Unsettled: One (Epic) Year In Review

By: Jonathan Kalan & Michael Youngblood, Co-Founders, Unsettled 

Dear friends, family, and fellow Unsettled souls,

It’s been just over a year since Unsettled graduated the first TED Residency program, and officially launched into the world. To say these past 12 months have been an extraordinary journey, in our eyes and those of our participants, would be an understatement.

We set out with a bold and simple vision: to change the way that people live, work, and build global communities in the 21st century. We sought to understand how might we design our lives more around shared experiences and less around consumption, and infuse our lives with more intention, passion, and meaning in the process. We dedicated ourselves to leading by example, and building a company culture based on flexibility, transparency, openness, and honesty, led by a team that embraces our values to their core, and lives them every single day.

We didn’t set out to create just another travel company. We set out to create a people company.

And we are proud to stand here today and say that we feel we have done that. We’ve stayed committed to our values, made the hard decisions that have kept us honest to ourselves, and built an incredible community that reaches nearly every corner of the globe. Heck, to be honest, we’re proud to even be here at all. The startup journey is a wild one, and there is no way we could have done it without the incredible support of our friends, families, investors, and most of all, our community.

In 12 months, we’ve opened Unsettled in 7 locations around the world. From the jungles of Indonesia to the beaches of South Africa, the coffee farms of Colombia to the milongas of Argentina, the peaks of Machu Picchu to the vineyards of Spain and hidden charms of Portugal, we’ve built a truly global footprint. We even managed to catch an intimate week sailing with 40 Unsettled friends and family across the stunning national parks of Croatia.

Together, we’ve leaped into the unknown paragliding off the mountains in Medellin and swinging like little kids over jungles of Bali. We’ve ridden horses into the sunset (even Oscar the dog loved that), started a moped gang, hosted an epic urban scavenger hunt, pitted ourselves against each other in paintball, lost our minds (…and then met the President) in the remote Pacific coast of Colombia, surfed our first waves, hiked our first volcano, sailed our first tacks, and uttered our first words of Spanish (Que?).

Our community has come together to share our knowledge in Kufic calligraphy, branded storytelling, art and creativity, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing, public speaking and poetry, business model canvassing, rapid prototyping, SEO marketing, education reform, the Japanese concept of Ikigai, game theory, and lifestyle changes that can naturally beat cancer.

We’ve learned how to improv like a superstar, cook Indonesian food, bake Unsettled cookies, host a Monkey Ball, and survive an arctic plane crash with nothing but some matches, an axe, maple syrup, a compass and a bottle of vodka (pro tip: the compass is misleading if you don’t know north from your true north 😉

We’ve received over 5,000 applications, interviewed 1,200, and hosted more than 300 soulful and incredible humans from over 40 countries. We’ve seen a dozen people change careers to pursue their dreams, and dozens more change their flights to stay a little longer. We’ve met Fortune 500 CEOs and nonprofit founders, PhDs and college dropouts, prison reform activists and airline pilots, restauranteers and scrappy startup founders, burnt out corporate executives and freelancing digital nomad couples, retired teachers and high-powered lawyers. You name it, we’ve hosted it.

As astonished as we are about this growing community and how everyone is finding ways to contribute and live as boldly as they can; this is just the foundation.

The most exciting thing of all is not what we’ve done…but what lies ahead.

We’re just beginning this adventure. Unsettled is not a simple pop-up coworking retreat company.

Unsettled is committed to creating epic shared experiences rooted in people, place and purpose. We’re committed to building lasting communities, life-long relationships, and fulfilling a sustainable vision that redefines the future of how we live, work, and travel. This is why we’re excited to scale Unsettled in the coming months and years ahead. This has to exist.

Let’s do it together. See you on the road. 

Adventure on,
Jonathan, Michael, Alex, Lala, Liza, Ramon, Allie, Norah, Yuri, and…. our newest additions to the family, Patrick, Bonnie, and Christiana!


PS… On our anniversary, we collected some of our favorite notes of support from our global community. We thought we’d share a few with you below….


“Thank you for changing my perception of ‘normal’ and ‘awesome’.”

— Nata

“Thank you for unforgettable weekend getaways, aimless yet meaningful dinner talks and most importantly, thank you for a unique family from different cultures around the world.”

— Mashaal

“Thanks to Unsettled, I feel fuller, happier, healthier and richer. What desk job would do that, hey? ”

— Shitika

And our favorite (real) testimonial to date….

“They won’t sell your organs!”

— Andrew

Haven’t been an Unsettled experience yet, but itching for something different? Check out our latest retreats to see where we’re headed for the rest of 2017 and early 2018!


Unsettled is a global community for those who value meaningful human connection. 

Growth | Meaning | Adventure

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