me. I learned that brands actually want and need influencers like myself and are constantly looking for them, and not necessarily the other way around. I DO have something to offer them and I am able to uniquely present their brand differently than anyone else can. Perhaps one of the most valuable things I learned and favorite workshops was Tracy describing how to actually pitch a sponsorship to a brand. When I had done it in the past, I really had no way of knowing if I was doing it “right” or there was a perfect way to go about it. She gave us her standard format that she utilizes for pitch emails and it was reassuring to know there was no magical formula, but friendliness, honesty, and selling your skills can go a long way. I’ve had multiple 4 and 5 star hotels accept my pitch for blog posts and social media coverage for my upcoming trip to Greece and worked with a few different brands on Instagram.
Even though I don’t consider Instagram to be my passion, I understand it is a valuable tool. Growth and engagement results in more influence when working with brands and a chance of higher pay. The most valuable thing to me is to grow an audience of potential blog readers and grow my community of travel enthusiasts who share this journey with me. Since the Nicaragua retreat, my Instagram has grown by about 4,000+ followers in 2 months. The retreat provided some valuable tools for how to optimize your Instagram and grow it organically.
Aside from all the fun workshops, the photoshoots with the girls were a blast and provided us with an incredible value. We left the retreat with dozens of high quality, edited shots for our own use. I learned a ton about ways to present myself best for photos and became much more comfortable with having someone take my photo. You never realize some of the awkward things you do in front of the camera until someone else points it out.
WHAT WAS A HIGHLIGHT FROM YOUR TRIP?
By far, the highlight of the trip was getting to know women who inspire me, are willing to support me, and want the best life possible for me. I felt like they laid everything on the table, I was able to ask tons of questions and had time to talk about all the ins and outs of the business, and mostly we had a blast. I wish I could hang out with a likeminded group of women on a weekly basis just for the support and to bounce ideas off each other. Days at the beach, doing photo shoots, eating meals together, laughing while learning…these were the highlights of my days in Nicaragua and it was hard to say goodbye!
Since I’ve been home after the retreat, I feel like I’ve been obsessing over trying to develop and grow my brand and travel blog. I can’t stop thinking about all the possibilities and my dreams seem like more of a reality than ever before. I feel like a sponge absorbing all the information I can, and it’s never enough. I’ve never been more motivated and determined in my life to follow through and not give up on accomplishing something. I have the Pangea Dreams retreat to thank for that.