Seeing women of color come together in a space where they said we shouldn’t be in a place that we shouldn’t be going to speaks volumes. - Jasmine Hubbard
I took a leap of faith and embarked on a trip of a lifetime to Bali, Indonesia with 20 other women that I did not know. I have never flown internationally by myself before but this was something that I really wanted to do while I could do it without any attachments or responsibilities to anyone or anything.
I decided to go to Bali because this was one of the top destinations on my list that I wanted to go to. It is a very popular destination on social media, especially Instagram. I also wanted to go to Bali to connect with like-minded women in the same career field as me and to have an experience like no other. Finally, I wanted to meet my favorite nurse influencer who I have been following on Instagram for the past year. Her name is Monique Doughty, also known as Nurse Mo.
I found out about this trip through Instagram via a business page called Nurses Travel Network. It is ran by two amazing queens Karissa Littlejohn and Shelia Robinson. I found it exciting because it consists of a travel tribe just for nurses who love to travel! Those are two things that describe me perfectly and I was going to be ready once they rolled out the next trip. They initially had one trip open to Bali for Nurses Week (May 6-12, 2019), but that trip sold out so fast that I missed the opportunity to pay my deposit. Due to the demand being so high for the Bali trip during Nurses Week, they decided to open up another trip the following month (June 21-26, 2019) for Part 2 so I paid my deposit immediately and continued to make payments as scheduled up until the trip. The trip was inclusive except for the flight so that was the only downfall. That didn’t matter to me. Whatever it took for me to get to Bali, I was going to make it happen. I am a firm believer that God’s timing is perfect and that everything happens for a reason.
In total, I took six planes to get to Bali and back to the United States. I flew with JetBlue for my trip from Charlotte, North Carolina to JFK New York. Then, I flew with China Eastern Airlines for the remainder of my trip to Bali. I had a 12 hour layover in Shanghai, China both ways.
FYI: If you choose to not stay at the airport and want to explore the city of Shanghai , you do need a visa. No worries if you don’t have one, at the airport you can apply for a 144 hour visa-free transit permit if you have accommodations or are just passing through the city but are not staying for longer than a few days. More info about this can be found here: https://www.travelchinaguide.com/tour/visa/free-transit-144-hours.htm This process was pretty smooth and not as bad as I thought it would be. I was able to get my passport stamped for the permit and I was free to get to my hotel and explore.
For my arrival to Bali, I ended up getting a hotel in Shanghai. I arrived in Shanghai at 4 am on a Thursday (it was 4 pm Wednesday back in North Carolina). I took the shuttle from the airport to my hotel called Shanghai Joyful Star Chenyang Hotel. It was really quaint and gave me a place for me to rest until my next flight. I woke up around noon and just walked the streets and did some sight seeing. It started to rain so I ended up gong back to my hotel and getting my things together to go back to the airport. China Eastern Airlines gave me food vouchers since my layover was so long so I was able to eat for free at the airport at any participating restaurant. That was a blessing! I left Shanghai around 6 pm Thursday evening and got to Bali 6 hours later at midnight Friday morning June 21 :) I checked in to my hotel in Bali with another girl that was attending the trip since check-in at the villa wasn’t until after 10 am. We stayed at the Harris Hotel Tuban Bali.
Where I Stayed : Abaca Villas
Nurses Travel Network had two villas booked for us in Bali. The main villa was Abaca Villas and that is where I stayed. It is located in Seminyak. The villa was so beautiful! I had looked at pictures beforehand but the pictures do not do it justice at all. The villa had many rooms which could be single occupancy or double occupancy for couples or friends. It had four pools of various sizes, nice seating areas to relax, two kitchens to eat and prepare meals, and a rice field right behind the villa. I really enjoyed my stay there and the staff there were very accomodating. They were at our service with each meal, snack, and drink that we wanted. Every time I came back to my room each night, I had fresh towels and washcloths, a perfectly made bed, and a clean room. It was literally paradise. I could have just stayed in the villa and not have gone anywhere else if all I wanted to do was relax in Bali. On the second to last night, I realized I had the biggest room out of everyone lol.
My Favorite Things That I Did While In Bali
Bali is such a jumping place with lots to do depending on what you like or that you are interested in. It is never dull there. We did a lot of things during our time in Bali, but I would just like to highlight the things that I enjoyed the most.
Our nights out were the best. We were able to let loose and have fun and continue to get to know one another as colleagues, friends, and sisters.
The Bali Swing was my absolute favorite activity!! I saw many pictures on Instagram about this very activity and I knew I had to do it myself. The Bali Swing is a big park full of different swings, swing beds, nests, and more! They made it very picture-friendly and photographers can take your pictures on anything and everything for a fee of $12 USD.
Nurse Mo did a workshop and meditation session with all of us before we went to our spa appointments. She talked about building ourselves and our brands on social media, tapping into our niche and our goals, and sharing her personal journey on how she got to where she is today. At the end, we dove into ourselves and was able to meditate. I really enjoyed that.
Prana Spa was so relaxing. This activity was included in our fee. I ended up getting the Mystique Bali treatment which included a foot soak, full body massage, and a rose petal bath. It was the most relaxed I had felt in a long time. The staff was amazing. I would definitely go back.
Riding in drop top Volkswagen Jeeps around Bali was so DOPEEEEE. We had them for the entire day! I could feel the wind in my hair as we were driving. I even stood up in the Volkswagen while driving and took pictures and videos. I felt so alive. That was probably one of the most liberating experiences of my life.
We went to Finn’s VIP Beach Club to do our photo shoot on the beach and to just relax and mingle. This was another great time I enjoyed. I also used this time to shop for souvenirs for my friends and family.
On our free day, I had went to the Kanto Lampo Waterfall and Mason Elephant Park with a few of the other girls from the trip. Those two places were so amazing. The waterfall was so much fun, it was like a mini photo shoot. The photographers took our phones to take our pictures and made us feel like models. The elephant park was fun too. I got to take pictures with a beautiful elephant with her flower crown and also got to see a mama elephant with her baby elephant that she gave birth to just that morning!
The farewell dinner was bittersweet, but I felt like we had the most fun there. We had an 8-course meal with pairings of the food and alcohol. From the atmosphere, to the laughs, to the memories…just spending that time with the other women really made me feel good and confirmed that I made the right decision by taking this leap. Saying our goodbyes was so hard but we were already plotting to go on another destination together. The energy on this trip was one of a kind.
Here are just a few tips that I would like to share with you all that I have done and learned along the way with this being my second international trip. This is not an all-inclusive list but the things that I find the most important:
Set up any international plans with your wireless company so you can be able to contact your loved ones if need be.
For the long flights, GET COMPRESSION SOCKS! I got a two pair pack from Wal-Mart for about $8. These will help to keep the blood circulating in your legs. Also, walking around on the plane helps too. I did this a few times because I can’t sit down for too long.
Alert your bank ahead of time before you go on your trip so there will not be any issues using your bank card. Which leads me to number 4…
DO NOT USE ATMS abroad!! I actually had my info stolen because I did not take cash out before I left the states and now I have a whole new card. Someone tried to purchase a whole Airbnb (it got reversed) and someone went shopping at some clothing store smh.
Book your flight well in advance and GET TRAVEL INSURANCE! If anything happens with your flight, they will cover it. You will thank me later.
Purchase your outfits in enough time so if you need to make changes or send something back, you have plenty of time to do so.
Invest in a durable, hardshell luggage set that will endure in between flights when you check your bags. I got a purple 3-piece set from Amazon for $99 plus free shipping. It came in less than a week. (I do not have Amazon Prime).
Print out every single piece of information (hotel, flights, etc.) in case your phone dies or you need to show proof of your stay while going through customs.
Purchase a neck pillow, portable chargers, and extra USBs just in case. It does not have to be expensive unless you want the top notch stuff. I purchased all of these items at Five Below.
Will I Go Back? What Will I Do Differently?
The answer to the first question is YESSSSSS. I enjoyed this trip so much. Definitely a place that I could go back to over and over again. Also, there are some things that I still want to do in Bali that I didn’t get a chance to do this time around so another trip is necessary. There are some things I would do differently though:
STAY LONGER!! I felt like the 6 days we were there was not long enough lol. I also like a more loose schedule versus a packed one.
I would book my flight earlier than I did to save more money. I should have booked it at the least, 6 months in advance. I spent more money than I should have for my flight.
I would not get an international plan just because every place we went to in Bali had WiFi. All you have to do is ask the owner or the employees of where you are at for the wifi info and they would happily give it to you. I never was on my phone anyway unless I was on WiFi. I turned my data and roaming off otherwise.
I would love to come back with my best friends, just me and my sisters, or with future bae ;)
That is all! I really hope y’all can make it to Bali. It is a destination and an experience like no other.
Until next time,
Life life, love always, and don’t forget to smile,