“My boss sent me to Bali to work remotely. This is how it went.”
By: Miranda Boisvert, Bali Alumni 2018
I love my job. I’m the marketing manager for growth and partnerships at web host and domain registrar, Rebel.com in Canada. The work ethic is how you’d probably imagine for a typical modern tech company: great work perks, strong company culture with highly-engaged employees, lots of fun to be had during watercooler times, but a serious hustle when it comes to getting work done.
Just like most people of our generation, despite loving my job, I found myself lacking inspiration and focus. A typical phenomenon for those who have remained committed to the grind for almost four years. Maybe it was a symptom of the Canadian winters, or me not making enough time for myself… I knew I needed something to light the fire again. I needed a kick in my routine, and that’s where Unsettled came in.
Two years ago, I’d won Employee Of The Year but had yet to claim my reward, which was two flights anywhere in the world. Great company perk, right?
Not one to shy away from honest discussions, my boss knew I had been feeling a little burnt out. It was around the same time when our CMO had recently returned from an Unsettled experience of her own with overwhelmingly positive feedback, so she proposed I put my reward towards an Unsettled experience.
So, why did I choose Bali? While I love a good adventure, most of my globe trotting has been limited to Europe – a comfort zone for me. I’m not a fan of warmer climes; the ocean scares me; I’m terrified of bugs; and generally avoid large groups of strangers (which most would be surprised to hear given the nature of my job). Choosing to go to Bali with Unsettled meant that I’d have to face all those fears, but I also wanted to challenge myself because I’ve learned the best lessons and growth in life comes from your greatest discomfort.
I’m quite fortunate to work for a company that values personal development. The Rebel crew was very eager to send me on my way and support this journey, hoping to reap the benefits of me coming back rejuvenated and ready to hit the ground running with some new ideas and inspiration.
Working Remotely In Bali
Upon landing in Bali, the biggest challenge was to balance the demands of remote work with the experience, but I aimed to keep my work schedule flexible so I could reap the benefits of Bali at the same time. Being surrounded by other remote workers during the experience helped in being productive, as well.
While on the Indonesian island, my office was anywhere my laptop could be. I found myself working from the coworking space, coffee shops, restaurants, poolside (with a drink in hand), and occasionally from my villa bed. I had a weekly check-in with my boss in Canada, and it helped to schedule in short bursts of extreme productivity, instead of spreading things out throughout the week. This worked really well, especially given the 12-hour time difference between work and my Unsettled life. Once you get over the initial shock and awe of Bali’s beauty and tap into the inspiration, you’ll find it relatively easy to create a work-life routine for yourself that keeps you and your boss happy. It also helps that, at Rebel, we believe that you can work from anywhere as long as you have the right tools, support, and mindset.
It’s only natural that an amazing coworking retreat would bring together some incredible people, but I was surprised at how much I learned from fellow participants – professionally and personally. Regardless of where we were at in our lives, regardless of what our backgrounds were, there were so many things that connected us. I found myself gathering knowledge and inspiration across all industries, from PR execs in New York, grant writing in Rome for global organizations, burlesque dancing in Los Angeles, to working in the wine industry in Puerto Rico. I found myself practicing more mindfulness, patience, confidence, and listening with the support of my peers.
An Unforgettable Retreat Experience
While I was expecting to meet some cool individuals, I was not expecting to build such strong relationships, so quickly and with so many other Unsettlers. Our group left Bali with more friends than we’d expected – there’s already chatter about an annual reunion in Ubud or a trip all the way out to Cape Town to see our favorite Experience Leader Scully, and most recently a planned meetup in Ontario, Canada in a few weeks with our feisty Michelle from Rome and Toronto natives Ha and Katrina.
I knew Bali would be amazing for personal growth, but was I expecting it to be life changing? Not entirely. But in reality, it had such a profound impact, and so quickly, that myself and the rest of our group found ourselves going through a grieving period upon returning home. Who knew it would be so difficult to leave paradise?
What has changed since being back in Canada and returning to my routine? I have more energy and inspiration than before. Maybe surprising for some, but it’s taken me over two months to really see a lot of the changes and re-adjust into my pre-Unsettled life. I genuinely feel like I’ve returned to Canada as a completely different person, or perhaps the authentic version of myself. My energy, confidence, and mindfulness are peaking. I’m bringing more energy to my work, finding myself more engaged and inspired, and really slowing down more to make time for what matters in my life. My experience helped me slow down… and Bali helped me slow down.