Traveling Solo to the WLHA Awards

Zoe WLHA snow
Zoe WLHA snow

It’s December 2017 and I’m off to Switzerland as we’ve been nominated for the World Luxury Hotel Awards which we’re all ecstatic about. What an honour!

Thankyou to whoever nominated us, we feel so blessed.
Even more so that we ended up walking away with 5 awards!!!!! But I’ll get to that a little bit later…

As a predominantly Solo Traveller with a self confessed fear of flying, the trip to Switzerland from Australia was a hard one for me.
Not only was the timing very challenging, but it’s a 24 hour plane trip and doing that with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and potentially migraines sets the fear in motion even thinking about it.
But I do love and live by the Mantra ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ and I did!

The timing was also a massive challenge for me.
We were moving our Canggu Sanctuary which meant renovating and doing all the interior design and photoshoots and my operations Manager who usually deals with all the builders and keeps the project together was having a baby who decided to come a little bit early lol.
Luckily all my other amazing staff and managers stepped up and brought it altogether to look and feel amazing. I am always so amazed and blessed how people step up when needed and so thankful.

On top of this the volcano fear was in full swing outside of Bali, our sales had plummeted, we were dealing with people wanting cancellations even though the airport was still largely open, we were being asked to cover people’s costs as they hadn’t bothered to get travel insurance… and it’s quite stressful trying to be blissful and having customers not realise that we can’t simply change their dates a month away when there may not even be a flyng issue. If we did this we would end up having to close our doors, being so exclusive and a small number of rooms. Overall we are 95% sold out year round, so swapping peoples dates is a direct hit to our income and we’re not a Hotel with hundreds of rooms, we’re a retreat with high back end costs. So what a stressful time!

But with all this going on (& a few other high stress situations I won’t bore you with), I decided nope I’m going! I know my staff can handle everything, I am on the end of the phone and email and we need to be focussing on the positives and shifting our energy to positive and celebrating how amazing bliss has become for almost 7 years and for thousands of women helping some of them even change their lives.

So I spent a fortune on winter clothes (I literally only have kaftans lol), booked my very expensive tickets, gagged at the costs of accommodation (& everything else in Switzerland), pulled my big girl pants on and got on that plane!
A 14 hour flight with 7 hours of turbulence and 3 hours of me throwing up in the toilet until a staff member kindly offered me a sickness tablet. Yuk! Suffice to say this didn’t help my fear of flying all that much!

Once here I began getting bombarded by Whatsapp messages, emails and phonecalls as we were working with some severe building restrictions and new builders due to the owners stipulations and the situation was relentless. I am a pretty tough cookie and I ended up bursting out crying on my 3rd day in Switzerland after not even being able to get out once before it got dark (at 5pm) due to work. (Pretty sure each one of my management team also had tears over this as we had never worked under such stressful conditions in our lives!). Then I started getting massive anxiety attacks. Awful.

So with all this going on I had to shift my mindset and get into party gear for the World Luxury Hotel Awards gala dinner, in the knowledge we would win at least 2 awards which I was soooooo excited about.
So jetlag aside, tablets taken to manage the Fibro, work stress pushed to the back of the mind alongside the anxiety that kept creeping in and I put my big girl Kaftan on and off I went.
Woohooooo I couldn’t believe it!


  • Luxury Wellness Hotel Indonesia
  • Luxury Holistic Retreat Asia
  • Luxury Cultural Retreat GLOBAL


  • Luxury Wellness Hotel Southern Asia
  • Luxury Wellness Villa GLOBAL

This literally means we are the #1 Cultural Retreat in the world! The #1 Wellness Villa in the World, the best Wellness Hotel in Indonesia. The best Luxury Holistic Retreat in Asia and the best Luxury Wellness Hotel in Southern Asia.
This is huge! And a massive thankyou to all who voted for us. Given we are so exclusive with small numbers per sanctuary this makes it even more special as we’re up against retreats with 10 – 30 participants weekly, whereas we have 5 to 6!
Totally worth coming all this way for.

And I got to see snow for the first time of my life at 4 years old in the Swiss Alps!

So all worth it, YES!
Really stressful and hard, YES.
Still trying to overcome Anxiety with traveling at the age of 43 even though I own a travel business, YES.
Still struggle traveling on my own even though I find it completely empowering and spend my life encouraging others to do it, YES!

A laughing and crying moment for me being so prestigiously acknowledged with 5 amazing awards whilst going through the hardest time of my whole working and traveling life.
It wasn’t lost on me that all that is posted on social media is the good stuff and all many people see is the success. I was really touched by so many friends on my FB commenting that I work so hard and deserve this. It’s so true. I work 7 days a week. I have huge responsibilities and there are so many challenges working in Indonesia and doing this largely remotely. I wouldn’t change a thing as I love it, yet the reality of everyday life is so very different to many people’s perceptions. And that is the world we live in with social media.

So big love to all, big thankyou for everyone who has ever come to Bliss and written Tripadvisor Reviews or Voted in the World Luxury Hotel Awards, we appreciate it so much. Big encouragement to all of you women having the courage to travel solo. It is not easy. But it is a lot easier at bliss and that’s why I founded this amazing business. To empower so many more women to do something amazing for yourselves. And every time I travel solo it humbles and challenges me and gives me even more ideas on how to keep making Bliss Sanctuary For Women a beautiful place where you can come and relax and truly reconnect to yourself in a totally unique and powerful way.

What a privilege to be able to do all of this in this life.
So blessed and Thankful.

Bliss Love, Zoë