“I have been on three tours with these ladies, and I can not even explain how amazing my experiences have been. It’s so much more than just a tour. I have made life-long friends who understand my wanderlust, met local people who taught me the warmth and kindness of the places we’ve visited, and I have left feeling empowered to travel more…
My first trip was to Bali where the Amanda, the owner, was with us. She was a long time traveler and really good listener. She took her job seriously and took an active part in making the trip run smoothly, she obviously really cared about things running on time and things being easy for us. She was also fun and really kind when you got to talking to her. It was cool to travel with the owner. The local guides were so sweet and it was obvious that Amanda had a really good relationship with them, which made me feel confident. I was really nervous going on a trip with a small company with a bunch of strangers, but I am so glad I did.
In Bali, we also got to go inside a family temple and learn how to make offerings and what they mean with a group of local women. The tables were covered in fresh flowers and we dressed in the traditional clothes before going inside the temple. We were all asked to be quiet and give our offerings to the alter (they all have different meanings) that spoke to us most. A lot of us cried. It was such a beautiful moment with the women of this family that I won't forget."
“At first, I was a bit apprehensive as I have never gone on a trip by myself before. I wasn’t sure about exploring a new country with a bunch of strangers and wondered whether it would suit me. But I took the plunge and I’m so glad that I did. As cliché as it sounds, it was a life-altering trip…
The itinerary had a good balance of cultural, educational, touristy and authentic local experiences. The authentic local events that SoFe was able to organize for us to experience was really special. But I even enjoyed the low-key activity options like waking up at dawn to visit the village farmer's market (Desa Pakraman Sayan Pasar Traditional) where I bought homemade desserts and palm sugar to take home.
Another nice thing about this trip was there was a lot of free time built in and none of us felt pressured to attend any of the excursions if we didn't feel up to it. Beyond the amazing sites and experiences, the fast friends I made are the most treasured things of my Bali trip. On our free time, we organized side trips with smaller groups of our bigger meet-up group. Whenever there was a meal that wasn't officially organized by SoFe, many of us texted each other and arranged to eat out together. There were a few nights where most of us or all of us went to a restaurant together and got to know each other better, exchanged hilarious stories, drank too much and laughed the night away.
All the women were educated, independent, interesting, fun women. All are my friends on Facebook and even after two years, we are still interested in each other's lives, text each other and genuinely care about each other. It's a testament to the SoFe travel network's unique formula that most of the women in this Bali group have already done another meet-up since or are about to."
I have been a member of the SoFe Facebook group for a while and always wanted to join one of their trips. I used to travel solo more but have had to put my travels on hold for awhile. The Global meetup tour to Bali was a perfect way for me to return to traveling at a time when I don’t want to travel completely independently!!
It was wonderful for me not to have to plan every detail of the trip. I haven’t had the best luck with tour operators in the past so I was a little worried but I had nothing to fear with the Solo Female Traveler Network! The accommodations were beyond my expectations, food was amazing and the balance of activities fit my needs perfectly. I was impressed with the balance of cultural and relaxation activities that were built into the tour. I don’t usually enjoy tours that are all “go go go’ so I was happy to have some time to relax by the pool and to just wander around the city when I wanted to. I particularly loved the visits to the temples with the guides and the cooking class - AMAZING! I was a little worried about joining a group but I immediately felt a camaraderie with the other girls and was really put at ease when I met Amanda, who I believe is the founder of the group. There were a couple things that we needed to pay extra for like pictures and tips for guides but I found that to be very comparable to any other travels I’ve done in the past, plus I felt they were well deserved additions. For me it was such a wonderful return to traveling that is has inspired me to sign up for the Egypt tour also!
We were met with some locals who welcomed us and gave us a lesson about the Balinese Hindus religion, the symbolism of the canang sari, and how to make it.
Then we were taught how to make it from a variety of fresh colorful flowers that came in white, red, yellow, blue, and green. Each floral had its own meaning and each item was meant to be placed in a specific direction.
We were given a lesson on how to make coconut oil, followed by an introduction to the variety of ingredients found in traditional Balinese dishes. We worked together in pairs to handle different parts of the meal such as de-seeding the chili, finely chopping them, cooking the meat, etc.
At the end of the class, we all sat together, enjoyed the feast that we all prepared and delved into deep conversations and laughter all through the night.