A few weeks ago, we decided to run a little experiment. One of the most exciting things about working at Unsettled is the stories we hear. From our admissions process all the way through to meetups with alumni months after an experience ends, we hear remarkable stories of transformation, re-invention, taking big risks and embracing the unknown. They inspire us and humble us on a daily basis, but we know that we’ve only scratched the surface.
So we put the call out there. Last month, we asked for your stories. The kind that get to the heart of what it means to be human today — to overcome fear, embrace uncertainty, and challenge insurmountable odds, no matter what that looks like for you.
The result? We were overwhelmed.
Readers from Belgrade, Abu Dhabi, London, Cairo, Cartagena, Casablanca, Auckland, Seoul, Bangalore, Guadalajara, Hawaii, Copenhagen, Guatemala, Johannesburg and many more joined the conversation. Their stories were beautiful, brave, adventurous, honest, kind, romantic, heartbreaking, empowering and hopeful.
In just two weeks, over 200 people shared their most Unsettled moment with a community of 100,000 people, and we are grateful to each and every one of them.
We made a promise to celebrate the most powerful story with a grand prize of 100% of one Unsettled experience, Who won?
Congratulations, Dita Daukste from Riga, Latvia!
We asked Dita to tell us a little bit more about herself and her winning entry:
Q: Why was this moment on the sand so significant to you?
It was the moment of silence, of appreciation, of gratefulness. I was waiting for the sunrise in the Sahara Desert in Morocco last year, and right here was when I remembered how I’d reached the highest point in North Africa – Toubkal; I remembered how I had swam in the longest under-earth river in North Africa during this trip; and I remembered that I had surfed in the ocean; and now I’m sitting on a dune in the desert. It suddenly made me grateful for the people around me who are part of my life. The photo was taken by my husband without me knowing. He was somewhere on the dunes, but this moment wasn’t posed… it just happened.
Q: What did you say to your family and friends when you shared your entry with them?
“If you have supportive family and friends combined with a strong will; there is no limit to what you can achieve.” This quote by S.J. Hailey is the best way to answer this. I told my friends and family that I would like to be part of the contest that matches my spirit and personality – sharing, developing, adventure, challenges, unknown, and making new friends. I also told them how I was a huge fan of Unsettled.
Q: You’ve chosen your winning destination as Bali in May. Why so?
Bali matches my personality perfectly. Surrounded by nature, adventure and rich culture. The local environment and life would challenge me, help me grow during the 30 days – personally and professionally – and also fulfil my adventurous and curious soul.
Q: What does living Unsettled mean to you?
Change is exciting. Continuous personal growth. Need for challenges and knowing how important they are… and finding “the moment” in the everyday.
Q: An Unsettled month is a co-created experience. We believe that everyone has something to offer and share with fellow participants, and it’s through these contributions we build an awesome community. What kind of workshops would you like to host during your time in Bali?
This will depend on the group I’m sharing the month with in Bali (their background, interests, etc.), but I’d like to host a professional development workshop, which includes negotiation or leadership skills. Maybe even share my Latvian background with everyone and host a workshop about Latvia’s historical facts, places to see, and our culture. I might get everyone some Latvian gifts, too.
Q: What do you do for work? And will you be taking your work remotely when living Unsettled in Bali?
I lead international business operations and development for high-growth organizations, including aviation, insurance, finance, and international trade industries. I handle business process management, strategic business planning, new business development, complex project management, and financial analysis. I’m lucky to have 100% support for remote working from the companies I work with, and I don’t have to physically meet business partners or “end-customers”.
While we warm up a spot for Dita in Bali, Unsettled would like to add a special mention to another entry from the competition who shared a brave and beautiful story, and came a very close second to the grand prize.
Olga Gonzalez from Mexico shared a story of how the 2017 Mexico earthquake changed her life, and not only did it get the likes and comments from her community, but it also warmed our hearts.
Despite not being the winner of this competition, Olga said how sharing her story has already created a huge impact on her life. “I got messages from people I hadn’t spoken to in over 20 years, all because they saw my post on Unsettled’s page. My boss and colleagues supported me this entire time and a local radio station has interviewed me about my story, as well. I have to thank Unsettled for being an inspiration to me and letting me get all this way with my experience…”
So is the power of storytelling… Olga may not be an Unsettler (just yet), but she plans on signing up for a retreat in the very near future. We cannot wait to welcome her in our community.
A big thanks to everyone who participated in the competition. We loved reading your stories, and we hope some of them inspired you to navigate through this very complex world a little bit differently…