I recently attended a Pangea Dreams retreat—the #1 industry leader in women’s educational retreats and I wanted to give you a deeper glimpse into my experience at the retreat in Peru because while I was there, I received sooo many DMs on Instagram from African American bloggers asking how I felt being the only black woman at the retreat.
So while I’m going to share about my overall experience, I also want to dive deeper and give you a black woman’s point of view since so many asked the question.
Ya gotta love how DMs help us keep it real and communicate about the real stuff.
First Off—What is Pangea Dreams?
If you’ve never heard of Pangea Dreams, they’re a global community that helps bring female creatives and entrepreneurs together from around the world. The goal of the retreats is to unite and empower women while also exploring bucket-list destinations and teaching on digital entrepreneurship and marketing. On their website, they state, “We offer educational retreats hosted by industry experts for women looking to learn, explore a new destination and connect with other like-minded women.
Pangea Dreams has been featured on big-name sites like HuffPost, Entrepreneur, and Glassdoor so they really have made an industry mark since they started up in 2016.
When the company first launched, there wasn’t much diversity at all. I thought the retreat was an amazing idea, but I didn’t know exactly how I would fit in being an African American on a retreat that seemed to cater to white women. Not one to sit and wonder and always ready to have uncomfortable conversations, a year ago, I emailed the owner, Tracy Komlos, asking about the retreat and telling her that I noticed there was very little diversity. I told her I would love to attend but wasn’t sure if I’d fit in. Tracy assured me that they are beyond welcoming to all women, from all backgrounds.
A Conscious Effort for a More Diverse Host Line Up
Tracy has made a conscious effort to diversify her retreats now by having African American women as hosts. Recently, Pangea Dreams had the following black hosts:
Spirited Pursuit who is a solo, black female traveler throughout the continent of Africa. She believes “Africa needs more Africans to tell the world her story” and that it needs an inspired rebranding and accurate representation for travel opportunities beyond volunteer work or safari trips.
Deddeh Howard a travel and lifestyle blogger who founded the Black Mirror Project. Deddeh has a mission to call for more inclusivity in the fashion industry and has recreated famous fashion ads featuring white models.
Coming up in September at the Canggu Bali Retreat, Sidney Daniel owner of Black Travel Journey will be a guest host. Sidney’s mission is to make the face of travel more inclusive and diverse.
So I’ve been encouraged and excited to see more diversity in the hosts.
Our Peru Hosts
Tracy Komlos, founder of Pangea Dreams began her journey as an entrepreneur offering brands content creation in beautiful destinations. By capturing content during her travels, her own online brand continued to grow. Soon she was being asked by hundreds of women around the world how she was able to sustain her travels while growing her own business, and from there the Pangea Dreams retreats were was born.
Carly Nogawski of Light Travels is an LA-based travel blogger and Pangea Dreams Retreat Alumni who turned her travel lifestyle into a career after completing her first Pangea Dreams retreat! When she’s not on the move creating content for brands or her Instagram, she’s teaching herself new photography skills or out exploring in nature. As a former kindergarten aide, she can’t wait to bring together her two passions of travel and teaching
Sarah Royall of Salty Luxe was a guest host for my trip with Pangea Dreams and she also taught us Lightroom 101. Sarah is a content creator, travel writer and adventurer from Byron Bay Australia. She’s a happy little Vegemite and believes you should live every day to its fullest, inspiring, people to live their best life. When she travels, she feels most alive and is constantly reminded of the worlds magic.
A Day-by-Day Breakdown of My Experience at the 7-Day Retreat
Upon arrival at the retreat, I was greeted by the hosts; Tracy Komolos and Carly Nogawski with a warm hug and genuine smile. Ladies came from all over the world to attend this retreat—from Hawaii, Paris, Czech Republic, Spain, New York, Mexico, and Canada to name a few. The ladies were all nice and sweet.
Let’s hit some stats right off the top:
The cost is $3300.00 not including flights
Location: Sacred Valley, Peru
Branding & Finding Your Niche
Media Kit Creation
Photo Editing With Lightroom
Passive and Active Income Strategies
We had a welcome day, 3 workshop days, 2 exploration days, and a departing day. On our workshop days, we still had some fun activities and free time planned, which was great. Let’s talk about the days.
Day 1: Welcome Day: Our 1st day was very relaxing as we enjoyed the property and mingled while we waited for all of the ladies to arrive. We began the retreat with a welcome circle where we introduced ourselves. After the welcome circle, we had a welcome dinner where we feasted on dinner that was grown from the garden.
Day 2: Workshop Day: Our morning began at 8am with a yoga, gratitude and mindfulness session overlooking the beautiful Andes Mountains. During the gratitude and mindfulness session, we wrote down 3 things we were grateful for that day, what our intention for the day, and one thing we would like to accomplish. After our morning yoga and gratitude session, we all had one-on-one time with the trip hosts. During this time I was asked questions such as: “what are you most looking forward to?” and “what are your goals and objectives?” By asking those questions, the hosts were able to tailor the experience and provide me what I needed. The remainder of the day was filled with two workshops and we finished the day with a Shaman Ceremony to Pachamama which was really insightful and a great cultural experience.
Day 3: Explore Day: After breakfast, we headed to Maras Salt Mines where we collaborated and took pictures with each other. We also drove to Cusco and explored Cusco Town, which was once capital of the Inca Empire. It was cool to get an opportunity to connect with the ladies in a more laid back environment and also create some content together for our businesses against some amazing backdrops.
Day 4: Workshop Day: This was another workshop day where we focused on our businesses. The workshops included: building a dedicated community on Instagram, hotel and brand collaboration, and Lightroom 101 with our guest host Sarah. I was so excited for our Lightroom 101 workshop because it’s an area that I’m not familiar with. Our workshops ended pretty early and those that wanted had an opportunity to explore local hiking trails plus free time.
Day 5: Explore Day: After breakfast we headed to Machu Picchu. This was beautiful and a personal stretch for me. I was lagging behind during the hike and the host, Carly, came back for me and said: “we are going to make it to the top together.” She told me to take my time and that she was there for me and would be there with me until we made it to the top. She encouraged me to keep going because the reward at the top would be sweet. And, it was!
Day 6: Workshop Day: Our morning began at 8am with yoga and our morning gratitude circle. After our morning yoga and gratitude session we had breakfast and went straight into our two workshops of the day; Media Kit Creation and Passive & Active Income Strategies. Today was my last day at the retreat, my flight was scheduled to leave at 8:05 pm so I had to leave the retreat at 4:30 pm. The other ladies stayed and enjoyed dinner and the closing circle.
Okay, so now that you’ve read all the way to the bottom of this long blog post and I feel like we’re family, let’s talk about what I didn’t like about the retreat: the food! I’m a very simple person when it comes to food—I always have been and I always will be. So I didn’t really care for it and even though we were in another country with cultural tastes to try, I would have preferred some simpler flavors and options thrown in. I wanted to greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, you name it!!LOL
Overall, I made such good friends with women around the world and they were all incredibly warm and welcoming despite the fact that I was the only black woman. There were no clicks, no awkwardness—just a group of women entrepreneurs who were excited to explore, get to know one another, collaborate, and learn. We all really did center around our commonalities and the fact that we’re kindreds all going after big dreams in a digital world.
I think that goes to show what a great job Tracy has done at really creating the right kind of culture and atmosphere for the retreats and you can really feel it. It’s open, welcoming and warm. My kind of space. Plus, it’s full of amazing travel and adventure.
As a black woman attending, I did not in any way feel out of place or awkward. All of the ladies were warm and accepting of everyone. It was truly amazing.
I would highly recommend this retreat to all women who want to grow their business and be surrounded by like-minded women. Even though the retreat is over, the relationships will last a lifetime. I can still call on the ladies if I want to run an idea by them or talk about my struggles as a blogger.
For more information on upcoming retreats, check out www.pangeadreams.com.