Write, Travel, Transform:
Three Magical Locations in Bali
Not yet scheduled for 2017
If you'd like to take an adventurous, creative vacation, exploring one of the most beautiful, welcoming, deeply spiritual places on earth, join master teacher Laura Davis and a supportive community of fellow writers for a transformative journey you'll never forget.
This trip is not yet scheduled for 2017!
Please complete the form below to be notified when dates are released for the next trip.
Next July, this could be you . . .
Slumber peacefully in a beachside bungalow with a luscious private outdoor shower. Awaken to a perfect morning: warm, moist, delicious air caresses your skin as you slip into the turquoise infinity pool and savor the gentle lapping of waves from the Indian Ocean against the shore.
Eat a luscious breakfast of perfect ripe tropical fruit and whatever else catches your fancy. The food is fresh and clean and delicious. An hour later, snorkel in warm tropical waters, delighting in multicolored fish darting before your eyes.
It's your first morning in Bali.
Open your notebook. Open your mind. Let words pour out from your very center. Start the journey back to your heart, your creativity, your true voice. With a master teacher by your side and a safe, loving circle of writers surrounding you, discover the stories that need to be told. Remember the joy of writing, the transformative power of words on the page.
It's your first afternoon in Bali.
Lay out on the craziest, biggest outdoor couch you've ever seen, relaxing on a riot of brightly colored pillows. Gaze up at a sky full of stars you've never seen before.
You're kicking yourself. You can't believe you are finally here.
It's your first night in Bali. And the magic is only the beginning...
Does this sound good? Let me tell you more:
- Did you know that the Balinese believe that every child is an artist? They just wait to find out what kind of artist she is going to be.
- The Balinese create beauty wherever they go. Everywhere you look are small altars, made of flowers, leaves, rice and incense--lovingly made and quickly discarded. What matters is the act of gratitude.
- You are so grateful you said yes to yourself. Yes to this magical dream.
- You thrill to the clanging of the gamelan, the steady beat of drums, the precise eye movements of the dancers in their vibrant glittering costumes.
- Wandering through streets full of monkeys and scooters, you marvel at clashing dichotomies: sacred altars in front of tacky tourist shops.
- At the market, your senses fill with the scent of vanilla beans, star anise, jackfruit and more types of bananas than you've ever seen.
- You eat a magnificent eight-course meal at the 400-year-old compound of our guide's family. Afterwards you watch a sacred mask carver at work.
You hike through clove and coffee plantations, and hold raw nutmeg and cacao in your hands. Around the bend, you reach the waterfall...slip under its tumbling waters if you dare.
And in the afternoon you write.
Before dinner, you relax in a brilliant green rice field with a dozen new friends, savoring a brilliant sunset over the vast Java sea.
You're so glad you said yes to this trip, to this life-changing adventure, to this journey back to yourself.
Your body feels more relaxed and vital and alive than it has in years. Your mind at peace. Your spirit set free.
Join me in Bali next summer for the trip of a lifetime.
Don't you want a shot at this swing?
Where is this swing, anyway?
At Charlie's Chocolate Factory. Yum!
Size of Trip: This is an intimate tour, limited to 16 people, with a minimum of 10.
Non-Writing Spouses and Friends: Are welcome to join our trip, if they’d like to use the hours of writing class for rest, relaxation, massage, shopping, exploration on their own, unexpected adventures, photography, painting or whatever else they enjoy doing while on vacation.
Physical Requirements: Bali is an island full of stairs and uneven pavement. You will be climbing up and down stairs wherever we go. Although all the physical adventures on this trip (snorkeling, trekking, hiking) are optional, walking is required. In order to comfortably participate, you should be able to negotiate uneven pavement, climb stairs, and happily walk several miles unassisted.
Does This Trip Have Your Name on It? Would You Like To:
- Study with a master teacher who will help you free your voice, find your deepest stories and create a moving record of your travels?
- Immerse yourself in the historical, cultural, artistic and spiritual riches of Bali?
- Learn about Balinese culture from insiders who will show you a side of Bali most tourists never see?
- Get the inside story on sacred masks, coffee made from cat poop, and Balinese dance?
- Travel with a warm, fascinating group of creative people who share your passion for writing, culture, and adventure?
- Discover why bargaining in a store for a cheaper price is the fastest way to make new friends?
- Enjoy writing, movement, adventure and cultural exploration in the perfect balance day after day?
Writing, Movement, and Cultural Education
Movement: For those who love to start your day with movement, Evelyn Hall will teach a movement class every morning. This practice will be gentle, powerful and easy: appropriate for those who love to move and those who want to integrate more movement into their lives. Beginners are welcome.
Touring: We will be actively touring three distinct regions of Bali, learning about the land and its people from two very knowledgeable, generous tour guides—Judy Slattum and Made Surya—whose love of Bali and its people will infuse your time in their country with the reverence and gratitude the Balinese are famous for.
This 15-day-trip is perfect for writers looking for a culturally rich excursion that combines travel, adventure, and daily opportunities to write with a master teacher. There will be a writing workshop every day (except travel days), and Laura will teach you to sharpen your powers of observation and ability to write vivid description. In writing class, she will teach you to record your experiences and insights, facilitating a richer travel experience. We will also use writing practice to discover our "wild mind" and tap our deep creativity. Beginning and experienced writers are welcome.
This trip is designed for people looking for something other than an intensive writing retreat. We will be taking daily excursions to explore the cultural, spiritual and artistic treasures this magical country has to offer. Writing and movement classes will ground those experiences and help to bond us a traveling community.
We will begin our journey at the peaceful, pristine, beautiful Lotus Bungalows resort, perched right at the edge of the Indian Ocean. This small East Bali hotel is the perfect place to land and decompress from your journey. We will spend four nights in Candi Dasa, beginning our writing and movement workshops, our explorations of Bali, and our life together as a traveling community. This is where you will begin to learn about the Balinese people—their language, their culture, and their way of life.
During the middle portion of our trip, we will move to Ubud, the cultural center of Bali, where we will experience “urban” life and a faster pace. You will drink in many cultural riches and experience a variety of solo and group adventures. Ubud is also the place where you will be able to buy stunning artwork and other gifts to bring back home.
Bali is famous for its inner and outer beauty, and its gracious hospitality. This beautiful island features majestic volcanoes and terraced rice fields that gently spill into an azure sea. And Bali’s rich cultural heritage and deep reverence for life is legendary.
Our trip will bring us into three distinct regions of Bali. We will stay in small, locally owned hotels—away from the tourist scene—so you can fully immerse yourself in this unique, evocative culture. Our excursions will include rice field hikes, treks in rain forests, snorkeling expeditions among tropical coral gardens, walks through coffee and clove plantations, and lush waterfalls. Each day, our tour guides will give us an insider’s view of Balinese dance, music, art and sacred ceremonies. Daily writing workshops and an early morning movement class will help ground your experiences and give you a place to ground and reflect.
During the final part of our trip, we will leave the upbeat energy of the city and travel north to Munduk and the cool volcanic mountains of North Bali--a stunning region of rice fields, coffee and cocoa plantations, where myriad tropical fruits and spices are grown. You will experience first-hand the unspoiled agricultural and village life that Bali has to offer.
Our final five nights will be spent at a beautiful, restful eco-lodge, overlooking verdant working rice fields: a perfect place to hike, write, relax, get healing massages. In Munduk, you will have the unique opportunity to interact with the local villagers, who use the hotel as a community center for children’s dance classes and other aspects of their richly spiritual, creative daily life.
At the end of your two weeks in Bali, you will return home deeply connected to yourself, your voice, your body, and a remarkable new community of friends. You will leave, as most visitors do, pledging to come back, full of love for a land and people certain to touch your heart with beauty.
Teachers & Guides
Laura Davis (Writing Workshop Instructor)
The author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. Laura’s groundbreaking books have sold more than 1.8 million copies around the world. Laura has also worked as a columnist, talk show host, radio reporter, radio producer, blogger, editor, and speaker. Words have always been at the core of her work and her self-expression.
Laura has been mentoring and supporting writers for the past 20 years. It is truly the work of her heart: “I love teaching. I love watching my students find their natural voice and their rhythm. I love it when they find their true stories and discover the courage to put them on the page. I feel like a midwife as my students birth their stories, and I feel honored to witness their bursts of creativity and pure life energy pouring out on the page. Our writing circles are safe places where skills are honed, tears and laughter are welcome, and each writer is seen, heard and deeply known.”
Currently, Laura leads weekly writing groups and retreats in the Santa Cruz, CA region, as well as retreats internationally. She has taken writers to Bali and Scotland, and will be taking writers to Greece, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 2016. She documents these trips to the delight of many readers in her blog, The Virtual Vacation. You can read about her past trips to Bali and Scotland. You can read a wonderful interview with Laura here.
Praise for Laura
"Your steady, centered presence allowed each of us to unfold as writers--and was magnificent."
-- Julie Anderson, San Francisco, CA
"You have the distinct and very special gift of drawing out what is in the hearts of everyone in our writing circle."
-- Asma Fischer, Evans, GA
"You are a born leader, a born writer. Your straightforwardness, your strength, your discipline, and your love of what you do make for such a 'rightness.'"
-- Susan Vorhand, Los Angeles, CA
"Thank you for your brilliant, tailored instruction as a writing teacher, a woman and a human being. Thank you for being the catalyst for some needed changes in my life. Not only are you gifted. You are a gift."
-- Julie Sheehan, Livermore, CA
Evelyn Hall (Movement Class Facilitator)
A master hypnotherapist, healing arts practitioner, minister and counselor. She brings more than 30 years experience to her work with individuals, couples, and groups. With her unique blend of counseling, hypnosis, healing touch, movement practice, aromatherapy and flower essences, she has helped thousands of people find healing in body, mind and soul. You can learn more about Evelyn here.
Evelyn describes the morning movement practice she'll be offering this way: "Movement Practice is a gentle, powerful, and easy way to embody self in present time. Finding the pure freedom to move from Source, free from the judgment mind, coming home to body as temple and altar. Using music as medicine, you will travel your own inner path to deep heart connection, soul embodiment, and mind relaxation. This practice draws on many traditions, 5 rhythms, Moving Meditations, Ecstatic Dance, Embodied Self. For me, it is always a map to inner connection and bliss."
Judy Slattum MFA and Made Surya B.S. are professional tour organizers who have been leading study tours in Bali since 1985. For a wonderful article about their travel company, Danu Tours, check out this article.
Judy Slattum, MFA
Judy spent 14 years as an academic before starting her own educational travel company in 1985. She has organized and led study tours to Bali since first visiting the island on sabbatical to study mask dance in 1978. Judy has published many articles on Balinese culture and her book, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama was released by Chronicle Books in 1992, was featured in Time Magazine has sold thousands of copies, and was reprinted by Periplus Editions in Sept. 2003. Her museum exhibition on Balinese Masks toured the USA as part of the Festival of Indonesia for 5 years and has now relocated to Bali.
He could best be described as a Balinese Renaissance Man. He carves his own traditional masks, and has performed mask dance at many colleges, universities, and museums, including the Asian and the De Young in San Francisco. He has led culinary tours, been a guest chef at several restaurants, and his recipes are found in several cookbooks. Lonely Planet has declared him the local expert on Balinese traditional healers, and he has lectured and assisted numerous scholars and film crews on such subjects as Hindu religious rituals and practices, vocal music for ceremonies, traditional architecture, and herbal medicine.
- Round Trip airfare from SFO, LAX to Bali. The airfare for this trip is set at $1750. If the cost of your air tickets is over this amount, you will be responsible for paying the extra charges. If you are making your own travel arrangements, you will deduct $1750 from your final payment.
- Airport transfers if you arrive and depart at the same time as the group.
- A daily writing workshop every day with Laura Davis and a daily movement class with Evelyn Hall (except travel days)
- A snorkeling excursion at Padang Bai
- An excursion to Tirtagangga Water Palace, Charlie's Chocolate Factory, and Tenganan Aboriginal Village
- Transfer to Ubud and two walking tours of Ubud and the surrounding areas
- A lecture/demonstration on the differences between eastern and western dance
- A performance of the Kecak Dance by torch light
- An excursion to Denpasar to visit your guides’ traditional family compound with an elaborate Balinese lunch
- A visit to the royal palace of Singgapadu to watch a demonstration of sacred mask carving and costume construction
- Ristaffel dinner with smoked duck, many vegetable side dishes, and a private performance of Wayan Kulit’s shadow puppet theatre.
- Tour of volcano country in north central Bali
- A world-class snorkeling excursion to Menjangan island national park
- A performance of traditional dance and music in Munduk
- Two hikes in Munduk: One through coffee and clove plantations to Bali’s highest waterfall; the other through small villages, tropical rain forests and terraced rice fields to a mystical giant rock
- Breakfast every day. 5 family-style dinners in Munduk. Lunch at Ashram Candi Dasa and at your guides’ family home
- 4 nights at Greenfield Bungalows in Ubud Cultural Center
- 4 nights at Lotus Bungalows in Candi Dasa
- 5 nights at Puri Lumbung in in Munduk Mountain Village
What's Not Included:
- Visa fee ($25 US)
- Airport departure tax of $17.
- Snorkeling equipment ($10-20)
- Laundry, additional excursions and optional classes, non-specified meals (meals range from $4-$8 each)
- Airport transfer to our first hotel and from our last hotel if you do not arrive or depart at the same time as the rest of the group
- Tips for drivers and wait staff, house cleaners and hotel staff
- Personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance
- Souvenir shopping, personal phone calls, massage and spa services (which are cheap and plentiful!)
The cost of this trip includes round trip airfare from LA or San Francisco (up to $1750) OR a flight credit for $1750 if you are flying to Bali from another location.
We strongly encourage you to book your flight with our extraordinary and very wonderful travel planner, Linda, so arrival times, departure times, and ground transportation can be coordinated.
Linda can also help you if you want to arrive sooner, leave later, or add other destinations into your itinerary. She'll also be selling the travel insurance for this trip, which we strongly recommend as the best way to protect your investment.
She is available most weekday business hours and is on Pacific time:
Pacific Harbor Travel
519 Seabright Ave #201
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Passports, Visa & Health:
A passport is required, valid six months from date of entry with proof of onward transportation. Indonesian visa for 30 days granted on arrival to US citizens for $25.00 fee.
No inoculations are suggested or required.
How Do I Sign Up For This Fantastic Retreat?
Write, Travel, Transform: Three Magical Locations in Bali
Not yet scheduled for 2017.
Please complete the form below to be notified when dates are released for the next trip.
Cost: $4975 for double occupancy accommodations, based on two persons sharing a double or twin-bedded room with private bath. All hotels have western amenities. Two have swimming pools.
Airfare: Trip cost includes round trip airfare from LA or San Francisco, up to $1750.
If you are flying from a different location, the ground only price for this trip is $3225 for double occupancy accommodations. Those doing their own air will be responsible for transfers from the airport to the hotel and back.
A rise in fuel surcharge or a dramatic change in the exchange rate may influence the final price.
Single Rooms: We stay in beautiful boutique hotels that are small and intimate-- but that means we don't have an endless supply of rooms.
The doubles can be configured for a couple or for two roommates. If you are traveling solo and sign up for one of these rooms, we will do our best to connect you with a suitable roommate.
If you prefer a single, you can sign up for a double and there will be a place you can indicate that you'd like to be put on the wait list in case there's a cancellation down the line and a single becomes available.
PS. Laura says: Many of my travelers have said in their evaluations that having a roommate ended up being one of the highlights of their trip, even if they didn't want one initially.
Roommates: If you're traveling alone and would like a roommate, we'll do our best to find you a compatible person. If we can't match you up with someone, you'll get your own room and pay the single supplement of $380.
Deposit: A non-refundable deposit of $2000.00 per person is required at the time of booking. Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure on May 1, 2016. Limited to 16 participants.
Note: A dramatic change in the exchange rate may influence the final price. And if people are coming from too many different locations and we can't get a group fare, we may need you to prepay your airline ticket. If this happens, we'll charge your air ticket to your credit card and then deduct the $1750 travel allotment from your final invoice.
Cancellations and Refunds: The initial $2000 non-refundable deposit will be forfeited in all cases. For the flight portion, cancellation will be governed by the rules and regulations as listed in the flight contract by the participating airline. Any cancellations made on or after May 1, 2016, when the final payment is due, will result in the loss of all monies received. Exceptions to this cancellation policy cannot be made for any reason, including personal emergencies.
Trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance are strongly recommended to protect your investment and we recommend you purchase it as soon as possible after today’s booking. Our travel agency, Pacific Harbor Travel, has arranged an excellent group travel insurance plan that will provide you with the comprehensive coverage and excellent group rates with Travel Insured International. You will be sent more information about this insurance as soon as you’re done with your registration.
Endorsements for Laura and the Bali Retreat
Your trip provided a wonderful blend of touring, history and activity, writing , massages and shopping, being in nature and seeing the culture and arts of the ‘big city.’ I loved that each place we stayed was so different, and that we had time in each place to ‘do our own thing.’ I loved Laura’s writing classes and Judy and Surya’s deep knowledge. I recommend this trip wholeheartedly!
--Elya Braden, Santa Monica
I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You created an experience that touched my soul and opened deep levels of creativity and inspiration. Your trip to Bali is a gift that will keep on giving for my entire life.
--Elya Braden, Santa Monica
Take a vacation with two wonderful leaders if you want to learn about yourself and the beauty that lies outside your daily life.
--Julie Goodman, Santa Cruz
Your retreat provided me with great adventures, a healing connection with others, the chance to deepen my writing, and the opportunity to heal my mind, body and spirit. I got to experience and connect with a wonderful nourishing country and its people. Your magical retreat taught me to never give up before the miracle.
--Allison Summers, Casuarina, Australia
This was a fabulous eye-opening, educational trip with wonderful people. Bali is stunning and the Balinese are amazing people. The snorkeling was fantastic. The yoga was great for my body every day. All the leaders were outstanding.
--Susan Hillyard, Santa Cruz
This was a beautiful cultural experience, an opportunity to reach deep inside and to get clarity, especially coming as I do from an overscheduled, outer-focused world.
--Annette Naber, Monterey, Virginia
Every time I come to Bali, I receive the beauty and harmony of the Balinese people—their life and spirit in a deeper way. If you’re considering this trip, don’t hesitate. Open your eyes and your heart. Let go of false identities and come home.
--Karen Zelin, Santa Cruz
Leave all of your inhibitions at home. Come with an open mind so you can absorb the amazing smells, sights and sounds of Bali. I’m so glad I came. I will admire the Balinese culture for the rest of my life.
--Gilda Zelin, age 84, Santa Cruz
The opportunity to be surrounded by a community of soulful people is what makes transformation possible. This trip gave me renewal of my body, mind and spirit. Thank you for giving me such a gift of healing and transformation.
--Marci Drimer, Baltimore
Thanks again for the wonderful experience that was Bali and holding the space for everyone to have their own unique experience.
--Annette Naber, Monterey, Virginia
I would recommend this trip, without a doubt. I had a blast on so many different levels. Just go! It will be a healing trip for you, regardless of what you’re looking for.
--Rosemary Christian, Santa Cruz
This trip is unique. It’s more than a chance to explore Bali; it’s a way to go deeper into yourself, to be awake and aware. This was a complete travel experience: learning and seeing the culture and history, action and adventure (snorkeling and hiking), self-care through yoga and massage, facials and pedicures. And this is key, the writing with Laura helped me experience the trip more fully and to become a better writer. It was a wonderful way to connect to the other participants.
--Elya Braden, Santa Monica
This transformative trip had the perfect balance of activities for me. The tour guides and the instructors were very knowledgeable, courteous, genuine and authentic. There was just the right amount of adventure, relaxation, activity and rest.
--Kathy Walters, Gardnerville, Nevada
"I return home from each of Laura’s trips a little wiser, a little more open, and a lot more compassionate. I greet my family, friends and daily life with sparkly, clean energy and a renewed patience, brought about by way of re-writing old stories that I needed to let go of. I come home ready to move forward in my life.
A retreat with Laura Davis is one of the best gifts I ever received and gave myself. It took many years to realize that I was worth the time and financial investment, but now there is no looking back."
Julie Sheehan, Livermore, California