A global community of professional digital nomads, Unsettled wants people to rethink their approach to their working lives. Rose Dykins reports

The rise of remote working during Covid-19 has sparked a desire among many to continue working in a less conventional way. As a new wave of digital nomads explores their options for the future, opportunities like remote working retreats with Unsettled will grow in popularity.

Unsettled is a global community that organises retreats for digital nomads over the world. People may be undergoing a job transition, starting a new project or business, or seeking a different of direction with their career path. Or, they may simply want a change of scene from their home working set up.

During Unsettled travel experiences, participants combine their career goals with their travel aspirations, while meeting like-minded people. They immerse themselves in a group environment in a new destination, while taking part in group activities, experiences and workshops to help them develop as professionals.

The company’s website reads: “We bring together the intellectually curious who seek to replace routine with adventure, and refuse to settle in their pursuit of growth, meaning, and purpose.”

The idea for Unsettled began in 2014, when co-founders Jonathan Kalan and Michael Youngblood invited 40 of their friends from all over the world to the British Virgin Islands for a week-long holiday.

“We began to ask this fundamental question of ‘why are we separating our work lives from our free lives – from our vacation, our holidays?’” says Youngblood.

“Everybody who was down here that year that worked for themselves, so many of them could continue living in a place like this, and more importantly with a group of people like this.

“And [they could] continue putting themselves in situations where they’re learning and challenging themselves, where they really have to embrace the unknown, in a new circumstance. We realised, we have to do this again.”

Within a week, Kaplan and Youngblood had launched a second trip to Bali. They organised a month-long retreat on the Indonesian island for 35 people, who brought their laptops and their work commitments with them.

Since then, Unsettled has run retreats in destinations such as Medellin, Cape Town, Tuscany, Buenos Aires, Morocco and Mexico City.

These travel experiences are a mixture of one-week adventures, two-week creative breaks or month-long co-working retreats. Each one is designed to inspire a new perspective, and encourages participants to stay active and productive.

As well as providing accommodation and workspace, Unsettled’s travel experiences involve curated experiences, talks from local experts and workshops to aid with personal and professional growth. There are also communal dinners – which participants can cook for and host if the like – and evenings spent exploring the destination with

Participants can take part in as much or a little of each programme as they like, depending on how much work they need to get done.

Unsettled has now hosted 2,500 people from more than 80 countries – digital nomads working in a range of roles, including CEOS, illustrators, lawyers, marketers, designers, scientists and poets.

Members of the community have worked for the likes of Amazon, The New York Times, Heineken, Deloitte and the United Nations

“It’s not a company that’s based on solutions, we’re a company based on a question of: ‘how can we live our lives differently?’”, says Kalan.

The organisation also offers a Global Passport membership. Subscribers get access to an online portal of professionals from the Unsettled community, whom they can build connections with over Zoom and facilitated group sessions. They can also watch inspirational talks and sessions and panels – the theme of these this month is “The Power of Play”.

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