As you read this, I am in the midst of leading my first-ever fitness + adventure retreat – Heart, Soul + Barre in Indonesia at Sharing Bali. It feels surreal. I saw a travel show when I was 16, I’ve dreamt about traveling to this amazing island ever since. Here’s how this all came to be.
In September 2015, I stumbled across Sharing Bali on social media. Someone was leading a “Bali Barre” retreat. How fun, I thought! I’d love to do something similar. A bit of doubt started to creep in. I hadn’t been teaching very long, I had never done something like this + I had never been to Asia. Let alone, caravan a group sheer across the world.
I signed up for Karen’s newsletter + about 6 months later these same pieces of doubt were what encouraged me to write to Karen, the owner of Sharing Bali. Here’s an excerpt of her email back to me:
Wow you are one very inspiring lady, Lauren.
First off, my apologies for taking so long to reply, but as I live in a small village my internet power is somewhat intermittent and I wanted to wait until I could open all of your links and take the time to fully understand this amazing life you are living. I will confess that I still haven't been able to open all links as I haven't been into the town for a few days and it happens to be a period of woeful internet connectivity right now. But reading your email gives me a great start. Thank you.
Karen’s email went on to talk about how she partners with trainers/coaches/leaders to co-create each retreat. One of my favorite things about my first interaction with Karen was that she’s authentic. I loved how she immediately painted a picture of how her life is in Bali + how curious she was to learn about mine.
We continued over email, then Skype + countless more emails until Heart, Soul + Barre was created! What makes my heart so happy is that we were able to craft a stretch of days that combine fitness, adventure, culture + community service. A portion of the retreat fee is supporting the Bumi Sehat Foundation International – their mission is to reduce maternal + child morbidity + mortality + to support the health + wise development of communities.*
Giving back is ingrained in all that I do + I was overjoyed that Karen was so receptive to the idea. She wrote: My first thought is that we could set up a Retreat that supports your fund raising efforts. This would give the retreat even more purpose.
More purpose. Exactly! Even though Karen + I had only one email exchange, I knew we were going to create something magical. Karen understood; she took the time to read through my email carefully + responded with thought + a lot of heart. NEAT FACT! We are the first group of Americans traveling to this property!
There’s a group of 7 of us here + I can wait to see where this next week takes us. I am already in love as I listen to the birds + the waves sitting outside of my bungalow on the beach in Legian.
*Toward this goal, Bumi Sehat provides general health services, emergency care, prenatal, postpartum + birth services + breastfeeding support; in addition, healthcare + youth education, environmental + disaster relief programs. If you're interested in learning more about Bumi Sehat's mission + donating, visit their website.