Meet the Humans behind Unsettled Cape Town: Scully & Mel
An Intro from the Founders’ Desk…
At Unsettled, we view the world through our founding philosophy: People, Place, and Purpose. More often than not, it’s in that order. The nature of our work makes us human-centric. It’s also the nature of who we are. We got into this business to bring people together.
Each month, we bring about 20 people together in any number of our 15 destinations around the world to work remotely, explore new places, and build a global community. They join Unsettled in these locations, and they bring their full life to these retreats: they eat, sleep, work, laugh, cry, share, and grow together. Yes, we are human-centric.
And so is our team. Imagine for a minute the type of person who is behind a retreat like this. They are often experts in this location, business and entrepreneurship, and creativity and self-expression. They are emotionally intelligent, gifted facilitators, and strong leaders. In a word, they are family, to the 20 participants and to us at Unsettled HQ.
Today, we share with you two of our team leaders, Lynne “Scully” Scullard and Mel Cook, who lead Unsettled Cape Town. They’re from the “Mother City” and have a lifetime of experience to bring to our retreats there.
Q&A With Scully, Cape Town Experience Leader:
Who is Lynne “Scully” Scullard?
A Cape Town native, Lynne’s career has been filled with projects aimed at reducing unemployment, increasing skills transfer, and developing human potential in a desire to live a “life less ordinary.” She is the founder of many firsts in South Africa, including the first in-cinema coffee bar, the first pizzeria in Soweto and Scully Scooters, South Africa’s first business-on-a-bike scooter employment initiative. An avid traveller and Unsettled Experience Leader, she is drawn to anything that lets her experience new cultures, places, and people (preferably on a scooter herself!). She is a Certified Entrepreneur Mentor who loves partnering in the development stage of new and growing businesses. Ask her about her own life journey, including her days as a ski bum and sous chef.
Q: What do you think makes Cape Town different and unique from Jo’burg? What attracts you to it?
A: South Africa, often referred to as “A World in One Country” is a true statement indeed. I am attracted to the beauty of Cape Town. It’s looming mountains, white, soft sandy beaches (on both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean side), sunrises, sunsets and views for days, art, wine, and beautiful people. This inspires me to get outdoors and be adventurous. Visiting Cape Town gives me renewed energy and perspective to return to fast-paced Jo’burg, the largest city in SA, contributing almost 35% to SA’s GDP and with its roots in Gold Mining. It’s all about the Rhythm, and I love the contrast.
Q: South Africa is a country that’s steeped in a history of political turmoil, how have you seen Cape Town handle it over the years?
A: As a country, we still have many political challenges, although I venture to say, far more democratic challenges than many other countries in the news at the moment. One of our biggest challenges is poverty and bridging the gap between the ‘haves’ and the have nots’. In my opinion, education and strong leadership in government are what will fix this. Cape Town has done much to attract tourism and encourage entrepreneurship. They have also improved the public transport system, offering free transport to people going for interviews to get work. In effect, making access to the city more affordable.
Q: The creativity and innovation in the city are extraordinary and it keeps getting better. Do you think that’s the general South African spirit?
A: South African Bank recently coined a new word, “Africanacity’. I believe that because of our tricky past, because we are still a developing country and because we are a curious people trying to solve many social challenges, we are birthing exceptional talent in innovation and creativity. The word Africanacity is an authentic fit and Cape Town is bursting with it.
Q: Please share your favorite story from last year’s Unsettled experience in Cape Town. Something crazy? Bizarre? Totally absurd but wow?!
A: There are so many crazy, fun, intense and beautiful moments to share. They range from a participant, who originally said they felt they had nothing to contribute to the group, then go on to lead one of the most well attended, unconventional and hysterical workshops I’ve ever attended; to having another participant charter a yacht for us to celebrate his birthday on. Wow, wow, wow! But the one story that touched me deeply was our visit to the township of Khayelitsha.
When visiting developing countries, it can sometimes be difficult to digest some of the social challenges that, on the surface, seem so easy to fix. I believe that we are in a certain category of privilege when we are able to be in an Unsettled Environment, so after many conversations on the topic, it was one of my most fantastic moments to witness the understanding and delight of the group, as we danced the night away with the locals in a nightclub in their township.
In this single evening, a business launch was enabled for one of these locals, a music workshop was brought from the township to the city and friendships were formed that continue to live on today.
Leaving this positive Unsettled footprint is what helps inspire a better world and it is why I’m so amped to welcome the world to our country.
Q&A With Mel, Cape Town Location Manager:
Who is Mel Cook?
Mel Cook is a born and bred South African whose Instagram feed consists mainly of cute dog accounts, interior spaces and beautiful cutlery. She is Unsettled’s Cape Town Location Manager, and a firm believer in finding the fun in every situation while she works on building a life of connectedness. She is highly passionate about female empowerment and is a co-leader for the Cape Town chapter of Ladies, Wine and Design – a movement geared towards championing women in the creative industry. Mel’s heart lies in all things creative, and this reflects in her work as an interior design lecturer, and founder/ head designer of interior design company, Cooked Studio. Some of Mel’s favorite things: “Too-full” glasses of wine, awesome conversations, and of course, pictures of your pets.
Q: What do you think makes Cape Town different from other South African cities?
A: Cape Town is very different. There is so much to do. Different types of terrain and so much to do in terms of outdoor activities. Cape Town is specifically unique because you can drive half an hour out of town and beat one of the most gorgeous wine farms. And then you can go ten minutes outside of the city and you are on Table Mountain. It is one of the few cities in the world with a mountain range on the coast. There is a very big coworking community and loads of coffee shops to be able to sit and work from anywhere. It is a seriously diverse city with the biggest expat community in South Africa. There is also a massive food market culture which is sick. I love how dynamic it is. There is really something for everyone in a city like Cape Town.
Q: What are three experiences we have in store for you in Cape Town?
A: 1. Climbing up to the top of Lion’s Head Mountain and watching the sunset with a glass of wine. Then taking a slow stroll down to the bottom of the mountain as the sun goes down. Then you can grab an amazing dinner because our food is so incredible here.
2. The first Thursday of every month all the art galleries are open and the roads close so you can walk from bar to bar and from gallery to gallery. It is an amazing cultural experience. There is everything from contemporary, modern art to abstract art, it is a great way to meet people. The city really comes alive.
3. The penguins in Simon’s Town. You are literally on the beach and the penguins are swimming while you are swimming. They are the cutest things in the universe. But don’t touch them because they bite.
Bonus, you have to go to the wine district. In one of the wine farms, there is a chef’s warehouse where you drink wine, have one of the most epic five-star meal looking over the most incredibly beautiful vineyards. And they have ducks.
Ready to stamp that passport? Unsettled Cape Town is ready for you!