Everyone Has A Story.
Most of us don’t think our story is worthy of sharing. But they are. Stories keep us connected, inviting us into a different world, a different way of thinking. What seems ordinary to one is extraordinary to others. I thought I should share the story of Jo & I, an unlikely duo to say the least!
Jo starts our story….
How does an ex police officer from Sydney and a fashion brand strategist from Brisbane become friends and ultimately business partners?
We can look an odd couple in photos, physically we couldn’t be more opposite. Karen is tiny, fair skinned with long flowing hair, I am, tall, tanned with tied back short hair. But we do share the same beliefs, outlook in life, love of travel and adventure and of course sharing the occasional glass Moet.
Some people are just destined to come into each other lives, and that is the case with Karen & I. Over the years we have discovered we had travelled to the same places at the same time, have shared friends and even connections through family members.
We can actually pin point our first meeting although at the time we didn’t know we would ultimately become friends and work together. I was in Bali, and decided to do a bit of exploring around Ubud. I ended up in a cosy warung, my waitress was an Aussie little pocket rocket, zipping around, organising everything, and making sure everyone was happy, I remember thinking wow has she got a totally great life. You guessed it…. Years later we discovered I had been at Kubuku restaurant & bungalows which Karen & Wayan owned at the time and Karen would have looked after me.
Fast forward about 6 years and both our circumstances had changed I was now a Personal Trainer and looking to set up a one off Bali Bootcamp for my clients. Karen had moved full time to Bali and had created Sharing Bali Retreat and was looking for retreat fitness partners. I remember looking at the Sharing Bali website and thinking this is totally what I am looking for, a week later I was in Bali organising my first retreat. The rest is history my “one off” bootcamp led to me doing 64 retreats with Karen at Sharing Bali over 6 years.
What made it all work and expand was knowing we can trust each other, we totally have each other’s back, we bounce ideas off each other and we are willing to keep growing and changing to our clients’ needs.
We have come a long way from our first meeting in the local warung, we’ve continued to grow our business and friendship, recently launching Sharing Bali & Beyond creating special travel adventures and lifelong memories in new destinations.
The really great thing about our retreats are the life-long friendships which are made, people making connections, sharing adventures, sharing experiences, sharing fun & sharing laughs and destiny bringing people together just like Karen & I.
My turn to pick up the story……
As we move into new destinations with Jo setting up in Fiji and Sri Lanka and a new hideaway in Bali, whilst I take us to The French Alps and Timor-Leste, the strength of our partnership shines through.
We find it easy to agree over who should lead, who’s best to support someone in the group needing a little extra help, or how to organise the day when one of us needs a break for some reason.
We both have our challenges, but get through them together. Truth is I’m a nervous cyclist, terrified of downhill speed. Descending the 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez in The French Alps for the first time had me worried. Jo literally ‘had my back’ riding behind me, calling out warnings when needed and cheering me on. The group was in good hands with Andy upfront, giving me a high five when we finally rejoined the group.
Later that afternoon over a chilled Rose de’Givre in our fave café we laughed over the blisters on my hands, the result of my death grip on the handlebars for the entire descent.
We fell over laughing as I notched up my speed from grandma to nearly normal on the second descent the following week.
We’re not perfect. We’re real, with our share of fears and self doubt. By not hiding our vulnerabilities I think we build greater connections with our guests. We don’t claim to be lifestyle gurus, we’ve simply carved out a way of life that we like to share.
We do have fun in our partnership. In fact we find ourselves joking over who has the ‘assistant role’ in our new destinations. Jo likes to turn it on its head by reminding me that not many assistants get to sit on the front of a SUP (that was me), and be paddled around the turquoise waters in Fiji (Jo did the hard work).
And you know you have a true friend when they wrap a bottle of Moet up in wet towels, stash it in the bicycle basket and ride through the rice paddies to one of our famous Moet Meetings. And then offer me a lift home on the back of the bike…. (we tried but the combination of Moet and laughter had us falling all over the place. I walked).
We’re grateful for the way of life we have created. We have loads of wonderful memories and a huge album of ‘bestie moments’.
Our story is not over yet…..
We’re looking forward to new friendships, adventures, laughs and the inevitable ‘Moet Meetings’ on our upcoming travel experiences.
Feel free to join us… become part of the story.
Need a hotel on your travels? I use Agoda.com.