When I first ventured out to live the travel life, I went on a coworking and coliving retreat called Unsettled. I spent a month in Morocco and lived with 20 interesting people from all over the world. We formed a community and spent a month in Marrakech, Morocco, learning from each other and exploring together. This series on coworking retreats covers my experience, as well gives you an idea of whether coworking retreats are for you.
Unsettled is a kind of experience that you can’t really explain, because it’s different for everyone. It’s a coworking and coliving retreat, which means that it’s not a job, and nor do they find you a job. You can bring your own work and work whenever you want, but that’s optional. And it’s certainly not a vacation where all you do is bum around and play tourist.
On this particular retreat that I joined, there was a diverse group of people from all over the world – Canada, USA, Portugal, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Belgium, Australia, and South Africa. No one did the same thing, and everyone’s reason for being there was different.
Some live the nomad lifestyle and used this experience to take their work on the road, because with Unsettled, your accommodation and working spaces are all taken care of for you – that’s the beauty of a working and coliving retreat. Some used the month as a structured sabbatical, where they can travel and work on their own projects, knowing that they’ll have a group to support them and to come home to. Some needed to try something different, and some were curious about the nomad lifestyle and wanted to be around people who they can learn from. We had writers who have come to be inspired, someone who works in finance but likes to travel and try new things, someone who needed a change after a heartbreak, and even a CEO who felt stuck with her work and needed a new perspective on things, among others.
Prior to arriving, I was curious to see how they would design an experience that would suit the needs of such a diverse group of people. On our third day here, we found out. The experiences are co-designed, which meant that we all had a say in it.
On “design experience” day, we all took the time to talk about our professional backgrounds and what we hope to get out of this month. We each had to think about how we could help the group – was there a skill or tool we can teach? Could we organize an event/activity or lead a conversation? We also each listed the things we were looking for help with or interested in learning this month. As each person spoke, we jotted down keywords on post-its – things we think we would like to learn about from that person.
After everyone spoke, we broke down into groups, compared our notes, and tried to come up with realistic ways of how we can achieve what we want to learn.
The amount of skills and the high number of motivation in this group is phenomenal. We put our ideas on the walls and tried to group similar ones together and tried to plan out the month visually.
By the end of the session, we had narrowed it down and turned the most common ideas into workshops, conversations, activities and adventures. Our calendar was filled with several daily activities, in addition to the Unsettled lunch and learns, trips and dinners already planned, and the ones we plan on our own.
During the month, we visited museums and gardens, tried acro yoga and belly dancing, mapped out our lives in a goal-setting workshop, worked on our creativity, had some interesting conversations and had an adventure in the Sahara Desert. Stay tuned for some highlights in the next post!
Next: Highlights From Coworking and Coliving in Morocco
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