“Is this it?”
Let’s say you did all the right things: graduated college, obtained gainful employment, paid your bills, and began to settle down and lead a comfortable life in the “real world.”
At some, you couldn’t help but ask yourself, isn’t there more than this?
Jonathan Kalan and Michael Youngblood are two entrepreneurs who believe that living outside of your routine may be the best way to build a fulfilling lifestyle. Kalan and Youngblood have spent their entire careers either as freelancers or self-employed, and, like a record breaking amount of millennials who are working for themselves today, they realized that such an independent life is a double-edged sword. It provides unparalleled opportunities for travel and freedom, but it also comes with a certain amount of isolation.
And so, a few years ago, Kalan and Youngblood asked themselves a simple question: How might we design our lives more around life-changing experiences, and less around consumption?
Youngblood and Kalan began hosting dinners, organizing sailing trips, and running some of the first ever co-working retreat for remote workers. The more experiences that they organized, the more they realized that they were hooked.
The two put together a basic recipe for creating productive work environments from just about anywhere. They determined the necessary ingredients were: organization, with elements of unpredictability; structure, yet enough room for serendipity; leadership within a community-driven culture; and last, recognizing that while change happens within us, it is inspired by the people, ideas, and environments around us.
Thus, Unsettled was born.
Work anywhere. One month at a time.
At its core, Unsettled is building a global community that comes together for 30-day co-working experiences in inspiring environments. Beyond work, it’s a combination of adventure, community, and personal and professional growth.
Unsettled is for anybody who can escape for one month at a time or anybody who wants to give a new lifestyle a shot, from structured Fortune 500 employees to founders or freelancers.
“Almost everyone that joins us is in some sort of transition, whether they know it or not when they arrive,” Youngblood said.
Over time, the partners observed how all parts of one’s life could be designed as an experience, and that’s when it dawned on them: Where and how we live is a lifelong experience, intrinsically tied to the structures of work, housing, and, most of all, community.
While relatively young, Kalan, 29, and Youngblood, 31, are uniquely qualified to facilitate such a venture. Kalan is an award-winning photographer, journalist, and media entrepreneur who has traveled more than 70 countries and lived for extensive periods in Africa, the Middle East and Asia reporting for BBC, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Huffington Post, among others.
Youngblood started his career 10 years ago as an entrepreneur with an ecotourism startup that provided backcountry adventures in the National Park system, has since worked at multiple startups, and has published his work in the Innovations journal out of MIT. Here are two entrepreneurs who know travel and the independent lifestyle that enables it.
They recently graduated from TED‘s inaugural Residency Program in New York City.
Kalan and Youngblood posit that feeling a bit “unsettled” can be a positive impulse for change, innovation, and exploration. That it’s in times of transition, travel, and movement when we feel most alive, inspired, and receptive to the people and ideas that spark growth.
This past year, Unsettled has begun to launch a network of living spaces around the world where travelers can feel at home and still be “unsettled.” They provide everything needed to be connected, comfortable and collaborative: a private room, shared workspace, and, most importantly, an immersive community experience.
For many, it’s like finding a second home.
Unsettled believes that one month can be transformative—especially when experienced in a new environment, with new people, and a fresh perspective.
“Unsettled is not a trip; it’s an experience,” said a recent Unsettled member. “Imagine a unique version of an alternative life where people from all over the world come together and create an instant family full of inspiration, support, love, and adventure. I thought joining Unsettled would be a good way to explore professional options. I never expected it to be a time of unparalleled personal growth and reflection.”
Interested in experiencing an Unsettled trip of your own? Kalan and Youngblood have trips planned for 2017 in Medellín, Colombia; Bali, Indonesia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Barcelona, Spain; and Cape Town, South Africa.
Learn more about living and working abroad for a month here.