How We Initially Failed, and then Succeed at Defining Our Values

When we set out to start Unsettled, we knew two things would be at our core over anything else: (1) shared experiences and (2) community.

As important as these concepts are to our generation, we knew we had to think deeply and intentionally about how we would operationalize them and ingrain them into our activities and offering.

Before we ever started Unsettled, we developed a set of values and principles to guide us on this quest into the unknown. But this value set didn’t come overnight. In fact, we fell short of our original intention, and it wasn’t until we began to share these values with our growing community that they began to take their true shape.

At the start of each Unsettled experience, we share these values, and then we ask, “what’s missing?” and “how can we build upon these together?” It’s these iterative and community-led changes that make us confident that we’ve built a bedrock for growth.

1. Contribute

If you’ve talked to us in one of our Skype interviews, you’ve heard this one. This community starts with each person finding ways to contribute to everyone else’s experience. We’ve had people contribute by leading workshops, facilitating a conversation, cooking a meal from their home country, leading meditation, planning local adventures, hosting game night, and so much more. You have to ask yourself: what are you willing to contribute before you expect to receive from this community.

2. Embrace the unknown

To be Unsettled is to be comfortable with the unknown. It’s to explore new opportunities. Take risks. Push your boundaries and stretch your imagination. It’s about saying “yes” to new experiences. It’s a form of vulnerability by definition, and when embraced fully, it is far more exciting and rewarding than the mundane.

3. Leave no trace, only a positive impression

“Leave No Trace” is a principle that has an application beyond the outdoors. Remember you are a guest in someone else’s land. Respect it. Make responsible decisions that only leave a positive impression on locals.

4. Be Present

One month has the opportunity to be a shared experience that changes something within you. Shared experiences are, of course, dependent on each one of us fully engaging with each other. To make the most of your experience, participate fully.

5. Be true to yourself

Give yourself to this moment, but be true to who you are and why you are here. There will be major FOMO, maybe even some peer pressure, and while the point is to grow and embrace the unknown, you have to be true to yourself and push within those boundaries and not someone else’s.

6. No judgement

In order to build a community where we can embrace these other 5 principles, we have to create a space where we can be free of judgement. When we are part of a community free of judgement so many things become possible, from honest self-assessments to life-changing conversations that challenge truths that we hold to be self-evident. For each of our other principles to take root, we must remove all judgement.

7. ???

We are making a commitment here and now to continuing to build this value set by listening to and engaging with our members’ ideas and suggestions. We look forward to building on this foundation and adding or improving on these initial principles during a future Unsettled experience.


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

Growth | Meaning | Adventure

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