What Happens When You Ditch The Camera And Start Experiencing?

By: Alice Livermore, Unsettled: Bali alum and Positive Psychology expert 

What do Unsettled alumni, people about to embark on their first retreat, and those anxiously debating if they should pull the trigger and book have in common? Two hard-earned and undeniable strengths – awareness and vulnerability.

What happens when you combine them? Pure magic. 


Awareness is what calls us to an Unsettled experience. A desire for exploration and novelty. It’s a shake-up to our routines and the chance to ask ourselves “what do I really want?” It’s being conscious of the way our environments influence our thoughts, feelings, and creativity. 

Vulnerability joins us on the adventure. It’s what empowers us to connect with a group of strangers who become family. It’s showing up in a new place, trying new foods, and embracing local culture and customs. Vulnerability allows us to put ourselves out there and share our talents with a new community. Most importantly, it’s the courage to celebrate the good things. 

Our tendency to “forebode joy”, as studied by Dr. Brené Brown, shows the relationship between vulnerability and joy. Dr. Brown writes, “When something good happens, our immediate thought is that we’d better not let ourselves truly feel it, because if we really love something we could lose it… Our actual experiences of joy—those intense feelings of deep spiritual connection and pleasure—seize us in a very vulnerable way.” 

Combining awareness and vulnerability allows us to reap the full benefit of an Unsettled experience – while it’s happening and long after we’ve returned home.



What is savoring? Savoring is actively attending to the positive feelings that arise from an experience. It’s about immersing ourselves in something and fully enjoying it. While our awareness enables us to tune into the things happening around us, vulnerability adds that extra layer allowing us to fully appreciate the positive emotions that we experience. 

Savoring amplifies our positive emotions making a good experience even better. It is a way to strengthen our relationship with positive emotions, leading to a greater sense of happiness, life satisfaction, and overall well-being. 

This also adds to our reservoir of positivity, our storage bank of good feelings we can pull from when we need to.



There are 4 strategies we can use to tap our savoring abilities:

  1. Marveling is the feeling of wonder we get from an awe-inspiring experience. Think about hot air ballooning over Mexico City, or standing on top of Mount Batur watching the sunrise over Bali.
  2. Thanksgiving is related to gratitude. Imagine a farewell dinner in the Tuscan Hills, surrounded by your new international family about to depart home all over the globe.
  3. Basking is our feeling of pride when we have accomplished something meaningful or important. Fulfilled your goal of going unplugged for a week in the Amazon? Yes, it’s bask-worthy.
  4. Luxuriating is tapping into our physical sensations to experience positive emotions. Enjoying a rich piece of chocolate while lounging in a flower bath in Bali is the perfect way to do this. Please excuse the unsolicited author recommendation.



The other thing all alumni, current Unsettlers, and about-to-book have in common? We can all savor an Unsettled retreat right now.

Reminisce about a great travel experience you had. What moment was the most memorable? Why?

Be attentive. Focus and be really present in what is happening now. What do you notice? What’s good about it?

Anticipate the future. What is something you are looking forward to? How do you feel?

Changing our lens to the past, present, and future give us a multitude of experiences we can savor. By engaging in a practice of savoring we are adding to our reservoir of positivity that will give us a boost when we need it. Savoring is the superpower that enables us to turn our ordinary experiences into extraordinary.

Alice Livermore, APPC is a positive psychology expert and life coach whose perfect day would end with a massage and dessert. She is the founder of Pink Collar Coaching, empowering professional women to create work-life harmony supportive of their goals.


Unsettled is a global community for those who live and work differently. 

Growth | Meaning | Adventure

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