Active Escapes


By Katherine Hooper, Sydney

I can hardly believe it now, but I was quite apprehensive before my first Active Escapes. Would the trainer be good (who even is this Amanda Bisk person…?) Would my friend and I kill one another sharing a room? (Quite very nearly. He was evicted by me in disgrace…) Would I starve, a-la ‘fat camp’…? (No, the food was plentiful and delicious). Would I die an exercise-induced death? (Also no, but I was happily challenged).

Fast forward around three years, and I am already anticipating Active Escapes number five.

Fitness Retreat Experience in Bali

Active Escapes Health Retreat Bali


I happened across an amazing and inspirational trainer in Bali. He later joined the Active Escapes team and I stalked him to Thailand, twice, for my next two escapes. They were both incredibly unique, with completely different and diverse groups of individuals on each trip. Like all the escapes I have been on, at the start of each week, we were strangers. By the end, we were like family. I keep in touch with most of the people I have met via social media. And with Parn, the team leader of the fantastic staff who work at the villa we stayed at. Thailand stands out for me for so many reasons. They include the most challenging physical activity I’ve ever done (the obstacle course race at an Olympic training facility), Muay Thai training, the knowledge gains that Mark shared with us, and his philosophy on life ‘train, live, give’, which not only resonated throughout the retreats but is something I have carried through to my everyday life, post-Thailand.


Health Retreat in India

Health retreat | Active Escapes


Active Escapes number four saw me travel to India. After a week solo in Delhi and Goa (single, white, female, blonde, you can join the dots) it was with great relief that I headed south to the beaches of Goa and saw the familiar faces of Ali and Zanna. What a different crowd India brought! Replace your athletic weapons, yogis, exercise enthusiasts, and general mixed bag of nationalities, with a group of loud, Insta-famous (think 80 billion followers, this is India remember), reality-TV starring, Andrew Pap-defying, Indians. Picture tracky dacks and massive bling, in a swimming pool, doing an obstacle race. That happened. Respect to you, Mohit. I ate in excess of my body weight in parantha, saw my first Active Escapes proposal (you go Desiree), and met an amazing and different group of wonderful, talented, personalities, who I shared a life-changing week with.


My Wellness Retreat Experiences with Active Escapes

wellness retreat in Bali


Every Active Escapes experience will differ for every individual. For me, each has been a life-altering week, which has brought with it challenges and obstacles that I can reflect back on and which motivate me to push through whatever difficulties I might be facing in my day to day life. Some of the physical challenges will quite literally bring you to your knees, however, it is only then that you can appreciate your true grit and strength. This also forges incredible bonds between you and the people you share these experiences with. I get asked the same types of questions repeatedly, about my Active Escapes experiences. To address a few:

  • The week is a balance of training and physical activity, as well as other experience (for example, zip-lining, surfing, a boat party, a visit to a special school to donate toys, dinners out, and many more). It is well-balanced and suited to a variety of exercise backgrounds and levels of fitness. Review the trainers online and choose someone whose style you think will suit you, and whose background reflects your interests.
  • I travelled with a friend once, and alone the remaining three times. I personally found I got more from the experience travelling alone. Many people do this. You do not need to bring a buddy. You will have plenty of those at the end of the week.
  • It is outstanding value for money. Once you get yourself to your destination, everything is organised for you. Ali and Zanna’s degree of attention to detail is flawless. There is not an easier and less stressful way to travel.
  • The food, accommodation, transfers, and everything that is included, is of the highest standard. The villas are luxurious. You will have everything you could potentially need.

Yes, you should go.

See upcoming Bali Fitness Retreats at



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