Getting (un)settled in Ubud, getting to know new people, and getting out and about in the jungles and rice paddies of Bali felt great. Ubud Yoga Centre has a sign that says ‘You are exactly where you are supposed to be’, and seeing this in those first few days, it really felt true. Having spent a good few months gripped with anxiety, fear and guilt about completely pulling the rug from under my comfortable life, I was beginning to feel more at peace with my decision, and that I really was in the place, the situation, and in the company I needed to be in. I also felt in control – I was the first in the group to rent a scooter, jump on it and get myself moving (the others were being total wimps about driving a moped). I was eating healthy smoothie bowls and vegan meals, and I discovered Yoga Barn, a beautiful studio complex draped in lush trees offering hundreds of classes a week. In one of my first classes there, a monkey climbed up into the rafters and started throwing things at unsuspecting yogis until it was shooed out! I certainly was not in Kansas anymore, and the interesting thing was that the people I was meeting found me so capable. They saw me as strong, and interesting, and chilled out.
The wonderful thing about the Unsettled ethos of getting out of your comfort zone and embracing the unknown, is the freedom to do with the month whatever you choose – but with some gentle guidance and advice on making sure it serves you. Some people in the group were working full-time and spent every moment not spent on a call with the office chasing waterfalls and visiting temples. Some were enjoying some serious downtime and sunshine. Most of us were pretty engaged with the programme as a whole though, and our first workshop, the Wish & Gift session, was a beautiful exercise. We all came up with something we could offer the group as a gift over the month, and wished for something we wanted to receive. The overall thread running through everything we discussed was the need for balance, realignment, reconnection, and recuperation. The offers of support, love, a friendly smile, a deep chat and no judgements were genuine, and set the tone for our month together. We had unexpectedly found a safe space of beautiful souls, fierce minds and big hearts, and together we would figure it out.
Personally, I was really enjoying slowing the pace, prioritising sleep and yoga, and mulling over what I truly wanted to get from the month. I’d signed up on the basis that I would be with like-minded people that I could hopefully learn from, and would have time to develop and broaden my professional skills and hustle for work. And being at Outpost, a hub for digital nomads to which we had membership, was inspiring. Here were people making a living through remote work, spending time in fabulous places, free to roam an increasingly connected planet. I had had suspicions that the ‘digital nomad’ life sounded like the absolute dream, but in reality would be lonely and draining. But here was a space for people to connect, learn and develop together! In bare feet. Just attending one 60-minute workshop (How to Create the Work You Love with Niv Nobacht) proved how easy it was to meet supportive people – and not pretentious, inflated dickheads. This life isn’t freelance ‘Gap Yah Boy’, it’s people that have figured out how to live on their own terms. People that have liberated themselves from the corporate 9-to-5 by taking control of their lifestyle. It felt like an awakening, a discovery, and something I felt drawn to. I could live where I wanted to live, without feeling stuck. With the freedom to go home and spend time with my people whenever I needed to. And the freedom to spread my wings when I needed to do that. Was this a real possibility?
And so it was these questions that drew me to the Life Design Lab. A course on offer at Outpost, it was two weeks of self-exploration led by life coach Leannah Lumauig that promised to help me figure out my shit and create the life that I truly wanted. It sounded too good to be true – would it really be possible to make sense of all this nonsense whizzing around my brain? Could I really justify paying out for this course when I’d already paid out for Unsettled? Could I juggle the commitments of both? It took some self-convincing, but I decided that investing in myself (with my own damn money! Who am I even answering to?!) felt necessary, and that, with the luxury of all this time stretched out ahead, I wanted to embrace every opportunity that came at me to work on myself.