Editor’s note: This article is part of Hipmunk’s Unsettled series, which catalogs individual remote work experiences through Unsettled, which facilitates 30-day retreats meant to spur a positive impulse for change, innovation, and exploration. This is Rumbi’s story.
There aren’t very many 20-something-year-olds with inspiring and life-changing stories, so reading mine probably won’t convince you to pack your bags and move to a foreign land. Neither could the best piece of advertising money can buy. What moves you (pun intended) is the thing that’s been stirring inside.
I’d just moved to a new city and was already craving another adventure. I had recently become a resident of the South African East Coast after a six-year stint on the continent’s west coast, and while I wasn’t necessarily enduring a miserable existence, I was dissatisfied that I hadn’t met as many like-minded people and explored enough of the strange things in my new home. For a chronically curious personality, this can concoct a mini-crisis. So why didn’t I just hop on a plane and [insert mind-blowing escapade here?]. Well, the truth is, even millennials have bills to pay.
Fresh out of university, the only way I could hop on a magic carpet and still successfully ‘adult’ was if I found a way to get paid to travel. So, as would any person living in the real world and not working for the Travel Channel, I let that dream die.
Enter Unsettled stage left. One Facebook advert tag and a short application later, I found myself reading an email from an overly-enthusiastic American guy, literally selling me dreams. The gist of his email: “Continue to work while traveling.” Obviously, this was an elaborate scam, I thought. The last time my people bought that tagline we ended up in a field, harvesting cotton. But what’s the worst that could happen, right? So we scheduled a phone call interview.
I remember telling my best friend how badly I wanted this trip to be real. Thirty days in Buenos Aires, with 30 amazing individuals from around the world and a modern coworking space to allow the “adulting” activities to continue seemed too good to be true.
Needless to say, you’re reading this because the dream became a reality.
I speak three languages fluently, none of which are Spanish. But I packed my essentials (passport, cell phone, laptop, earphones, and lipsticks —yes, plural) and hopped on a plane to Buenos Aires.
They wasted no time. Within the first two days, we had taken part in various exercises that questioned who we are, why we define failure and success the way we do, what we aspire to be, how we plan to accomplish our goals, and what makes us happy. Thus, the theme for the trip was unanimously established: “Purpose.”
Thus, the theme for the trip was unanimously established: “Purpose.”
It quickly became very clear to me that despite our diverse backgrounds (for starters, I had silver-grey braids), we all had plenty in common. No topic was taboo. It had never been so easy to open up to a group of strangers; what’s more, they would actually reciprocate. These early days were the makings of great and intimate bonds.
Oh, the workshops we had. Our giant, United-Colours-of-Benetton-think-tank-family offered their brains, networks, and other resources to advise, assist, create with, refine, and motivate each and every person who needed it. The Unsettled family created a judgment-free environment in which one could comfortably exist in the juxtaposition of being an accomplished work in progress.
Fear not: it wasn’t all work and introspection. The group was a ridiculously fun mix of work hard/play hard individuals. We went out every day and night for the first two weeks. A river island getaway, a US election party, art gallery and museum tours, happy hour(s) at rooftop bars with steak, markets, live music bars and festivals, dinner parties, full moon drumming celebrations, outdoor HIIT workouts, hip hop parties in mansions, boat parties, a heritage pride picnic, tango lessons, group yoga, road trips. Yes, we should have paced ourselves. But when a city offers you endless memorable experiences in the space of a month, you willingly sacrifice your sleep.
The Unsettled Buenos Aires experience was unique for each person; however, our adventures shared a universal commonality. Not because our group lives life as a fast-paced musical, but because Unsettled has mastered the ability to create and recreate extraordinary, life-changing trips. By bringing together people with a common attitude underpinned by a thirst for discovery, networking, laughter, sharing, and autonomy.
As I first mentioned, my individual story may not move you. But if that restlessness that demands you to get up, to move, lives inside you, it won’t find a better home than with Unsettled, one month at a time.