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Every year, between 20 to 70 percent of international travellers, visiting developing countries, contract some form of illness whilst travelling.

According to the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the most common forms of illness are fever, malaria, and stomach infections.

However, combining health and fitness with travel is an alternative that is allowing travellers to maintain a high-level of fitness and avoid illness as they enjoy the culture of another country.

Karen Willis, business partner at Sharing Bali, a health and fitness retreat situated in Ubud, a small town in the middle of the island of Bali, says that this style of vacation is an alternative that allows travellers to celebrate their health in a culturally stimulating environment.

“Sharing Bali is simple luxury,” said Willis. “We keep it simple. Lots of exercise, good food, reviving massages, plenty of sleep, and, of course, a healthy dose of friendship and fun.”

“Our food is fresh, nothing processed, and there is plenty of it. You need the fuel on our retreats,” she said. “The training sessions use coconuts and rice sacks. The paths between the rice paddies are ideal for bear crawls and lunging. The volcano climb is challenging for some, but once you are at the summit witnessing the sunrise, you cannot help but be in awe of the moment. It’s all these moments that your good health allows you to enjoy and that is a celebration,” said Willis.

The Sharing Bali concept has taken Karen, who worked in the fashion industry and her partner Wayan, a local artist, 10 years to develop. Karen states that the retreat was aptly named ‘Ayung Sari Indah’ by a Balinese priest, meaning ‘the sweet nectar of the beautiful Ayung River.’ However, she also stresses that when staying at the retreat you will not be surrounded by mini bars, flat screens and infinity pools, as the retreat is all about appreciating your surroundings and getting back to basics.

“There are simple bungalows overlooking rice paddies, authentic Balinese village style food, rejuvenating programs with experienced  trainers, and a personal service from the heart of Bali village life,” said Willis.

The typical length of a Sharing Bali retreat is 6 days and 5 nights with prices ranging from $1095 to $1650 depending on the package selected. All packages include food, accommodation, all program activities, and group transfers to and from the airport or nearby hotel. Karen also stipulates that travel insurance is mandatory so that you avoid hefty costs if you become injured whilst away.

This travel insurance advice follows closely with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smart Traveller advice, which states that ‘if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.’


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