5 things I learned from the BlondeAbroad blogging retreat

me standing in the water at Sanur beach

So you want to be a blogger?

all the girls at La Laguna for sunset

A few months ago I got accepted into a Blogging Retreat hosted by Kiersten from the awarding winning and uber inspiring the Blonde Abroad blog. I was beyond excited because not only was it in Bali, but it was with one of the people who inspired me to have the confidence to travel solo all over the globe. I decided to write a little blurb about all the amazing things I learned over the past 10 days while hanging out with Kiersten. So here it goes!

1. Be unconditionally and unapologetically you.

Being you is the only way to rock it. There are 1 billion people using the internet probably daily so where ever you are, people will love you for being you and they will feed of your energy and uniqueness. I learned that people are going to be drawn to my blog and they will want to read it because my personality shines through.

I have a hard time putting myself out there and really being myself because I am all alone out here. And if people don’t like me, then I always feel like I am really done for. That leads me to not always be true to myself. Through my experience though, I have learned and I hope to inspire other people to be 100% themselves, because people are going to like you and if people like the real you.

brainstorming by the pool about our personal brands

2. Women who support each other succeed.

The trick to this is that we women need to choose to support each other. I never had a good network of people who shared the same lifestyle goals I have. Nor did I realize that Facebook groups and networking events could be beneficial for me. Since attending this blogging retreat I have started to participate in the community around me. I have joined Facebook groups and attended their events. I have commented and given feedback for other people as well as accepted feedback for my own work. There is such a great community around us all we have to do is participate. We are living in a very digital world, where you can work from anywhere and do anything that you set your mind too. Join the women around you, find your voice and rock it.

A photo of me standing in the rice paddies


3. Being comfortable in front of the camera doesn’t come naturally for everyone.

I don’t know about you but I have spent countless hours looking at other people’s photos, wondering how they possibly look so good all the time. Well now I know that it is not easy and natural for everyone. Most of the time you end up taking 500 photos and liking only one of them, while you fake laugh and walk back and forth through a shot to get it just right. She and I trudged out into some rice fields where she worked with me on smiling naturally, not caring what other people think and just going with the flow. They are some of my favorite pictures that I have ever had taken of myself. If you have followed me for any extended period of time, you probably don’t often see photos of me. Watch out because that is quickly going to change. I am so much comfortable in front of the camera, I actually look forward to having my photo taken. From now on, when I am feeling a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera, I am just going to have a good laugh, and be myself. Cause I have learned that being myself will shine through the photo an that is the sort of thing people want to see.

A picture of me on a blue jeep at Sanur beach with a local girl

4. You are an expert in way more than you think.

On one of the first days of the retreat Kiersten told us “If you’ve done something once, you are more of an expert than anyone who has never done it. Play on your strengths and know that you have those expertise and you have something to share with the world.  I have realized the things that I am an expert in and I have started to make a conscious effort to put more time and energy into those things. Some things that I am an expert in may include; Traveling solo as a woman, starting to travel at such a young age and visiting cities that are more out off the way and off the map. I am soon to be an expert in Front-end development as well! All of these are things that I love, so how cool is that? I get to be an expert in everything that I love doing and I get to turn that into a career.

A photo of me on the bridge at La Laguna

5. Find a good work life balance.

Work hard, play harder. Hire help when you need it. It is very possible to run a very successful business but still live a life that you enjoy. Before starting this course I was one of two extremes. The first was that I would work so so hard and so nothing but work and say no to everyone who offered me a fun escape from the work I was currently doing. The other was as soon as I was ready to take that break and do something fun for myself, I never stopped. It would escalate into a never ending fun fest where I would get no work done for two years. I had to learn to find the balance. Have fun, but be successful and be a hard working bossbabe. There is a way to have your cake and eat it too. From now on I am going to work harder at working smarter.

final prensetationsI can’t really put into words how amazing this past week was. I got help drafting emails, editing pictures, writing blog posts, coming up with new ideas and travel goals. I got to be surrounded by some awesome girls, all in Bali for the same reason, but when we sat down to do our final presentations, every single one of us had taken all of the information and done something so unique and original with it.

Kiersten and Lauren shared personal stories of the BlondeAbroad journey and interesting facts including tons of dos and don’ts for everyone on the internet. I can’t thank them enough for everything they gave us the past week. Huge shout out to Institute of Code and everyone from the BlondeAbroad for getting us all together for this. Keep an eye out for future blogging retreats because you should definitely attend one!

Send me all your questions about IOC or the blogging retreat, or even just travel in general, and don’t forget to subscribe to follow along on all my upcoming adventures to see where blogging takes me next!

If you want to read more about other courses that IOC offers, check out my post on my coding retreat with Institute of Code!All the students sitting in the IOC classroom with their laptops out working

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